By Andrew Sneddon (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1402039824

ISBN-13: 9781402039829

ISBN-10: 1402039964

ISBN-13: 9781402039966

What makes an occasion count number as an motion? ordinary solutions entice the best way the development used to be produced: e.g., might be an arm move is an motion while attributable to psychological states (in specific ways), yet no longer while prompted in alternative routes. Andrew Sneddon argues that this kind of solution, which he calls "productionism", is methodologically and considerably fallacious. particularly, productionist solutions to this query are usually both individualistic or foundationalist, or either, with no specific defence. in its place, Sneddon deals an externalist, anti-foundationalist account of what makes an occasion count number as an motion, which he calls neo-ascriptivism, after the paintings of H.L.A. Hart. particularly, Sneddon argues that our practices of attributing ethical accountability to one another are no less than partially constitutive of occasions as actions.

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Example text

Amoral. The kind of action on which Brand and Pitcher focus is morally neutral, not neutral due to its amorality. Narrow ascriptivism (apparently) denies that this is an action, but wide ascriptivism presents no obstacle to accepting such events as actions. If these cases pose a problem, it is for narrow ascriptivism only, not wide ascriptivism. And wide ascriptivism is the variety I have chosen as my preferred interpretation. Recall that the wide ascriptivist is inclined to reflect on the kind of event with which s/he is confronted in order to determine whether responsibility could be attributed for it.

In fact we have already seen the roots of an answer to it. The distinction between wide and narrow ascriptivism from the last chapter is important here. Narrow ascriptivism holds that we (very likely) cannot ascribe responsibility for morally neutral events. The wide ascriptivist disagrees—since these are within the moral domain, it is possible to ascribe responsibility for them. , amoral. The kind of action on which Brand and Pitcher focus is morally neutral, not neutral due to its amorality. Narrow ascriptivism (apparently) denies that this is an action, but wide ascriptivism presents no obstacle to accepting such events as actions.

As we have already seen, Hart’s explicit claim was that the ascriptive use of action sentences is their primary use; other uses depend on it. Taken as a semantic thesis, this entails a hierarchy of functions for action sentences. Given this, how are we to understand Brand’s and Geach’s accusation of equivocation? Take the first premise again: it cannot be the case that here the speaker calls the event an action, then somehow eases off the semantic pressure and only predicates action of the event.

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Action and Responsibility by Andrew Sneddon (auth.)


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