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Reasons, motives and causes Browne, David Alister 1970

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REASONS, MOTIVES, AND CAUSES by  DAVID ALISTER BROWNE B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1963 M.A.,  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1967  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE  REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n t h e Department  °  £  PHILOSOPHY  We a c c e p t t h i s required  THE  t h e s i s as conforming t o t h e  standard  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1970-  In  presenting  this  an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e the I  Library  further  for  agree  in  at  University  the  make  tha  it  partial  freely  permission  this  representatives. thesis  for  It  financial  for  of  gain  Philosophy  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, C a n a d a  Date  1^ N o v e m b e r  1970  of  of  Columbia,  British for  extensive by  the  Columbia  shall  not  the  requirements  reference copying of  Head o f  is understood that  written permission.  Department  fulfilment  available  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d  by h i s of  shall  thesis  I  agree  and this  that  study. thesis  my D e p a r t m e n t  copying or  for  or  publication  be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my  i ABSTRACT  Introduction  My purpose i n writing this thesis i s to try to resolve a dispute over what kind of explanation  we are giving when we explain an agent's  action by giving h i s reason or reasons for action, or by giving h i s motive or motives for action.  Some philosophers have claimed that such  explanations are causal explanations,  whereas others have denied t h i s .  I s h a l l argue that reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations, tion  but constitute an i r r e d u c i b l y d i f f e r e n t kind of explana-  altogether. Chapter I. Reason-Explanations In.this Chapter I try to make clear what i s involved i n giving a  reason-explanation of an action.  I argue that to explain an action by  giving the agent's reason or reasons for action i s to explain the action i n terms of the agent's desires or h i s desires and information.  Chapter I I .  Motive-Explanations  In t h i s Chapter I try to make clear what Is involved i n giving a motive-explanation of an action.  I argue that to explain an action  by giving the agent's motive or motives for action i s to explain the action i n terms of the agent's desires and information.  Thus the upshot  of Chapters I and I I i s that the question 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action by giving the agent's  ii reason(s) or motive(s) for action?' can be re-formulated  i n a more trac-  table way, as: 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action i n terms of h i s desires or h i s desires and information?'  Chapter I I I .  Desires and Actions  I' begin,this Chapter by arguing that whether or not explanations of actions i n terms of the agent's desires or h i s desires and informat i o n are causal explanations causes,of actions.  depends on whether or not desires are  Many of the arguments designed to show that desires  are not causes of actions depend on one or both of two features for the concept of desire.  claimed  These are s p e c i f i c accounts of (1) the  l o g i c a l connexion that holds between desires and actions, and (2) the descriptions under which s p e c i f i c desires a r e , i d e n t i f i a b l e .  My major  aim i n t h i s Chapter i s to make the nature of these features clear. i  Chapter IV. Desires as Causes of Actions (I) In t h i s Chapter I take up the question  actions?and  'Are desires causes of  review some of the arguments and considerations that  have been advanced both i n favour of answering i t i n the affirmative and i n the negative.  I argue that none of these forces us to answer  the question i n one way or the other. Chapter V.  Desires as Causes of Actions (II)  In t h i s Chapter I give my own answer to the question causes of actions?'  I present  'Are desires  two d i s t i n c t arguments to show that they  •  - -' !  ill  are not, each of which exploits a d i f f e r e n t feature of the causal relation.  The f i r s t argument I present exploits the fact that the  causal r e l a t i o n i s a contingent  relation.  I begin t h i s argument by  stating a p r i n c i p l e that I claim any genuine causal r e l a t i o n must satisfy.  In support of t h i s claim, I argue that i f t h i s p r i n c i p l e i s  v i o l a t e d , we w i l l be forced to admit that the r e l a t i o n i n question i s not a contingent  relation.  And  since the causal r e l a t i o n i s a contin-  gent r e l a t i o n , any r e l a t i o n that f a i l s to s a t i s f y t h i s p r i n c i p l e could not be a causal r e l a t i o n .  I then argue that the r e l a t i o n between  desires, the conditions under which desires are followed by actions, and actions, f a i l s to s a t i s f y t h i s p r i n c i p l e ; and that, consequently, these items.do not stand in.a contingent, a causal, r e l a t i o n .  and hence could not stand i n  The second argument I present  to show that desires  are not causes of actions begins with the claim that we require empirical evidence,to e s t a b l i s h the existence of any causal r e l a t i o n .  I  then go on to argue that we can establish the existence of a r e l a t i o n between desires, certain other conditions, and actions i n the absence of any empirical evidence whatsoever; and that, hence, the r e l a t i o n between these items i s not a causal r e l a t i o n .  Chapter VI.  Concluding Remarks  In my concluding remarks, I,draw together the findings of Chapters I to V to y i e l d an answer to the question  'What kind of explan-  ation are we giving when we explain an agent's action i n terms of h i s reason(s) or motive(s) for action?  In C h a p t e r s ! and I I , I argued that  iv to explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason(s) or motiye(s) for action i s to explain the action i n terms of the agent's desires or his desires and information., explanations  In Chapter I I I I argued that whether or not  i n terms of the agent's desires or h i s desires and  mation are causal explanations causes of actions.  infor-  depends on whether or not desires are  Thus the c r u c i a l question to be answered to deter-  mine whether or not reason- and motive-explanations are causal planations turned out to be  'Are desires causes of actions?'  exIn  Chapters IV and V, I took up t h i s question, and argued that they are not, And with t h i s f i n d i n g , we must conclude that reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations, but a completely and d i f f e r e n t sort of explanations  altogether.  irreducibly  V  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter  Page INTRODUCTION  I II III  1 .  REASON-EXPLANATIONS  j .  5  MOTIVE-EXPLANATIONS . . . „ . . . • . • . . . . - . . . . • .  26  DESIRES AND ACTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74  IV  DESIRES AS CAUSES OF ACTIONS (I)  103  V  DESIRES AS CAUSES OF ACTIONS (II)  121  CONCLUDING REMARKS  168  VI  BIBLIOGRAPHY •  o  o  s  o  o  c  o  o  o  o  c  "  o  n  *  e  o  «  o  c  >  a  e  »  o  o  o  172  ACKNOWLEDGMENT  I should  l i k e to thank D r  0  Donald G. Brown  and Dr. Warren J . M u l l i n s , who s u p e r v i s e d the w r i t i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s , f o r t h e i r encouragement and many h e l p f u l comments and  criticisms.  I have a l s o p r o f i t e d  from d i s c u s s i o n s on s p e c i f i c i s s u e s Dr.  Samuel C  Dr.  Richard  Davies.  with  C o v a l , D r . Howard 0. J a c k s o n , I . S i k o r a , and Mr. B r i a n E.  REASONS, MOTIVES, AND CAUSES  Introduction We often explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason.or reasons for action, or by giving his motive or motives for action. When we do so, what kind of explanation are we giving of the action? Some philosophers have argued that such explanations planations, whereas others have denied this,^" t h i s thesis to t r y to resolve t h i s dispute.  are causal ex-  It w i l l be my aim i n I s h a l l argue that when  we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason(s) or motive(s) for action we are not giving a causal explanation of that action, but an i r r e d u c i b l y d i f f e r e n t sort of explanation altogether.  But before  t h i s conclusion can.be established, a c e r t a i n amount of preliminary work must be done; and I s h a l l now, both i n the i n t e r e s t of making clear what has to be done, and of giving the reader an overview of the structure of the argument as a whole, give a summary outline of the argument of t h i s t h e s i s . We must f i r s t determine what i s involved i n giving reason- and motive-explanations.  In p a r t i c u l a r , we need to answer the question,  'When we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason(s) or motive(s) for action, what are we appealing to to explain the action?'  I shall  A l i s t of those philosophers who hold or.who are sympathetic towards the view that reason- and motive-explanations are causal explanations, and one of those who take or who are sympathetic towards the opposing view, w i l l be found i n the Bibliography under the heading 'Reasons and Causes'.  2  take up t h i s question with respect to reasons i n Chapter I; and with respect to motives i n Chapter I I .  I s h a l l argue that when we explain  an agent's action by giving his reason or reasons for action we are explaining the action i n terms of his desires or his desires and i n formation.  And I s h a l l argue that when we explain an agent's action  by giving his motive or motives for action we are explaining the action i n terms of his desires and information.  I f these  are sound, we may then re-formulate  'What kind of explana-  the question  contentions  tion are we giving when we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason or reasons for action or motive or motives f o r action?' i n a more tractable way, as: 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action i n terms of his desires or his desires and information?' Now i t i s obvious, when we explain an agent's action just i n terms of some desire of h i s , that whether or not this i s a causal depends on whether or not the desire caused the action.  explanation  I t i s not  obvious that this i s so when we explain an agent's action i n terms of his desires and information, but nonetheless I think i t i s the case, as I s h a l l argue i n Chapter I I I .  I f so, then the c r u c i a l question to be  answered to determine whether or not reason- or motive-explanations are causal explanations  i s 'Are desires causes of actions?'  have been put to support both answers to this question.  Arguments  Many that have  been adduced to support the negative answer appeal to one or both of two features that the concept of desire i s claimed  to have.  These concern  the l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n that holds between desires and actions, and the  d e s c r i p t i o n s under which s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e i d e n t i f i a b l e . important,  t h e n , f o r anyone concerned w i t h the q u e s t i o n  causes o f a c t i o n s ? ' t o make c l e a r to.  the n a t u r e  o f these  It i s  'Are d e s i r e s f e a t u r e s appealed  And i n Chapter I I I I s h a l l t r y to do t h i s . I s h a l l then go on i n Chapter IV t o r a i s e  d e s i r e s causes o f a c t i o n s ?  1  the q u e s t i o n 'Are  I n d e a l i n g w i t h t h i s q u e s t i o n i n Chapter  IV, I s h a l l r e v i e w some o f t h e arguments and c o n s i d e r a t i o n s t h a t have been advanced b o t h i n f a v o u r , o f the n e g a t i v e . negative  answering i t i n t h e a f f i r m a t i v e and i n  The arguments i n f a v o u r o f answering t h e q u e s t i o n i n t h e  that I s h a l l consider are c h i e f l y  those o f , o r ones t h a t  d e r i v e from o r a r e v a r i a t i o n s o f those o f , R y l e and Melden.  None o f  these arguments o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n s w i l l f o r c e u s , t o say t h a t d e s i r e s a r e , o r a r e n o t , causes o f a c t i o n s .  As I s h a l l argue, those  t i o n s i n f a v o u r o f s a y i n g t h a t they a r e , a r e i n d e c i s i v e those  arguments i n favour  considera-  a t b e s t ; and  o f s a y i n g t h a t they a r e n o t , a r e unsound.  In Chapter V I s h a l l g i v e my own answer t o the q u e s t i o n 'Are d e s i r e s causes o f a c t i o n s ?  1  I s h a l l present  two d i s t i n c t arguments to  show t h a t they a r e n o t , each o f which w i l l e x p l o i t of t h e c a u s a l r e l a t i o n . the f a c t  The f i r s t  that the causal r e l a t i o n  that i f t h i s p r i n c i p l e  i s a contingent  In support.of  i s violated,we  relation.  This  exploit argu-  t h a t I c l a i m any genuine  t h i s c l a i m , I s h a l l argue  w i l l be f o r c e d t o admit t h a t the  relation  i n q u e s t i o n i s not a c o n t i n g e n t  relation  Is a contingent  relation,  feature  argument I s h a l l p r e s e n t w i l l  ment w i l l b e g i n w i t h a statement o f a p r i n c i p l e c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y .  a different  relation.  any r e l a t i o n  And s i n c e the c a u s a l  that f a i l s to s a t i s f y  4 t h i s p r i n c i p l e could not be a causal relatione  I s h a l l then argue that  the r e l a t i o n between desires, the conditions,under  which desires are  followed by actions, and actions, f a i l s to s a t i s f y this p r i n c i p l e ; and that, consequently, these items do not stand i n a contingent, could not stand i n a causal, r e l a t i o n . present  and hence  The second argument I s h a l l  to show that desires are not causes of actions w i l l appeal to  the fact that we require empirical evidence to establish the of any causal r e l a t i o n .  existence  I s h a l l exploit this fact by arguing that we  can e s t a b l i s h the existence of a r e l a t i o n between desires, c e r t a i n other conditions, and actions i n the absence of any empirical evidence whatsoever; and since t h i s i s so, that these items do not stand i n a causal r e l a t i o n . If the arguments of Chapter V are successful, i t w i l l emerge that desires are not causes of actions.  This w i l l show that explanations  of  actions i n terms of the agent's desires alone are not causal explanations.  And  i f my claim i n Chapter I I I , namely that whether or not  explanations  of actions i n terms of the agent's desires and  are causal explanations  depends on whether or not desires are causes of  actions, i s correct, w i l l also show that these explanations explanations.  information  are not  Thus, i f my arguments to t h i s point are sound, we  causal  shall  f i n d that reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations, explanations  of a completely d i f f e r e n t and i r r e d u c i b l e sort.  o u t l i n e , the course that my argument w i l l take.  I s h a l l now  detailed analyses and argumentation required to e s t a b l i s h the  but  This i s , i n embark on the conclusion.  CHAPTER I  REASON-EXPLANATIONS  One  of the most common ways o f e x p l a i n i n g an agent's a c t i o n i s  to g i v e h i s r e a s o n o r reasons f o r a c t i o n .  I s h a l l term e x p l a n a t i o n s  t h a t e x p l a i n an agent's a c t i o n by g i v i n g h i s r e a s o n or r e a s o n s . f o r action  ' r e a s o n - e x p l a n a t i o n s ' . And  i n t h i s Chapter, I s h a l l t r y t o  determine what i s i n v o l v e d i n g i v i n g a r e a s o n - e x p l a n a t i o n o f an a c t i o n . There a r e f o u r . f e a t u r e s o f r e a s o n - e x p l a n a t i o n s t h a t I s h o u l d l i k e t o b e g i n by i n d i c a t i n g . answer the q u e s t i o n s 'Why and s o ? ' , and  'Why  The f i r s t  i s t h a t they can be used to  d i d he do s o - a n d - s o ? ,  'Why  1  does he p l a n to do so-and-so?'  be used to e x p l a i n why  i s he d o i n g so-  That i s , they can  an agent did,something i n the p a s t , i s d o i n g  something i n the p r e s e n t , or p l a n s t o do something i n the f u t u r e .  The  second f e a t u r e i s t h a t they can be used to g i v e t h i r d - p e r s o n e x p l a n a t i o n s , i . e . , to e x p l a i n why  someone e l s e d i d , i s d o i n g , or p l a n s to do  something, and f i r s t - p e r s o n e x p l a n a t i o n s , i . e . , tp e x p l a i n why am d o i n g , o r p l a n t o do something. mentioned  The t h i r d  feature —  one  I did,  already  i n , t h e d e f i n i t i o n o f r e a s o n - e x p l a n a t i o n s above, but which I  w i s h t o emphasise —  i s t h a t the r e a s o n t h a t we  agent's a c t i o n i s the agent's something the agent regards  reason;  o r , what i s the same as  as a r e a s o n f o r a c t i o n  the a c t i o n has been performed, regarded to say t h a t the agent regards d o i n g something  c i t e to e x p l a i n the  o r regarded  this,  (or i n cases where  as a r e a s o n f o r a c t i o n ) .  And  something as a r e a s o n f o r  i s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from s a y i n g t h a t there  is or  there  6 was a r e a s o n f o r d o i n g t h a t t h i n g .  I s h a l l now t r y t o show t h a t t h e r e  i s a d i f f e r e n c e , and why t h e reasons r e l e v a n t t o r e a s o n - e x p l a n a t i o n s a r e the agent's  reasons.  There may be a r e a s o n f o r the agent's doing something him r e g a r d i n g i t as a r e a s o n f o r d o i n g t h a t t h i n g . fact  without  F o r i n s t a n c e , the  t h a t I have an appointment a t 12:30 t h a t i t would be i n my  e s t t o keep i s a r e a s o n f o r my c u t t i n g s h o r t my l u n c h hour.  inter-  But i f I  am unaware o f t h i s f a c t , I would n o t r e g a r d i t as a r e a s o n f o r a c t i o n . And  i f I d i d c u t s h o r t my l u n c h hour, t h i s would n o t be e x p l a i n e d by  s a y i n g t h a t I had an appointment a t 12:30. r e g a r d something  C o n v e r s e l y , the agent may  as a r e a s o n f o r d o i n g something  reason f o r doing that t h i n g .  w i t h o u t . i t being a  F o r example, I may t h i n k t h a t I have an  appointment a t 12:30, r e g a r d t h i s as a r e a s o n f o r c u t t i n g s h o r t my l u n c h hour, and c u t s h o r t my l u n c h hour.  But i f I am mistaken i n V.  t h i n k i n g t h i s , t o say t h a t I have an appointment a t 12:30 would n o t be to g i v e a r e a s o n f o r my a c t i o n .  I t would o n l y be t o g i v e something  regarded as a r e a s o n f o r a c t i n g as I d i d . my a c t i o n .  t i o n s below.  But, as such, i t c o u l d e x p l a i n  What i s n e c e s s a r y t o c o n v e r t t h i s  'would,explain  1  I  'could e x p l a i n ' i n t o a  w i l l be i n d i c a t e d i n t h e f o u r t h f e a t u r e o f r e a s o n - e x p l a n a -  But a t t h i s p o i n t , we may s a y t h a t when we s t a t e what  a c t u a l l y a r e reasons f o r t h e agent's a c t i n g  (or h a v i n g a c t e d o r p l a n n i n g  to a c t ) i n a p a r t i c u l a r way we a r e n o t i n a l l cases g i v i n g an e x p l a n a t i o n of h i s action.  We c o u l d o n l y be d o i n g so when t h e r e a s o n c o - i n c i d e d  w i t h t h e agent's r e a s o n .  And when we e x p l a i n t h e agent's a c t i o n by  g i v i n g h i s r e a s o n f o r d o i n g what he d i d , o r i s d o i n g , o r p l a n s t o do, we  are not necessarily (though of course we sometimes w i l l be) giving a reason why  the agent ought to have acted, or be acting, or plan to act  as he .did, i s doing, or does.  Thus i t should be clear that and  why  the reasons that are relevant to reason-explanations are the agent's reasons. The fourth feature of reason-explanations i s that the reason of the agent's that we c i t e must be the reason that a c t u a l l y led him to act.  It i s not enough simply to claim that by giving something 'i  the  agent regards as a reason for performing a p a r t i c u l a r action that we are explaining the action.  For I may regard something as a reason for  doing Y, do Y, and yet not do i t for that reason.  And i n such a case,  to c i t e that thing I regarded as a reason for action would not be to explain my action.  In order to explain my action by giving my reason  for action, that reason must have been operative.  I must have been led  to act by that reason; I must have acted for that reason or because of-4 that reason. Now  to say that I did J f o r X or because of X (where X stands  for something  I regarded as a reason for action) i s to say that i f I  had not regarded X as a reason for action, I would not have done J .  If  I would have done Y regardless of whether or not I regarded X as a reason for action, then i t would not be true to say that I did Y f o r X, that I did Y because of  One important point, however, must now  made with respect to t h i s claim that the statement X  %  be  'I did I because of  implies the truth of the counterfactual 'If I had not regarded X as  reason f o r action, I would not have done J/'. This i s that Y i n the  8 counterfactual must be taken to stand for the p a r t i c u l a r action that the agent d i d i n fact perform. t h i s point c l e a r .  The following i l l u s t r a t i o n w i l l perhaps make  The statement 'I went.to the store because I wanted  to get some bread' implies only that i f I did not want to get some bread, I would not have gone to the store when I did, i . e . , would not have performed the p a r t i c u l a r action I did perform. that I would never  have gone to the store.  I t does not imply  I t would be as absurd to  hold that the statement does.have this l a t t e r implication as i t would be to hold that the statement 'Cancer caused the man's death' implies that i f i t were not for the cancer, he would never have died. We have now determined that i n order to give a  reason-explanation  of an action, the reason of the agent's that we c i t e must be that f o r which, or because of which, the agent acted, and to say that an agent acted f o r , or because of, a c e r t a i n reason.is to say that i f i t were not f o r that reason, the agent would not have acted i n the p a r t i c u l a r way he did.  I t follows from these two claims that i t i s a requirement  of any reason-explanation  that i t y i e l d a true conterfactual statement.  For i f the counterfactual yielded by a proposed reason-explanation  were  f a l s e , then i t would be f a l s e that the agent acted for or because of that reason; and i f t h i s were f a l s e , we would not have a reason-explanat i o n of the action i n question. Now no d i f f i c u l t i e s a r i s e concerning what must be c i t e d i n order to give a reason-explanation  of an action when there i s only a single  factor i n question that the agent regards or regarded as a reason for action.  But d i f f i c u l t i e s and puzzles do a r i s e i n t h i s respect where  9 there are two (or more) factors that the agent regards or regarded as reasons for action,.  So l e t us now turn to consider what sorts of cases  are.possible here, and, remembering that any reason-explanation must y i e l d a true cpunterfactual, t r y to determine what must.be cited i n order to give a reason-explanation i n such instances. It may be the case that an agent regards two things as reasons for doing an act, both of which are independently s u f f i c i e n t for h i s doing the act.  Now i f he does the act, we cannot without further i n f o r -  mation say what must be cited i n order to give a reason-explanation of his action.  Further information about the case may y i e l d two p o s s i -  b i l i t i e s , each of which must be treated d i f f e r e n t l y .  In the f i r s t of  these, i t may be that though an agent regards two things as s u f f i c i e n t reasons f o r doing an act, and does i t , only one i s h i s reason for doing it.  For example, a man might have two s u f f i c i e n t reasons f o r mowing  the lawn: to beautify h i s garden and to please h i s wife.  But even though  he perhaps would have mowed the lawn l a t e r to beautify h i s garden, he might do i t now to please h i s wife.  In such a case, i n order to give  a reason-explanation of the action, we would only c i t e one.of h i s s u f f i c i e n t reasons, and say that he did the deed because he wanted to please,his wife.  One might object, however, that we could not say t h i s  on the ground that to do so i s to imply, what i s ex hypothesi f a l s e , that i f i t were not for h i s desire to please his wife he would not have mowed the lawn.  But i t would be wrong to object i n t h i s way.  For i f  t h i s counterfactual i s taken to mean that i f i t were not for h i s desire to please h i s wife, he would not have mowed the lawn at aVl> though  10 this i s ex hypothesi  f a l s e , i t i s not implied by the statement that he  mowed the lawn because he wanted to please h i s wife.  This l a t t e r state-  ment only implies that i f i t were not for that desire, he would not have mowed the lawn at the time he did*  And i f the counterfactual, v i z . ,  i f i t were not for h i s desire to please h i s wife he would not have mowed the lawn, i s taken i n t h i s l a t t e r way, i t does not constitute grounds for an objection. For this l a t t e r counterfactual i s ex hypothesi  true.  In the case just discussed, though the agent regarded two things as independently s u f f i c i e n t reasons for doing an act, only one of them was operative.  But t h i s may not be the case.  The agent may have two  independently s u f f i c i e n t reasons f o r doing something that operate concurrently.  For example, a man may mow the lawn at a c e r t a i n time  both i n order,to beautify h i s garden and to please h i s wife.  In such  a case, we cannot c i t e just one of these i n explanation of h i s acting. For to do t h i s i s to imply, what i s ex hypothesi  f a l s e , that i f i t were  not for that reason, he would not have acted i n the way he did. And since any reason-explanation must y i e l d a true counterfactual, the c i t ing of just one of these concurrent and independently s u f f i c i e n t reasons for action would not be to give a reason-explanation of the action.  To  give a reason-explanation of the action i n such a case, we must c i t e both reasons of the agent's. However, when we do t h i s and say that he mowed the lawn (did 1) because both he wanted to beautify h i s garden (p) and to please h i s wife (q), t h i s explanation may be misleading.  For i t i s i n fact ambiguous.  It may be taken to mean that p and q were concurrent and independently  ins u f f i c i e n t reasons f o r the agent's for doing J , p r •-.that p^and, qr,.were,. 4  (  independently i n s u f f i c i e n t but j o i n t l y sufficient^reasons ipfe thjeicggentAs for doing I,,,  On either interpretation.*-.;,.the.LC0junter£aptjual> yieldeditbyjn  saying, that he did Y because both p and .^iisjcthe.vSame;.; if^it:jwere^not f o r p and  the agent would not have done J .  true f o r both interpretations. cause both p and q  %  Now  And this counterfactual, i s  since the explanation 'He did Y be-  i s open to these two interpretations, <andi ;since the :  counterf actual, yielded by this^statementiis, true if-joj^ .b^thj ;dintjerpr ejt apj t :  tions, ,it, seems to me appropriate..jtp, use,£hj!&.,Jo.rjn<,pfxiyo.r:d.s ^0>cC3&laA&i!»t; either sort of case.  That i s , we can explain .both, cases jwhereiipr.and^q'  are concurrent and independently s u f f i c i e n t reasons of the agent's for doing J , and cases where p. and q are independently i n s u f f i c i e n t but. j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t reasons of the agent.'.s for. doing Y did Y because both p and q*.  by saying 'He  i  I f , however.?, iwe.iwish ,to be jmore^pr.ecis.e, a  and to indicate; which of these alternatives/we ,have in< mind<,.>ritnseems;y to me that we can only do this by a more e x p l i c i t , statement of. the . t  strength of the agent's reasons.  (  Depending on the case we wish to give  a reason-explanation of, to say either that the agent d i d J for two independently s u f f i c i e n t concurrent reasons, p and q  t  or that the agent  did Y for two independently i n s u f f i c i e n t but j o i n t l y , s u f f i c i e n t reasons, p and q.  ,, .  .  ;  i .:  In the further discussion of reason-explanations that follows, I s h a l l , for the sake of s i m p l i c i t y , confine my remarks to cases where there i s only a single reason of the agent's i n question. there are two  Cases where  (or more) reasons of the agent's i n question are more complex,  12  and must be handled i n t h e ways I n d i c a t e d above,  But a p a r t from  this,  they i n t r o d u c e no f u r t h e r d i f f i c u l t i e s . L e t us now t u r n t o c o n s i d e r what i s i n v o l v e d i n g i v i n g a  reason-  e x p l a n a t i o n o f an a c t i o n , i.e.,, to c o n s i d e r what f a c t o r o r f a c t o r s we are appealing  t o when we e x p l a i n an agent's a c t i o n by g i v i n g h i s reason  or reasons f o r a c t i o n .  I t has sometimes been suggested, f o r example by  P e a r s , D a v i d s o n , and Gean,''" t h a t when we e x p l a i n an agent's a c t i o n by g i v i n g h i s reason  f o r a c t i o n , t h i s reason,  i f g i v e n i n f u l l , would make  r e f e r e n c e t o t h e agent's d e s i r e s and i n f o r m a t i o n as b e i n g  the f a c t o r s  t h a t were r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the agent's a c t i n g i n the way he d i d . qualification  'If given i n f u l l  o f t e n gives h i s reason for  1  i s necessary  here.  The  F o r t h e agent  f o r a c t i o n ( o r we o f t e n g i v e t h e agent's  a c t i o n ) by m e n t i o n i n g o n l y one o r the o t h e r o f these  reason  f a c t o r s . For  example, I may say t h a t I am s t o p p i n g t h e c a r because I am hungry; o r because t h e r e i s a r e s t a u r a n t nearby. for  And sometimes the agent's  a c t i o n i s g i v e n i n another way t h a t mentions n e i t h e r o f these  t o r s , as when I say I am s t o p p i n g  the,car  t o get f o o d .  to  the suggestion  is  g i v e n i n these ways, i t i s g i v e n i n c o m p l e t e l y .  