Action and Responsibility by Andrew Sneddon (auth.)

By Andrew Sneddon (auth.)

What makes an occasion count number as an motion? usual solutions attract the way the development used to be produced: e.g., probably an arm circulation is an motion whilst because of psychological states (in specific ways), yet now not whilst triggered in alternative routes. Andrew Sneddon argues that this sort of solution, which he calls "productionism", is methodologically and considerably incorrect. specifically, productionist solutions to this query are typically both individualistic or foundationalist, or either, with out specific defence. as a substitute, Sneddon bargains 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 at the least in part constitutive of occasions as actions.

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For present purposes, however, Hart’s argument does have clear limitations. Hart’s analogy between action and property, and between judgments and action ascriptions, provides a model for thinking about action and status issues. One might 32 Hart, ‘The Ascription of Responsibility and Rights’, p. 189. 26 CHAPTER 2 worry that his account of judgments is, unfortunately, somewhat weak. For instance, there is little emphasis given to decisions made unproblematically in accordance with existing law. I will not pursue further problems of this sort, for they do not matter to the present case.

However, there is something to be gained from examining Geach’s objection, so we will pay it some attention. Geach is attacking the idea that ‘action’ (and particular action terms) is used only to call things actions. But this is much too strong a view to attribute to ascriptivists. Take the first premise of Brand’s argument: on Geach’s view of ascriptivism, Hart could not even form this premise, since ‘action’ is used in a way which does not call some event an action. To be fair at all, and even to make Geach’s objection work as it is presented, we have to attribute a weaker thesis to the ascriptivists.

Let’s focus on Brand’s example, scratching one’s ear while alone. This poses apparent problems for narrow ascriptivism because it seems that nobody would ever be inclined to ascribe responsibility for this, yet it is counted as an action by our lay taxonomy. Two facts, 62 1) Baier, ‘Responsibility and Action’, p. 112. 2) Brand, The Nature of Human Action, p. 19. 3) Myles Brand, Intending and Acting: Toward a Naturalized Action Theory (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1984), p. 10. 4) Geach, ‘Ascription’, p.

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