Action and Responsibility by Andrew Sneddon

By Andrew Sneddon

What makes an occasion count number as an motion? normal solutions attract the way the development used to be produced: e.g., possibly an arm circulation is an motion while brought on by psychological states (in specific ways), yet now not whilst triggered in alternative routes. Andrew Sneddon argues that this kind of solution, which he calls "productionism", is methodologically and considerably fallacious. specifically, productionist solutions to this query are usually both individualistic or foundationalist, or either, with out specific defence. in its place, 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 a minimum of partially constitutive of occasions as activities.

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Suppose that Smith gets the emperor to signal for the execution. Smith convinces the emperor that the prisoner is deserving of this punishment and that a great amount of good will result from the execution. Moreover, Smith has been reliable in the past, and the emperor has taken reasonable steps to confirm Smith’s claim in this case. Smith, however, lied to the emperor. The execution is entirely unwarranted. Hence, the emperor performed the action of signaling for the execution.. . 39 37 This objection is most persuasive when one is considering the attribution of blame.

Smith convinces the emperor that the prisoner is deserving of this punishment and that a great amount of good will result from the execution. Moreover, Smith has been reliable in the past, and the emperor has taken reasonable steps to confirm Smith’s claim in this case. Smith, however, lied to the emperor. The execution is entirely unwarranted. Hence, the emperor performed the action of signaling for the execution.. . 39 37 This objection is most persuasive when one is considering the attribution of blame.

Geach charges this argumentation with a ‘radical flaw’: What is being attempted . . is to account for the use of a term ‘P’ concerning a thing as being a performance of some other nature than describing the thing. But what is regularly ignored is the distinction between calling a thing ‘P’ and predicating ‘P’ of a thing. 42 In order to ascribe an action, one must be calling some event an ‘action’—this is what Geach is pointing out here. E. Atwell, ‘The Accordion-Effect Thesis’, Philosophical Quarterly 19 (1969), p.

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