Events are unstructured particulars and their identity conditions are to be stated in terms of necessary spatiotemporal coincidence. In contrast, Davidson says that events are unstructured particulars, with their identity conditions to be given in terms of sameness of causes and effects; and Kim says that events are structured particulars, with their identity conditions to be given in terms of sameness of their constituents. The consequences of my view are then traced for mental events.
In “Reasons for Trying” (JPR, 1995), Jennifer Homsby rejects several views about trying, including the volitional account, which identifies trying with an ‘inner’ uniform mental occurrence leading to action and the instrumental view, which explicates trying as doing one thing in order to accomplish something else. She proffers, rather, an explication, which I label ‘the capacity view,’ that identifies trying with the agent doing all that she can to accomplish the goal. In this note, I argue, first, that Hornsby’s approach (...) more nearly captures our intuitions on trying, but, second, only if it is amended and expanded in critical ways. In particular, trying also involves overcoming perceived resistance. (shrink)
According to one version of the Causal Theory, an action is a mental or bodily event caused by an intention to act. Deliberate action requires prior planning. The practical syllogism is interpreted as a summary description of the planning process, where the conclusion reports the agent's intention. Social action differs from individual action in that only the former requires coordination of one's action with members of a group. This difference is reflected in the intention with which we act, labeled 'we-intention' (...) by Raimo Tuomela. Reports of we-intentions are the conclusions of interpersonal practical syllogisms. We-intentions differ from individual intentions both cognitively and conatively. The cognitive component of a we-intention includes a representation of the pattern of group activity into which one's action fits, as well as expectations of other's actions; the conative component includes at least one socially generated motive. These cognitive and conative components of we-intention find their explication in cognitive and motivational psychology and related fields. (shrink)
This paper recommends a framework for explaining largescale, complex actions. Philosophers have concentrated on simple actions — on hand raisings — far too long. Large-scale actions are the normal objects of legal and moral responsibility, as well as the kmd of activity for which the question of freedom is most pertinent. I focus on that part of the causal sequence constituting an action that begins after the decision and continues through the bodily movements: I call this part of the sequence (...) 'the output system'. In particular, I am concerned to explain the cognitive attitude associated with planned, intentional action.I contend that the human output system is best explained through the judicious combination of folk psychology (commonsense psychology) and scientific psychology, broadly understood. Folk psychology sets the agenda, as it were. But it has its limitations; the key one being that its conceptual foundations are insufficiently rich or precise. Scientific psychology serves, in part, to articulate these conceptual foundations. This conception of the philosophical task — to adjudicate between folk and scientific psychology — contrasts with that of some philosophers. Stephan Körner, for one, has argued that the primary function of philosophy is to exhibit the structure and form of commonsense. (shrink)
In 'on the analysis of causation' ("synthese", Volume 21, 1970), We argued that any analysis of causation entailing that "a" caused "b" only if "a" is the set of conditions necessary and sufficient for "b" yields a formal contradiction. In 'causal necessity and logical necessity' ("philosophical studies", Volume 28, 1975), David sanford objects to that argument, Concentrating his attack on the notions of causal necessity and total sets of antecedent conditions. We reply in this paper that, Although sanford's objections help (...) clarify the issues, They are not telling. (shrink)
There are least two general notions of having the opportunity to perform an action, one that concerns what is permitted on the basis of rules, regulations, or customs and another that concerns what is possible according to the physical or mental circumstances. The notion of having the opportunity within a set of circumstances is investigated and analysis in terms of physical possibility is proposed. A distinction is then made between a strong, person-dependent sense of ‘opportunity’ and a weak, person-independent sense. (...) It is also observed that care must be taken to distinguish the proposed analyses from criteria for determining whether someone has an opportunity. (shrink)