Interpersonal interactions and the Bounds of agency

Dialectica 61 (2):219–234 (2007)
Abstract
According to the Causal Theory of Action, actions are causally produced events and causal transitivity seems to apply to all such events. However, strong intuitions support the idea that actions cannot be transitively caused. This is a tension that has plagued this theory’s effort to account for action. In particular, it has fueled a serious objection suggesting that this theory of action seriously distorts the attribution of agency when two agents interact with each other. Based on Donald Davidson’s analysis of the accordion effect and the nature of actions, I provide an answer to the problem of agential attribution. It is an answer that shows that the Causal Theory of Action can unambiguously attribute agency without resorting to a stipulation or denying that actions can be transitively caused. I then identify the sources of the problematic intuitions in the need to recognize spheres of agential influence and preserve their integrity
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