more from Rowland Stout

Single Idea 20039

[catalogued under 20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / a. Nature of intentions]

Full Idea

The causal theory of action asserts that what characterises intentional action is the agent's intentions, or perhaps their beliefs and desires, causing their behaviour in the appropriate way.

Gist of Idea

The causal theory says that actions are intentional when intention (or belief-desire) causes the act


Rowland Stout (Action [2005], 1 'Outline')

Book Reference

Stout,Rowland: 'Action' [Acumen 2005], p.13

A Reaction

The agent's intentions are either sui generis (see Bratman), or reducible to beliefs and desires (as in Hume). The classic problem for the causal theory is said to be 'deviant causal chains'.

Related Idea

Idea 20062 If a desire leads to a satisfactory result by an odd route, the causal theory looks wrong [Chisholm]