Chapter

The Metaphysics of Basic Acts III: Volitions as the Essential Source of Actions

Michael S. Moore

in Act and Crime

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199599509
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594656 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599509.003.0006
The Metaphysics of Basic Acts III: Volitions as the Essential Source of Actions

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Actions are partially identical with bodily movements; they are fully identical only with the sequence, volitions-cause-bodily movement. Volitional causation of bodily movements is thus an essential feature of actions. What sort of mental state a volition is claimed to be is examined in nine successive steps. Why we have reason to think that volitions exist is given in two steps: first, that there are mental states of intention that are not reducible to beliefs or desires, either singly or in combination; and second, that among the hierarchy of intentions that guide rational action there will be an intention to do the simplest thing we know how to do, which intention will be a volition. A variety of scepticisms about volitions, many stemming from ordinary language philosophy, are also examined and rejected.

Keywords: volitions; basic acts; intentions; scepticism

Chapter.  21807 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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