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Act and CrimeThe Philosophy of Action and its Implications for Criminal Law$
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Michael S. Moore

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599509.001.0001

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The Metaphysics of Basic Acts II: The Identity of Actions With Bodily Movements

The Metaphysics of Basic Acts II: The Identity of Actions With Bodily Movements

Chapter:
(p.78) 5 The Metaphysics of Basic Acts II: The Identity of Actions With Bodily Movements
Source:
Act and Crime
Author(s):

Michael S. Moore (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599509.003.0005

A much-maligned thesis of the Nineteenth Century jurisprudence of Austin and Holmes was that all actions are essentially bodily movements of a certain kind. This is not a thesis about the law's requirements about action (the subject of chapters 2 and 3); it is rather a metaphysical thesis about what actions essentially are. The thesis is defended through the examination of a number of criticisms of it by ordinary language philosophers, by the legal theorists who followed them, and by mental action theorists. The thesis defended is Mill's version of it: actions are only partially identical with bodily movements of a certain kind, being fully identical only with the causal sequence, volition-cause-bodily movement.

Keywords:   bodily movements, basic acts, mental action theory

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