reason fac-  But, according  under c o n s i d e r a t i o n , when t h e agent's reason  for action  The s u g g e s t i o n i s  t h a t , i n cases where o n l y some i t e m o f i n f o r m a t i o n o r some d e s i r e i s c i t e d , the s t a t e d reason  f o r a c t i o n would be u n d e r s t a n d a b l e as the agent's  D. P e a r s , "Are Reasons f o r A c t i o n s Causes?" i n Epistemology, ed. A. S t r o l l , (New York, 1 9 6 7 ) , pp. 2 0 4 - 2 2 8 ; D. D a v i d s o n , " A c t i o n s , Reasons, and Causes", i n Free Will and,Determinism, ed. B, B e r o f s k y , (New York, 1 9 6 6 ) , pp. 2 2 1 - 2 4 0 ; W„D, Gean, "Reasons and Causes", Review of Metaphysics, XIX, 4 (June, 1 9 6 6 ) , 6 6 7 - 6 8 8 ,  13 reason f o r action, and would constitute an explanation of h i s action, only i f the other i s understood to be present i n the s i t u a t i o n .  And,  i n cases where neither i s c i t e d , as when we give the agent's reason f o r action by reporting h i s i n t e n t i o n , the suggestion i s that we can elucidate t h i s reason f o r action more concretely and f u l l y i n terms of the agent's desires and information.  Accordingly, i f these  suggestions  are correct, when we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason f o r action, t h i s reason, i f given i n f u l l , would make reference to the agent's desires and information as being the factors that were respons i b l e f o r the action. Now before r a i s i n g the question of whether i t i s true that both desire and information must appear i n any complete  reason-explanation,  I should l i k e to say something about the nature of t h i s information. Much of what I say here ought to be clear from the fact that the reasons involved i n giving reason-explanations  are the agent's reasons.  s h a l l r i s k r e p e t i t i o n i n the hope of gaining c l a r i t y . mation i n question w i l l be a f a c t .  But I  Often the i n f o r -  But to say that i t i s always a fact  i s i n one way saying too l i t t l e and i n another way saying too much. I t would be saying too l i t t l e i n cases where the agent i s or was not aware of the f a c t .  For example, i f a man were not aware of the fact that  there i s a restaurant nearby, the c i t i n g of t h i s fact would not explain why he stopped the car.  This fact indeed, even i f unconsidered  by the  agent, could be a reason f o r stopping the car, but i t could not be his (or  a part of h i s ) reason f o r doing what he did.  And I t would be saying  too much to say that the information involved i n reason-explanations i s  14 always a f a c t i n cases where t h e agent m i s t a k e n l y be a facto  t h i n k s something t o  F o r t h e agent may a c t on t h e b a s i s o f t h i s mistaken  mation; and t h i s  infor-  (mistaken) i n f o r m a t i o n c o u l d be used t o e x p l a i n h i s  a c t i o n by g i v i n g h i s reason  o r r e a s o n s , f o r d o i n g what he d i d .  For  example, we c o u l d e x p l a i n why a man was f i l l i n g h i s f o u n t a i n pen w i t h b l a c k water by s a y i n g t h a t he thought I t was i n k . So i t seems t h a t t h e i n f o r m a t i o n i n q u e s t i o n cannot c o n s i s t e x c l u s i v e l y i n , o r be r e s t r i c t e d t o , f a c t s . facts i n g i v i n g reason-explanations.  We do, however, o f t e n  But the c i t i n g o f a f a c t  cite  explains  the a c t i o n o n l y on t h e assumption t h a t t h e agent i s aware o f I t ,  Accord-  i n g l y , t h e agent!s knowledge must be i n c l u d e d i n what we mean by i n f o r mation.  But s i n c e , as we have a l r e a d y seen, t h e agent's a c t i o n s can be  e x p l a i n e d by c i t i n g something which he m i s t a k e n l y we cannot r e s t r i c t  t h i n k s t o be.a f a c t ,  t h e i n f o r m a t i o n i n q u e s t i o n t o knowledge.  b e l i e f s must a l s o be i n c l u d e d under t h i s head.  The agent's  Thus we may s a y t h a t the  r e l e v a n t i n f o r m a t i o n i n q u e s t i o n when we a r e t a l k i n g  about,reason-explan-  a t i o n s i s an Item o f knowledge o r b e l i e f . L e t us now c o n s i d e r t h e t r u t h o f t h e s u g g e s t i o n e x p l a i n an agent's a c t i o n by g i v i n g h i s reason if  t h a t whenever we  for action, this  reason,  g i v e n i n f u l l , would make r e f e r e n c e t o b o t h d e s i r e and i n f o r m a t i o n as  being  t h e f a c t o r s t h a t were r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i s a c t i n g I n the.way he d i d .  We o f t e n e x p l a i n an agent's a c t i o n by g i v i n g h i s r e a s o n  f o r a c t i o n by  m e n t i o n i n g o n l y some i t e m o f i n f o r m a t i o n , i . e . , some i t e m o f knowledge or b e l i e f .  Here a r e some examples:  15 (1)  I am s t o p p i n g the c a r b e c a u s e t h e r e i s a r e s t a u r a n t  (2)  I am v o t i n g because i t  (3)  I handed over the money because he had a gun a t my h e a d .  (4)  I made m y s e l f get to work on time e v e r y morning because  ;  the company rewards (5)  nearby.  i s my duty to do s o ,  punctuality,  I gave him the book because i t was v e r y amusing.  Now i t  seems t h a t , i n a l l t h e s e c a s e s , the c i t i n g o f t h i s  tion is intelligible  informa-  as the a g e n t ' s r e a s o n f o r a c t i o n , and c o n s t i t u t e s  ah e x p l a n a t i o n of the a g e n t ' s a c t i o n , o n l y because i t  i s taken f o r  g r a n t e d t h a t he wants (to do) o r wants to a v o i d (doing)  something.  For  example, s a y i n g t h a t t h e r e i s a r e s t a u r a n t nearby e x p l a i n s my s t o p p i n g the car only i f  it  i s assumed, e . g . , t h a t I am h u n g r y .  Unless i t  is  assumed o r u n d e r s t o o d t h a t t h e r e i s something t h a t t h e agent wants o r wants to do w h i c h can be s a t i s f i e d by s t o p p i n g a t the r e s t a u r a n t ,  to  say ' b e c a u s e t h e r e I s a r e s t a u r a n t nearby* would not e x p l a i n . h i s a c t i o n . And i f  the agent d e n i e d t h a t t h e r e was a n y t h i n g t h a t he wanted (to do)  w h i c h c o u l d be s a t i s f i e d by s t o p p i n g a t the r e s t a u r a n t , we s h o u l d no l o n g e r be a b l e to u n d e r s t a n d t h i s as h i s r e a s o n f o r a c t i o n .  Similar  remarks c o u l d . b e made i n the cases of the o t h e r examples o f f e r e d . it  Thus  seems t h a t t o c i t e some i t e m of i n f o r m a t i o n i s to g i v e something  intelligible  as the a g e n t ' s r e a s o n f o r a c t i o n , and i s t o e x p l a i n the  agent's a c t i o n , only i f situation.  some d e s i r e i s u n d e r s t o o d . t o be p r e s e n t i n  the  And s i n c e some d e s i r e must be presupposed whenever one c i t e s  o n l y some i t e m o f i n f o r m a t i o n as the a g e n t ' s r e a s o n f o r a c t i o n , t o  cite  o n l y s o m e , i t e m o f i n f o r m a t i o n cannot be t o g i v e t h e a g e n t ' s r e a s o n f o r  16 action i n f u l l .  I f we were to give the agent's reason for action i n  f u l l , we would have to make e x p l i c i t this presupposition; and i f we did t h i s , mention would be made of both desire and information, I s h a l l now turn to consider whether i t i s true to say that i n a l l cases where we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason f o r action by just c i t i n g some,desire, the c i t i n g of the desire i s i n t e l l i gible as the agent's reason for action, and constitutes an explanation of the agent's action, only i f some.item of information i s understood to be present i n the s i t u a t i o n .  I f i t i s true, then i f we were to give  the agent's reason for action i n f u l l , mention would be made of both desire and information. We often explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason for action by mentioning only some,desire.  The following are examples:  (1)  I am stopping the car because I am hungry.  (2)  I am taking my umbrella because I don't want to get wet.  (3)  I am voting because I want to do,my duty.  (4)  I am playing tennis simply because I want to.  Of the f i r s t  three examples i t may be said that I am doing some-  thing not for i t s own sake but i n order to do, achieve, secure, or avoid something that I want to do, achieve, secure, or avoid. of the f i r s t  And i n the case  three examples, the c i t i n g of the desire i s i n t e l l i g i b l e as  the agent's reason for action, and constitutes an explanation of the agent's action, only on the assumption that some item of information i s present i n the s i t u a t i o n .  For example, to give 'because I am hungry' as  17  my reason for stopping the car'is to explain my action only i f some item of information, such as that there i s a restaurant nearby, i s understood, And  i f the agent were to deny that he had any information that somehow  connected h i s being hungry and h i s stopping the car, we should no longer be able to understand 'because,I am hungry' as h i s reason for action. Similar remarks could be made about the second and t h i r d examples. Of course i t i s often unnecessary to supply the information.  For  i f I say I am taking my umbrella to avoid getting wet, i t i s quite unnecessary i n most cases to add that I believe i t i s raining or w i l l r a i n , and that by taking my umbrella I w i l l achieve my desired objective. I t would be appropriate for me to state my b e l i e f that i t w i l l r a i n only when i t would be unusual for me to hold,this b e l i e f , as for example on a cloudless day, or when i t might be thought that I am taking my umbrella to avoid getting wet from some other source,  I might, for example, be  going to an aqua show where water w i l l be splashed about.  But though I t  i s i n many cases unnecessary to add t h i s , my point Is that some such i n formation must be present  i n a l l cases where I am doing what I am not f o r  i t s own sake, but i n order,to do,or secure or achieve or avoid.something that w i l l s a t i s f y some,desire of mine; and that the c i t i n g of some desire gives an explanation of the action only on the understanding that some, such Information i s present i n the s i t u a t i o n .  Consequently, i f we were  to give the agent's reason for action i n f u l l , this Information,  i n addi-  t i o n to the stated desire, would appear i n the statement of i t . The fourth example, of my playing tennis simply because I want to, d i f f e r s from the f i r s t three i n that while we can say i n the f i r s t  three  18  instances that I am doing something i n order to so-and-so, i n t h i s case I am doing what I am doing f o r i t s own,sake. because I want to.  I am playing tennis simply  Now i n such cases one may question whether the agent  had any reason at a l l f o r action; whether such actions are susceptible of reason-explanations ,  For i f an agent i s doing something simply f o r  i t s own sake, and i s asked why he i s doing i t , the reply 'For no reason*, seems natural.  But t h i s reply cannot be taken to mean that the agent  had no reason at a l l f o r doing the action.  For i f he i s doing the  action simply f o r i t s own sake, he must be doing i t just because he wants to do i t .  And i f he i s doing i t just because he wants to, t h i s i s h i s  reason for doing i t .  To say 'For no reason* i n this context i s , I think, 2  following Davidson's  suggestion,  only to say that there i s no  reason; no reason, that i s , besides wanting to do i t .  further  So i t does seem  that when an agent,does an action simply f o r i t s own sake, he i s doing the,action for a reason, namely because he wants to. The question now remains as to whether, when we explain an action i n this way, we are giving the agent's reason for action i n f u l l j or whether,some item of information must be included to do t h i s .  In such  cases, where we explain an agent's doing X by saying that he i s doing so simply because he wants to do  unlike those already discussed  where we explain an agent's doing X by saying that he i s doing so because he wants (to do) 7 , we can understand the agent's wanting to do X as h i s reason f o r doing X without making any assumptions about related 'Op. a i t . , p. ,225.  19  information that he might possess.  For here no puzzlement can.arise as  to how h i s desire i s related to h i s action.  And so there does not seem  to be any necessity to supplement the agent's desire with some item of information i n order to give a complete statement of h i s reason f o r action.  I t may, however, be the case that when an agent does an action  for i t s own sake, say plays tennis simply because he wants to, he bel i e v e s that by performing the action he w i l l s a t i s f y h i s desire to do so.  And i n such a case, both desire and information would enter into a  complete statement of the agent's reason for action.  We should say that  he i s playing tennis because he wants to and knows or believes that by playing tennis he w i l l s a t i s f y his desire to do so. But i t does not seem to me that some such b e l i e f i s always consciously entertained when an agent performs an action for i t s own sake, and u n r e a l i s t i c to say that i t must be present.  Often, i t seems to me, an agent does.an action with-  out any thought i n mind except h i s wanting to do i t .  I f I.am right i n  t h i s , i t cannot be said that some item of information w i l l always appear i n a complete statement of the agent's reason for action.  And thus i t  does not seem true i n a l l cases that i f we were to give the agent's reason for action i n f u l l , both some.desire and some item of related information would appear i n the statement of i t .  Sometimes when we are  doing something for i t s own sake, to c i t e some desire i s to give our. complete reason for action: no assumptions about related information need—or indeed often properly can—be made. It i s important to notice that the word 'want' need not e x p l i c i t l y occur i n reason-explanations that explain by c i t i n g some desire of the  agent's.  We can use words that imply that the agent wants (to do) or  wants to avoid  (doing) something.  For instance, i n the f i r s t example  offered above, v i z . , I am stopping the car,because I am hungry, the word 'want' does not occur. I want to eat,  But to say that I am hungry implies that  'Thirsty' i s another word,of this type: to say that I  am doing X, e.g.,  searching for a water-fountain,  because I am t h i r s t y  implies that I am doing X because I want to drink. that can be used i n the place of 'want' i n giving a are: 'crave',  Some other words reason-explanation  'lust f o r ' , 'fear', 'interested', ' t i r e d ' , and 'starving'.  Examples of sentences i n which they are so used are as follows;  (1)  I stopped at the cafe because I craved  (lusted for) a cup  of coffee, (2)  I l e f t the cave because I fear small enclosed  spaces.  (3)  I went to the lecture because I was interested i n hearing the speaker.  (4)  I stopped running because I was t i r e d .  (5)  I s t o l e the pie because I was starving.  A l l the words i n question that appear i n the above examples are used to imply that the agent wanted (to do) or wanted to avoid something.  (doing)  Some of them (e.g., 'crave') indicate the degree to which  he wanted i t ; and others why he wanted i t .  (e.g., 'interested') indicate to some extent  And i t seems a f a i r l y straightforward matter to r e -  phrase the sentences so that the word 'want' e x p l i c i t l y occurs i n them. For example, instead of the above, we could say, respectively:  21 (la)  I stopped at the cafe because I wanted a cup of coffee.  (2a)  I l e f t the cave because I wanted to get away from the small enclosed space.  (3a)  I went to the lecture because I wanted to hear the speaker,  (4a)  I stopped running because I wanted to r e s t .  (5a)  I stole the pie because I wanted food i n the worst way.  It should be noticed, however, that though these words can be, and often are, used to imply that an agent wants (to do) or wants to avoid (doing) something, and so can be and are used i n the giving of a reason-explanation of an agent's action that explains the action i n terms of the agent's desires, they are not always so used.  Examples  of cases where they are not used i n the giving of the agent's reason for action are easy to f i n d . instance.  Take the words 'starving' and ' t i r e d ' f o r  To say that I f e l t weak because I.was starving, or that I  collapsed because I was t i r e d , i s obviously not to give my reason for action; indeed no action occurred. And even when an action does occur that can be explained by using one of these words, they do not always give the agent's reason for acting.  For example, I may fidget because  I am a f r a i d , but we would not say that fear was my reason for fidgeting. The words 'love' and 'hate' can also be used i n reason-explanations.  These words, I think, imply that the agent wants (to do) or  wants to avoid (doing) something, but they are s l i g h t l y more complex than the  words l i s t e d above.  We cannot always—and in,most.cases cannot—sub-  s t i t u t e the word 'want' for them as e a s i l y as we can do t h i s i n the case of the words just considered. For often when these words are used i n  22 giving a reason-explanation, or wants to avoid from the context.  what i t i s that the agent wants (to do)  (doing) i s not s p e c i f i e d , but has to be understood For example, i f I say that I withheld  the bad news ,  from her because I loved her, what I wanted to do i s not s p e c i f i e d . But i t i s clear that I did want to do something: I wanted to do something to benefit her.  S i m i l a r l y with hate.  I f I give someone the  wrong information because I hate him^ what I want to,do i s not s p e c i fied.  But we do know that I wanted to do,something to harm him. The notions of harm and benefit, however, are not always a p p l i -  cable when we explain an agent's action by saying that i t was done because he loved or hated him or her.  I may ask a g i r l out because I  love her, or ignore a g i r l at a party because I hate her.  And i n  neither case i s i t necessarily true to say that I am doing these things to benefit or harm her.  But I t seems that even i n these examples the  words 'love' and 'hate' imply that the agent wants (to dp) or wants to avoid  (doing) something.  In the f i r s t case, of my asking a g i r l out  because I love her, we know that I want to share her company; and i n . the second case, of my ignoring a g i r l because I hate her, we know that I want to avoid her company or conversation. Besides explaining an agent's action by giving his reason for action by s t a t i n g some item of information or some desire, or by using some expression  that contains a desire-implying word, we often explain  an agent's action by giving his reason for action by reporting h i s i n tention.  Let us now look at how intentions are reported.  are sometimes—perhaps most o f t e n — r e p o r t e d  Intentions  by the use of an i n f i n i t i v e  or an i n f i n i t i v e clause.  For example, we say that he went to the store  to get bread, took,a hot bath to relax, married her to get her money, and so on. And i n saying  'to get bread', 'to relax', 'to get her  money', we are reporting the agent's intention.  We do not, however,  always report the agent's intention by the use of an i n f i n i t i v e or an i n f i n i t i v e clause.  We may say, for example, that he went to the store  with the intention of getting some,bread, or for the purpose of getting some bread, or for bread. say i s equivalent  But when we say any of these things, what we  to saying that he went to the store to get bread. I t  seems that we can always give the agent's intention by completing the sentence-frame 'His intention i n doing, or planning to do X was or i s . . . ' with an i n f i n i t i v e or an i n f i n i t i v e clause.  And for any  whenever we say 'His intention i n doing, or planning to do X was or i s to tf', we may say that h i s reason for acting was or i s to tf. For example, i f the agent i s taking a hot bath to relax, or s e l l i n g  sub-  standard merchandise to increase h i s p r o f i t s , we may say that his reason for acting i s (respectively) to relax or to increase h i s p r o f i t s .  And  by giving h i s reason,for action by reporting h i s intention we w i l l be explaining h i s action. But while when we explain, an agent's action by giving his reason for action by reporting h i s intention we do not mention any desire nor any information  of the agent's, such explanations are not independent of  either of these factors.  For to know that one i s , t a k i n g a hot bath to  relax i s to know that he wants to relax and that he knows or believes that by taking a hot bath he w i l l achieve h i s objective; to know that  an agent i s s e l l i n g sub-standard merchandise to increase h i s p r o f i t s i s to know that he wants to increase h i s p r o f i t s and that he knows or bel i e v e s that by s e l l i n g sub-standard merchandise he w i l l do so. Or, to put i t generally, to know that an agent i s doing X to <f> i s to know that he wants to  and that he believes that by doing X he w i l l e>. Accord-  i n g l y , i t seems that whenever an agent's action i s explained by giving his reason f o r action by reporting h i s intention, we can elucidate this reason f o r action more concretely and f u l l y In terms of the agent's desires and information.  Thus, i f we were to give the agent's reason  for action i n f u l l , we should c i t e the agent's desires and information as the factors that were responsible f o r the agent's acting i n the way he d i d . To sum up the discussion of reason-explanations.  We found that  when an action that has been performed, i s being performed, or i s planned~to be performed not simply f o r i t s own sake, but i n order to, do or secure or avoid  (doing) something, i s explained by giving the  agent's reason f o r action i n a way that mentions only some item of information or some desire, the c i t i n g of t h i s factor counts as giving a reason-explanation granted.  of the action only because the other i s taken f o r  We also found, i n cases where an action i s performed (or has  been, or i s planned to be, performed) simply f o r i t s own.sake, that sometimes the action i s explained by.giving the agent's reason f o r action by c i t i n g only some desire, without our having to make,any assumptions about related Information.  Further, we found that we can explain  an agent's action by giving h i s reason f o r action by reporting h i s  25 intention.  And that, though when we so explain an action we do not  e x p l i c i t l y mention either any desire nor any information of the agent's, we can always elucidate t h i s reason for action more concretely and f u l l y i n terms of the agent's desires and information.  Consequently, we may  say that when we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason for action, t h i s reason, i f given i n f u l l , w i l l  (1) always mention some  desire of the agent's, and (2) i n every case, except some i n which the action i s performed f o r i t s own sake, mention some information the agent possesses.  Thus, when we give a reasonrexplanation  of an action we are  often explaining the action i n terms of the agent's desires and i n f o r mation, and sometimes i n terms of the agent's desires alone. Accordingly, one of the questions  that w i l l be answered i n t h i s  t h e s i s , namely, 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action by.giving his reason or reasons for action?' can be re-formulated  as follows: 'What kind of explanation are we giving when  we explain an agent's action i n terms of h i s desires or h i s desires and information?'  One possible answer to this question that I wish to  examine i s that t h i s type of explanation i s a causal one. But having put the question i n t h i s form, I s h a l l defer the examination of this possible answer t i l l a l a t e r Chapter.  CHAPTER I I  MOTIVE-EXPLANATIONS In this Chapter I s h a l l discuss another common way of explaining an agent's action: that of explaining h i s action by giving h i s motive or motives f o r action.  I s h a l l term explanations,that explain  an agent's action by giving h i s motive or motives for action 'motiveexplanations'.  There are two questions that I think must be answered  i f we are to have a clear account of motive-explanations.  These are:  (1) What kinds of actions can have motives? and (2) What i s involved i n giving a motive-explanation of an action?, i . e . , p r e c i s e l y to what does the c i t i n g of the agent's motive or motives point i n order to explain the agent's action?  I s h a l l discuss these questions i n order.  There i s no such thing as simply having a motive; nor do we have motives f o r f e e l i n g i r r i t a b l e or cold, having indigestion or h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , or being pleased or depressed. only when there i s an action  i n question.  We talk about motives  The action may be one that  has been performed, i s being performed, or i s planned to be performed. That i s , we can ask 'What was h i s motive i n doing so-rand-so?', 'What i s his motive i n doing so-and-so?', or 'What i s h i s motive i n planning to do so-and-so?'  And the action may be one that I performed, am perform-  ing, or plan to perform, or one that someone else performed, i s performing, or plans to perform. Let us now r a i s e the f i r s t question posed above: What kinds of actions can have motives?  I t only makes sense to ask for the agent's  27 motive o r motives f o r a c t i n g when the a c t i o n i s , o r i s thought t o be, an i n t e n t i o n a l one.  We do n o t ask f o r the agent's motive when we know  t h a t the a c t i o n i s n o t o r was n o t an i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n .  F o r example,  we do n o t ask f o r the agent's motive when we know t h a t t h e a c t i o n was done by m i s t a k e o r by a c c i d e n t .  Nor do we ask f o r the agent's motive  when we know t h a t t h e a c t i o n was a r e f l e x a c t i o n , where by ' r e f l e x ' i s meant 'unconditioned  reflex'<,  I t i s , I t h i n k , n e c e s s a r y t o i n s i s t on  t h i s l a s t q u a l i f i c a t i o n o f r e f l e x a c t i o n s ; f o r i t seems t h a t some a c t i o n s t h a t a r e t h e outcome o f c o n d i t i o n e d  reflexes are intentional actions.  For example, a d r i v e r who slams on h i s brakes on s e e i n g a r e d l i g h t seems to.be a c t i n g , though from a c o n d i t i o n e d And  reflex, intentionally.  s i m i l a r l y , much o f what a t r a i n e d t y p i s t does i s t h e r e s u l t o f  conditioned tional.  r e f l e x e s ; b u t we should  n o t deny t h a t h e r a c t i o n s were i n t e n -  Whether o r n o t an i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n o f t h i s type, v i z . , one  which i s the r e s u l t o f some c o n d i t i o n e d  reflex  i s one t h a t can have a  motive w i l l be determined by whether o r n o t i t p o s s e s s e s c e r t a i n o t h e r f e a t u r e s , t o be d i s c u s s e d p o s s e s s i n order  below, which a r e n e c e s s a r y f o r an a c t i o n t o  t o have a,motive.  But we must n o t p r e c l u d e  c l a s s o f a c t i o n s done as a r e s u l t o f c o n d i t i o n e d  the e n t i r e  r e f l e x e s from the c l a s s  of a c t i o n s t h a t can have motives on t h e ground t h a t they a r e n o t I n t e n tional actions. ask  A t t h i s p o i n t we may say t h a t though i t makes sense t o  f o r the agent's motive o n l y when t h e a c t i o n i s , o r i s thought to be,  an i n t e n t i o n a l one, o n l y i f the a c t i o n i s . i n f a c t an i n t e n t i o n a l one, can i t have a motive.  An a c t i o n t h a t i s n o t i n t e n t i o n a l , i s an a c t i o n done  w i t h o u t a motive.  L e t us now t r y t o i d e n t i f y more p r e c i s e l y the c l a s s  28  of actions that can have motives. The class of i n t e n t i o n a l actions can be sub-divided, according to the ends that such actions possess or.lack, into the four,following classes.  ( 1 ) The action may. be performed for i t s own.sake, simply be-  cause the agent wants to do i t , as for example when one jogs j u s t because he l i k e s or enjoys,jogging.  ( 2 ) The action may be performed  with no p a r t i c u l a r purpose or for the sake of no p a r t i c u l a r end, i . e . , . neither for i t s own sake nor for the sake of anything  else.  I think  that there are many ways i n which this can occur; some of them are as follows.  The action may be j u s t the exercise of,a d i s p o s i t i o n . For  example, a vain man might do vain things i n t e n t i o n a l l y but automatically, and not for the sake of doing those things or i n order to achieve anything e l s e .  The action may be the outcome or exercise of a mood. For  instance, I may speak sharply to a salesman because I am f e e l i n g i r r i t a b l e . The action may be one that i s the outcome of an emotion, as when I slam the door,because I am angry.  The action may be one that i s simply  impulsive and inexplicable to the agent.  I may, for example, while  s t r o l l i n g down a street suddenly jump and catch a l e a f . may be one that i s done purely from force of habit.  Or the action  To say that an agent  did something purely from habit i s to say that he did not do i t for i t s own sake or i n order to do or secure anything e l s e .  For to say that an  agent did X purely from habit i s to say that even i f no purpose were served by doing X, he would have done, X,  And i f this i s so, the agent did  not do X for i t s own sake or i n order to do or secure anything; even i f he did i n fact do or secure something by doing X.  and t h i s ,  29 The above actions I have placed i n class (2) are types of intent i o n a l actions that I think may be done without any purpose whatsoever. One might, however, deny t h i s , and question the existence of such a class of actions as class (2),  He might claim that those.actions  I have  allocated to i t w i l l , on closer study, turn out to be either s p e c i a l cases of actions done for their own sakes or actions done with some hidden or unconscious purpose.  Such a person would thus empty the class  by relocating the actions I have placed i n i t i n class (1) or classes (3) or (4) to be discussed below.  I do not know how t h i s issue concern-  ing the existence of class (2) of actions,can be c l e a r l y decided one way or the other.  On the one hand, there i s a c e r t a i n p l a u s i b i l i t y i n the  denial that there i s such a class of actions as class (2).  For many  actions that we should not deny are i n t e n t i o n a l , and which at f i r s t sight do not seem to,be done with any purpose whatsoever, do turn out on further examination to be,done.with some hidden or unconscious purpose, or can be p l a u s i b l y classed as s p e c i a l cases of actions done for t h e i r own sakes. And  t h i s fact lends weight to the claim that, i f we dig deep enough,  they w i l l a l l turn out to be analysable i n one or the other of these ways. But on the other hand, i t seems dogmatic to i n s i s t that a l l i n t e n t i o n a l actions that do not seem to be done with any purpose at a l l must be so analysable.  And i t seems to me that some simply are not; but, as I said,  I do not know how t h i s can be shown to be the case.  For i t i s always  open to one who .denies that t h i s i s so to say, i n cases where an i n t e n t i o n a l action cannot p l a u s i b l y be claimed to be done for i t s own sake and where we cannot c i t e any purpose, hidden or otherwise, of the agent's, that there  30 i s some purpose but that i t has j u s t eluded discovery.  But anyway, even  i f I am wrong i n asserting that there i s such a class of actions as class (2), t h i s w i l l not a f f e c t my argument i n any substantial way.  As  w i l l become c l e a r , no point of importance to my argument depends on,the existence of class (2) of actions, To continue with my sub-division of the class of i n t e n t i o n a l actions,  (3) The action may be performed as a means to some further  end to be achieved by the action, as for example when a man marries a g i r l i n order to get her money.  Marrying the g i r l i s not getting her  money, but i s a means to t h i s further end.  (4) The action may be  performed i n order to do or secure something that i s not a end.  further  For example, I may be under an obligation to go to a meeting,  and go to the meeting i n order to f u l f i l l my o b l i g a t i o n to do so. In such a case, going to the meeting and f u l f i l l i n g my o b l i g a t i o n to go to the meeting cannot be said to be related as a means to a further end. For i n order to say that an action i s a means to the doing or securing of some further end, the former and l a t t e r must be d i s t i n c t events; and there are not two d i s t i n c t events i n question here.  Rather, there  i s only one event f a l l i n g under.two descriptions: going to the meeting is  f u l f i l l i n g my o b l i g a t i o n to do so. Consequently, i f I go to the  meeting, though I do so i n order to dp something, v i z . , f u l f i l l my o b l i g a t i o n to go to the meeting, t h i s l a t t e r i s not some further end f o r which going to the meeting i s a means. The above are four sub-classes actions can be divided.  into which the class of i n t e n t i o n a l  But the d i v i s i o n i s not one such that an action  31 that belongs to one class cannot also belong to another.  An action may  be done both for i t s own sake and as a means to some further end. I may, f o r example, f i s h both because I^enjoy angling and i n order to catch a f i s h .  And again, an action may be done for i t s own sake and  also i n order to do or secure something that i s not a further end. For instance, I may go to a meeting because I l i k e going to meetings as well as i n order to discharge an obligation of mine.  Thus an action can be-  long to class (1), v i z . , the class of actions done f o r t h e i r own sakes, and also belong to class (3), v i z . , the class of actions.done as a means to some further end, or to class (4), v i z . , the class of actions done i n order to do or secure something that i s not a further end. But an action cannot belong,to both classes (3) and (4).  For i f I do X i n order to do  or secure 7 , then either doing X i s a means to the further end of doing or securing Y  t  or doing X is doing or securing 7 .  I t cannot be both; f o r  i f doing X (e.g., marrying a g i r l ) i s a means to some further end Y (e.g., securing her money), X and Y are necessarily d i s t i n c t events, but i f doing X (e.g., going to a meeting) i s doing or securing Y (e.g., f u l f i l l ing an o b l i g a t i o n ) , then there i s only one event f a l l i n g under two desc r i p t i o n s i n question.  Nor can actions belonging to class (2), v i z . , the,  class of actions done without any purpose whatsoever, belong to any other class.  Let us now see which of these classes of i n t e n t i o n a l actions can  have motives. Actions that just belong to class (1) above cannot have motives. A man who is,doing something simply for i t s own sake i s a man not acting from a motive.  For example, we would not say that a man who married a :  32 g i r l s i m p l y because he l o v e d h e r , o r committed a murder f o r i t s o w n . s a k e , say j u s t because he f e l t l i k e i t ,  was a man who a c t e d from a , m o t i v e .  Once we know t h a t the agent i s d o i n g o r d i d X s i m p l y f o r i t s own s a k e , we a l s o know t h a t he i s n o t d o i n g o r d i d n o t do X from any m o t i v e . S i m i l a r l y w i t h a c t i o n s belonging to c l a s s (2). doing or d i d X without  To know t h a t an agent  any purpose whatsoever i s to know t h a t he i s n o t  a c t i n g o r d i d n o t a c t from a m o t i v e .  F o r example, i f  A makes d i s p a r a g i n g  remarks about B, and we f i n d out t h a t he made them w i t h o u t v i e w , but that they w e r e . j u s t  any end i n  (say) the outcome o f some mood of h i s , we  would not s a y . t h a t he had a m o t i v e i n making the r e m a r k s . that belong to c l a s s e s  is  (3) o r ( 4 ) , i . e . ,  But a c t i o n s  those a c t i o n s w h i c h an agent  performs i n o r d e r t o do o r s e c u r e something (whether t h i s something i s a further  end o r n o t ) , c a n . c l e a r l y have m o t i v e s .  F o r example, a man who  m a r r i e s a g i r l i n o r d e r to get h e r money, o r k i l l s a man i n o r d e r , t o r e v e n g e , i s a man a c t i n g from a m o t i v e . performed as a means t o a f u r t h e r i n g the man i s h i s b e i n g r e v e n g e d . (1).  get  I n the f i r s t c a s e , h i s a c t i o n i s  e n d ; i n the second i t  i s not: h i s  kill-  Such a c t i o n s may a l s o b e l o n g to  class  I n the case of the f i r s t example, the man might marry the g i r l  from t h i s m o t i v e and because he l o v e s h e r . second, k i l l others.  the man b o t h from t h i s m o t i v e and b e c a u s e , h e e n j o y s  Thus i t  (4)—whether--or If  A n d , i n the case of  seems t h a t o n l y a c t i o n s b e l o n g i n g t o c l a s s e s n o t t h e y a l s o b e l o n g to c l a s s  both  the hurting  (3) and  ( 1 ) — c a n have m o t i v e s .  I am r i g h t i n t h i s , and o n l y a c t i o n s b e l o n g i n g t o c l a s s e s  (3)  and (4) a b o v e , v i z . , o n l y a c t i o n s done i n o r d e r to do o r s e c u r e something t h a t i s a f u r t h e r e n d , o r done i n o r d e r t o do o r s e c u r e something t h a t  is  33 not  a f u r t h e r end, can have m o t i v e s , we may make the f o l l o w i n g two  points.  First,  i t i s wrong t o , s a y ,  as P.H. Nowell-Smith^ does, and as  2 RoSo P e t e r s has  r e p o r t s many p s y c h o l o g i s t s  a motive.  do, t h a t every i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n  F o r an a c t i o n done f o r i t s own sake i s an i n t e n t i o n a l  a c t i o n , but a motiveless  one; and s o , i t seems, a r e some a c t i o n s t h a t a r e  done w i t h o u t any purpose,whatsoever i n t e n t i o n a l but m o t i v e l e s s .  And,  second, i t i s wrong to, t r y t o c o r r e c t t h i s e r r o r by c l a i m i n g , as N.S.  3 Sutherland.  does, t h a t when we e x p l a i n an a c t i o n by a s s i g n i n g a motive we  are e x p l a i n i n g t h a t a c t i o n i n terms o f some further that a c t i o n . order And  by  T h i s c l a i m e n t a i l s t h a t o n l y i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n s done i n  t o do o r s e c u r e something t h a t i s a f u r t h e r end can have m o t i v e s . .  i t i s wrong t o c l a i m e i t h e r o f these t h i n g s .  order  end t o be a c h i e v e d  For i f I k i l l  t o get revenge, revenge i s my motive i n , k i l l i n g  a s s i g n i n g t h i s m o t i v e , my a c t i o n i s e x p l a i n e d . t i o n here i s n e i t h e r one e x p l a i n e d to a c h i e v e ,  some f u r t h e r end.  the man.  a man i n And i n  But the a c t i o n i n ques-  i n terms o f , n o r one done i n o r d e r  F o r my k i l l i n g  the man is my b e i n g r e -  venged ; revenge i s n o t some f u r t h e r end to be achieved  by my  killing  the man, But i n order  i s i t t r u e t o say t h a t e v e r y i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n t h a t i s done,  t o do o r s e c u r e something i s an a c t i o n done from a motive?  Sutherland  h o l d s , o r a t any r a t e commits h i m s e l f  Ethias  1  (Baltimore,  1954), pp.„ 114,  to hold, t h i s p o s i t i o n .  124.  2 The 3  Concept  of Motivation  " M o t i v e s as E x p l a n a t i o n s " ,  (London, 1958), p. 30. Mind, L X V I I I  (1959), 148.  34 F o r he w r i t e s t h a t  'If  we say "He d i d X because he wanted Y" then i t  is  c l e a r t h a t a m o t i v e type e x p l a n a t i o n i s b e i n g g i v e n and t h e r e i s no 4 n e c e s s i t y t o say t h a t " H i s m o t i v e f o r d o i n g X was t h a t he wanted Y " ' . • I n s a y i n g t h i s , S u t h e r l a n d commits h i m s e l f t o the p o s i t i o n t h a t any s u b stitution motive.  i n s t a n c e f o r J i n the a b o v e , t y p e of e x p l a n a t i o n counts as a And s i n c e any a c t i o n t h a t i s d o n e , i n o r d e r to do o r s e c u r e  something can be g i v e n an e x p l a n a t i o n of the t y p e 'He d i d X because he wanted Y , l  S u t h e r l a n d a l s o has t o m a i n t a i n t h a t e v e r y a c t i o n of  t y p e i s an a c t i o n done from a m o t i v e .  this  But our o r d i n a r y usage of  term ' m o t i v e ' does n o t s u p p o r t t h i s c l a i m .  F o r example, i f  the  I p i c k up  my f o r k i n o r d e r to e a t my p e a s , o r because I want to e a t my p e a s ,  it  would be odd to say t h a t I am a c t i n g from a m o t i v e ; t h a t my d e s i r e to e a t my peas was my m o t i v e i n p i c k i n g up my f o r k .  Or a g a i n , i t would be  odd to say t h a t when one g i v e s C h r i s t m a s p r e s e n t s I n o r d e r to p l e a s e h i s f r i e n d s t h a t t h i s was h i s m o t i v e i n a c t i n g .  And we would n o r m a l l y r e -  s e n t the i m p l i c a t i o n of b e i n g asked what our m o t i v e i s i n g i v i n g C h r i s t mas p r e s e n t s . of,  So i t  seems t h a t i t  i s n o t always a p p r o p r i a t e to speak  o r ask a b o u t , m o t i v e s when the a c t i o n i s one t h a t i s done i n o r d e r  t o do o r s e c u r e s o m e t h i n g ; t h a t n o t a l l a c t i o n s s u s c e p t i b l e of to'  ' i n order  e x p l a n a t i o n s a r e a c t i o n s done from m o t i v e s . A c c o r d i n g l y j we must f u r t h e r  can have m o t i v e s .  F i r s t of a l l , I t  delimit  the c l a s s o f a c t i o n s t h a t  o n l y seems a p p r o p r i a t e t o ask f o r  a g e n t ' s m o t i v e when t h e . a c t i o n i n q u e s t i o n i s a r e l a t i v e l y i m p o r t a n t  0p. c i t . , p. 1 5 3 ,  the one.  But there are other features that must be present i f the language of motives i s to be appropriate.  Peters writes that 'we only ask about a  man's motives when we wish, i n some way, to hold h i s conduct up f o r assessment',"* where 'there i s an issue of j u s t i f i c a t i o n as well as of explanation',^  Now this i s undoubtedly one of the occasions on which  we commonly talk of motives: to ask about an agent's motives i s often to imply that h i s action i s a s o c i a l l y unacceptable i n need of j u s t i f i c a t i o n .  one, one that stands  Hence the resentment we would n a t u r a l l y f e e l  on being asked for our motive i n giving Christmas presents. But i t does not seem that Peters i s right i n claiming that i t i s only  appropriate to ask for a man's motives where there i s a question  of assessment, l e t alone a question of assessment involving j u s t i f i c a tion.  We can appropriately ask for a man's motives where there i s only  a question of explanation.  For example, we may;ask 'What was h i s motive  i n giving up h i s l e g a l p r a c t i c e j u s t when he was becoming successful?' or 'What was h i s motive i n making that odd bequest i n h i s w i l l ? '  Of  course, i n c e r t a i n contexts, to ask these questions may be to hold up the conduct for assessment, and to suggest that some j u s t i f i c a t i o n i s required.  But i t does not seem to be to do this i n a l l contexts.  We  can ask these questions when we do not see the point or purpose of the  The Concept ^Tbidi  3  p.  of Motivation^  p. 29.  31.  7  Science  These examples are adapted from R. Brown, Explanation (London, 1963), p, 91,  in  Social  36 agent's action.  And i n asking for the agent's motive, we may only wish  to d i s p e l the mystery that h i s action holds for us; a l l we want i s an explanation. We may now take Peters's claim and this l a t t e r one together, and say that i t i s only appropriate to ask for ah agent's motive when the action i s a r e l a t i v e l y important one that stands i n need of either j u s t i f i c a t i o n or explanation. called for?  But when are either of these.things  I t seems that j u s t i f i c a t i o n i s called for only when there  i s some reason to suppose that an action was done f o r some s o c i a l l y unacceptable reason.  In the absence of any reason to suspect t h i s , i t  would be odd to say that an action requires j u s t i f i c a t i o n .  And i t seems  that an action stands i n need of explanation (but not j u s t i f i c a t i o n ) when there i s no reason to suppose that the action was done for some s o c i a l l y unacceptable  reason, but when the action i s i n some way an unusual one.  There are, I think, three sorts of actions that we would c l a s s i f y as unusual.  The'action may be a strange one for anyone to do i n the circum-  stances; the action may be a strange one for the agent, being the sort of person he i s , to do i n the circumstances; or the action may be one i n which the agent's external behaviour  i s quite normal, but where we  have some reason to suppose that i t was prompted by some unusual  reason.  If the agent's action did not f a l l under one or more of the above three c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s , we would not c a l l i t an unusual one; and i f i t were not unusual i n some way, i t would not be appropriate to ask for an explanation of the action.  With these,explanations, of when j u s t i f i c a t i o n and  explanation are called f o r , we can now specify more p r e c i s e l y when i t i s  37  appropriate to ask for the agent's motive;  I t seems that i t i s only  appropriate to ask f o r the agent's motive when the action i s a r e l a t i v e l y important one that seems to be done for some s o c i a l l y unacceptable reason, or that i s i n some way unusual, or, of course, that i s both unusual and seems to be done for some s o c i a l l y unacceptable reason. Now giving the agent's motive may, by rebutting the presumption or suspicion that the action was .done for some s o c i a l l y unacceptable reason, j u s t i f y or excuse the action.  Or i t may, by confirming the  suspicion that the action was done f o r some s o c i a l l y unacceptable reason, discredit  the action.  But i t may also do something l y i n g between these:  i t may mitigate the agent's g u i l t i n performing the action.  There are  also occasions on which giving the agent's motive may be to praise the action, as for example when we f i n d that a p r i e s t ' s motive for leaving his parish was to work i n a leper colony. question of assessment agent's motive.  And sometimes there i s no  at a l l , good or bad, involved i n giving the  On occasion, giving the agent's motive does no more  than explain the action, as when we say that h i s motive i n giving up his l e g a l practice was that he wanted to spend more time with h i s family. We. have now determined what kinds of actions can,have motives. In summary, we have found that two requirements must be s a t i s f i e d : (1) the action must be an.intentional one that i s done,in order to do or secure something  (where t h i s something may be a further end or not), and  (2) the action of t h i s kind must be a r e l a t i v e l y important one that stands i n need of either j u s t i f i c a t i o n or explanation, or both, i . e . , be one that seems to be done for some s o c i a l l y unacceptable reasonj or one  38 that i s i n some way  unusual, or one that i s both unusual and seems to be  done for some s o c i a l l y unacceptable reason. Having thus answered the f i r s t question raised at the beginning of t h i s Chapter, I now turn to the second one: What i s involved i n giving a motive-explanation of an action, i . e . , an explanation of an agent's action that explains the action by giving the agent's motive or motives for  action?  Or, to put this question a b i t more concretely, p r e c i s e l y  to what does the c i t i n g of the agent's motive or motives point i n order to explain the agent's action?  But before,I turn to give my answer to  this question, I s h a l l f i r s t examine the views of some others, beginning with G i l b e r t Ryle's. There i s a negative and p o s i t i v e part to Ryle's account. t i v e l y , Ryle denies that to explain an action by.assigning to explain the action by saying that i t was occurrence of a.certain f e e l i n g .  Nega-  a motive i s  preceded and caused by the  P o s i t i v e l y , Ryle asserts that to ex-  p l a i n an action by assigning a motive i s to give a d i s p o s i t i o n a l explanation of the action i n terms of 'law-like hypothetical,propositions'. Ryle writes that 'To explain an act as done from a c e r t a i n motive i s not analagous to saying that the glass broke, because a stone h i t i t , but to the quite d i f f e r e n t type of statement that the glass broke, when the g stone h i t i t , because the glass was b r i t t l e ' . Ryle recommends construing  'He boasted from vanity' not as saying that 'He  boasted and the cause of h i s boasting was The Concept  of Mind  Proceeding on t h i s analogy,  the occurrence i n him of a  (London, 1949), pp. 86-87.  39 p a r t i c u l a r f e e l i n g o r i m p u l s e of v a n i t y ' , b u t as s a y i n g 'He b o a s t e d on m e e t i n g the s t r a n g e r and h i s d o i n g so s a t i s f i e s the l a w - l i k e  proposition  t h a t whenever he f i n d s a chance of s e c u r i n g the a d m i r a t i o n and envy of o t h e r s , he does whatever he t h i n k s w i l l produce t h i s a d m i r a t i o n and 9 envy'.  A c c o r d i n g t o . R y l e , 'To say [ t h a t a man d i d something from a  c e r t a i n motive]  i s to say t h a t t h i s a c t i o n , done i n i t s p a r t i c u l a r  cir-  cumstances, was j u s t the s o r t of t h i n g t h a t t h a t was an i n c l i n a t i o n do.  It  i s to say "he would do t h a t " . 1  Now i t  to  1 0  seems to me. t h a t R y l e V i s - . r i g h t i n what he d e n i e s , b u t  wrong i n what he a s s e r t s .  I do n o t p r o p o s e t o r e h e a r s e h i s arguments  f o r what h e d e n i e s , but s h a l l o n l y c r i t i c i s e h i s p o s i t i v e a c c o u n t . has o f t e n , and I t h i n k r i g h t l y ,  It  been p o i n t e d out t h a t a c c o r d i n g to 11  R y l e ' s account a man cannot a c t from a m o t i v e on one o c c a s i o n o n l y . This i s so, for,  a c c o r d i n g t o R y l e , to e x p l a i n an a c t i o n by a s s i g n i n g  a m o t i v e i s to e x p l a i n the a c t i o n by b r i n g i n g i t  under the l a w - l i k e p r o -  p o s i t i o n t h a t the agent i s a man who,tends to do the s o r t o f t h i n g motive i n d i c a t e s ; i t  the  i s to say ' h e would do t h a t ' . . But I t h i n k t h a t  consequence t h a t a man cannot a c t from a m o t i v e on one o c c a s i o n o n l y false.  It  this Is  seems to me t h a t a man can b o a s t from v a n i t y w i t h o u t b e i n g a  v a i n man, i . e . , w i t h o u t  b e i n g a man who tends to do v a i n t h i n g s ,  or  The Concept of Mind, p. 89 Ibid.  10  pp. 92-93.  ^ F o r example, by G . E i M . Anscombe, Intention ( O x f o r d , 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 2 1 ; P . F o o t , " F r e e W i l l as I n v o l v i n g D e t e r m i n i s m " , i n Free Will and Determinism e d . B. B e r o f s k y , (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 6 ) , p; 1 0 3 ; and A . Kenny, Action, Emotion and Will (London, 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 7 7 . s  AO  without man  even being a man who  tends to boast.  And s i m i l a r l y , that a  can act from other motives such as generosity or revenge without  being a generous or vengeful man,  i . e . , without being a man who  to act generously or vengefully.  If t h i s i s so, then Ryle's account  of motive-explanations  tends  cannot be correct.  Now we might t r y to amend Ryle's account to meet t h i s objection about the man who  acts from a motive, for example vanity, on  one  occasion by comparing the man's acting from vanity on one occasion to a piece of glass breaking because of a b r i t t l e n e s s which could be temporary.  And  then by explaining 'He acted from vanity' as meaning  that at that p a r t i c u l a r time he tended to react i n the ways described by Ryle, v i z . , i f he finds a chance of securing the admiration envy of others, he does whatever he thinks w i l l produce this  and  admiration  12 and envy.  But, as P. Foot has argued,  i t would be wrong to say t h i s ;  because whereas glass which i s even temporarily b r i t t l e has a l l the reactions that go by that name, a man who  i s temporarily acting from  vanity i s not l i a b l e to do other things of t h i s kind. man who  For example, a  i s boasting may not, at that time, be prone to glance  admiringly  at himself i n a mirror. Thus Ryle's account seems unsatisfactory. 13 recent book The Grounds  of Moral  Judgement,  explanation to that of Ryle's as to how  Russell Grice, i n h i s  has offered an a l t e r n a t i v e  the words 'vanity',  "Free W i l l as Involving Determinism", i n Free Will ism, ed. B. Berofsky, pp. 103-104. 13  Cambridge, 1967,  Ch. I, sec. 3.  and  Determin-  'considerateness',  'avarice', 'patriotism', 'indolence', etc., explain 14  an agent!s action.  I now wish to consider this account.  Grice be-  gins by denying, contrary to Ryle, that these words are the names of motives.  According to Grice, the only reason that we have for thinking  that these terms are the names of motives i s that we often answer the question 'Why did he do so-and-so?' by saying 'Vanity', 'Out of p a t r i o t ism',  'Because he i s considerate', etc.  He then comments that these  answers are i n some sense motive-explanations,  but that i t by no means  follows that the motive i s e x p l i c i t l y named i n them.. For the a l t e r n a t i v e remains that such answers explain why a c e r t a i n motive, which i s not e x p l i c i t l y named, was a motive for a p a r t i c u l a r man. t h i s a l t e r n a t i v e view.  Grice adopts  Taking the example of a man who has acted to  ease h i s neighbour's burden where h i s action i s explained as done out of considerateness, Grice claims that the explanation functions i n a two-fold way.  F i r s t , i t explains why the b e l i e f that a c e r t a i n action  would ease h i s neighbour's burden was a motive for t h i s man whereas for many others i t would not be a motive.  And t h i s i t does, according  to Grice, by pointing out that the former man i s considerate whereas many are not; by pointing out that i t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of him to be moved by such a b e l i e f .  Second, i t explains by revealing the kind of  b e l i e f which provided the motive f o r the action.  In being told that i t  was done out of considerateness, we are being told that he was moved by It i s perhaps worth drawing attention here to the fact that t h i s i s not Grice's account of motives, but only h i s account of what Ryle takes to be motives. Grice's own account, which I s h a l l not d i s cuss, i s similar to the one I s h a l l offer l a t e r i n this Chapter.  42 the b e l i e f that the action would help h i s neighbour and not,by the b e l i e f that he would be judged a benevolent man, would return the kindness to  nor that his neighbour  him.  This account seems open to the same sort of objection as i s Ryle's.  Grice's account e n t a i l s the view that a man  considerateness,  cannot act out of  vanity, patriotism, etc., unless he i s a considerate,  vain, p a t r i o t i c , etc., man.  For, according to Grice, part of the explan-  atory force of saying that a man  acted out of considerateness,  vanity,  patriotism, etc., derives from pointing to,the fact that he i s considerate, vain, p a t r i o t i c , etc. also held that a man  And Grice could not hold t h i s view unless  cannot act out of considerateness,  unless he i s a' considerate, vain, etc,, man. assert that a man  of men who  vanity, etc.,  But surely i t i s wrong to  cannot act out of considerateness, ;  he i s considerate, vain, etc.  he  vanity, etc., unless  It seems clear that the most inconsiderate  can act out of considerateness  on occasion.  And  similarly, men  are generally not vain or p a t r i o t i c can, on occasion, act out of  vanity or patriotism.  If t h i s i s "correct, then to explain an action by  using these words cannot be to give a motive-explanation of the action i n the way  Grice claims i t to be.  I s h a l l now  turn to give my answer to the question  volved i n giving a motive-explanation of an action?'  'What i s i n -  By a motive-explan-  ation I mean an explanation of an agent's action that explains the action by giving h i s motive or motives for action.  The f i r s t thing to be noticed  i s that i t i s not enough simply to claim that by giving some motive that the agent has for performing a c e r t a i n action that we are explaining that  43  action.  For I may have a motive for doing 7 , do 7 , and yet not do i t  from that motive.  And i n such a case, to c i t e that motive of mine for  doing 7 would not be to explain my action.  In order to explain my  action, the motive must have been operative; I must have acted from that motive.  So when we ask for a motive-explanation of an action, i t  seems that, as the word 'motive' suggests, we are asking f o r what moved the agent to act.  To give a motive-explanation of an agent's action i s  to explain the action by stating what moved him to act.  Similarly, i n  order to explain some action that the agent plans or intends to perform by giving h i s motive, the motive must be the one that moved him to form that intention.  But for the sake of simplifying the exposition, I s h a l l ,  i n what follows, only discuss motives of actions that are being or have been performed. Now  to say that X moved an agent to do 7 i s to say that i f i t  were not for X, the agent would not have done 7 .  If the agent would  have done 7 even i n the absence of X, then i t would not be true to say that J moved the agent to do 7 .  And here, of course, as i n the case of  the reason-explanations discussed i n Chapter I, ' 7 ' i n the counterfactual yielded by saying X  t  'X moved the agent to do 7 ' , v i z . , 'If i t werenot for  the agent would,not have done 7 ' , must be taken to stand for the par-  t i c u l a r action the agent did i n fact perform.  For i t would be absurd to  claim that the statement 'Amoved the agent to do 7 ' implies that i f i t were not f o r X, the agent would never  have done 7 i n the same way as i t  would be absurd to claim that the statement 'Cancer caused the man's death' implies that i f i t were not for the cancer, he would never have  died.  Just as the l a t t e r statement only implies that i f i t were not  for the cancer, the man would not have died at the time he d i d , the former only implies that i f i t were not for X, the agent would not have done 7 at the time he d i d , i . e . , would not have performed the p a r t i c u l a r action he did perform. Once we see that to give a motive-explanation of an agent's action i s to explain the action by stating what moved him to act, and that to say that something moved the agent to act i s to say that i f i t were not for that thing he would not have acted i n the way he d i d , i t also appears that i t i s a requirement of any motive-explanation that i t imply a true counterfactual statement.  For i f the counterfactual  implied by a proposed motive-explanation were f a l s e , then i t would be f a l s e to say that the thing c i t e d i n the proposed motive-explanation moved the agent to act; and i f t h i s were f a l s e , we would not have a motive-explanation of the action.  Nor, indeed, do I think we would  have any kind of explanation of the action at a l l .  For i t seems that  we can always give an explanation of an agent's action by completing the sentence-frame 'He did i t because . . . .'  And, as we saw i n  Chapter I, to say that an agent did such-and-such because implies the truth of a counterfactual statement.  so-and-so  Accordingly, i f the  implied counterfactual were f a l s e , i t would be f a l s e to say that the agent performed the action because so-and-so; and i f t h i s were f a l s e , we would not have an explanation of the action at a l l . At t h i s point, however, c e r t a i n d i f f i c u l t i e s a r i s e .  These con-  cern what we must c i t e i n order to give a motive-explanation of an  action i n cases where there was more than one factor that moved, or that was s u f f i c i e n t to move, the agent to act.  The d i f f i c u l t i e s that  a r i s e here are similar to the ones that arose,in a similar respect i n my discussion of reason-explanations i n Chapter I, and what I say about them w i l l be to a large extent the same. Let us begin by considering a case i n which the agent had two motives for doing an action, each of which was s u f f i c i e n t to move him to act.  Now  i f the agent did the action, we cannot say what must be  c i t e d i n order to give a motive-explanation of the action without further information about the case.  