My Hand Goes out to You

Philosophy 41 (156):140 - 152 (1966)

‘When a dog runs, the dog is moving his legs; when a sea urchin runs, the legs are moving the sea urchin.’ Philosophers have come to appreciate the importance of understanding what action is. Their attempts at the clarification of ‘action’ have led them to talk of arms going up, muscles contracting, psychokinesis, bodies moving. They want to distinguish between sea urchins and dogs. Joined with the concept of action there is that of the person. Some are inclined to say we fail to understand action when we treat the agent as the responding organism; in such a view there is no room for ‘responsibility’, ‘duty’, ‘ought’, ‘intention’, ‘volition’. Man as responding organism cannot be distinguished from sea urchins or from complex mechanisms
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100058514
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Action, Causality, and Teleology.Ruth Macklin - 1969 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 19 (4):301-316.

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