Action and Existence: A Case for Agent Causation by J. Swindal

By J. Swindal

Because the pioneering paintings of Donald Davidson on motion, many philosophers have taken serious stances on his causal account. This booklet criticizes Davidson's event-causal view of motion, and provides as a substitute an agent causal view either to explain what an motion is and to set a framework for the way activities are defined.

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Only the latter are proper actions (Handlungen) as such. Causal analysis belongs only at the instrumental and strategic levels; it is inconceivable to suppose a 24 Action and Existence causal relation between a norm and an action that conforms to it. ”44 Only when speech acts are aimed towards their proper telos, which is intersubjective agreement, can emancipative coordination and progress obtain. But what exactly is this “completely different way,” in which we achieve action coordination? Habermas has to assume that the discourse situation that determines a norm is a privileged space free from force or coercion.

A dialectical approach explicates two or more oppositions that are nonetheless conditions of single, though complex, existential unity. II. Reconstructive dialectics Two preliminary specifications must be made about the object and process of a reconstructive dialectical analysis specifically of human action. First, such an analysis assumes that all human actions are oriented towards presently unrealized future ends or goals. Actions generally aim at either “making true” certain beliefs or fulfilling a subjective desired outcome.

First, such an analysis assumes that all human actions are oriented towards presently unrealized future ends or goals. Actions generally aim at either “making true” certain beliefs or fulfilling a subjective desired outcome. Since dialectics explicates oppositions inherent in these aim-oriented actions, it is not a constitutive, but regressive analysis. But the regressive nature of it is not merely explicative but contributes to both the understanding of end-oriented action as well as the appreciation of the ends realized.

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