First-personal aspects of agency

Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):1-16 (2011)
Abstract: On standard accounts, actions are caused by reasons (Davidson), and reasons are taken to be neural phenomena. Since neural phenomena are wholly understandable from a third-person perspective, standard views have no room for any ineliminable first-personal elements in an account of the causation of action. This article aims to show that first-person perspectives play essential roles in both human and nonhuman agency. Nonhuman agents have rudimentary first-person perspectives, whereas human agents—at least rational agents and moral agents—have robust first-person perspectives. The author concludes with a view of intentional causation, according to which reasons are constituted by (but not identical to) neural phenomena. The idea of constitution without identity allows for a causal account of action that automatically includes first-personal aspects of agency
Keywords first‐person concept  rational agency  neural phenomena  practical reasoning  human action  causation  agency  first‐personal aspects of agency  moral agency  persons  first‐person perspective  constitution view  Davidson  action  nonhuman action  intentional explanation
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2010.01677.x
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