Chapter

Reasons for Which People Do Things Are Normally not Qualities of the Agent

Rüdiger Bittner

in Doing Things for Reasons

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143645
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833085 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195143647.003.0007
Reasons for Which People Do Things Are Normally not Qualities of the Agent

Show Summary Details

Preview

What selects the reasons for which people actually do things from the vast array of what could be such a reason? The chapter argues that it depends on the qualities of the agent, on things like her eagerness, belief, and expectation, and what is the reason for which she does something. It does not follow, though, and typically it is not true that such qualities of an agent as eagerness, belief, and expectation themselves are the reasons for which she does something. We are reason selectors, but the reasons are still “out there”; they are not mental entities. A serious problem is presented by the case of the agent in relevant error, but such an agent does not in fact do for a reason what he does; he only took himself, mistakenly, to be acting for a reason.

Keywords: action; agency; agent; belief; error; mental entities; reasons for action

Chapter.  6292 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.