Rational agency


It is claimed that action discourse provides us with a criterion of adequacy for a theory of action; that with action discourse we have a family of concepts which a theory of action must accommodate. After an exegesis of Davidson's essay "Agency", it is argued that his semantics of action is incompatible with our concepts of motivation and responsibility for action and of attributions of action and agency, and must, therefore, be rejected. A theory of rational agency is presented within which are to be found accounts of intention, coming to intend, intentional action, and an alternative semantics of action which connects the action essentially to agency. The theory of rational agency is then used to illuminate the concepts of trying, compulsion, autonomy and involuntariness, mistake, accident, and the so-called active-passive distinction.



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