Further information about the case  may reveal two possible sorts of cases, each of which must be treated differently.  So l e t us now see what these p o s s i b i l i t i e s are, and  how  they must be treated. It may be the case that though the agent had two motives for doing an action, only one of them actually moved him to act. of such a case i s as follows.  An example  A man may have two motives for k i l l i n g  another: to get revenge and to prevent him from giving evidence.  And  i t might be the case that even though he would have k i l l e d the man to get revenge, he did so to prevent him from giving evidence.  later  In such  a case we should, i n order to give a motive-explanation of the action, c i t e only one of these motives, and say that he k i l l e d the man to prevent him from giving evidence. moved him to act.  For i t was the desire to do this that  And we can say t h i s without v i o l a t i n g the idea that  to say that something moved an agent to do so-and-so i s to imply the truth of a counterfactual statement.  For the counterfactual yielded  46 by saying that the desire to prevent the man's giving evidence moved the agent to k i l l him i s not that i f i t were not for that motive, he would not have k i l l e d the man at a l l , which i s ex hypothesi  f a l s e , but  that i f i t were not for that motive, he would not have k i l l e d him when he did. And t h i s , ex hypothesi, ,;  i s true.  I now turn to the second possible case that further information about the case of the man who performs an action for which he had two s u f f i c i e n t motives may reveal. concurrently.  I t may be that these motives operated  For example, a man possessing two motives for k i l l i n g  another (doing 7 ) , say to get revenge  (fv) and to prevent him from giving 7  evidence (X), each of which was s u f f i c i e n t to move him to do 7 , may do 7 from these motives,.  In such a case what must we c i t e i n order to give  a motive-explanation of the action?  We cannot simply c i t e W, h i s desire  to get revenge, nor can we simply c i t e X, h i s desire to prevent the man from giving evidence.  For to say that W (or X) moved the agent to act  i s to imply, what i s ex hypothesi  f a l s e , that i f i t were not for W (or X)  the agent would not have done 7 .  In such a case, we should have to c i t e  both motives of the agent's. When we do t h i s , however, and say that W and X moved the agent to do 7 , (or that the agent did 7 because of W and X), t h i s explanation Is ambiguous.  I t may be taken to mean that W and X were.factors that were  independently s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to do 7 , and that these factors operated concurrently to do so.  Or i t may be taken to mean that W  and X were factors that were independently i n s u f f i c i e n t , but j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t , to move the agent to do 7 , and that they operated concurrently  -47 to move the agent to do 7 .  On either i n t e r p r e t a t i o n the counterfactual  yielded by saying that W and X moved the agent to do 7 , (or that the agent d i d Y because of W and X), i s the same: i f i t were not f o r W and X the agent would not have d o n e 7 . both interpretations.  And this counterfactual i s true f o r  Now since the explanation *W and X moved the  agent to do 7 ' i s open to these two interpretations, and since the counterfactual yielded by t h i s statement  i s true f o r both i n t e r p r e t a -  t i o n s , i t seems that i t i s appropriate to give a motive-explanation i n t h i s way i n either sort of case.  That i s , we can give a motive-explana-  t i o n of the agent's doing Y from W and X both i n cases where W and X were two concurrently operating f a c t o r s , each of which was independently s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to do 7 , and i n cases where W and X were two concurrently operating f a c t o r s , each of which was independently i n s u f f i c i e n t and only j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to do 7 , by simply c i t i n g W and X. However, whereas i n the f i r s t case, where W and X were  independent-  l y s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to do 7 , we should regard W and X as each being a motive of the agent's f o r doing 7 , and together the agent's motives for doing 7 , we could not do this i n the second case, where.W and X were independently i n s u f f i c i e n t and only j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to do 7 .  For to say that something i s a motive i s to say  that that thing by i t s e l f , i n the appropriate circumstances, could have moved the agent to act.  And ex hypothesi  nor X could independently do t h i s .  i n the second case, neither W  In such cases as the second one, where  17 and X are independently i n s u f f i c i e n t and only j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t to move  48 the agent to act, the s i t u a t i o n would be properly described by saying that W and X together constitute a single  motive that i s  internally  complex.^ In the three sorts of cases just discussed, we found that to c i t e the motive or motives from which the agent acted i s to give a motiveexplanation of the action.  The same would of course also hold true i n  the simplest case i n which the agent only had and acted from a single simple motive.  I now want to turn,to consider the class of actions,  mentioned e a r l i e r , where an agent performs an action both f o r i t s own sake and i n order to do or secure something, with  a view to determining  whether or not such actions are susceptible of motive-explanations. s h a l l argue that they are not. considered here.  I  There are two possible cases to be  In the f i r s t of them, we s h a l l f i n d that an agent can  act from a motive and yet that action not be explained by c i t i n g that motive; and i n the second, we s h a l l f i n d that though i t might seem as i f an agent has a motive i n acting i n a p a r t i c u l a r way, he does not i n fact have one.  I now turn to consider these cases.  It may be the case that an agent did J both i n order to do or to secure something, say from some motive X  t  and for i t s own sake, where  each of these factors was s u f f i c i e n t to move him to do J . For example, a man might go to a meeting both i n order to annoy the chairman and because he l i k e s going to meetings i n any event.  Five  In such a case as t h i s ,  The suggestion to so treat t h i s type of case i s C D . Broad's, Types of Ethical Theory (Totowa, New Jersey, 1965), p. 122.  49 merely to c i t e that motive and say that X moved the agent to do J would not be to explain the action. hypothesi Yo  For to say this i s to imply, what i s ex  f a l s e , that i f i t were not for X the agent would not have done  Consequently, since to assign that motive i s not to give an explana-r  tion of the action at a l l , i t cannot be to give a motive-explanation of the action.  In order to explain the action, we should have to mention,  i n addition, the other factor or factors that was or were operative i n moving the agent to act.  But since to assign that motive and to c i t e  the other relevant factor or factors i s to explain the action, we may, I think, say that to assign that motive i s to give a p a r t i a l of the action.  explanation  And since this part of the explanation explains by  reference to.a motive, we may say that such p a r t i a l explanations are p a r t i a l motive-explanations. The second and f i n a l sort of case to be considered as follows.  can be stated  It may be that an agent performed an action for i t s own  sake and i n order to do or to secure something, where neither of these factors was s u f f i c i e n t , but both necessary and j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to act.  That i s , i t may be that Z (where Z i s the desire  to perform the action for i t s own sake) and that X (where X i s the desire for something to be achieved by the action) are neither singly s u f f i c i e n t , but each necessary and j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to do J . For example, a man might marry a g i r l both because he loves her and i n order to get her money.  And i t might be that i f he did,not love her, h i s  desire to share her money would not have been s u f f i c i e n t to move him to marry her, but that he did not love,her so much that he would have  50  married her i f i t were not f o r h i s desire to share her money.  In such  a case, i t i s tempting, but as I s h a l l argue wrong, to say that h i s desire to share her money (X) was a motive, or the motive, or a part of an i n t e r n a l l y complex motive the agent had i n marrying her (doing 7 ) . It would be wrong to say that X was a motive the agent had i n doing 7 , f o r to say this i s to say, what i s ex hypothesi by i t s e l f could have moved the agent to do 7 . say  f a l s e , that X  And i t would be wrong to  that X was the agent's motive i n doing 7 , for though one implication  of t h i s , namely that i f i t were not for X, the agent would not have done 7 i s true, i t i s f a l s e to say that J moved the agent to do 7 . w i l l perhaps make the f a l s i t y of t h i s clearer.  An example  Suppose that there i s a  rock which, i n order to move, we must both l i f t and p u l l .  Exerting up-  wards pressure on the rock alone w i l l not move i t , nor w i l l just p u l l i n g at i t ; but together they w i l l .  Now i f I exert upwards pressure on the  rock while someone else p u l l s at i t , and the rock moves, i t would be f a l s e to say that I moved the rock or that my partner d i d . Neither of us moved the rock; together we d i d .  S i m i l a r l y i n the above case, neither  X nor Z moved the agent to do 7 ; together X and Z d i d .  But i t would not  be correct to take X and Z together as a single i n t e r n a l l y complex motive, and to say that this was the agent's motive i n doing 7 .  For the desire  to do something for i t s own sake (which i s what Z represents) cannot be a motive at a l l . Thus i t seems that we cannot refer to X as being a motive, or the motive, or a part  of a motive.  But while we cannot assert any of these  things, we cannot deny that X had some influence i n moving the agent to  do J .  We are now  l e f t with the d i f f i c u l t y of a r r i v i n g at an adequate  characterisation of the influence that X exerted.  I suggest that  factors such asJf, i . e . , factors that, were they s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to act would be c l a s s i f i a b l e as motives, but which are i n fact necessary but not s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to act, can be termed 'motive-factors'.  To say that I i s a motive-factor  i n the agent's doing  Y i s to accept the implication that i f It were not for X, the agent would not have done Y.  But i t i s not to assert that J by i t s e l f  have moved the agent to do 7.  could  It i s only to assert that X i n conjunc-  t i o n with a c e r t a i n other f a c t o r , or c e r t a i n other f a c t o r s , could have moved the agent to act.  And  i f the agent did act, X was  one of the  factors that moved him to do so. In such a case as t h i s , i . e . , i n a case where an action i s performed both for i t s own  sake and i n order to do or to secure something,  where neither of these factors i s s u f f i c i e n t , but each necessary and j o i n t l y s u f f i c i e n t to move the agent to act, i t i s clear that only to c i t e what I have termed a 'motive-factor'  i s not to explain the action.  What would be required to explain the action i s for us to mention the other factor or factors that contributed towards moving the agent to act.  However, since to c i t e a motive-factor  i n conjunction with the  other relevant factor or factors would be to give an explanation of the action, we may  say, as i n the above case, that to c i t e a  i s to give a p a r t i a l explanation of the action.  motive-factor  But we cannot go on to  say, as we could and did i n the above case, that t h i s i s a p a r t i a l motive-explanation; for motive-factors  are not motives.  52 For the sake of s i m p l i c i t y , I s h a l l , i n the subsequent remarks I w i l l make i n t h i s Chapter about motives and motive-explanations, presuppose that only one simple motive i s i n question.  Cases where there  i s more than one motive i n question, or where the motive i s i n t e r n a l l y complex, are more complicated,  but i n p r i n c i p l e the same.  The remarks  I s h a l l make w i l l also apply, with terminological modifications, to p a r t i a l motive-explanations; but I s h a l l not e x p l i c i t l y mention such explanations  again.  Now can we say anything more s p e c i f i c about how motives explain actions than that they explain actions by pointing to what moved the agent to act?  I think that we can, and s h a l l argue that to explain an  action by giving the agent's motive i s to explain the action by r e f e r ence to the agent's reason f o r action; and to do t h i s , i n cases where the action i s one done i n order to do or to secure something (which are the only cases of actions relevant here), I s , as we found i n Chapter I, to explain the action i n terms of the agent's desires and information. In saying t h i s , my proposed account w i l l be seen to be p a r t i a l l y i n agreement with that offered by Ryle.  For, as D. Davidson has pointed out,  Ryle's analysis of motive-explanations e n t a i l s that the agent has c e r t a i n desires and c e r t a i n related information *.. Ryle, i t w i l l be remembered, analyses  'He boasted from vanity' into 'He boasted on meeting the  stranger and h i s doing so s a t i s f i e s the law-like proposition that whenever he finds a chance of securing the admiration  and envy of others, he  does whatever he thinks w i l l produce this admiration  and envy'.  And  Davidson, r i g h t l y I think, comments on this that ' i f Ryle's boaster did  53 what he did from vanity, then something entailed by Ryle's analysis i s true: the boaster wanted to secure the admiration and envy of others, and he believed that h i s action would produce this admiration and envy; true or f a l s e , Ryle's analysis does not dispense with primary reasons, but depends upon them'.^  Thus, to explain an action by assigning a  motive i s , on Ryle's account,, p a r t l y to draw attention to the agent's desires and information. we have seen.  But this i s not a l l that there i s to i t , as  He goes on to connect explanations i n terms of the  agent's motive with character t r a i t s of the agent.  And to do t h i s , as  I have argued above, leads to f a l s e consequences.. My proposed account d i f f e r s from h i s i n that no reference i s made to character t r a i t s , but only to the agent's desires and Information. But before I turn to argue for this claim, l e t us see i f motives can be grouped in.some.way.  G.E.M. Anscombe has attempted a grouping  of the class of motives; she divides them into three classes: (1) forwardlooking, (2) backward-looking, and (3) interpretative motives (or motivesin-general).  By forward-looking motives she means those that are equiva-  lent to intentions.  By backward-looking motives she means those such as  revenge, gratitude, and remorse, which assign something i n the past or present as the ground of an action.  Anscombe also claims that the  motives of this class are characterised by the fact that the notions of good and e v i l are bound up with them.  Now i t i s unclear from what she  says whether the class of backward-looking motives i s determined by one  "Actions, Reasons, and Causes", In Free ed. B. Berofsky, p. 226.  Will  and  Determinism  3  54 c r i t e r i o n , namely that some past or present event i s assigned as the ground of the action, and that i t just so happens that the notions of good and e v i l seem always to be involved when motives are so assigned. Or, on the other hand, whether the class of backward-looking i s determined  motives  by two c r i t e r i a , namely that some past or present event  i s assigned as the ground of the action and that t h i s past or present event was  good or bad for the agent, thus giving r i s e to the agent's  doing something good or bad i n return.  I think, (following A. Kenny), '' 1  that Anscombe can be most p l a u s i b l y interpreted as maintaining that what distinguishes backward-looking  motives from the other two kinds i s just  that they assign something i n the past or present as the ground of the action.  The fact that good and e v i l are bound up with them i s j u s t an  i n c i d e n t a l , though according to Anscombe.invariable, which she uses to d i s t i n g u i s h backward-looking causes.  And by Interpretative motives,  feature of them  motives from mental  (or motives-in-general), Ans-  combe means those motives that place the action i n a c e r t a i n l i g h t . she puts i t ,  As  'To give a motive (of the sort I have l a b e l l e d "motive-in-  general", as opposed to backward-looking  motives and intentions) i s to 18  say something l i k e "See the action i n this l i g h t " ' . no d e f i n i t e l i s t of i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives.  Anscombe offers  She suggests that the  motives of c u r i o s i t y , friendship, admiration, love of truth, fear, s p i t e , and despair, among a 'host of others', are of t h i s type, but goes on to Action,  Emotion  ^Intention,  and Will,  p. 21.  p. 84;  comment that these motives are 'either of this extremely complicated kind [ i . e . , are i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives] or are forward-looking or 19 mixed'.  And by a 'mixed' motive, as I think i s f a i r l y clear from the  l a s t sentence, Anscombe means one that i s p a r t l y i n t e r p r e t a t i v e , p a r t l y forward-looking.  I s h a l l l a t e r argue, i n opposition to t h i s , that those  motives Anscombe tentatively l i s t s as i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives are either forward-looking or p a r t i a l l y forward- and p a r t i a l l y backward-rlooking motives. Let me now draw attention to some defects i n t h i s c l a s s i f i c a t o r y scheme.  One.defect i s that, according to i t , a motive can be both  forward-looking ( i . e . , be equivalent to an intention) and backward-looking ( i . e . , assign something i n the past or present as the ground of the action).  Take the motive of revenge for example.  I f I do X.out  of  revenge, my motive i n doing X i s to get back at someone for having done something h u r t f u l .  And to say this i s at once to report my intention  ('to get back at someone . . ..') and to assign something i n the past as the ground f o r my action (' . . . f o r having done something hurtful').  Thus revenge must be, on Ahscombe's c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of motives,  both forward-looking and backward-looking.  And similar remarks could  be made about the motives of gratitude and remorse. Another defect i s that the class of i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives i s not a class that i s d i s t i n c t from the class of motives that are.equivalent to intentions. Intention,  For example, i f we take c u r i o s i t y as an instance,of p. 21.  56  t h i s type of motive, i f I do something out of c u r i o s i t y (say look up an obscure journal or explore a cave), I do so to find out something. If  I did not want to find out anything—and this thing may be something  d e f i n i t e , as f o r example to check on a s p e c i f i c reference, or i n d e f i n ite,  as for example to find out what, i f anything, i s i n the c a v e — I  could not be said to be acting out,of c u r i o s i t y .  Thus to say that I am  acting out of c u r i o s i t y e n t a i l s that I am acting to f i n d out something. And since to say that I am acting to f i n d out something i s to report my intention, to say that I am acting out of c u r i o s i t y i s equivalent to reporting my intention.  Now since,Anscombe has not given any d e f i n i t e  examples of i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives, and comments a f t e r suggesting some that might be i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives that they perhaps are forwardlooking or mixed, i t could be objected that by showing the motive of c u r i o s i t y to be equivalent to an intention, I have not thereby shown that the class of i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives i s not d i s t i n c t from the class of the  forward-looking motives; there may be other motives among those on l i s t that are not equivalent to intentions.  I have merely at t h i s  point taken c u r i o s i t y to be a l i k e l y candidate f o r being an interpretat i v e motive to show that not a l l those motives t e n t a t i v e l y classed under the  heading of i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives are d i s t i n c t from forward-looking  motives.  I s h a l l examine the other motives on the l i s t l a t e r , and  argue that they too are equivalent to intentions. Is  the class of i n t e r p r e t a t i v e motives distinct,from the class of  backward-looking motives?  Take the example of c u r i o s i t y again.  In one  way t h i s can be claimed not to be a backward-looking motive, for to  57 assign the motive of c u r i o s i t y i s not necessarily to point to something that has happened or i s at present happening because of which the action i s performed.  But i n another way, c u r i o s i t y can function as a backward-  looking motive, for what aroused my c u r i o s i t y might have been something that occurred i n the past.  A remark, f o r example, might have made me  curious to check on i t . And i n this case, the ground of my action i s something that l i e s i n the past; I am doing something out of c u r i o s i t y because of some past event. Since, as we have seen above, Anscombe has not succeeded i n d i s tinguishing forward-looking from backward-looking motives by saying that the former are equivalent to intentions while the l a t t e r are not, we  may  try to salvage the d i s t i n c t i o n by re-formulating the defining characteri s t i c of the class of forward-looking motives.  Instead,of simply  equating forward-looking motives with intentions, we may say that forwardlooking motives are those that assign something l y i n g i n the future as, the ground of the agent's action.  And we may oppose this class of  motives to the class of backward-looking motives that assign something l y i n g i n the past or present as the ground of the agent's action.  Drawn  i n this way, forward-looking and backward-looking motives are d i s t i n guished according to where the ground of the agent's action l i e s .  If  an agent i s acting from a motive i n order to achieve some.future objective not because of anything that has happened or i s at present happening, but just because he wants to achieve that objective, he i s acting from a forward-looking motive.  But i f he i s acting from a motive i n order to  achieve some.future objective because of something that happened i n the past or i s at present happening, he i s acting from a backward-looking motive.  By re-defining forward-looking motives i n t h i s way, we are now able to say, as we would be unable to say on Anscombe|s account, that when one does something s o l e l y because of something that happened i n . the  p a s t — a s one might i n the case of acting out of the motives of  revenge or gratitude or remorse—that these motives belong to the class of backward-looking motives and not to the class of forward-looking motives. the  For we may now admit that backward-looking motives do report  agent's intention, but are not forced on that account to say that  they are also forward-looking motives. I now wish to draw attention to a q u a l i f i c a t i o n i n the f i r s t sentence of the above paragraph. something solely  I have written that when one does  because of something that happened i n the past out of  the motives of revenge, gratitude, or remorse, that revenge, gratitude, or remorse are c l a s s i f i a b l e simply as backward-looking motives.  I have  q u a l i f i e d my statement i n t h i s way because one does not always act out of the motives of revenge, gratitude, or remorse solely  because of  something i n the past, though i n the case of these motives there,is a l ways some past factor operative.  One.may look forward to, or anticipate  with pleasure, getting revenge, or paying back a past favour, or even, I suppose, repenting f o r a past wrong.  And i n such cases there i s , i n  addition to the backward-looking element e s s e n t i a l to these three motives, a forward-looking element present i n the motive.  Thus, though  once we know that the agent's motive i n acting was revenge (or gratitude or remorse) we can always say that h i s motive i s partially  backward-  looking, we cannot without further information c l a s s i f y h i s motive as a.  59 backward-looking motive  simpliciter*  It i s s i m i l a r l y d i f f i c u l t always forward-looking.  to produce a l i s t of motives that are,  Some motives such as ambition usually are  forward-looking, for to say that one i s acting out of ambition i s to say  that he i s acting to secure a more important p o s i t i o n or to succeed  or something of this sort.  And to say this i s normally to indicate  some future end that the agent wants to obtain for the sake of which he i s acting.  But one does not always act from ambition s o l e l y to  secure the end f o r i t s own sake or f o r some further future end; one may act to secure t h i s end because of something that happened i n the past.  For example, one might want to obtain a more important p o s i t i o n  because he was over-ruled too many times i n the past.  And i n such a  case, the ground of the agent's action i s something that l i e s , p a r t i a l l y at l e a s t , i n the past. looking motive.  Ambition, then, i s not always simply a forward-  Nor are others, such as patriotism, vanity, and  avarice, that are normally forward-looking: a man may act out of p a t r i o t ism  because h i s country did something for him, or out of vanity because  he was often s l i g h t e d , or out of avarice because he was poor f o r many years.  And so on.  And i n a l l these cases we may say that the agent  acted, p a r t i a l l y at l e a s t , i n order to redress some,imbalance, which imbalance was caused by some past f a c t , event, or experience. In f a c t , i t seems to me that most actions are prompted by, and done f o r the sake of, both something that l i e s i n the past and something to be.obtained i n the future.  60 Thus we have seen that there i s no clear-cut d i v i s i o n between forward- and backward-looking motives such that we can produce l i s t s of motives that always f a l l under j u s t one or the other of these categorieso  But we can, I think, s t i l l draw the d i s t i n c t i o n , f o r there  are some motives that always have a backward-looking element i n them, such as revenge, gratitude, and remorse.  And t h i s feature sets them  apart from other motives such as ambition, patriotism, vanity, etc., that do not necessarily point to some past f a c t , event, or experience, but which normally indicate some objective l y i n g i n the future.  I shall  use t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n to c l a s s i f y motive-words when I come to discuss them. I now wish to turn and argue for the claim, entered e a r l i e r above, that to give a motive-explanation of an action i s to explain the action by reference to the agent's reason,for agent's desires and information.  action, i . e . , i n terms of the  But before embarking on the actual  argument for t h i s , i t w i l l perhaps be useful to give a sketch of how I s h a l l argue.  I s h a l l argue that: (1) to explain an action by giving the  agent's motive for action i s to explain the action by i n d i c a t i n g the agent's end* goal, objective, aim, or purpose i n acting; (2) the agent's end,  goal, objective, etc., in-acting Is given by assigning a motive i n  only two ways: by reporting his intention or by reporting some desire of h i s ; (3) to explain the agent's action by reporting h i s intention or by reporting some,desire of h i s i s to explain the action by giving the agent's reason for action; ( A ) to explain the agent's action by giving h i s reason for action i n either of these ways, i n cases where the action i s done i n order to do or to secure something, i s to explain,the  action  61 In terms of the agent's desires and information; and therefore (5) to give a motive-explanation of an action i s to explain the action i n terms of the agent's desires and information. Let me now begin to t r y to make out these claims by examining the ways i n which we give the agent's motive.  We often give the agent's  motive by f i l l i n g i n a sentence-frame of the sort 'He acted out of . . . ' ' . . . made him do such-and-such', 'His motive i n doing such-and-such was  . . . ', 'He did such-and-such from . . . ', with a single word such  as 'ambition', 'vanity', 'greed', 'jealousy , 'revenge', ' c u r i o s i t y ' , etc. 1  We must now t r y to determine whether, when we explain an action by giving the agent's motive i n any of these ways, we are explaining the action i n terms of some end, purpose, objective, aim, or goal towards which the action i s directed.  I s h a l l argue that we are, and that we do so by  reporting the agent's intention. It i s to be.noticed, however, that though these words are often used to explain actions by giving the agent's motive, they can be used to explain actions i n other ways than by giving the agent's motive.  For ex-  ample, vain people often do vain things automatically, without any end or purpose i n mind.  S i m i l a r l y , vengeful persons can act vengefully, greedy  persons greedily, avaricious persons avariciously, without acting i n order to do or to secure anything. And i n such cases we may explain the action by saying that the agent acted out.of vanity, revenge, greed, avariciousness.  But I do not think that we would c a l l vanity, revenge, greed,  etc., i n such cases the agent's motive for action.  In the above sorts  of cases, where there i s no purpose or goal present, I think that to  62 explain the action by saying that the agent acted out of vanity, revenge, etc.,  amounts to explaining the action as being only the exercise of  some d i s p o s i t i o n .  The agent did not act purposively i n order to dp or  to secure something; he only acted out of some d i s p o s i t i o n as if he were doing so.  