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Download e-book for kindle: Action and Responsibility by Andrew Sneddon

By Andrew Sneddon

What makes an occasion count number as an motion? usual solutions entice the way the development was once produced: e.g., possibly an arm circulate is an motion while as a result of psychological states (in specific ways), yet now not whilst prompted in alternative routes. Andrew Sneddon argues that this kind of solution, which he calls "productionism", is methodologically and considerably wrong. specifically, productionist solutions to this question are typically both individualistic or foundationalist, or either, with no particular defence. in its place, Sneddon bargains an externalist, anti-foundationalist account of what makes an occasion count number as an motion, which he calls neo-ascriptivism, after the paintings of H.L.A. Hart. in particular, Sneddon argues that our practices of attributing ethical accountability to one another are no less than in part constitutive of occasions as activities.

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One might 32 Hart, ‘The Ascription of Responsibility and Rights’, p. 189. 26 CHAPTER 2 worry that his account of judgments is, unfortunately, somewhat weak. For instance, there is little emphasis given to decisions made unproblematically in accordance with existing law. I will not pursue further problems of this sort, for they do not matter to the present case. Such problems would pose a serious problem if Hart’s analogy had to be taken as an argument for ascriptivism. As I have presented it, however, it is best seen as providing merely a model that calls for positive defense on other grounds.

The first position, of course, also holds that it is impossible to ascribe responsibility for amoral events. The crucial differentiating issue is the standing of morally neutral events with regard to the possibility of attributing responsibility. This is important because this difference yields different answers to the question of what can and cannot count as an action. (a) entails a narrow ascriptivism that ASCRIPTIVISM RESURRECTED 31 discounts many events that we would, pretheoretically, be inclined to count as actions.

145. 54 Feinberg, ‘Action and Responsibility’, p. 147. 40 CHAPTER 3 least he has performed one set of bodily movements which kicked off this chain of events. But in everyday talk we do not restrict Smith’s actions to his movements: Because of the accordion effect we can usually replace any ascription to a person of causal responsibility by an ascription of agency or authorship. We can, if we wish, puff out an action to include an effect, and more often than not our language obliges us by providing a relatively complex action word for the purpose.

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