Chapter

Doing Things for a Purpose, Doing Things for Fun

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/10.1093/0195143647.003.0011
Doing Things for a Purpose, Doing Things for Fun

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The chapter tries to account for two kinds of cases that raise difficulties for the present conception of reasons for which people do things, namely, things done for a purpose, where the reason seems to be a future state or event, and things done for fun, which do not seem to be supported by reasons at all. As for things done for a purpose, it is argued here that we do not need teleological explanation as a special kind of explanation of action, and that these cases can be accommodated on the present conception by taking the reason for the action to lie, not in the end state the agent is said to be aiming at, but in the current state of affairs that prompts the agent to change or, as the case may be, to preserve it. As for things done for fun, it is argued that they are indeed done for a reason, which lies, generally speaking, in the special character of what it is like to do them.

Keywords: action; explanation of action; fun; purpose; reasons for action; teleological explanation

Chapter.  4353 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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