And once we know that the agent had no end or goal i n  mind, that he was not acting i n order to do or to secure something, we do not ask f o r , or talk about, the agent's motive. But while explaining an agent's action as being only  the exercise  of some d i s p o s i t i o n does, preclude that the agent had some goal i n mind, i t i s quite consistent to say that an agent acted out of a certain d i s p o s i t i o n and in.order to do or to secure something.  For c l e a r l y a man  possessing a vain d i s p o s i t i o n or character t r a i t may act out of that d i s p o s i t i o n , and do so i n order to secure the admiration others.  and envy of  And i n such a case we can also explain the agent's action by  saying that he acted out of vanity.  But since, as we saw e a r l i e r , i t  makes sense to say that an action was done out of a motive, e.g., vanity, while yet denying that the agent was a vain man or had a vain disposition,  to give a d i s p o s i t i o n or a character t r a i t of the agent's cannot  be included i n what i s involved i n giving the agent's motive.. So l e t us see what i t means to say that an agent acted out of vanity, revenge, c u r i o s i t y , etc., when these phrases.are used to give the agent's motive. I s h a l l begin by considering the meaning of some of the words that are nprmally used to give forward-looking 'ambition', 'greed', 'avarice', 'generosity', 'vanity'.  motives.  Among these are:  'cowardice', 'patriotism',  To say that an agent acted out of ambition i s to say that he  63 acted i n order,to obtain.a more important p o s i t i o n or to succeed or something of t h i s sort.  To say that an agent acted out of greed i s to  say that he acted to t r y to get more than h i s share or to get more than was necessary.  To say that an agent acted out of avarice i s to say that  he acted to accumulate money for i t s own sake.  To say that an agent  acted out of generosity i s to say that he acted to f r e e l y share something he had (time, money, e t c . ) .  To say that an agent acted out of  cowardice i s to say that he acted to avoid,a dangerous s i t u a t i o n that i n some sense he ought to have faced.  To say that an agent acted out  of patriotism i s - t o say that he acted to benefit his country for i t s own sake.  The q u a l i f i c a t i o n 'for i t s own sake' i s necessary here, f o r  one may act to benefit h i s country i n order to gain personal glory; and i n this case he would not have been acting out of patriotism.  To say  that an agent acted out of vanity i s to say that he acted, usually by doing something t r i v i a l , i n order to secure the admiration  of others or  to give himself a chance to contemplate h i s (real or imagined) good points. Now i f these words mean what I claim them to, we may observe that when they are used to give a motive-explanation of an agent's action, they explain the action by i n d i c a t i n g some end, goal, purpose, etc,, towards which the action i s directed; and indicate this end, goal, purpose, etc., by reporting the agent's intention.  For example, to say  that an agent did X out of ambition i s to say that he acted to secure a more important p o s i t i o n .  And,to say t h i s i s to explain the agent's  doing X by i n d i c a t i n g h i s goal i n acting by reporting h i s intention.  64 Similar remarks could be made i n the cases.of  the other words discussed  above. Let us now  turn to the class of words which, when they are used  to give the agent's motives, always indicate p a r t i a l l y backward-looking motives.  These are motives that assign something i n the past or  as the ground because of which the agent acts.  present,  Words that assign motives  that are always at least p a r t i a l l y backward-looking by v i r t u e of the fact that they always point to some ground i n the past are 'revenge', 'gratitude', and  'remorse'.  'Jealousy' i s , I think, an example of a  motive-word that normally, or at least very often, indicates a backwardlooking motive by assigning some ground i n the present as that because of which the agent acts. was  I s h a l l argue that these words, as we  the case with those that normally indicate forward-looking  found motives,  explain an agent's action by i n d i c a t i n g the agent's end, goal, purpose, etc., i n acting by reporting h i s i n t e n t i o n . report h i s intention;,they indicate why  But they do more than just  he had,the intention by pointing  to.some past or present  f a c t , event, or experience.  Let us now  see  what these words mean.  To say that an agent acted out of revenge i s to.  say that he acted to pay someone back for having done.something h u r t f u l . To say that an agent acted out of gratitude i s to say that he acted to confer a benefit because he received one.  To say that,an agent did  something out of remorse i s to say that he acted to repent for having committed some wrong.  And  to say that an agent acted out of jealousy i s  to say that he acted to harm someone because that person has got or has done something that the agent has not, and would l i k e to have or have  65 done.  In a l l these cases, to explain an agent's action by using these  words i s to explain the action by i n d i c a t i n g the agent's end, goal, purpose, etc., i n acting by reporting h i s intention, and to allude to some past or present f a c t , event, or experience as the ground f o r h i s having t h i s intention.  We do not know what s p e c i f i c f a c t , event, or experience  occurred or i s occurring, but we know that some did or i s , and i t s general nature. I now.wish to deal with the words i n d i c a t i n g motives f a l l i n g under Anscombe's t h i r d c l a s s i f i c a t i o n : those motives she c a l l s ' i n t e r pretative motives' which function to place the action i n a c e r t a i n light.  Under t h i s category, she t e n t a t i v e l y l i s t s the motives of curios-  i t y , friendship, fear, s p i t e , despair, love of truth, and admiration. The motives of t h i s class seem to be normally forward-looking.  There i s  no backward-looking element e s s e n t i a l to these motives as there i s i n the case of the motives of revenge, gratitude, remorse, and jealousy. But, as was pointed  out i n the case of c u r i o s i t y e a r l i e r , there may be  a backward-looking element present i n them which could be discovered i f we knew the agent's motive i n f u l l enough d e t a i l .  I now wish to suggest  that to give a motive-explanation of an action by using the words 'curi o s i t y ' , 'friendship', 'fear', 'spite', 'despair',  'admiration', and the  phrase 'love of truth', i s to explain the action by i n d i c a t i n g the agent's end,  goal, purpose, etc., i n acting; and to indicate t h i s by reporting  the agent's intention.  An examination of-how these words and t h i s phrase  explain actions w i l l show that t h i s i s so.  66 To say that an agent acted out of c u r i o s i t y i s to say that he acted to f i n d something out.  To say that an agent acted out of f r i e n d -  ship i s to say that he acted to benefit a f r i e n d for h i s friend's sake. To say that an agent acted out of fear i s to say that he acted to avoid or get away from something or someone that he thinks or thought dangerous.  To say that an agent acted out of spite i s , t o say that he acted  out of a p a r t i c u l a r kind of i l l w i l l to harm or annoy someone, or to a f f e c t him i n some other negative way. a motive for action. to do something.  Despair seems only r a r e l y to be  And when,it i s a motive, i t i s a motive for ceasing  For despair i s a state of mind i n which the agent i s  c e r t a i n that something he wishes to be so is,not so.  A man may give up  a project out of despair, but can never s t a r t one out of i t .  And i f  we were to explain a man's giving up a project by saying that he did so out of despair, we should be explaining h i s action by saying that he did so to save himself the e f f o r t of pursuing a project that he considered had no chance of success; that he gave i t up because he believed he had no chance of success, and wanted to avoid the work or f r u s t r a t i o n involved i n pursuing  a task he viewed as hopeless.  To say that a man  acted out of love of truth, as when we say a man spent h i s spare time reading n o n - f i c t i o n out of a love of t r u t h , i s to say that he acted to f i n d out the truth f o r i t s own sake, i . e . , not f o r i t s u t i l i t y or for the sake of anything  else, but because he had a c e r t a i n f e e l i n g , a pro-  attitude, towards truth. To explain an action by using the word 'admiration',  as when we  explain one's voting for A by saying that he did so out of admiration  or  67 because he admired A  3  does not seem to f i t the pattern exemplified by  the other words discussed.  That i s , we found i n the case of 'ambition'  that to say that one,is doing X out of ambition i s to say that he i s doing X i n order to obtain a more important p o s i t i o n ; i n the case of 'gratitude', we found that to say that one i s doing X out of gratitude i s to say that he i s doing X i n order to confer a benefit on someone or something because he has received one; and the other words discussed were found to be susceptible of similar analyses.  But when we say that  an agent i s acting out of admiration, we cannot f i l l i n , as we can i n the other cases, what he i s acting i n order to do: to say that an agent did X out of admiration i s to say that he did X i n order to-. . . what? It may of course be that the agent did X to show or something.  admiration f o r someone  And i n such cases the agent's end i n acting i s c l e a r .  But we often act out of admiration without acting to show admiration. And i n such cases where the agent acts out of admiration, we cannot ascertain the agent's end or purpose i n acting by j u s t explicating the meaning of the word, as we found we could i n the cases of an agent's acting out of ambition, patriotism, gratitude, revenge, e t c . As with the cases of explanations u t i l i s i n g the words 'love' and 'hate' dis-r cussed i n Chapter I, when we.explain an agent's action by saying that he did i t out of admiration, h i s end i n acting has to be gathered from the context.  For example, to say that an agent voted f o r A out of admiration,  or because he admired A, Is to say that he voted f o r A because he thought A to be an admirable man or an admirable man i n some,respects.  And since  to vote f o r someone i s to t r y to elect him, to know that an agent voted  68  for A because he admired him i s to know that he voted for A i n order to t r y to elect someone he regarded as an admirable man or an admirable man i n some respects.  Similar remarks could, I.think, be made i n other  cases where an agent's action i s explained by saying that he did i t out of admiration. We haye now seen that a good many motive-words function to explain the agent's action by i n d i c a t i n g h i s end or purpose or aim or goal or objective i n acting by reporting h i s intention.  I suggest, further, that  any single word that i s used to give the agent's motive functions tp explain the action i n t h i s way.  Now to give the agent's end or purpose  etc., i n acting by reporting his intention i s to give h i s reason for action.  For, for any «5, whenever we say that the agent's end i n acting  (or i n planning  to act) i s (or was) totf,we may say that h i s reason for  acting (or i n planning  to act) i s (or was) to. j.• Thus to know that the  agent's motive was ambition i s tp know that h i s end i n acting was to obtain a more important p o s i t i o n ; and to know that h i s end i n acting was to obtain a more important p o s i t i o n i s to know that t h i s was h i s reason for acting.  Similar remarks could be made i n the cases of the other  motive-words discussed above.  Accordingly,  i f I am correct i n claiming  (1) that whenever we explain an agent's action by c i t i n g a motive-wcrd, we are explaining the action by i n d i c a t i n g the end towards which the action i s directed by reporting h i s intention, and (2) that to give the agent's end i n acting by reporting h i s intention i s to give the agent's reason for acting, i t follows that whenever we explain an agent's action by giving h i s motive by the use of a motive-word, we are explaining the  69 action by giving h i s reason for action. We do not, however, always explain actions by giving the agent's motive by completing a sentence-frame of the sort considered above with a motive-word. ways:  The agent's motive i s often also given i n the following  He married her  in order to get her money, to get her money, for  the sake of her money, for the purpose of getting her money, for her money (or  for. p r o f i t ) , because he wanted her money, because he craved  her money.  With the possible exception of the phrase 'for the sake o f ,  these i t a l i c i z e d expressions never introduce motive-words such as 'ambit i o n ' , 'vanity', 'jealousy', etc., but must be completed i n some such way as the examples indicate.  Let us now see how the agent's motive, given  i n these ways, explains h i s action. above i t a l i c i z e d expressions  I think i t i s f a i r i y clear that the  serve to introduce the agent's end, goal,  objective, purpose, or aim i n acting.  We may also notice that the agent's  end, goal, objective, purpose, or aim i n acting i s indicated i n one of two ways: by reporting the agent's intention or by reporting some desire of the agent's. The expressions  ' i n order to get her money', 'to get her money , 1  'for the sake of her money', 'for her money', 'for profit',,  'for the  purpose of getting her money', a l l explain actions by giving the agent's goal or aim or purpose or objective or end i n acting by reporting h i s intention.  A l l are equivalent to saying  'to get her money'.  And, as  was argued above, for anytf,whenever we say that the agent's end, purpose, goal, etc., i n acting (or i n planning to act) Is (or was) to ^, we may say that h i s reason.for acting (or i n planning to act) i s (or was)  70 to  Thus, i f we know that the agent's end i n marrying the g i r l was to  get her money, we know that h i s reason for marrying her was to get her money. The expressions 'because he wanted her money' and 'because he craved her money' explain the agent's action by i n d i c a t i n g the agent's end or purpose i n acting by reporting some desire of the agent's. And when we say that the agent d i d (or i s doing, or plans to do) something because he desired (or desires) something, by specifying h i s desire we are giving h i s reason for action.  Accordingly, when we know that he  married the g i r l because he wanted her money, we know that h i s reason for marrying the g i r l was h i s desire for her money. Thus when we explain an agent's action by giving h i s motive i n any of the ways j u s t considered, we are explaining that action i n terms of the agent's reason for action; and doing so by either reporting h i s ' intention or reporting some desire of h i s . Now i t might be objected at this point that I have not dealt with a l l the types of expressions that can be used to give the agent's motive. It might be urged that, i n addition to giving the agent's motive by reporting h i s Intention and by reporting some desire of h i s , we can give the agent's motive by mentioning some external circumstance or event, or by mentioning some b e l i e f of the agent's.  That i s , i t might be thought  that the agent's motive can be given by saying things l i k e 'because i t was r a i n i n g ' , 'because he had a gun', 'because he i s a Seventh Day Advent i s t ' , and so on. These expressions mentioning some external event or circumstance or some b e l i e f of the agent's can be used to explain why the  agent did such-and-such.  They can also, I think, be used to make clear  the grounds of an agent's motive.  But they do not seem to me to explain  actions.by giving the agent's motive.  For we would not say that h i s  motive i n handing over the money was the fact that there was a gun at h i s head, or that h i s motive in.refusing to play tennis on Sunday was the fact that he was a Seventh Day Adventist. Looking back with a view to summarising our findings, we found that,whenever we explain an action by giving the,agent's motive, we are always explaining the action by i n d i c a t i n g h i s end, goal, purpose, aim, or objective i n acting.  We found, further, that the agent's end,  goal, purpose, etc., i s indicated by giving the agent's motive i n only two ways; by reporting h i s intention or by reporting some desire of h i s . That i s , the agent's motive Is always given i n , or reducible to, one of the forms 'He did i t to tf', or 'He did i t out of a desire to </>\  And I  argued that to say either of these things i s to give the agent's reason for action.  Thus to explain an action by giving the agent's motive i s  to explain the action by giving the agent's reason for action of a s p e c i a l kind, namely a reason of the agent's that indicates the objective or goal aimed at.  I t i s this that moved the agent to act.  motive-explanations are a species of Now,  Accordingly,  reason-explanations.  as was argued i n Chapter I, whenever we explain an action  by giving the agent's reason for action by reporting h i s i n t e n t i o n , we can always elucidate t h i s reason for action more concretely and f u l l y i n terms of the agent's desires and information.  For example, to ex-  p l a i n my undertaking extra r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s by saying that I did so to  72 obtain a more important p o s i t i o n i s equivalent to explaining my action by saying that I wanted a more important p o s i t i o n , and knew or believed that by undertaking more, r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s I would increase my chances of, or contribute to, achieving my objective.  And, as again was argued  i n Chapter I, to give the agent's reason for action by reporting some desire of h i s , where the desire i s for some end to be achieved by that action, i s to explain the action only i f i t i s understood that the agent has some related information.  For example, i f I tear up someone's l e t t e r  because I want to get back at him, my action i s explained by saying 'because I want to get back at him' only i f i t i s understood that I believe that by tearing up the l e t t e r I w i l l be hurting him. Thus, since motives are reasons for action, and since they are only given i n the two ways j u s t discussed, to explain an action by giving the agent's motive i s to explain the action i n terms of the agent's desires and information.  These are the factors that moved him to act  i n the way he d i d , that were responsible for his action. We can now re-formulate  the question  'What kind of explanation  are we giving when we explain an agent's action by giving h i s motive or motives for action?', i n a s i m i l a r way to that which we found in,Chapter I we could re-formulate  the question  'What kind of explanation are we  giving when we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason or reasons for action?', as 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action i n terms of h i s desires and information?' answer to this question i s : 'A causal explanation'.  One possible  But I s h a l l leave  the examination of t h i s answer u n t i l l a t e r ; i n this Chapter I s h a l l ;  73  remain content with having put the question i n this form. I s h a l l now conclude this Chapter by comparing and contrasting reason-explanations i n general with that species of reason-explanations I have termed motive-explanations,  Motive-explanations share the follow-  ing features with other reason-explanations: (1) they can be offered to explain an action done i n the past, being done i n the present, or planned to be done i n the future; (2) they can be used to give third-person explanations, i . e . , to explain why  someone else d i d , or i s doing, or plans  to do something, and f i r s t - p e r s o n explanations, i . e . , to explain why  I  did, or am doing, or plan to do something; (3) the reasons that are r e l e vant to them are those reasons of the agent's that a c t u a l l y moved or led him to act i n the way he did; and (4) to explain an action i n terms of them i s to explain the action i n terms of the agent's desires and information.  (This l a s t feature i s only shared by some reason-explanations,  namely those of actions done.in order to do or to secure something).  But  motive-explanations d i f f e r from reason-explanations i n general i n that: (5) they can only be offered to.explain actions that are done i n order to do or to secure something; and  (6)  they can only be offered to explain  actions that are r e l a t i v e l y important and standing i n need of j u s t i f i c a t i o n or explanation (or both).  For i t i s only when an action i s a  r e l a t i v e l y important one that stands i n need of one or both these things do we say that the agent acted from a motive.  CHAPTER I I I  DESIRES AND ACTIONS We have now seen the d i f f e r e n t forms an explanation  of an agent's  action i n terms of h i s reason(s) for action and motive(s) for action can take.  We have seen that we can explain an agent's action by giving h i s  reason for action by reporting some desire of the agent's, or by c i t i n g some information  the agent possesses, or by reporting h i s i n t e n t i o n .  And we have seen that we can explain an agent's action by giving h i s motive for action by f i l l i n g i n a sentence-frame of the sort 'He acted out of-. . .', '. . . made him do such-and-such*, 'His motive i n doing such-and-such was . . .', 'He d i d such-and-such from . . .' with a motiveword such as 'ambition', 'gratitude', ' c u r i o s i t y ' , or by reporting the agent's desire, or by reporting the agent's intention.  We have further  found something i n common amongst a l l these types of explanations. the case of explanations  In  i n terms of the agent's reasons, we found that  we are explaining the action i n terms of the agent's desires or h i s des i r e s and information.  And i n the case of explanations  i n terms of the  agent's motives, we found that we are explaining the action i n terms of the agent's desires and Information., I f this analysis i s correct, we can re-phrase the question,  'What kind of explanation  are we giving when  we explain an agent's action by giving h i s reasoh(s) or motive(s) f o r action?' i n a more tractable way, as: 'What kind of explanation  are we  giving when we explain an agent's action i n terms of h i s desires or h i s  75 desires and information?'"^ It has often been suggested that this type of explanation i s a causal explanation.  Now i t i s clear that when we explain an agent's  action just i n terms of some desire of h i s , whether or not this i s a causal explanation depends on whether or not desires are causes of actions,  I also think that whether or not explanations i n terms of the,  agent's desires and information are causal explanations depends on whether or not desires are causes of actions,  I s h a l l now t r y to show  that t h i s i s so. In discussing the r e l a t i o n between an agent's informat i o n and h i s action i n what follows, I s h a l l be concerned with only one kind of action, namely, i n t e n t i o n a l action.  By making t h i s r e s t r i c t i o n ,  I exclude from consideration those possible cases i n which the agent's information may be claimed to produce an.action i n a completely mechanical or conditioned way; for i n such cases, the action produced w i l l not be an i n t e n t i o n a l action. The agent's information by i t s e l f , i t seems clear, w i l l never move him to perform an i n t e n t i o n a l action.  The knowledge that a c h i l d i s ,  starving, or the b e l i e f that an operation w i l l save h i s wife's l i f e , w i l l only be acted on by the agent i f he has some relevant desire.  If a man  were t o t a l l y i n d i f f e r e n t to the welfare of the c h i l d or h i s wife, this information would not be acted on. Put generally, I think i t can be t r u l y said that whether or not one acts on the information at h i s disposal  Throughout this Chapter, and i n the following ones, I s h a l l use the words 'desire' and 'want' interchangeably.  76 depends on whether or not he has some p a r t i c u l a r desire.  This desire may,  but need not, be a latent one, antecendent to the awareness of some item of information; i t may be one that i s produced by the coming into possession of some item of information. there would be.no action.  But i n either case, without  the desire  Thus i f the agent's information i s to be said  to be causally related to the agent's action, i t can only be so when i n conjunction with some desire of the agent's. I s h a l l now proceed to give an account of the ways i n which the agent's information can exert an influence on him and h i s actions.  Since  I am interested here p r i m a r i l y i n determining whether or not, when an action i s performed, the agent's information i s causally related to that action, I s h a l l ignore the role that information can.play i n extinguishing c e r t a i n desires that the agent may have, and the role.that the agent's information can play i n preventing him from acting i n a p a r t i c u l a r way. The only cases I s h a l l here be considering are those where an agent performs an action because he has c e r t a i n desires and c e r t a i n information; and I s h a l l be concerned, with respect to these cases, to give an account of the function of the agent's information.  On the account I s h a l l o f f e r ,  i t w i l l emerge that the agent's information can be causally related to h i s action only i f the agent's desires are causally related to h i s action. And thus, i f t h i s account be correct, the c r u c i a l question to be answered in,order to determine whether or not explanations of an agent's action i n terms of h i s desires and information are causal explanations i s 'Are desires causes of action?'  77 2 It seems to.me, as i t did to Hume, that the agent's information functions i n only two ways: either by arousing the agent's desire, or by informing the agent of some way fied.  Let us now  i n which some desire he has can be s a t i s -  examine these two ways i n some more d e t a i l .  Under the  f i r s t head, where the agent's information arouses some desire, there are two d i s t i n c t sorts of cases to be considered.  The f i r s t of these i s  where the agent has a latent desire to do or to secure something and information arouses i t .  I may,  the  for example, have a latent desire to go  s k i i n g , and the information that there i s fresh snow on the mountains arouse the desire.  may  Or, to take a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t case f a l l i n g under  t h i s same sub-head, I may  have a latent desire to keep a l l my promises,  and the information that I promised to do X may  arouse my desire to do X,.  The second sort of case to be considered under the general category of cases where information arouses some desire i s that i n which the agent's information produces a desire where there was  none before.  For example,  i t may  be the case that I have no pre-existing desire to help people i n  need.  I may  hold the view that they ought to help themselves.  ing information about l i v i n g conditions i n depressed areas may  But  strik-  cause me  to revise my opinion, and produce i n me a desire to do something to help. Now  i n the cases just considered,  i f I do what my  information  arouses i n me a desire to do, i t seems that even i f we grant that the information caused the desire to be aroused, only i f the desire caused the action could the information be causally related to the action.  That  Hume's views are to be found i n h i s A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I I , Pt. I l l , Sec. I l l , and Bk. I l l , Pt, I, Sec. I.  78 i s , to take an example, even i f we grant that the information that there i s famine in.India caused me to want to send a donation, only i f t h i s desire caused me to send a donation could the information be causally related to the action.  The causal r e l a t i o n i s t r a n s i t i v e .  I f X i s the  cause of 7, and 7 i s the cause of Z, ihen X i s the cause of Z.  Accord-  i n g l y , i f my information i s the cause of my desire, and my desire i s the cause of my action, then my information i s the cause of my action. But i f my desire i s not the cause of my action, then, unless there i s some other connexion between my information and my action, my information cannot be: i f X i s the cause of 7, but 7 i s not the cause of Z, then, unless there i s some other connexion between X and Z, X i s not the cause of Z. We have already seen that there i s no causal connexion between the agent's information by i t s e l f and h i s action, and so we may say, i n cases where the agent's information arouses h i s desire ( i n either of the two ways discussed), that only i f the agent's desire can be construed as a cause of h i s action can h i s information be said to be causally related to the action. I now turn to the second way i n which the agent's information can function: that of informing the agent of some way i n which some desire he has can be s a t i s f i e d .  I may want to catch a f i s h , and one may t e l l  me that the f i s h are i n the middle of the lake.  This information w i l l  then make me want to f i s h i n the middle; I w i l l have a desire to f i s h i n the middle of the lake.  Or I may have a desire to be,in Seattle at 12:00,  and f i n d out that the only way of getting there on time i s to take the 9:00  train,  I w i l l then have a desire to take the 9:00 t r a i n .  But even  79 i f my information causes me to want to f i s h i n the middle of the lake or to want to catch the 9:00  t r a i n , and I do these things, only i f the  desire caused my action could the information be said to be causally related to my action.  For i f the information was  the cause of my  having  a p a r t i c u l a r desire, but the desire did not cause my action, then the information was not causally related to my action. In many p r a c t i c a l s i t u a t i o n s , ^he agent's information w i l l function i n both this way  and i n the way previously discussed, i . e . , c e r t a i n i n f o r -  mation w i l l provide the agent with a l t e r n a t i v e ways,of s a t i s f y i n g some desire he has, and c e r t a i n other information about these a l t e r n a t i v e courses of action w i l l arouse i n him a desire to perform one of them. This desire may be aroused i n either of the two ways e a r l i e r discussed: by arousing some.latent desire or by producing a desire where there none before. follows.  