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Understanding Human Agency$
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Erasmus Mayr

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606214.001.0001

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Understanding human agency

Understanding human agency

(p.268) 11 Understanding human agency
Understanding Human Agency

Erasmus Mayr

Oxford University Press

A different non-causal account of acting for a reason is developed which explains this notion in terms of following a standard of success. Following a standard of success includes a teleological structure of the agent's behaviour, as well as connection to ‘success or failure feelings’ and use of correlated premisses in practical deliberation. The notion of ‘following a standard of success’ is compared to Wittgenstein's notion of rule-following and is shown not to implicity rely on an event-causal link between the agent's motivating desire and the action. To conclude the overall investigation, the offered account of acting for a reason is related to the agent-causal account developed in the preceding chapters, and it is shown how the resulting theory provides a satisfactory answer to the problem of human agency.

Keywords:   reasons, following a standard of success, teleological structure, practical deliberation, Wittgenstein, rule-following

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