Kagaku Tetsugaku 143:61-83 (2019)

István Zárdai
Keio University
The paper discusses the category of one of the most fundamental expressions of agency, those movements of agents that are actions. There have been three dominant views of action since the 1960s: 1. the Causal Theory of Action, 2. the Tryings/Willings view, and 3. Agent Causation. These views claim that actions are: 1. events of bodily movements which have the right causes; 2. specific types of mental events causing events of bodily movements; 3. instances of the causal relationship between agents and events of bodily movements. Among other arguments, a specific interpretation of the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs has been taken by defenders of the Tryings/Willings views and Agent Causation to support their main claims. The paper argues that these three views mischaracterise actions of bodily movements. It argues for this by highlighting some implausible claims and problems of the three views; by offering an interpretation of the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs that does not lend support to these views; and finally, by providing an alternative view of actions. This view is the Pluralist View according to which agents’ movements are the activations of agents’ abilities to move.
Keywords action  bodily movement  agency  pluralism about action
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Action, Knowledge, and Will.John Hyman - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
Explanation and Understanding.G. H. von Wright - 1971 - Cornell University Press.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Theoretical Foundations for the Responsibility of Autonomous Agents.Jaap Hage - 2017 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 25 (3):255-271.
Is Agency a Power of Self-Movement?Anton Ford - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (6):597-610.
The Green Movement.Peggy J. Parks - 2012 - Referencepoint Press.
Group Agents and Their Responsibility.Raimo Tuomela & Pekka Mäkelä - 2016 - The Journal of Ethics 20 (1-3):299-316.


Added to PP index

Total views
69 ( #149,412 of 2,432,322 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #65,960 of 2,432,322 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes