What We Do: A Nonreductive Approach to Human Action

  • Lynne Rudder Baker
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 77)


“What is left over,” Wittgenstein once asked, “if I subtract the fact that my arm goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?”1 In this paper, I shall try to give a nonreductive and nondualistic answer to this question. First, I shall simply present a view of human action that allows a straightforward answer to Wittgenstein’s question, and then show how this view of human action fits into a general conception of what a human person or agent is. Next, I shall show how this view can handle what Jaegwon Kim has called ‘the problem of explanatory exclusion.’ Finally, I shall offer reasons why a nonreductive approach to action is needed.


Bodily Motion Basic Action Complete Explanation Mental Causation Causal Property 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynne Rudder Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Massachusetts at AmherstUSA

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