By John and Helen Steward, editors Hyman
This selection of unique essays through major philosophers covers the full variety of the philosophy of motion.
Read Online or Download Agency and Action (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement; 55) PDF
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Extra info for Agency and Action (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement; 55)
What we do, in working from an objective to a subjective principle, is to turn a requirement or reason which would obtain if things were as the agent supposes into one that in fact obtains for an agent who merely takes things to be so, whether they are so or not. Another way of putting this is to say that we start from a statement about a requirement or reason that would be in place if the agent were right in what he believes, and then say that a different requirement or reason is already in place because that other one would be, were circumstances different from the way they actually are.
The 'because' in them need not be understood as 'for the reason that'. But it does mean that the causal status of A-type explanations is in doubt, for two reasons. First, it is not as if the relevant normative principles themselves recommend any causal relation between mental states and action, so that if they are satisfied, some form of causation must be going on. Second, the sort of intelligibility generated by an A-type explanation is quite different from that generated by B-type ones, which all allow to be causal.
But examples of this sort are in fact ill suited to shed light on the idea of 'practical knowledge', which is the true focus of the idea of the non-observational in the study of action. When we see this we will be better able to see why Anscombe is concerned with the non-observational in the first place, and how this concern is tied to other characteristic Anscombian theses, for instance that an action will be intentional under some descriptions but not others, and that practical knowledge is distinguished from 1 G.