Explaining Public Action

Topoi 39 (2):475-485 (2020)
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Abstract

Actions are uncontroversially public. However, the prevailing model of explanation in the debate about the de se seems to conflict with this fact by proposing agent-specific explanations that yield agent-specific types of action—i.e. types of action that no two agents can instantiate. Remarkably, this point affects both proponents and critics of the de se. In this paper, I present this kind of problem, characterise the proper level of analysis for action explanation compatible with the publicity of action—i.e. the agent-bound level—and suggest that acknowledgement of this level highlights two important amendments of contemporary views. First, sceptics must accept that, when explanation is attitude-involving, the attitudes mentioned in the explanation of action must refer to the agent. Secondly, and perhaps more surprisingly, proponents of the de se should seek for accounts of de se attitudes that are not confined to a specific agent and are, therefore, sharable across agents.

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Author's Profile

Víctor M. Verdejo
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Citations of this work

Self-Consciousness.Joel Smith - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Mental Files.François Récanati - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Attitudes de dicto and de se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.
The Varieties of Reference.Louise M. Antony - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):275.

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