Schematically, the s i t u a t i o n here being envisaged  I may want J f , know that A  c e r t a i n features of 4 , B, C may  t  was  i s as  S, C are ways of securing Z,  and  cause me to want to do A over B or C.  But even i n such a case, whether or not the agent's information i s causally related to the action w i l l depend on whether or not h i s desire i s causally related to the action.  For i f I do A, then only i f my  de-  s i r e caused me to do A could the information which caused me to want to i  do A be said to be causally related tjj my doing A. Thus i f I am correct i n l i m i t i n g the r o l e of information to the two just discussed, i t seems that whether or not explanations of actions i n terms of the agent's desires and information are causal explanations depends on whether or not desires are causes of actions.  80  Now some.of the arguments used to.try to show that desires are not causes of actions appeal to one or both of two features that the concept of desire i s claimed  to have.  These concern the l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n that  holds between desires and actions, and the descriptions under which s p e c i f i c desires are i d e n t i f i a b l e . concerned with the question  I t i s important, then, for anyone,  'Are desires causes of actions?', to make  clear the nature of these features appealed to; and i t w i l l be my major aim i n the remainder of this Chapter to t r y to do t h i s .  With respect to  the f i r s t point at issue, the l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n that holds between desires and actions, I s h a l l provide an account that I w i l l r e l y on i n my argument i n Chapter V.  But with respect to the second, the descriptions under  which s p e c i f i c desires are i d e n t i f i a b l e , I s h a l l not commit myself to any particular  view.  Rather, I s h a l l f i r s t make clear a widely held view that  many arguments designed to show that desires are not causes of actions appeal to, either by i t s e l f or i n conjunction with the f i r s t claimed for the concept of desire.  feature  I s h a l l then provide two alternative  views that have been.taken on the question of how s p e c i f i c desires are identifiable.  Having done t h i s , I s h a l l defer further discussion of this  issue u n t i l Chapter V, where what turns on i t w i l l be clearer than i t w i l l be i n t h i s Chapter. Let me now begin by turning to consider what the l o g i c a l ship holding between desires and actions i s .  relation-  I s h a l l argue that we  cannot want to do or to secure anything without, other things being trying to dp or to secure something i n the appropriate  equal,  circumstances.  But before I actually go on to argue for t h i s claim, some.preliminary  81  c l a r i f i c a t i o n s are necessary: something must be said about the nature of the agent i n question; the 'other things being equal' clause requires explanation; and the relevant use of the word 'want' needs to be located. I s h a l l discuss these points i n order. I s h a l l l i m i t my discussion of wants and actions to those that can be ascribed to developed, r a t i o n a l , and conscious.human agents.  And  I s h a l l further presuppose that the agent i n question i s capable of trying.  The only requirement  for being able to t r y to do something,  where doing that something involves making some bodily movement, i s , I think, that the agent not be  totally  being p h y s i c a l l y bound, e t c . ) .  immobilized (by p a r a l y s i s , or by  For to say that one i s trying to do some-  thing i s always to say that he i s a c t u a l l y doing something with a view to accomplishing a c e r t a i n r e s u l t , whether that r e s u l t i s accomplished or not.  The concept of trying i s incompatible with doing nothing.  Now i f  a man were t o t a l l y immobilized so that he could not move a muscle, then he could not do anything p h y s i c a l l y ; and hence he could not be said to be trying to do anything that involves making some bodily movement. But i f he were only p a r t i a l l y immobilized, say only h i s arm was paralyzed, then i t seems to me.that he could t r y to move i t : he could, for example, tense c e r t a i n muscles or g r i t h i s teeth i n the attempt These things would count as trying to do something.  to move h i s arm.  However, i f he d i d  none of these sorts of things, then we would say that he i s not t r y i n g . I s h a l l now turn to explain the 'other things being equal' clause that occurs i n my claim that we cannot want to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to do or to secure something  82  i n the a p p r o p r i a t e c i r c u m s t a n c e s .  Tfte q u a l i f i c a t i o n  'other things being  e q u a l ' i s meant to e x c l u d e the presenbe of c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wants and the l a c k of b e l i e f on the p a r t of the agent t h a t he has e i t h e r o r b o t h the a b i l i t y and/or opportunity filling  to do o r to s e c u r e what he w a n t s .  Thus,  i n the ' o t h e r t h i n g s b e i n g e q u a l ' c l a u s e , my c l a i m amounts to  saying that i f  the agent has a w a n t , :io c o u n t e r v a i l i n g w a n t s , and b e -  l i e v e s t h a t he has the a b i l i t y and o p p o r t u n i t y w a n t , t h e n he w i l l  t r y to do s o .  to r e a l i s e o r s a t i s f y h i s  I am c l a i m i n g t h a t the r e l a t i o n s h i p be-r  tween the p r o p o s i t i o n s c o n s t i t u t i n g  the a n t e c e d e n t and the consequent of  t h i s c o n d i t i o n a l i s that of entailment.  T h i s means, i f we l e t  'p' s t a n d  f o r the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t i s the a n t e c e d e n t and 'qr' s t a n d f o r the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t i s the consequent o f t h e above c o n d i t i o n a l , t h a t i t t e n t to a s s e r t p and y e t deny  It  s h o u l d be n o t i c e d h e r e t h a t i t  not n e c e s s a r y t h a t the agent actually it  i s o n l y n e c e s s a r y t h a t he believe  opportunity  i n order for i t  is inconsis-  have the a b i l i t y and  opportunity;  h i m s e l f to have the a b i l i t y and the  to be n e c e s s a r y t h a t , g i v e n he has a want  and no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g w a n t s , he t r y t o do s o m e t h i n g . countervailing wants, a b i l i t y ,  Some comments on  and o p p o r t u n i t y would now be i n o r d e r .  I n e x p l a i n i n g what i s i n c l u d e d under t h e s e t h r e e h e a d s , the import my c l a i m w i l l ,  is  of  I h o p e , become c l e a r e r .  C o u n t e r v a i l i n g wants may be d i r e c t e d to t h i n g s o r a c t i o n s o r s t a t e s of a f f a i r s t h a t the agent wants o r wants to d o . o r wants t o b r i n g about more t h a n he wants t o s a t i s f y the want i n q u e s t i o n .  They m a y a l s o be c o n -  s t i t u t e d by an a v e r s i o n t o something i n v o l v e d i n s a t i s f y i n g o r r e a l i s i n g the want i n q u e s t i o n . ' F o r example, I may want t o have X, but to have X i s  83  i l l e g a l ; and I may want to avoid breaking the law more than I .want J , I am using the term ' a b i l i t y ' here to cover such things as s k i l l s as w e l l as other things such as money, time, strength, patience, etc.  We  must now determine what i t means to say that someone has the opportunity to do or to secure something.  It i s c l e a r l y the case that when one i s  i n a p o s i t i o n to do something that c e r t a i n l y or probably w i l l achieve some end, we can say that he has the opportunity to achieve that end. But we do not r e s t r i c t the application of the term 'opportunity' to cases such as these, where the agent i s i n a p o s i t i o n to do something that w i l l certainly  or probably  succeed i n achieving some end.  For ex-  ample, we quite n a t u r a l l y say that every candidate at the convention had the opportunity to become leader of the party.  And when we say t h i s we  c e r t a i n l y do not mean that they were a l l i n a p o s i t i o n to c e r t a i n l y or probably become leader. i t y to stop the t h i e f .  Or again, we can say that a man had the  opportun-  And we can quite properly say t h i s even i f i t i s  not c e r t a i n or probable that he would have stopped the t h i e f i f he had tried.  In both these cases, a l l that seems to be required for us to say  that the individuals had opportunities i s that It would have been possible for them, respectively, to a t t a i n the leadership or to stop the t h i e f . Moreover, i t seems proper to say that one has the opportunity to do or to secure something where he i s so circumstanced that i t i s possible but improbable man  f o r him to succeed.  For example, i n the second case, where a  i s said to have had the opportunity to stop the t h i e f , even i f we knew  that he was  so circumstanced  that i t was  improbable  that he could have, as  long as i t was possible, we would say that he had the opportunity to do so.  84  We might speak of his having not a very good opportunity, but an opportunity nonetheless,  Thus i t seems that a l l that i s required f o r someone  to have the opportunity  to do or to secure something i s that he be i n a  p o s i t i o n that makes i t possible for him to do or to secure that thing., And, without further information, this i s a l l that i t means to say that an agent has the opportunity  to do or to secure something.  We must now  formulate what i t means to say that the agent believes that he has the opportunity  to do or to secure something; f o r this i s what i s relevant  to the discussion of the 'other things being equal' clause. have argued, to say that an agent has the opportunity  I f , as I  to do or to secure  something i s to say that he i s i n a position that makes i t possible f o r him to do or to secure that thing, to say that an agent believes he has the opportunity  to do or to secure something i s to say that he believes  he i s i n a position that makes i t possible for him to do or to secure that thing. I now wish to consider a possible objection a r i s i n g out.of the account I have offered of what i t means to say that one has the opportuni t y tp do or to secure something.  I have claimed that i f an agent has a  want, no countervailing wants, and believes that he has the a b i l i t y and the opportunity  to s a t i s f y his want, then he w i l l t r y to do so, I have  also claimed that the r e l a t i o n between the propositions constituting the antecedent and consequent of this conditional i s entailment.  Not i t may  be argued that since we can say that an agent has the opportunity when the p r o b a b i l i t y of success i s low, or when i t i s possible but improbable f o r him to succeed, the agent may believe that he has the opportunity  but not  85 a c t because of the lowness o f the p r o b a b i l i t y of s u c c e s s .  Thus the  f o r c e of the o b j e c t i o n i s t o suggest t h a t an agent can have a w a n t , no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g w a n t s , b e l i e v e t h a t he has the a b i l i t y and  opportunity,  and y e t n o t a c t because the p r o b a b i l i t y of s u c c e s s a t t a c h i n g to h i s opportunity  i s n o t h i g h enough; and t h a t , h e n c e , the r e l a t i o n s h i p between  the a n t e c e d e n t and consequent of t h i s c o n d i t i o n a l c o u l d n o t be one of entailment. I propose t o d e a l w i t h t h i s o b j e c t i o n i n the f o l l o w i n g way.  If  the p r o b a b i l i t y o f s u c c e s s i s v e r y l o w , o r where s u c c e s s i s p o s s i b l e b u t i m p r o b a b l e , I may d e c i d e n o t to t r y  to do a n y t h i n g ; but I d e c i d e  not t o t r y t o do a n y t h i n g because I <^o n o t want to expend the t r y i n g to do something t h a t has so l i t t l e a chance of s u c c e s s . it  effort That i s ,  i s a s t r o n g e r c o u n t e r - w a n t t h a t a c c o u n t s f o r my not p e r f o r m i n g .  So  my answer to the o b j e c t i o n under c o n s i d e r a t i o n t h a t h o l d s t h a t an agent can have a w a n t , no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g w a n t s , b e l i e v e t h a t he has the and o p p o r t u n i t y j  and y e t n o t a c t because the p r o b a b i l i t y of  a t t a c h e d to the o p p o r t u n i t y  ability  success  i s not h i g h enough, i s t o deny t h a t when the  p r o b a b i l i t y I s n o t h i g h enough t h a t the agent has no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g w a n t s . W i t h t h e s e e x p l a n a t i o n s , I hope i t  i s c l e a r what I mean by c l a i m i n g  t h a t we cannot want to do o r to s e c u r e a n y t h i n g w i t h o u t ,  other  things  b e i n g e q u a l , t r y i n g t o do o r to s e c u r e something i n the a p p r o p r i a t e  cir-r  cumstances. Something must now be s a i d about the r e l e v a n t use of the word 'want . 1  The word ' w a n t ' may be used i n many d i s t i n c t w a y s , n o t a l l  w h i c h a r e r e l e v a n t t o the e x p l a n a t i o n of a c t i o n s .  of  We may b e g i n t o t r y  to  86 i s o l a t e the r e l e v a n t use of the word by e x c l u d i n g the f o l l o w i n g uses as being i r r e l e v a n t  to the e x p l a n a t i o n of a c t i o n s :  want you t o b e , i n my o f f i c e a t . t e n s h a r p ' . a p i e c e of p i e , p l e a s e ' . left'.  (4)  (3) C h o i c e s .  'Want' i n the sense of  (1) Commands.  (2) R e q u e s t s .  E.g.,  'I  E . g . , 'I  want  E . g . , 'I want the one on the  'ought'.  E . g . , ' Y o u want t o eat b e -  f o r e you g o ' . 3 R.B.  Brandt and J . Kim  as b e i n g i r r e l e v a n t sense of  'need'.  a l s o e x c l u d e the f o l l o w i n g uses of  to the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of a c t i o n s :  (5)  'want'  'Want' i n  E . g . , 'The c h i l d wants to be d i s c i p l i n e d ' . :  (6)  the 'Want'  i n the ways i n w h i c h the word i s used i n the s e n t e n c e s : 'The p o l i c e want him', ces,  ' Y o u a r e wanted by the b o s s ' . 'want'  i s used i n the sense of  s e n t e n c e , i n the sense of  As the word i s used i n t h e s e s e n t e n ' s e e k ' ; o r p e r h a p s , i n the second  'need'.  But though the word ' w a n t ' when used i n the sense of ' s e e k ' i s sometimes, as i n the above examples, i r r e l e v a n t  to  ' n e e d ' or the  e x p l a n a t i o n of a c t i o n s , we cannot e x c l u d e t h e s e uses as b e i n g always irrelevant.  Sometimes they a r e c l e a r l y r e l e v a n t  as i n the f o l l o w i n g c a s e s .  If  to e x p l a i n i n g a c t i o n s ,  I went to the l i b r a r y because I needed to  check on a r e f e r e n c e , my a c t i o n c o u l d be e x p l a i n e d by s a y i n g t h a t I went to the l i b r a r y because I wanted to check on a r e f e r e n c e .  Similarly,  if  I made some o u t r a g e o u s . r e m a r k because I sought p u b l i c i t y ,  my a c t i o n c o u l d  be e x p l a i n e d by s a y i n g t h a t I made t h a t outrageous remark because I  "Wants as E x p l a n a t i o n s of A c t i o n s " , (1963), 426.  Journal  of Philosophy  3  LX  87 wanted publicity.. 'need' and  Thus these uses of 'want , v i z . , i n the senses of 1  'seek', cannot be t o t a l l y excluded  from consideration*'  The word 'want' can be used In a wider or narrower way. i n a narrower way,  i t can be contrasted with words or expressions  'needs' or 'has to'.  For example, we may  using i t i n the wider way,  like  say that he went to the  l i b r a r y not because he wanted to, but because he had  had  When used  (or needed) to. , But  to say that he went to the l i b r a r y because he  (or needed) to e n t a i l s that he went there because he wanted to.  It  i s t h i s wider use of 'want' that i s relevant to the explaining of actions. But what i s t h i s wider use?  I think that i t can be indicated with  s u f f i c i e n t p r e c i s i o n by saying that i t i s the use of 'want' i n which that term can always be substituted f o r the phrase ' i n order to' (together with, of course, changes i n the surrounding  sentence-structure).  It  seems that whenever we say that one did X i n order to do or to secure J , we may  re-phrase  or to secure Y  t  t h i s by saying that one did X because he wanted to do. Now  the doing or'securing of Y may  or may  not be some-r  thing that the agent would do as a matter of choice or i n c l i n a t i o n , i . e . , would do i f there were no other considerations involved.  For example,  I may  hate reading  go to a meeting i n order to read a paper, but I may  papers.  But even i n such a.case, there i s a sense i n which i t can be  properly said that I went l o the meeting because I wanted to read a paper.  Or, on the other hand, I may  hike to a mountain lake i n order to  get i n some good f i s h i n g , which I love doing. l y replace ' i n order to' with  And here too we can  'because I want to'.  clear-  Of course, the ' i n  order to' construction i s not always relevant to the explanation of  88 actions; i t i s not relevant i n those cases where the agent performs an action f o r i t s own sake, simply because he wants to. But t h i s does not affeet,the point I am making, which i s merely that the use of 'want' relevant to the explanation of actions i s the widest possible one. I t includes the use of 'want' that i s conformable with, as well as the use that i s i n contrast to, something that i s a matter of the agent's pleasure.  The context i s to be r e l i e d upon to make i t clear which i s  the case. As t h i s i s the use of 'want' relevant to the explanation of actions, i t i s also the use that i s to be taken to be exemplified by that word i n my claim that we cannot want to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to do or to secure something i n the approp r i a t e circumstances.  Accordingly, when one says 'I want to go to the  l i b r a r y " , he may or may not be a n t i c i p a t i n g , with pleasure, the t r i p . He may want to go there because he has to f o r some purpose or other, or he may want to go there because he l i k e s or enjoys going to l i b r a r i e s . Having now given some explanations of what I mean by claiming that we cannot want to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal,.trying to do or to secure something i n the appropriate circumstances, and having isolated the relevant use of the word 'want', I now wish to turn to argue f o r this claim.  I s h a l l begin by examining what  i t means f o r an agent to say that he wants to do or to secure something. Take, f o r example, the sentence  'I want to go to the c i r c u s ' .  This  sentence can be used i n the appropriate circumstances, ( i . e . , not when I am learning a language, i l l u s t r a t i n g a philosophical point, etc.) to  89 make a statement that i s either true or f a l s e : i t i s either true or f a l s e that I want to go to the c i r c u s .  When I make the statement 'I want to go  to the c i r c u s ' , I am describing something about myself i n the way which a piece of glass can be.described  as b r i t t l e .  in  When we say that the  glass i s b r i t t l e , this e n t a i l s that i f i t i s acted upon i n c e r t a i n ways i t w i l l break.  I f the glass did not break, we should say that the glass  i s not b r i t t l e , and that the statement that claimed i t to be so i s f a l s e . In a s i m i l a r manner, when I say that I want to go to the c i r c u s , this e n t a i l s that i f there i s a circus i n town, then, other things being equal, I w i l l intend to go to i t . are met,  If I do not, and a l l the conditions  ( i . e . , I have no stronger counter-wants, and believe I have the  a b i l i t y and opportunity), then I could not properly say that I want to go.  If such a claim were made, i t would be f a l s e ; j u s t as the claim  that the glass i s b r i t t l e would be f a l s e i f the glass did not break when struck i n the appropriate way.  And,  as I s h a l l shortly show, we  often  have behavioural c r i t e r i a by which we can v e r i f y or f a l s i f y a 'want'statement. If my argument so far has been correct, we cannot want to do or. to secure anything without, other things being equal, intending to do or to secure something i n the appropriate circumstances. conditional intentions.  It i s important to notice here that what we i n -  tend to do need not be what we want to do. may  act directly  Thus wants involve  When we want something we  to try to secure i t , i n which case the object of our.  intention and the object of our want w i l l co-incide;-or we may indirectly  act  by doing something which i s believed to be a means to securing  90  what we want, i n which case the object o f our intention and the object of our want, though they w i l l be related, w i l l not cq-incide. Now to say that one,intends to do or to secure something e n t a i l s that he w i l l , other things being equal, t r y to do or to secure that thing in.the appropriate circumstances.  I f an agent professed to have  an intention to dp something, had no stronger counter-wants, believed that he had the a b i l i t y and opportunity to do i t , and yet d i d not act on the intention, he could not properly be said,to have i t .  From such  a f a i l u r e t c t r y to do something under these conditions, we should conclude either that he had changed h i s mind or was l y i n g when he claimed to have the intention.  I f I am correct i n t h i s , we cannot intend to do  or t o secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to do or to secure i t i n the appropriate circumstances. I am now i n a p o s i t i o n to show the connexion between wanting and trying to do or trying to secure something.  Since (1) we cannot want  to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal, intending to do or to secure something i n the appropriate circumstances, and since (2) we cannot intend to do.or to secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to do or to secure i t i n the appropriate circumstances, i t follows that (3) we cannot want to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal,.trying to do or to secure something i n the appropriate circumstances.  Now i f we f i l l i n the 'other things  being equal' clause i n (3), we can.arrive at a statement c i t i n g c e r t a i n conditions that w i l l e n t a i l a statement to the effect.that we w i l l t r y to do something.  This would be as.follows.  The statement  that we want to  91  do or to secure something, have no countervailing wants; and believe that we have the a b i l i t y and opportunity  to do or to secure i t , en-  t a i l s the statement that we w i l l t r y to do or to secure something i n the appropriate  circumstances.  Now I claim that the c o n d i t i o n s . l i s t e d i n the 'other  things  being equal' clause, ( v i z . , no countervailing wants, and the b e l i e f on the part of the agent that he has both the a b i l i t y and opportunity to do or to secure something that would lead to the s a t i s f a c t i o n or, the r e a l i s a t i o n of his want), are exhaustive i n the sense that, given that the agent wants (to dp) something, any s p e c i f i c a l t e r n a t i v e to the agent's trying to do.or to secure something w i l l f a l l under,one of these three heads.  That i s , i f a 'want'-statement i s made, then  at l e a s t one of the following disjuncts w i l l obtain: the agent w i l l try to do or to secure something, or there w i l l be some countervailing wants, or the agent w i l l not believe that he has the a b i l i t y , or the agent w i l l not believe that he has the opportunity.  I f none of these  alternatives i s the case, then the 'want'-statement could not be said to be true at the time when action i s appropriate.  The phrase 'at  the time when action i s appropriate' i s important, for t h i s allows f o r the fact that, i f there i s a time-lag between the making of-the statement and the time for action, the agent may change h i s mind.  I f the  agent does not t r y to do,or to secure anything, and none of the other disjuncts obtains, my claim i s not that the 'want'-statement was never true; i t i s j u s t that the 'want'-statement.is not true when the time  92 f o r a c t i o n has c o m e / I now w i s h to t u r n to the ways i n w h i c h we can v e r i f y o r a 'want'-statement.  V e r y o f t e n t h e r e w i l l be b e h a v i o u r a l c r i t e r i a by  the p r e s e n c e o r l a c k of w h i c h we can v e r i f y o r f a l s i f y a ment.  falsify  'want'-state-  But t h i s v e r i f i c a t i o n or f a l s i f i c a t i o n i s n o t a s i m p l e ; m a t t e r ,  and I s h o u l d now l i k e to d i s c u s s the d i f f i c u l t i e s  involved.  There  a r e t h r e e d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e s o r t s of cases t h a t have to be d e a l t w i t h here.  I n d e a l i n g w i t h them, I s h a l l f o r m u l a t e the ' w a n t ' - s t a t e m e n t  the f i r s t p e r s o n , but what I say about them e q u a l l y a p p l i e s to  in  'want'-  s t a t e m e n t s i n any o t h e r p e r s o n . Case ( 1 ) : suppose A says 'I  want X  1  where e x t e r n a l and p u b l i c l y  o b s e r v a b l e b e h a v i o u r i s a p p r o p r i a t e t o s e c u r i n g X, and where X i s available.  Now i f A does not t r y to s e c u r e X, o r t r y to do a n y t h i n g  t h a t he b e l i e v e s to b e . a means t o . s e c u r i n g X, we cannot c o n c l u d e off  t h a t he does not want 1 and t h a t h i s statement i s f a l s e .  t o be a b l e to do t h i s , we would have t o be a b l e t o say the (a) A has no s t r o n g e r c o u n t e r - w a n t s , ability  straight  In order  following:  (b) A b e l i e v e s t h a t he has the  to succeed i n , s e c u r i n g X, and (c) A b e l i e v e s t h a t he has the  opportunity  to s e c u r e X, o r to do something t h a t he b e l i e v e s to be a  means to s e c u r i n g X.  If,  and o n l y i f ,  we were s u r e of t h e s e t h r e e  c o u l d we t h e n use a b e h a v i o u r a l c r i t e r i o n — t h a t  things  of f a l l i n g t o o b s e r v e A  I n C h a p t e r V , I s h a l l defend t h i s a c c o u n t , a c c o r d i n g t o w h i c h a . ' w a n t ' - s t a t e m e n t e n t a i l s a statement to the e f f e c t t h a t , o t h e r t h i n g s b e i n g e q u a l , the agent w i l l t r y to do o r to s e c u r e . s o m e t h i n g i n t h e a p p r o p r i a t e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , a g a i n s t a r i v a l account t h a t h o l d s t h a t the r e l a t i o n s h i p i n q u e s t i o n i s one o t h e r t h a n e n t a i l m e n t .  t r y i n g to s e c u r e X—to  falsify  the statement.  Now we can o f t e n a s c e r t a i n  whether o r not.one o r more o f these t h r e e t h i n g s i s o p e r a t i v e i n p r e v e n t i n g A from t r y i n g t o s e c u r e J secure I .  by a s k i n g A why he i s n o t t r y i n g to  And i f A, i n r e p l y , does.not  c i t e a n y t h i n g t h a t f a l l s under  one.or more o f these t h r e e heads^ we would then be e n t i t l e d to say t h a t he does n o t want X, and t h a t h i s statement  'I want X* i s f a l s e .  o t h e r hand, i n o r d e r f o r us to v e r i f y 4's statement, we  On the  (or someone)  s h o u l d have to see A t r y i n g t o s e c u r e X, o r t r y i n g to ,do.something which i s b e l i e v e d by A to be a means t o X.  The f i r s t d i s j u n c t here i s s t r a i g h t -  forward, and a simple matter o f o b s e r v a t i o n .  The second d i s j u n c t i s  more complex, as we must take A's b e l i e f s i n t o account.  That i s , i t may  be the case t h a t J i s the s o l e means t o X, and we.see A d o i n g Z. would be a v e r i f i c a t i o n o f the statement  This  i f we knew t h a t A b e l i e v e d  ( m i s t a k e n l y , i n t h i s case) t h a t Z was a means t o Z, Case (2): suppose A says  'I want X  1  where e x t e r n a l and p u b l i c l y  o b s e r v a b l e b e h a v i o u r i s a p p r o p r i a t e t o s e c u r i n g X, but where X i s not available.  In t h i s type of case, A i s i n a p r i v i l e g e d p o s i t i o n to say  whether h i s statement But as soon as I vileged position.  i s t r u e o r f a l s e as l o n g as X i s not a v a i l a b l e .  becomes a v a i l a b l e , then he no l o n g e r o c c u p i e s a p r i Others a r e a b l e to v e r i f y o r f a l s i f y h i s statement  i n the ways i n d i c a t e d i n case (1), Case (3): suppose A says  'I want X  1  where e x t e r n a l and p u b l i c l y  o b s e r v a b l e - b e h a v i o u r i s n o t a p p r o p r i a t e to o b t a i n i n g Z.  Examples of  t h i s s o r t o f ease would be when /. wants t c t h i n k o f a synonym o r s o l v e some.puzzle i n h i s head.  O f t e n a 'want'-statement of t h i s s o r t can be  94 v e r i f i e d by A's announcing  the answer.  However, such  a r e , I b e l i e v e , i m p o s s i b l e to c o n c l u s i v e l y f a l s i f y . t h a t A does not announce the answer, we may  'want'-statements F o r from the f a c t  conclude o n l y t h a t any  one  of the f o l l o w i n g i s the c a s e : ( i ) he t r i e d and got the answer but wants to keep i t to h i m s e l f , or ( i i ) he t r i e d but c o u l d not get the answer, or ( i i i ) he d i d not even t r y .  Only i f we  c o u l d be sure t h a t  ( i i i ) i s the  c a s e , t o g e t h e r w i t h the t h r e e f a c t o r s i n d i c a t e d i n case ( 1 ) — v i z . , had no s t r o n g e r counter-wants,  he  he b e l i e v e d he had the a b i l i t y t o succeed,  and he b e l i e v e d he had the o p p o r t u n i t y — c o u l d we not want X, and t h a t h i s statement  conclude t h a t he d i d  t h a t he wanted X i s f a l s e .  Now  even  i n cases such as t h i s , where p u b l i c l y o b s e r v a b l e b e h a v i o u r i s not a p p r o p r i a t e to s e c u r i n g X, t h e r e a r e o f t e n v i s i b l e s i g n s o f an struggle-or trying.  And by o b s e r v i n g these s i g n s we may  v e r i f y the 'want'-statement are not always p r e s e n t .  i n cases  ( i ) and  i n case  can never be c e r t a i n t h a t  ( 3 ) , though we  on o c c a s i o n  But these s i g n s  And-where they are n o t , though we may  be tempted t o say t h a t he i s not t r y i n g , we Consequently, we  (ii).  