Ideas of Rowland Stout, by Theme

[British, fl. 2005, Lecturer at University College, Dublin.]

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14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Evolutionary explanations look to the past or the group, not to the individual
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / g. Causal explanations
Not all explanation is causal. We don't explain a painting's beauty, or the irrationality of root-2, that way
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 1. Action Theory
Philosophy of action studies the nature of agency, and of deliberate actions
Agency is causal processes that are sensitive to justification
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 2. Duration of an Action
Mental states and actions need to be separate, if one is to cause the other
Are actions bodily movements, or a sequence of intention-movement-result?
If one action leads to another, does it cause it, or is it part of it?
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 3. Actions and Events
I do actions, but not events, so actions are not events
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 4. Action as Movement
Bicycle riding is not just bodily movement - you also have to be on the bicycle
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / a. Nature of intentions
The rationalistic approach says actions are intentional when subject to justification
The causal theory says that actions are intentional when intention (or belief-desire) causes the act
Deciding what to do usually involves consulting the world, not our own minds
Should we study intentions in their own right, or only as part of intentional action?
You can have incompatible desires, but your intentions really ought to be consistent
The normativity of intentions would be obvious if they were internal promises
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / b. Types of intention
Intentional agency is seen in internal precursors of action, and in external reasons for the act
Speech needs sustained intentions, but not prior intentions
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / d. Group intentions
An intention is a goal to which behaviour is adapted, for an individual or for a group
Bratman has to treat shared intentions as interrelated individual intentions
A request to pass the salt shares an intention that the request be passed on
An individual cannot express the intention that a group do something like moving a piano
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / b. Volitionism
If the action of walking is just an act of will, then movement of the legs seems irrelevant
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / c. Agent causation
If you don't mention an agent, you aren't talking about action
Most philosophers see causation as by an event or state in the agent, rather than the whole agent
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / d. Weakness of will
If you can judge one act as best, then do another, this supports an inward-looking view of agency
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 1. Acting on Desires
Maybe your emotions arise from you motivations, rather than being their cause
For an ascetic a powerful desire for something is a reason not to implement it
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / c. Reasons as causes
Beliefs, desires and intentions are not events, so can't figure in causal relations
A standard view says that the explanation of an action is showing its rational justification
In order to be causal, an agent's reasons must be internalised as psychological states
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 4. Responsibility for Actions
An action is only yours if you produce it, rather than some state or event within you
There may be a justification relative to a person's view, and yet no absolute justification
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 5. Action Dilemmas / b. Double Effect
Describing a death as a side-effect rather than a goal may just be good public relations
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
Aristotelian causation involves potentiality inputs into processes (rather than a pair of events)