Reason in Action

John Gibbons

in Mental Actions

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199225989
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191710339 | DOI:
Reason in Action

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This chapter presents a problem for the attempt to understand the nature of action in terms of causation by practical reasons. The problem depends on taking seriously the distinction between mental actions and those mental things that merely happen to us. If some intentions are acquired actively as the result of trying to figure out what to do while others are acquired passively, then it seems that some acquisitions of intentions are mental actions and some are not. But it does not look as though the difference is easily explained in terms of having different kinds of reasons either for intending or acting in the active as opposed to the passive case. So it does not look as though this difference between cases of action and cases of non-action is explained in terms of causation by a certain kind of practical reason.

Keywords: mental action; practical reasons; intention; causation

Chapter.  13333 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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