internal  sometimes  can never be sure o f t h i s . ( i i i ) i s the case.  can o f t e n v e r i f y a 'want'—statement,  we  And  thus,  can  never c o n c l u s i v e l y f a l s i f y i t . I now want to p o i n t out an important d i f f e r e n c e between case ( 3 ) , where the agent wants t o t h i n k o f a synonym or s o l v e some p u z z l e I n h i s head, and case ( 1 ) , where the agent wants to do or to s e c u r e something,  such as to c l i m b a mountain, t h a t r e q u i r e s p u b l i c l y o b s e r v a b l e  behaviour.  Both cases have- i n common the f e a t u r e t h a t i f the agent wants  to do e i t h e r .of these s o r t s of t h i n g s , then he must, o t h e r t h i n g s b e i n g  95 equal,  t r y t o do them.  But they d i f f e r i n t h a t i n the case o f t r y i n g  to t h i n k o f a synonym o r s o l v e a p u z z l e not p e r f o r m i n g an action;  i n one's head, t h e agent i s  whereas i n t r y i n g t o do,something t h a t r e -  q u i r e s p u b l i c l y o b s e r v a b l e b e h a v i o u r , such as t r y i n g t o c l i m b ;  the agent i s p e r f o r m i n g an a c t i o n . something may-or may n o t i n v o l v e :  And  accordingly,  together  Thus t r y i n g t o do o r to s e c u r e  any a c t i o n on t h e p a r t o f the agent.  i t would b e , i n c o r r e c t  to c l a i m t h a t a 'want'-statement  w i t h a statement o f c e r t a i n o t h e r  statement.  a mountain,  c o n d i t i o n s e n t a i l s an ' a c t i o n ' -  I t would o n l y be c o r r e c t t o c l a i m t h i s where what one wants  to do o r t o s e c u r e r e q u i r e s him t o p e r f o r m an a c t i o n t o do o r t o s e c u r e i t . Now as my i n t e r e s t i n t h i s t h e s i s i s t o g i v e an account o f t h e type o f explanation  that actions are susceptable  o f , I s h a l l henceforward  my d i s c u s s i o n t o cases where what one wants t o do o r t o s e c u r e him  t o p e r f o r m an a c t i o n .  confine  requires  Thus I s h a l l , when I come ( i n Chapter V) t o  make use o f t h e c l a i m I have e s t a b l i s h e d e a r l i e r i n t h i s Chapter, v i z . , t h a t i f a 'want'-statement i s t r u l y made, then e i t h e r the agent w i l l t r y t o do o r t o s e c u r e something, o r t h e r e w i l l be some c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wants, o r the agent w i l l n o t b e l i e v e t h a t he has the a b i l i t y , o r the agent w i l l n o t b e l i e v e t h a t he has t h e o p p o r t u n i t y , 'want'-statement i s t r u l y made, then e i t h e r action or more.of the d i s j u n c t s o f t h e 'other  things being  write will  i tas: i f a  f o l l o w o r one  equal'  clause  will  obtain. I t u r n from the d i f f i c u l t i e s i n v o l v e d i n v e r i f y i n g o r f a l s i f y i n g a  'want'-statement, where we know the o b j e c t o f t h e agent's want, t o the  d i f f i c u l t i e s i n v o l v e d i n i d e n t i f y i n g the o b j e c t  o f t h e agent's want,  96  given that we know he wants something and observe h i s trying to secure something.  Though the agent's trying to get something may be a p u b l i c l y  observable phenomenon, i t may.be d i f f i c u l t to i d e n t i f y what i t i s that he i s t r y i n g to get.  What I have i n mind here can be i l l u s t r a t e d as follows.  Suppose we see a man pick out and purchase the largest desk i n the shop. We cannot v a l i d l y Infer from this alone that he wanted to buy the largest desk i n the shop; he may, for example, have wanted to buy a walnut desk, and, as i t happened, the only walnut desk i n the shop was the largest desk i n the shop.  And the p r i n c i p l e of substitution known as Leibnitz's Law  w i l l not sanction a v a l i d inference from 'He wanted to buy a walnut desk' and 'The only walnut desk i n the shop i s the largest desk i n the shop' to 'He wanted to buy the largest desk i n the shop'.  The way i n which he  characterised the desk he was set on getting w i l l determine which desk he wanted.  And such information cannot be ascertained j u s t by observing him  pick out the desk.  There i s a s i m i l a r d i f f i c u l t y i n i d e n t i f y i n g the ob-  j e c t of the agent's intention.  From 'He intended  to buy a walnut desk'  and 'The only walnut desk i n the shop i s the largest desk i n the shop', we cannot v a l i d l y i n f e r that he intended  to buy the largest desk i n the shop.  As we must take how the agent conceives of h i s actions into account, we w i l l never,be able to,use purely behaviouristic c r i t e r i a to determine what i t i s that the agent wants or intends to do.  But one's b e l i e f s can be,  and often are, known by others; t h i s i s just a fact of experience.. And i f the agent's action i s viewed against the background of h i s b e l i e f s , or character, what he wants or intends to do can always i n p r i n c i p l e , and often i n f a c t , be determined by others.  There i s a f u r t h e r d i f f i c u l t y w i t h r e s p e c t to i d e n t i f y i n g the o b j e c t . o f the agent's want. act  T h i s a r i s e s s i n c e , as I have n o t e d , we  d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y to s e c u r e the o b j e c t of our want.  from the f a c t t h a t we  see the agent t r y i n g to s e c u r e X we  may  Thus  cannot always  t e l l whether he wants X as ah end, o r wants some o t h e r end f o r which b e l i e v e s X to be.a means.  However, we o f t e n can.  he  There a r e some t h i n g s  t h a t a r e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y means, such as b u y i n g p l a n e t i c k e t s .  And  even i n those cases i n which the agent does something t h a t can be done, as an end o r as a means, (e.g., b u y i n g a new or b u y i n g a new  c a r because he wants i t ,  c a r because he wants to impress p e o p l e ) , we  can o f t e n  determine which i s the end by t a k i n g h i s c h a r a c t e r , o r c i r c u m s t a n c e s , or b e l i e f s , i n t o account. So f a r I have d e a l t With the d i f f i c u l t i e s i n v o l v e d i n v e r i f y i n g or  falsifying  a 'want'-statement,  agent's want and i n t e n t i o n . another d i f f i c u l t y : t h a t he wants, get  and i n i d e n t i f y i n g the o b j e c t of the  At t h i s p o i n t , I w i s h t o mention y e t  t h a t of p r e d i c t i n g what the agent w i l l do g i v e n  and we know he wants, X.  Smith to pay a debt'.  Jones may,  Suppose X h e r e stands f o r 'to  to s e c u r e t h i s end, send Smith  l e t t e r s , phone him, t h r e a t e n him, t r y to persuade him, o r use o t h e r devices. difficulty  And we  c a n n o t . p r e d i c t w i t h c e r t a i n t y what he w i l l do.  This  i n p r e d i c t i n g what Jones w i l l do i s a l s o p r e s e n t when we  t h a t he i n t e n d s Z.  say  Though Jones must, i n the a p p r o p r i a t e c i r c u m s t a n c e s ,  and o t h e r t h i n g s b e i n g e q u a l , t r y to get Smith to pay the debt, what means he w i l l employ to do so i s u n c e r t a i n .  But we may be a b l e to get  a f a i r l y good i d e a o f what he w i l l do i n e i t h e r o f t h e s e c a s e s i f we  98  knew enough about Jones's character, what he has done.in the past i n s i m i l a r circumstances, h i s relationship with Smith, and so forth. Let us now see i f wants can be distinguished from wishes and hopes.  I have already argued that we cannot be said to want to do or  to secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to do or to secure something in.the appropriate circumstances. we have a way of drawing the d i s t i n c t i o n .  If t h i s i s so,  For c l e a r l y , when we wish  for something, or hope that something w i l l be the case, we need not, other things being equal,.try to do anything.  But i f we do not act on  our,wants, given that other things are equal, they are no longer our wants; they become our, wishes or.hopes.  Thus wishes and hopes are  distinguishable from wants In that whereas,neither nor a,'hope'-statement e n t a i l s a statement  a 'wish'-statement  to the effect that, other  things being equal, the agent w i l l t r y to do or to secure anything, a 'want'-statement does e n t a i l a statement  to the e f f e c t that, other  things being equal,,the agent w i l l t r y to do or to secure something i n the appropriate circumstances. I now want to turn to the second major,issue that i t i s my aim to c l a r i f y i n t h i s Chapter.  This concerns the descriptions under  which s p e c i f i c desires are I d e n t i f i a b l e .  As I mentioned e a r l i e r , many  of the arguments designed to show that desires are not causes of actions appeal to a s p e c i f i c view on t h i s issue.  And as I s h a l l be considering  some of these arguments i n the following Chapters, i t w i l l be Important to make clear what t h i s view i s .  I t w i l l also be useful to know, p r i o r  to considering these arguments, both.that t h i s view has been challenged,  99 and what a l t e r n a t i v e views have been o f f e r e d .  I s h a l l , then,  make c l e a r the view c o n c e r n i n g the d e s c r i p t i o n s under which  first  specific  d e s i r e s a r e i d e n t i f i a b l e t h a t many o f t h e arguments designed to. show t h a t d e s i r e s a r e n o t causes o f a c t i o n s a p p e a l t o , and then go on.to i n d i c a t e t h e a l t e r n a t i v e s t o a d o p t i n g t h i s view;  i The  view appealed t o i n many o f the arguments d e s i g n e d t o show  t h a t d e s i r e s a r e n o t causes o f a c t i o n s r e s t s on t h e f o l l o w i n g about d e s i r e s .  fact  We do n o t s i m p l y d e s i r e ; we d e s i r e t o do something, o r  to s e c u r e something, o r t h a t something be t h e case.  We can a l s o  desire  to do n o t h i n g ; b u t the sense i n which we can do t h i s , t o do n o t h i n g is  the o b j e c t  o f our d e s i r e ; what we want i s some f r e e time.  d e s i r e we have, t h e r e not  i s an o b j e c t  o f that d e s i r e .  For every  Sometimes we a r e  sure what i t i s t h a t we want; we want something b u t cannot s a y  q u i t e what i t i s .  But even i n such c a s e s , there  i s an o b j e c t  o f our  d e s i r e , though i t i s i m p e r f e c t l y known t o u s . Some p h i l o s o p h e r s  have then gone on t o c l a i m t h a t the o n l y way  i n which we can s p e c i f y our d e s i r e s , and d i s t i n g u i s h one.from another, i s under some d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t mentions the o b j e c t , be i t a c t i o n , or s t a t e o f a f f a i r s , t h a t i t i s a d e s i r e t o do, s e c u r e , o r b r i n g That i s , they c l a i m t h a t we a r e , o n l y d e s i r e under the d e s c r i p t i o n s  about.  5  i n a p o s i t i o n to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i  ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , 'de-  s i r e to secure a c e r t a i n o b j e c t ' , of a f f a i r s ' ,  thing,  ' d e s i r e t o b r i n g about a c e r t a i n s t a t e  ' d e s i r e t o have a c e r t a i n t h i n g ' , and so,on.  F o r the sake  See, for example, R, Taylor, Action and Purpose (Englewood C l i f f N.J;, 1966), pp. 254-255, and A.I. Melden,- Free Action (London, 1961), Ch. X, esp. pp. 109-114.  of s i m p l i c i t y of exposition, their claim can be put, as I s h a l l put i t both i n this and i n subsequent Chapters, as that the only way i n which we can i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire i s under the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'.  But, with suitable changes, what I say  about this description and the implications of i t applies when other objects of our desires, (e.g., things or states of a f f a i r s ) , are subs t i t u t e d for actions. Though this view that we are only i n a p o s i t i o n to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' i s widely held, i t i s not u n i v e r s a l l y held.  Recently, i t has  been challenged by J.A. Fodor i n his book Psychological  Explanation.  Fodor suggests two alternative ways of giving i d e n t i f y i n g references to s p e c i f i c desires.  The f i r s t of these i s that we can i d e n t i f y a  s p e c i f i c desire under a description that correlates the desire with some state of a f f a i r s that i s associated with i t i n a one-to-one fashion. This suggestion  can be i l l u s t r a t e d as follows.  Suppose i t happens to be  the case that there i s a draft i n the Tower of London when and only when Smith has a desire to eat a melon.  If so, we could make an unequivocal  i d e n t i f y i n g reference to the desire Smith has whenever he desires to eat a melon by the use of the description 'the desire Smith has whenever the Tower of London i s drafty'.  And, following up this  suggestion,  other possible i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires immediately come.to mind.  A short l i s t of them i s as follows: 'the dominant desire  New York, 1968, see esp. pp. 34-35.  101 I had a t 10:00  this morning ; 1  ' t h e d e s i r e t h a t was the e f f e c t  ' t h e d e s i r e I had on s e e i n g the m e l o n ' ; of my n o t e a t i n g any l u n c h ' .  second s o r t of way e n v i s a g e d b y . F o d o r of i d e n t i f y i n g  The  a specific desire  w i t h o u t m e n t i o n i n g the o b j e c t of t h a t d e s i r e , i s under some n e u r o l o g i c a l description. Having thus b r i e f l y  i n d i c a t e d some of the v i e w s c o n c e r n i n g the  d e s c r i p t i o n s under w h i c h s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e i d e n t i f i a b l e , d e f e r f u r t h e r d i s c u s s i o n of t h i s t o p i c u n t i l Chapter V .  I c h o o s e . t o do.  t h i s , because the r e l e v a n c e , o f h a v i n g o r not h a v i n g t h e s e identifying  alternative  d e s c r i p t i o n s of s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s f o r the q u e s t i o n of  o r not d e s i r e s a r e causes o f a c t i o n s w i l l t h i s s t a g e of the argument; and I t h i n k i t  whether  t h e n be c l e a r e r t h a n i t  at  it.  w i l l now perhaps b e , u s e f u l to g i v e a s k e t c h of how the  w i l l proceed from h e r e .  is  b e s t t o conduct a d i s c u s s i o n  of t h i s i s s u e when we see what e x a c t l y t u r n s on It  I w i s h to  I n C h a p t e r s I and I I ,  argument  I have argued t h a t  e x p l a i n an a g e n t ' s a c t i o n by g i v i n g h i s r e a s o n ( s ) o r m o t i v e ( s )  to  for  action  i s to e x p l a i n the a c t i o n i n terms of h i s d e s i r e s o r h i s d e s i r e s and information.  I n t h i s C h a p t e r , I have argued t h a t whether o r n o t e x p l a n -  a t i o n s i n terms of t h e a g e n t ' s d e s i r e s and i n f o r m a t i o n  (as w e l l a s , of  c o u r s e , e x p l a n a t i o n s i n terms of the a g e n t ' s d e s i r e s a l o n e ) a r e c a u s a l e x p l a n a t i o n s depends on.whether o r not d e s i r e s a r e causes of  actions.  Thus the c r u c i a l q u e s t i o n t o be,answered i n o r d e r to d e t e r m i n e whether o r n o t r e a s o n - and m o t i v e - e x p l a n a t i o n s a r e c a u s a l e x p l a n a t i o n s out t o be ' A r e d e s i r e s causes of a c t i o n s ? '  turned  I n the n e x t C h a p t e r ,  I  s h a l l b e g i n to c o n s i d e r t h i s q u e s t i o n by r e v i e w i n g some of the arguments  102  and considerations that have been adduced both, i n favour.of answering i t i n the affirmative and i n the negative.  I s h a l l then go on, i n  Chapter V, to give my own answer to t h i s question.  I s h a l l argue that  desires are not,causes of actions, and that, hence, reasonmotive-explanations  are not causal explanations.  and  CHAPTER IV  DESIRES AS CAUSES OF ACTIONS (I)  In this Chapter I want to r a i s e the question of a c t i o n s ? '  1  'Are desires causes  In dealing with t h i s question i n t h i s Chapter, I s h a l l  f i r s t review some of the arguments and considerations that have been adduced i n favour of saying that desires are causes of actions, and then turn to some of the main arguments designed to show that they are not.  None of these, as we s h a l l f i n d ,  i n one way  or the other.  forces us to answer the  question  I s h a l l then go on, i n Chapter V, to produce  two arguments that I think w i l l show that desires are not causes of actions. But l e t me now begin the task of this Chapter by stating and examining some of the considerations that have been adduced in.favour 2 of saying that desires are causes of actions.  The f i r s t of these.is  that we often use causal idioms to refer to desires when we c i t e them to explain actions.  For example, we say things l i k e 'My desire to get  i n a f u l l day of skiing caused me to catch the early bus',  or 'My  desire  for more speed on the downhill runs made me put on my fiberglass s k i s ' . But perhaps the word 'because' i s the causal idiom most commonly and I remind the reader that I am using the words 'desire' and interchangeably throughout.  'want'  2 These considerations to be discussed are put forward by, among others, W.D. Gean, "Reasons and Causes", Review of Metaphysics XIX, 4 (June, 1966), 674-676. s  104 n a t u r a l l y used i n these contexts, as when one,says 'I took the early bus because.I wanted to get i n a f u l l day's skiing',,or 'I put on my  fiber-  glass skis because I wanted more speed on the downhill runs'.. However, though we do use causal idioms i n this way  to refer to the  agent's desires, t h i s l i n g u i s t i c fact alone w i l l not e s t a b l i s h that desires are causes of actions. words 'cause' and  'made' have a use other than a causal.use i n these  contexts; they may, the compelling  For the p o s s i b i l i t y remains that the  for example, be used.in a metaphorical way  (but not causal) nature of the desire.  And  to indicate  the word  'because' cannot be taken to i n v a r i a b l y indicate a causal r e l a t i o n .  For  we can, for example, indicate the relationship between the premises and conclusion of a v a l i d argument, say where a conclusion r i s deduced from premises p and q  t  by saying r, because p and q-; and here,we are c l e a r l y  not i n d i c a t i n g a causal r e l a t i o n .  Thus the fact that we often use  causal idioms to refer to the agent's desires i s not decisive i n showing that desires are causes of actions; but this fact does remain, I think, a consideration i n favour of the claim. The second consideration often adduced i s that statements explaining  an agent's action i n terms of h i s desires, l i k e causal statements,  normally imply the truth of counterfactuals.  For example, i n saying that  the bent r a i l caused.the accident, we imply that i f the,rail,had not been bent, then,.other things being equal, the accident Would not have occurred. S i m i l a r l y , i n saying that he did X because he wanted 7 , we imply the truth of the counterfactual 'If he had not wanted 7 , he would not, other being equal, have done Z',  things  105  But this consideration i s not a decisive one either; for i t i s not only causal statements that imply the truth of counterfactual statements. For example, the statement 'The syllogism i s i n v a l i d because the middle term i s undistributed' implies the truth of the counterfactual 'If the middle term had not been undistributed, then, other things being the argument would not have been i n v a l i d ' .  equal,  But we would not, I think,  say that the undistributed middle term caused the argument to be i n v a l i d . Or again, to take an example not u t i l i s i n g the 'because'-construction which s t i l l y i e l d s a counterfactual, the statement 'I discharged my  but obli-  gation by going to the meeting' implies the statement 'If I had not gone to the meeting, I,would not, other things being equal, have discharged my o b l i g a t i o n ' .  But we would not say that going to the meeting caused me  to discharge my obligation; for going to the meeting is discharging o b l i g a t i o n , and so cannot be the cause of i t . t i o n remains a prima  f a c i e one  my  Thus this second considera-  only.  The t h i r d consideration that i s sometimes alleged i n favour of the claim that desires are causes of actions can be stated i n the form of the following argument.  ( 1 ) By modifying an agent's desires we  can  bring about changes i n his actions; (2) It i s inconsistent to assert that by modifying x we can bring about changes i n y and to.deny that x 3 causes y\ therefore, desires are causes of actions.  The second.premise of this argument i s adapted from W, Dray, Laws and Explanation in History (London, 1 9 5 7 ) , p. 9 4 . Dray writes that we cannot consistently say 'that a; does not cause y though by manipulating x we can control y\ Similar views are held by D. Gasking, "Causat i o n and Recipes", Mind, LXIV ( 1 9 5 5 ) , 4 7 9 - 4 8 7 , and H.L.A. H a r t a n d A.M. Honors, Causation in the Law (Oxfordj 1 9 5 9 ) . The-argument was put together i n a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t form by W.D. Gean, op. cit*, p. 6 7 4 .  106 But we cannot show that desires are causes of actions by arguing i n t h i s way because premise (2) i s f a l s e . follows.  A counter-example to i t i s as  Suppose I am under an o b l i g a t i o n to go to a meeting.  Now by  modifying my behaviour, i . e . , by going to the meeting or not, I can bring about changes i n the discharge of my obligations.  But we  certainly  would deny that going to the meeting caused me to discharge my o b l i g a t i o n to go to that meeting.  Going to the meeting i s discharging my obligation  to go to that meeting.  These—'going to the meeting' and 'discharging my  o b l i g a t i o n to go to.that meeting'—are just two descriptions.of different aspects of the same b i t of behaviour.  The r e l a t i o n between going to the  meeting and discharging my o b l i g a t i o n to go to that meeting i s not an empirical r e l a t i o n , but a conceptual one.  And t h i s i s , I think, why the  counter-example works against the p r i n c i p l e stated i n premise (2). Noticing t h i s . We may t r y to salvage the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (2) by r e s t r i c t i n g i t to r e l a t i o n s that are empirical.  That i s , we might  claim that i t i s inconsistent to assert that by modifying a; we can bring about .changes i n y and yet to deny that x causes y, where .the r e l a t i o n between x and y i s an empirical r e l a t i o n .  Perhaps, thus r e s t r i c t e d , the  p r i n c i p l e i s . true; l e t ,us grant that i t i s .  But even i f true when r e -  formulated i n t h i s way, i t cannot, as I s h a l l now argue, be used i n the argument under consideration to show that desires are causes of actions. It i s clear that we cannot r i g h t l y apply to non-empirical r e l a tions a p r i n c i p l e whose sphere of a p p l i c a t i o n i s limited to empirical relations.  If t h i s p r i n c i p l e i s to be.used, then, the r e l a t i o n between,  desires and actions must be an empirical r e l a t i o n .  S p e c i f i c a l l y , before  107 we  can properly apply the p r i n c i p l e i n question and proceed to the con-  clusion that desires are causes of actions, i t must be empirically true that i f an agent's desires are modified i n h i s actionso  there w i l l be a resultant change  But the r e l a t i o n between desires and actions i s not,  as I,have argued in,Chapter I I I , an empirical r e l a t i o n , but a l o g i c a l one,  determined i n v i r t u e of the meaning of the word 'desire' (or 'want').  It i s no empirical discovery that i f an agent's desire to do J  i s changed  to a desire to do J , that he w i l l , other things being equal, do Y rather than I.' Rather, i t i s a conceptual truth: i f he did not, other things being equal, do J , or i f he did X rather than 7, then he could properly be said to.have had the desire to do.I.  not  Thus i t seems.that  premise (1), which states that by modifying an agent's desires we  can  bring about changes i n h i s actions, expresses a conceptual,, and not  an  empirical, r e l a t i o n . If I am r i g h t i n t h i s , the argument cannot succeed.  For  given  that the r e l a t i o n expressed i n premise (1) i s a conceptual one,  the  a p p l i c a t i o n of the p r i n c i p l e expressed i n premise (2) cannot be  restrict-  ed to empirical r e l a t i o n s without making i t i r r e l e v a n t to the argument. But i f we leave the p r i n c i p l e unrestricted i n t h i s way,  though i t would  be relevant to the argument, i t would also be, as I have argued, f a l s e . Thus t h i s argument which i s sometimes claimed to be a consideration i n favour of saying that desires are causes of actions i s not merely, as we  found.the f i r s t two  consideration at a l l .  considerations  to be, i n d e c i s i v e ; i t i s not a  108 Thus the two c o n s i d e r a t i o n s we a r e l e f t w i t h to c o n s t i t u t e a prima facie  case f o r s a y i n g t h a t d e s i r e s a r e causes of a c t i o n s a r e :  (a)  that  c a u s a l i d i o m s a r e o f t e n used to r e f e r to the a g e n t ' s d e s i r e s when we c i t e them t o e x p l a i n a c t i o n s , and (b) t h a t , l i k e c a u s a l s t a t e m e n t s , s t a t e m e n t s e x p l a i n i n g an a g e n t ' s a c t i o n i n terms of h i s d e s i r e s n o r m a l l y i m p l y the t r u t h of c o u n t e r f a c t u a l s . are.prima facie  Now to say t h a t t h e s e c o n s i d e r a t i o n s  c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i s t o say t h a t they would be d e c i s i v e i f •  t h e r e were no o t h e r arguments or c o n s i d e r a t i o n s a g a i n s t them.  But  t h e r e a r e arguments t h a t have been put t o t r y to show t h a t d e s i r e s a r e not causes of a c t i o n s .  These we must now c o n s i d e r .  The f i r s t argument I w i s h to c o n s i d e r d e r i v e s from R y l e . be s t a t e d as f o l l o w s :  (1) Only events can be c a u s e s ;  It  can:  (2) D e s i r e s a r e  s t a t e s or d i s p o s i t i o n s , not e v e n t s ; t h e r e f o r e , d e s i r e s cannot be causes of a c t i o n s .  There a r e . t h r e e ways i n w h i c h we c o u l d r e f u s e to a c c e p t  t h i s argument.  We c o u l d agree w i t h the v i e w e x p r e s s e d i n , p r e m i s e  (1),  a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h f o r a n y t h i n g to be a cause i t must be an e v e n t , and deny p r e m i s e ( 2 ) , t h a t a s s e r t s t h a t d e s i r e s a r e d i s p o s i t i o n s o r s t a t e s , not e v e n t s .  Or we c o u l d agree w i t h p r e m i s e ( 2 ) , and deny t h a t o n l y  e v e n t s can be c a u s e s . if  O r , f i n a l l y , we c o u l d deny b o t h p r e m i s e s .  the account of w a n t i n g p r o v i d e d i n Chapter I I I  reject  Now  i s c o r r e c t , we cannot  t h i s argument i n any way t h a t i n v o l v e s denying p r e m i s e ( 2 ) ;  the account I have p r o v i d e d t h e r e i s a d i s p o s i t i o n a l one.  for  Consequently,  whether or not t h i s argument i s to be r e j e c t e d depends on whether o r not  See h i s Concept of Mind  (London, 1 9 4 9 ) , p. 113.  we a c c e p t the v i e w , e x p r e s s e d by p r e m i s e ( 1 ) , t h a t f o r a n y t h i n g to be a cause i t  must be an e v e n t .  T h i s v i e w , however, seems f a l s e . d i s p o s i t i o n s as b e i n g causes o f e v e n t s . like:  We f r e q u e n t l y c i t e s t a t e s and F o r example, we say t h i n g s  t h e a b n o r m a l l y h i g h a i r temperature caused t h e p l a n e t o c r a s h  on t a k e o f f ;  the c o n t i n u i n g p r e s e n c e of organisms i n the b l o o d - s t r e a m  caused the f e v e r to p e r s i s t ; the u n u s u a l b r i t t l e n e s s o f t h e w i n g caused i t  to f a l l o f f ;  aircraft's  s t r u c t u r a l d e f e c t s i n the p i l l a r s caused  t h e b r i d g e to c o l l a p s e ; and so o n .  And i n none o f t h e s e cases i s what  i s b e i n g named as the cause an e v e n t .  On t h i s m a s t e r , Urmson w r i t e s  that:  . . . i t i s a mere s u p e r s t i t i o n to t h i n k t h a t o n l y an event,may be p r o p e r l y named as a c a u s e . I t would i n d e e d be absurd i n . o r d i n a r y c i r c u m s t a n c e s to g i v e t h e f a c t t h a t a p i e c e o f g l a s s has the ( o r d i n a r y ) b r i t t l e n e s s o f g l a s s as t h e cause o f i t s b r e a k i n g ; but i n o r d i n a r y c i r c u m s t a n c e s i t would be v e r y p r o p e r t o m e n t i o n the (unusual) b r i t t l e n e s s o f an a i r c r a f t ' s w i n g as t h e cause of t h e w i n g f a l l i n g o f f , and q u i t e r i d i c u l o u s t o mention the f a c t , t h a t the w i n d was p r e s s i n g a g a i n s t the wing i n q u i t e a normal way, i f i n v e s t i g a t i n g t h e cause o f an a c c i dent. 5  It  thus seems f a l s e t o say t h a t o n l y e v e n t s can be c a u s e s ,  for  we have j u s t seen t h a t s t a t e s o r d i s p o s i t i o n s can a l s o be c a u s e s .  If  s o , R y l e ' s argument must be r e j e c t e d .  But a t t h i s p o i n t , an argument  c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to t h a t o f R y l e ' s can be u r g e d . this  telian  I s h a l l now c o n s i d e r  argument.  J . O . Urmson, " M o t i v e s and C a u s e s " , Proceedings of the A r i s t o Society, _Supplementary Volume, XXVI ( 1 9 5 2 ) , 1 9 2 .  The argument begins with the claim that mention of a state or d i s p o s i t i o n only gives a cause on the assumption that there was also an event that occurred not l a t e r than the event, caused.  For instance,  i n the cases-of a bridge collapse or an a i r c r a f t ' s wing f a l l i n g o f f , where we c i t e some state or d i s p o s i t i o n as being the cause, we can also indicate^ or at least suggest, some, preceding  or simultaneous event.,  such as the application of weight or an increase i n a i r pressure.  And  though i t would not be appropriate to c i t e the application of (normal) weight, or the (normal) increase i n a i r pressure that an airplane encounters at various times, as being the causes of the events i n quest i o n , i t might be urged that mention of things l i k e c e r t a i n s t r u c t u r a l defects, or the unusual b r i t t l e n e s s of.the a i r c r a f t ' s wing, i s only to give the causes of the events on the assumption that there were some such preceding  or simultaneous events.  This view seems to me to be a  true one. Now one.who holds t h i s view may t r y to use i t to show that desires are not causes of actions In the following way.  