Analyse & Kritik 24 (2):209-230 (2002)

Ralf Stoecker
Bielefeld University
There is a widely accepted view in action theory according to which actions are events, reasons are intentional attitudes of the agent, and acting for a reason entails that the reason rationalizes as well as causes the action. In the first part of my contribution I list seventeen difficulties for this standard account; in the second part I give an outline of how a more plausible conception of reasons and actions could look like. According to this conception, which is based on Gilbert Ryle's criticism of a mechanistic understanding of psychological concepts, agency is due to a special kind of disposition of the agent, namely the disposition to behave as if the agent were permanently deliberating about what to do. The conception has surprising consequences for the ontological status of intentional attitudes and actions and for the relationship between action and responsibility.
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DOI 10.1515/auk-2002-0204
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