© 1999

Agent Causality


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 283)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 23-24
  3. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 25-41
  4. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 42-71
  5. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 72-92
  6. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 93-102
  7. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 103-114
  8. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 115-133
  9. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 134-153
  10. Fred Vollmer
    Pages 154-156
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 157-168

About this book


We act for reasons. But, it is sometimes claimed, the mental states and events that make up reasons, are not sufficient conditions of actions. Reasons never make actions happen. We- as agents (persons, selves, subjects) - make our actions happen. Actions are done by us, not elicited by reasons. The present essay is an attempt to understand this concept of agent causality. Who -~ or what - is an agent ? And how - in virtue of what - does an agent do things, or refrain from doing them? The first chapter deals with problems in the theory of action that seem to require the assumption that actions are controlled by agents. Chapters two and three then review and discuss theories of agent cau­ sality. Chapters four and five make up the central parts of the essay in which my own solution is put forth, and chapter six presents some data that seem to support this view. Chapter seven discusses how the theory can be reconciled with neuro-physiological facts. And in the last two chapters the theory is confronted with conflicting viewpoints and phe­ nomena. Daniel Robinson and Richard Swinburne took time to read parts of the manuscript in draft form. Though they disagree with my main viewpoints on the nature of the self, their conunents were very helpful. I hereby thank them both.


Enzo Paci action theory causality concept consciousness construction intention psychology subject tradition

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BergenNorway

Bibliographic information