ISBN: 9780262289139 | 336 pp. | November 2010

Causing Human Actions

New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action
The causal theory of action (CTA) is widely recognized in the literature of the philosophy of action as the "standard story" of human action and agency—the nearest approximation in the field to a theoretical orthodoxy. This volume brings together leading figures working in action theory today to discuss issues relating to the CTA and its applications, which range from experimental philosophy to moral psychology. Some of the contributors defend the theory while others criticize it; some draw from historical sources while others focus on recent developments; some rely on the tools of analytic philosophy while others cite the latest empirical research on human action. All agree, however, on the centrality of the CTA in the philosophy of action. The contributors first consider metaphysical issues, then reasons-explanations of action, and, finally, new directions for thinking about the CTA. They discuss such topics as the tenability of some alternatives to the CTA; basic causal deviance; the etiology of action; teleologism and anticausalism; and the compatibility of the CTA with theories of embodied cognition. Two contributors engage in an exchange of views on intentional omissions that stretches over four essays, directly responding to each other in their follow-up essays.  As the action-oriented perspective becomes more influential in philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science, this volume offers a long-needed debate over foundational issues.
Fred Adams, Jesús H. Aguilar, John Bishop, Andrei A. Buckareff, Randolph Clarke, Jennifer Hornsby, Alicia Juarrero, Alfred R. Mele, Michael S. Moore, Thomas Nadelhoffer, Josef Perner, Johannes Roessler, David-Hillel Ruben, Carolina Sartorio, Michael Smith, Rowland Stout.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. The Causal Theory of Action: Origins and Issues

    Jesús H. Aguilar and Andrei A. Buckareff

  3. 2. Renewed Questions about the Causal Theory of Action

    Michael S. Moore

  4. 3. The Standard Story of Action: An Exchange (1)

    Michael Smith

  5. 4. The Standard Story of Action: An Exchange (2)

    Jennifer Hornsby

  6. 5. Skepticism about Natural Agency and the Causal Theory of Action

    John Bishop

  7. 6. Agential Systems, Causal Deviance and Reliability

    Jesús H. Aguilar

  8. 7. What Are You Causing in Acting?

    Rowland Stout

  9. 8. Omissions and Causalism

    Carolina Sartorio

  10. 9. Intentional Omissions

    Randolph Clarke

  11. 10. Comments on Clarke's ''Intentional Omissions''

    Carolina Sartorio

  12. 11. Reply to Sartorio

    Randolph Clarke

  13. 12. Causal and Deliberative Strength of Reasons for Action

    David-Hillel Ruben

  14. 13. Teleological Explanations of Actions

    Alfred R. Mele

  15. 14. Teleology and Causal Understanding in Children's Theory of Mind

    Josef Perner and Johannes Roessler

  16. 15. Action Theory Meets Embodied Cognition

    Fred Adams

  17. 16. Intentions as Complex Dynamical Attractors

    Alicia Juarrero

  18. 17. The Causal Theory of Action and the Still Puzzling Knobe Effect

    Thomas Nadelhoffer

  19. References
  20. Contributors
  21. Index