Acting From Thought About Action

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Acting From Thought About Action

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Title: Acting From Thought About Action
Author: Fix, Jeremy D.
Citation: Fix, Jeremy D. 2016. Acting From Thought About Action. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Access Status: This work is under embargo until 2018-11-01
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Abstract: Human action is unique. It is metaphysically unique because we can act self-consciously. It is normatively unique because we are subject to prudential, moral, and rational standards in action, whereas other agents are not. What is the relationship between these aspects of our action? I defend a constitutivist view about the nature of normativity whose basis is the view that a capacity is such that a single principle describes its nature and is thereby normative for its development and exercises. I argue that this view answers basic questions in metaethics and action theory and allows us to understand distinct notions of possibility essential to various conditions on our agency and theses about our agency. I then turn to questions about practical reason in particular, arguing against intellectualist and instrumentalist views that in different ways try to explain practical reason in terms of theoretical reason. I finally turn to develop a positive, non-reductive view of practical reason as the self-conscious kind of will. I explain how the general constitutivism of capacities affects our account of the self-conscious will in general, our determinate version of it, and the relationship between them.
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