Action and Existence: A Case for Agent Causation by J. Swindal

By J. Swindal

Because the pioneering paintings of Donald Davidson on motion, many philosophers have taken serious stances on his causal account. This ebook criticizes Davidson's event-causal view of motion, and provides in its place an agent causal view either to explain what an motion is and to set a framework for the way activities are defined.

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Though all pragmatists affirm that the functioning of at least some representational epistemic determinations – Habermas even maintains that the semantic contents of an utterance determine the obligations relevant for the continuation of the praxis of interaction – they prioritize the epistemic status that an action achieves by fulfilling a set of normative conditions. Habermas’s procedures conceal the non-normative stances on the basis of which he differentiates the representational distinctions of objective, intersubjective, and subjective worlds within the lifeworld.

Every act, whether linguistic or not, makes a move in the unified social scheme of action, and thus can be implicated within Habermas’s theory. Speech acts guide all social interaction by means of the implicit norms they in turn instantiate. Habermas’s universal pragmatics resembles a Peircean pragmaticism most, inasmuch as both hold to idealizing conditions under which practices can be judged. For Habermas idealizations function to guarantee coordination among actions that are elicited from the content of claims.

51 But even here, the agent’s determination to act by a power issuing from an organic substrate, nature, and its own capabilities obviates the possibility for an individualizing determination that is non-normative or originary. Habermas is describing the agent’s resignation to the causal regularizations of objective nature because it possesses a subjective counter-nature. Given Habermas’s ambivalent commitment to (§6), what could we do to save the consistency needed for his universal pragmatic project?

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