ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1997
 
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5

DRETSKE ON METAPHYSICS AND FREEDOM; pp. 173–178

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/tr.2009.2.05

Author
Olli Koistinen

Abstract

In this paper, Fred Dretske’s component theory of action is evaluated. Dretske claims that in his theory reasons are parts or components of action. Thus, reasons do not cause actions because a part cannot cause the whole whose part it is. According to Dretske, this helps in eliminating a problem in compatibilism. Suppose reasons are causes of actions. Now, if X gives Y a reason from which she acts, then X also causes Y’s action. But it is rather absurd to hold that by giving other persons reasons for acting, we also limit their autonomy. The view defended in this paper is that also in causal component analyses of action, reasons are causes of actions. Thus, Dretske’s defence of compatibilism from this problem is not successful.


References

Chisholm, Roderick M. (1979) “Objects and persons: revisions and replies”. In Essays on the philosophy of Roderick Chisholm, 317–388. Ernest Sosa, ed. (Grazer Philosophische Studien,7–8.) Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Chisholm, Roderick M. (1976) Person and object. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Davidson, Donald (1963) “Actions, reasons and causes”. Journal of Philosophy 60, 685–700.
doi:10.2307/2023177

Davison, Scott A. (1994) “Dretske on the Metaphysics of Freedom”. Analysis 54, 115–123.
doi:10.2307/3328831

Descartes, René (1984) The philosophical writings of Descartes. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dretske, Fred (1988) Explaining behaviour. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Dretske, Fred (1992) “Metaphysics of freedom”. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22, 1–14.

Horgan, Terence (1991) “Actions, reasons, and the explanatory role of content”. In Dretske and his critics, 73–101. Brian P. McLaughlin, ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Koistinen, Olli (2002). “Causation in Spinoza.” In Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes, 60–72. Olli Koistinen and John Biro, ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lewis, David (1973) “Causation”. Journal of Philosophy 70, 556–567.
doi:10.2307/2025310

McCann, Hugh, A (1993) “Dretske on the Metaphysics of Freedom”. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23, 619–630.

Thalberg, Irving (1977) Perception, emotion and action. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Von Wright, Georg Henrik (1971) Explanation and understanding. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.


Back to Issue