He may allege,  that there i s a relevant difference between explaining things l i k e a bridge.collapse or a wing f a l l i n g o f f by c i t i n g some state or d i s p o s i t i o n , and explaining actions by c i t i n g some desire, (granting that desires are states or d i s p o s i t i o n s ) . The difference, he may urge,  con-r  s i s t s i n t h i s : whereas i n the former case we are.able to indicate, or at any rate suggest, some event preceding  or simultaneous with the  collapse or the wing f a l l i n g o f f , we are unable to do t h i s i n the l a t t e r one.  Now i f ,it i s true, as I think i t i s , that mention of a.state or  d i s p o s i t i o n only gives a cause on the assumption that there was also  some p r e c e d i n g o r s i m u l t a n e o u s e v e n t , and i f  it  i s further true that  there, i s no p r e c e d i n g o r s i m u l t a n e o u s , e v e n t i n the case of d e s i r e s , ( c o n s t r u e d a s , s t a t e s o r d i s p o s i t i o n s ) , b e i n g f o l l o w e d by a c t i o n s , would show t h a t d e s i r e s a r e not causes of  actions.  But i s t h e r e r e a l l y a d i s - a n a l o g y here? there i s .  this  Davidson.denies that  He a c c e p t s the v i e w t h a t mention of a s t a t e or  disposition  o n l y g i v e s a cause on the assumption t h a t t h e r e was a l s o a p r e c e d i n g o r simultaneous event.  He a l s o a c c e p t s the v i e w t h a t d e s i r e s a r e , n o t  events.  But he goes on to c l a i m t h a t w h i l e d e s i r e s a r e not themselves e v e n t s , the coming i n t o a s t a t e o f d e s i r i n g i s an e v e n t .  Davidson w r i t e s  that:  S t a t e s and d i s p o s i t i o n s a r e not e v e n t s , but the o n s l a u g h t o f , a s t a t e o r d i s p o s i t i o n i s . A d e s i r e to h u r t your f e e l i n g s may s p r i n g up a t t h e moment you anger me; I may s t a r t w a n t i n g t o eat a melon j u s t when I see .one; and b e l i e f s may b e g i n a t ^ the moment we n o t i c e , p e r c e i v e , l e a r n , o r remember s o m e t h i n g .  I t h i n k Davidson i s r i g h t i n c l a i m i n g t h i s .  If  he i s , t h e r e  no r e l e v a n t d i f f e r e n c e , a t l e a s t on what has so f a r been s a i d , e x p l a i n i n g a b r i d g e c o l l a p s e o r a wing f a l l i n g o f f by c i t i n g  is  between  some,state  o r d i s p o s i t i o n such as s t r u c t u r a l d e f e c t s or b r i t t l e n e s s , and e x p l a i n i n g a c t i o n s by c i t i n g some s t a t e o r d i s p o s i t i o n such as a d e s i r e . b o t h cases t h e r e i s some event t h a t o c c u r r e d not l a t e r caused.  I n the f o r m e r ,  of w e i g h t ,  In  than the event  the event may be something l i k e the  o r an i n c r e a s e i n a i r p r e s s u r e ; i n the l a t t e r , i t  D. D a v i d s o n , " A c t i o n s , R e a s o n s , and C a u s e s " , i n Free Determinism,,ed. B. B e r o f s k y , (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 2 3 1 .  application may be the  Will  and  112 o n s l a u g h t of the s t a t e of d e s i r i n g , o r a p e r c e p t i o n , o r a p a s s i n g thought,  that triggers  the a c t i o n .  And i f we may name.a s t a t e or  d i s p o s i t i o n as b e i n g the cause of a c e r t a i n event i n the f o r m e r . c a s e , we may a l s o do t h i s i n the l a t t e r  case.  Thus t h e r e seems to be n o t h i n g  i n the v i e w s j u s t c o n s i d e r e d to show t h a t d e s i r e s a r e n o t , o r cannot be,  causes of  actions.  The n e x t two attempts to show t h a t d e s i r e s a r e not causes of actions.that is  I w i s h to examine b o t h a p p e a l t o some p r i n c i p l e w h i c h ,  a l l e g e d , s t a t e s a requirement  satisfy.  it  t h a t any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must  I n each c a s e , the argument proceeds to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t  d e s i r e s a r e not causes of a c t i o n s on the ground t h a t the r e l a t i o n between d e s i r e s and a c t i o n s f a i l s to meet t h i s r e q u i r e m e n t . these p r i n c i p l e s  L e t us now see what  are.  The f i r s t p r i n c i p l e t h a t I s h a l l examine i s put f o r w a r d , o n l y to be l a t e r r e j e c t e d ) , by A . S . Kaufman,'''  It  i s as f o l l o w s :  p u r p o r t e d o c c u r r e n c e s (or e v e n t s ) can be c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d i f t h e i r d e s c r i p t i o n s a r e not l o g i c a l l y  (but (1) Two  and o n l y  (or c o n c e p t u a l l y ) r e l a t e d .  if  This  " P r a c t i c a l D e c i s i o n " , Mind, LXXV ( J a n , , 1 9 6 6 ) , 4 1 . Kaufman does not f o r m u l a t e the e n t a i l m e n t of p r i n c i p l e (1) i n e x a c t l y the same way I h a v e . A c c o r d i n g to h i m , the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n (1) e x p r e s s e s a c o n c e p t i o n of the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n s h i p o f t e n a t t r i b u t e d to Hume. A n d , r e s t i n g on t h i s c o n c e p t i o n , i s the s u p p o s i t i o n t h a t ' i f s o m e . d e s c r i p t i o n of an o c c u r r e n c e i s l o g i c a l l y r e l a t e d to another d e s c r i p t i o n of an o c c u r r e n c e , then t h o s e . d e s c r i p t i o n s do not r e f e r to a n y t h i n g w h i c h c a n . b e c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d to one a n o t h e r under those descriptions' (my italics). I omit t h i s q u a l i f i c a t i o n because I am n o t s u r e t h a t i t makes sense to q u a l i f y ' c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d ' i n t h i s way. The i d e a i s a p r o b l e m a t i c a l o n e , and does not r e c e i v e the e l u c i d a t i o n i t r e q u i r e s from Kaufman. And i n any c a s e , Kaufman drops i t h i m s e l f when he comes to i l l u s t r a t e the a p p l i c a t i o n of the p r i n c i p l e .  113 p r i n c i p l e e n t a i l s t h a t i f some d e s c r i p t i o n of an o c c u r r e n c e (or event) is  logically  occurrence  (or e v e n t ) ,  which can be I f we are not may  (or c o n c e p t u a l l y )  r e l a t e d to another d e s c r i p t i o n of  then t h o s e , d e s c r i p t i o n s , d o  r e f e r to  things  c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d to one,another. accept t h i s p r i n c i p l e , we  causes of a c t i o n s by a r g u i n g  may  then t r y to show t h a t  i n the f o l l o w i n g way.  c l a i m t h a t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e can o n l y be  cription  not  an  desires  First,  we  i d e n t i f i e d under.the des-  ' d e s i r e to p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' ; and  t h a t , hence,  d e s c r i p t i o n s of s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s are always l o g i c a l l y or  conceptually  r e l a t e d to the d e s c r i p t i o n s of the a c t i o n s t h a t they are a d e s i r e to perform. say  We  may  then go on to, invoke the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n ( 1 ) ,  that since there  i s always a l o g i c a l or c o n c e p t u a l  connexion between  the d e s c r i p t i o n of a , s p e c i f i c d e s i r e and,the d e s c r i p t i o n of the t h a t i t i s a d e s i r e to perform, d e s i r e s cannot be But b e f o r e we to p r e c l u d e , d e s i r e s t h a t no  can use  that p r i n c i p l e .  examples to to e x c e s s i v e  (1).  One  And  such counter-example would be  yet  be  counter-  T h i s i s a genuine  o c c u r r e n c e , c a n be p r o p e r l y  'exposure to e x c e s s i v e  t a k i n g a f a t a l dose of b a r b i t u a t e  the cause of death; and  shown  as f o l l o w s : exposure  t h e r e i s an o b v i o u s . l o g i c a l or  connexion between the d e s c r i p t i o n s Or again^  way  requirement  However, i t seems p o s s i b l e to g i v e  f a m i l i a r c a u s a l r e l a t i o n ; the f i r s t  'sunburn'.  f a i l to s a t i s f y the  sunshine i s , t h e cause of sunburn.  cause the second.  actions.  causes of a c t i o n s , i t must f i r s t be  genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n can  s t a t e d by  causes of  action  the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n (1) i n t h i s  from b e i n g  and  and  s a i d to  conceptual sunshine'  can be  and  s a i d to  t h i s i n s p i t e of the f a c t t h a t t h e r e i s a  114 l o g i c a l or conceptual and  'death'.  connexion between the d e s c r i p t i o n s . ' f a t a l dose  1  Thus i t .seems that, contrary to what p r i n c i p l e (1) states,  descriptions which are l o g i c a l l y or conceptually related can report occurrences that are causally related. there i s a l o g i c a l or conceptual s i r i n g to do X  1  Accordingly, even granting that  connexion between the descriptions 'de- ,  and 'doing X , the p r i n c i p l e stated i n ( l ) cannot properly 1  be used to prohibit us from saying that desires are causes of actions. The second p r i n c i p l e I wish to examine purports of l o g i c a l or conceptual a causal r e l a t i o n .  to specify a type  r e l a t i o n that would preclude there.also being  As I s h a l l i l l u s t r a t e below, several  philosophers  hold this p r i n c i p l e , and appeal to i t to try to show that desires are not causes of actions.  The p r i n c i p l e i n question i s as follows: (2) A  cause must be i d e n t i f i a b l e under some description that does not mention i t s supposed e f f e c t .  This i s to say that A cannot be regarded as the  cause of B unless A can be s p e c i f i e d i n some way that does not mention B, This requirement stated i n (2) i s different,from, and narrower i n scope than, the one stated i n (1). d i f f e r s i n the following way.  I t i s narrower i n scope and  According  to (1), i f two descriptions  are l o g i c a l l y or conceptually related, then they cannot refer to things that can be causally related„  And the implication here i s that the  purported occurrences reported i n descriptions that are l o g i c a l l y or conceptually related cannot be causally related, whether or not a l t e r native descriptions of those occurrences that are n o t . l o g i c a l l y related are a v a i l a b l e .  But (2) only s t i p u l a t e s that unless a l t e r n a t i v e des-  c r i p t i o n s which are not l o g i c a l l y or conceptually related are a v a i l a b l e j  115 then, of two descriptions that a r e - l o g i c a l l y or conceptually related, one cannot refer to something that can,be said to.be the cause of what the other refers to.  Thus, according to (1), exposure to excessive  sunshine cannot be said to be,the cause of sunburn, nor can a f a t a l dose of barbituate be said to be.the cause of death, for there.is an, i n t e r n a l conceptual or l o g i c a l relationship between the descriptions of the alleged causes and the supposed e f f e c t s .  But, according to (2),  exposure to excessive sunshine can be said.to be the cause of sunburn, and a f a t a l dose of barbituate can be said to be.the cause of death, for we may describe the two occurrences i n both examples i n a way that does not connect them l o g i c a l l y or conceptually.  Such a re-description  of the f i r s t example would be as follows: exposure to u l t r a - v i o l e t rays over a c e r t a i n frequency emanating from the sun for ah excessive period of time was the cause of burns to.the skin.  And, of the second example,  f o r t y grains of barbituate taken at one time was the cause of death. Thus (2) states a requirement that i s narrower i n scope than the one stated i n (1). And the counter-examples offered against (1) do not a f f e c t the truth of  (2).  Let us now see how the acceptance of (2) would affect the question of whether desires can be causes of actions.  If we accept (2), which  holds that A cannot be regarded as the cause of B unless A cah be speci:  f i e d i n some way that does not mention B, then we must admit (2a) that i f a desire cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except under a description that mentions. the action that i t i s a desire to perform, then i t cannot cause the action. Now i t i s clear that the admission made i n (2a) cannot be used to prohibit  i  us from regarding desires as causes of actions unless i t i s the case that desires cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except under descriptions.that connect them with actions.  But several philosophers claim that t h i s is.the  case, and then go on to. use the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (2) i n t h i s way, ( i . e . , as e n t a i l i n g (2a)), to deny that desires are causes of actions. For example, Richard Taylor writes that:  Apart from the ends that are their objects there i s nothing to d i s t i n g u i s h one [desire] from another. Similar remarks cannot be made about genuine causes, however, which are never charact e r l e s s or indescribable apart from their e f f e c t s ; and from t h i s we can conclude that desires, as they are represented i n the theory before,us, are not even f i t candidates for causes of actions. . , .8 L.W. Beck takes a similar l i n e : If 'desire to go to the bookstore' were causally related to 'going to the bookstore', then i t would be necessary that we be able to define and i d e n t i f y the former without reference to the l a t t e r i n order subsequently to establish a contingent r e l a t i o n between them, .. . • „ The fact i s that we cannot i d e n t i f y the 'cause' i n question except by v i r t u e of the fact that i t i s a desire to go to the bookstore, and thus the s i t u a t i o n described as 'desiring to go to the bookstore' stands In a l o g i c a l and not a contingent r e l a t i o n to going to the bookstore, ceteris paribus.**  We also find A,I. Melden writing that: As Humean cause or i n t e r n a l impression, [desiring] must be describable without reference to anything e l s e — o b j e c t desired,  Action o  and Purpose 1  (Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . , 1966), p. 255.  "Conscious and Unconscious Motives", Mind, LXXV ( A p r i l , 1966)  163, n. 1.  '  117 the a c t i o n of g e t t i n g o r the a c t i o n of t r y i n g t o get the t h i n g d e s i r e d ; but as d e s i r e t h i s i s i m p o s s i b l e „ Any d e s c r i p t i o n o f the d e s i r e i n v o l v e s a l o g i c a l l y n e c e s s a r y c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the t h i n g d e s i r e d . 1 0  I f the r e l a t i o n were c a u s a l , the w a n t i n g to do would b e , i n d e e d i t must b e , d e s c r i b a b l e i n d e p e n d e n t l y of any r e f e r ence to the d o i n g . But i t i s l o g i c a l l y e s s e n t i a l to the w a n t i n g t h a t i t i s the w a n t i n g to do something of the r e q u i r e d s o r t w i t h the t h i n g one h a s . Hence the r e l a t i o n between the w a n t i n g to do and the d o i n g cannot be a c a u s a l one. 1 1  Now one may r e f u s e to a c c e p t these arguments on t h r e e grounds.  different  F i r s t l y , one may a c c e p t the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n ( 2 ) , e s s e n t i a l  to a l l t h e s e arguments, t h a t h o l d s t h a t A cannot be r e g a r d e d as the cause of B u n l e s s A can be s p e c i f i e d i n some way t h a t does not -mention B;  further  admit t h a t t h i s p r i n c i p l e e n t a i l s  if  a d e s i r e cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except u n d e r . a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t m e n t i o n s ,  the a c t i o n t h a t i t  ( 2 a ) , a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h  i s a d e s i r e to p e r f o r m , t h e n i t  cannot cause the  a c t i o n ; but t h e n go on to argue t h a t t h e s e p r i n c i p l e s cannot be used to show t h a t d e s i r e s a r e not causes of a c t i o n s on the ground t h a t we can identify  s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s i n ways t h a t do not connect them w i t h a c t i o n s .  S e c o n d l y , one may r e f u s e to a c c e p t the arguments i n . q u e s t i o n by a c c e p t i n g the c l a i m t h a t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e  under  some d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t c o n n e c t s them w i t h a c t i o n s , but then go o n . t o deny t h a t the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n (2) i s a p r i n c i p l e t h a t s t a t e s a r e q u i r e ment t h a t any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y .  Free Action •Ibid.,  (London, 1 9 6 1 ) , p. 114.  p. 128.  And i f , t h e  principle  118 stated i n (2) i s f a l s e , no ground whatsoever has been provided f o r holding, as i s stated by (2a), that i f a desire cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except under some description that mentions.the action that i t i s a desire to perform, i t cannot cause the action. T h i r d l y , and f i n a l l y , one may refuse.to accept these arguments by r e j e c t i n g both the claim that s p e c i f i c desires are only i d e n t i f i a b l e under descriptions that connect them with actions, and the claim that p r i n c i p l e (2) states a requirement that any genuine causal r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y . Now I do not think that these arguments from Taylor, Beck, and Melden are good ones.  But I do not wish to t r y to break them by claim-  ing that s p e c i f i c desires are i d e n t i f i a b l e under descriptions that do not connect them with actions.  Rather, I wish to do so by showing that  the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (2), according to which A cannot be regarded as the cause of B unless A can be specified i n some way that does not mention B, does not specify a requirement that any genuine causal r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y . The p r i n c i p l e stated i n (2) can be refuted i f a counter-example can be found according to which one. occurrence cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except under a description that connects, i t with i t s alleged e f f e c t , and yet where no conceptual incoherence i s introduced i n treating the occurrence as the cause of that e f f e c t .  D.F. Pears o f f e r s two such  counter-examples..  One o f them i s as f o l l o w s .  F a i r y s t o r i e s , which  t r e a t wishes as causes and d e s c r i b e a w i s h s i m p l y as c o n c e n t r a t e d willing  t h a t such and such s h o u l d happen, may be i n c r e d i b l e , b u t they  are n o t c o n c e p t u a l l y i n c o h e r e n t .  I t i s only a contingent f a c t  magic wishes do n o t b r i n g about the events which a r e t h e i r  that  objects.  The o t h e r counter-example he o f f e r s d e p a r t s from t h e realm.of mythology; it  i s t h a t f e a r o f a p a r t i c u l a r a c c i d e n t may cause t h a t a c c i d e n t .  And  even i f the r e l e v a n t w i s h and the r e l e v a n t f e a r cannot be i d e n t i f i e d under a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t does n o t mention t h e i r a l l e g e d e f f e c t s , no conc e p t u a l i n c o h e r e n c e i s I n t r o d u c e d i n t r e a t i n g t h e s e t h i n g s as causes. In f a c t , i n t h e case o f f e a r s , we know t h a t such t h i n g s can be causes. These counter-examples seem t o me d e c i s i v e a g a i n s t t h e p r i n c i p l e in  (2).  stated  I f I am r i g h t i n t h i n k i n g t h i s , the p r i n c i p l e expressed i n (2)  does n o t s t a t e a requirement t h a t must be met i n o r d e r t o b e , a b l e t o r e g a r d something as a cause. Thus, even i f we were t o admit t h a t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under d e s c r i p t i o n s t h a t connect them w i t h t h e i r  objects,  and t h a t no a l t e r n a t i v e ways o f making t h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n a r e p o s s i b l e , the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n (2)  cannot p r o p e r l y be appealed t o to p r o h i b i t  us from r e g a r d i n g d e s i r e s as causes o f a c t i o n s .  For i f ,  as i s t h e c a s e ,  the v i o l a t i o n o f t h i s p r i n c i p l e does n o t p r o h i b i t us from s a y i n g  that  12 The f i r s t o f t h e s e counter-examples which f o l l o w s appears i n P e a r s ' s a r t i c l e " A r e Reasons f o r A c t i o n s Causes?", i n Epistemology, ed. A. S t r o l l , (New York, 1967), p. 214. The second appears i n h i s a r t i c l e " D e s i r e s as.Causes o f A c t i o n s " , i n The Human Agent: Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, Vol* 1, 1966-1967 (Glasgow, 1968), p. 86. ;  120 the accident was  caused by the fear of that p a r t i c u l a r accident, where  t h i s i s the only way  i n which we can i d e n t i f y the fear, then this  p r i n c i p l e cannot r i g h t l y be used to p r o h i b i t us from saying such things as that the r a i s i n g of my arm was  caused by the desire to raise my  arm;  or, more generally, that desires are causes of actions. In thus reviewing  several of the arguments and  considerations  pro and con the thesis that desires are causes of actions, we have found nothing decisive either way.  But on the whole, i t must be admitted that  the proponents of the claim that desires are causes of actions are i n the stronger p o s i t i o n .  For we have found that there are two prima  facie  considerations i n favour of saying that desires are causes of actions, and no good arguments against saying t h i s .  But though the arguments  purporting to show that desires are not causes of actions  considered  above do not succeed i n showing t h i s , there are, I think, two arguments that w i l l . ments.  And  I s h a l l , i n the following Chapter, present  these argu-  CHAPTER V  DESIRES AS  CAUSES OF ACTIONS ( I I )  In t h i s C h a p t e r , I want to p r e s e n t  two  arguments which I t h i n k  w i l l show t h a t d e s i r e s a r e not causes of a c t i o n s . to  But b e f o r e  I turn  do t h i s , i t w i l l perhaps be w e l l to make c l e a r a p o s i t i o n of  s t r a t e g y I s h a l l adopt. F o r anyone concerned to show t h a t c e r t a i n t h i n g s a r e not the i d e a l way  to proceed i s by  r e l a t i o n , and  then going on to argue t h a t the t h i n g i n q u e s t i o n  to  first  g i v i n g an a n a l y s i s of the  causes, causal fails  p o s s e s s some e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e or f e a t u r e s r e v e a l e d by t h a t a n a l y s i s .  T h i s , however, i s not the way  i n which I s h a l l p r o c e e d , f o r I n e i t h e r  have an a n a l y s i s of the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n to o f f e r , nor know of any I c a r e to endorse.  But  I do not  t i o n of r e a l weakness.  t h i n k t h a t t h i s p l a c e s me  F o r even i f we  f e a t u r e s of the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n .  e x p l o i t i n what f o l l o w s , two r e l a t i o n i s a contingent e m p i r i c a l evidence  arguments, and  relation.  The  The  first  and  i s t h a t the  second i s t h a t we  shall  causal  require  causal  relation.  f e a t u r e s of the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n t h a t I need f o r  I s h a l l assume both of them.  I s h a l l appeal  f i r s t , v i z . , t h a t the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n i s a c o n t i n g e n t first  uncontrover-  I have i n mind h e r e ,  to e s t a b l i s h the e x i s t e n c e of any  These a r e the o n l y two my  of t h e s e .  i n a posi-  have no.complete a n a l y s i s of  the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n , t h e r e a r e , I t h i n k , some r e l a t i v e l y sial  that  argument I s h a l l p r e s e n t ;  and  I s h a l l appeal  to  the  r e l a t i o n , i n the  to the second, v i z . ,  122 t h a t we r e q u i r e e m p i r i c a l e v i d e n c e to e s t a b l i s h the e x i s t e n c e of any c a u s a l r e l a t i o n , i n the s e c o n d , I now b e g i n t o p r e s e n t the f i r s t of t h e s e arguments by c o n s i d e r i n g y e t a n o t h e r p r i n c i p l e , i n a d d i t i o n to the two c o n s i d e r e d towards the end of Chapter I V , p u r p o r t i n g  to s t a t e a r e q u i r e m e n t  genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y .  t h a t any  T h i s p r i n c i p l e i s as f o l l o w s :  (3) I f A, under c o n d i t i o n s C, i s the cause of B, we must be a b l e to i d e n t i f y A i n some way t h a t i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the ' t h e cause of B, g i v e n C" ,  I s h a l l , i n o r d e r to make c o n v e n i e n t  r e f e r e n c e to t h i s p r i n c i p l e , a l t e r n a t i v e l y as s t i p u l a t i n g  express i t  t h a t a cause.must be i d e n t i f i a b l e  t h a t does not connect i t  description  causally with i t s  i n what  follows  under some d e s c r i p t i o n  supposed e f f e c t .  Now i f we a c c e p t (3) as s t a t i n g a requirement  t h a t must be  s a t i s f i e d by any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n , t h e n , i f we a r e to  regard  d e s i r e s as causes of a c t i o n s , we must a c c e p t (3a) t h a t a d e s i r e must be i d e n t i f i a b l e  under some d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t i s l o g i c a l l y independent  the d e s c r i p t i o n ' t h e cause of a c e r t a i n a c t i o n i f t i o n s are s a t i s f i e d ' .  O r , as I s h a l l sometimes e x p r e s s i t ,  d e s i r e must be i d e n t i f i a b l e it  c e r t a i n other  condi-  that a  under a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t does n o t  connect  causally with action. But does (3) s t a t e a requirement  D.F.  Pears  1  and J . A , Fodor  2  t h a t must be s a t i s f i e d ?  2  Psycholog%eal  Both  a c c e p t p r i n c i p l e s t h a t I t a k e to be  " A r e Reasons f o r A c t i o n s C a u s e s ? " , i n Epistemology (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 7 ) , p p . 2 0 4 - 2 2 8 , e s p , p p . 2 1 4 - 2 1 5 .  Stroll,  Explanation  (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 8 ) , p .  3  35.  of  ed. A,  123 e q u i v a l e n t to the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n  ( 3 ) , h o l d i n g t h a t they s t a t e a  r e q u i r e m e n t t h a t any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y .  But n e i t h e r  of t h e s e w r i t e r s has much to say on the q u e s t i o n of why any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y t h i s p r i n c i p l e . fill  And I s h o u l d now l i k e  t h i s gap l e f t by t h e i r a c c o u n t s by t r y i n g to show t h a t  to  principle  ( 3 ) , a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h i f A, under c o n d i t i o n s C, i s the cause o f B , we must be a b l e to i d e n t i f y A i n some way t h a t i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the d e s c r i p t i o n ' t h e cause of B , g i v e n C ' , does s t a t e a r e q u i r e m e n t t h a t any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y . The c a u s a l r e l a t i o n i s a c o n t i n g e n t r e l a t i o n . f a c t t h a t A, under c o n d i t i o n s C , i s the cause of B , i t fact.  T h i s means t h a t i t  Thus i f  it  is a  i s a contingent  cannot be s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y to suppose t h a t  A and C o c c u r r e d and y e t B d i d n o t .  If,  however, we cannot i d e n t i f y A  except as f a l l i n g under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' t h e cause of B , g i v e n C " , t h e n i t would be s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y to suppose t h a t A and C o c c u r r e d and y e t B d i d n o t .  F o r i n t h i s c a s e , i n s a y i n g t h a t A o c c u r r e d , we  a r e s a y i n g t h a t the cause of B , g i v e n C, o c c u r r e d ; and i t c o n t r a d i c t o r y t o say t h a t the cause of B , g i v e n C  y  and y e t B d i d n o t .  i s the cause of B .  case Ay C, and B a r e not c o n t i n g e n t l y r e l a t e d ; and i f r e l a t e d , c o u l d n o t be c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d . principle  self-  occurred, C occurred,  And s i n c e t h i s i s s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y ,  be t r u e t h a t A, under c o n d i t i o n s . C ,  is  it  c o u l d not  For i n not  this  contingently  T h u s , s i n c e the v i o l a t i o n  of  ( 3 ) , a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h i f A, under c o n d i t i o n s C, i s the cause  of B , we must be a b l e to i d e n t i f y A i n some way t h a t i s l o g i c a l l y i n d e - . pendent of the d e s c r i p t i o n ' t h e cause of B , g i v e n C" , f o r c e s us t o  admit  124 that -.A  a  C  3  and B do not stand i n a contingent  causal r e l a t i o n i s a contingent  r e l a t i o n , given that the  r e l a t i o n , p r i n c i p l e (3) states a r e -  quirement that any.genuine causal r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y .  And since  (3a), according to which i f a desire i s to be a cause of action, we must be able to i d e n t i f y that desire under some description that i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the description 'the cause of a c e r t a i n action i f c e r t a i n other conditions are s a t i s f i e d ' , i s entailed by (3), (3a) also states a requirement that must be s a t i s f i e d i f the thesis that desires are causes of actions i s . t o be maintained. Having thus seen that p r i n c i p l e (3) does state a requirement that any genuine causal r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y , l e t us now see how Pears connects this p r i n c i p l e with the question of whether desires can be 3 regarded as causes of actions.  The connexion here depends on how  s p e c i f i c desires are i d e n t i f i a b l e , and what the implications of t h e i r descriptions are.  Pears begins by assuming that we are only i n a p o s i -  t i o n to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under the description 'desire to 4  perform a c e r t a i n action'.  Now according to Pears, the a p p l i c a t i o n of  3 Pears's views to be expounded i n what follows are those he puts forward i n h i s "Are Reasons for Actions Causes?" 4  It i s , of course, a s i m p l i f i c a t i o n to say that s p e c i f i c desires are only i d e n t i f i a b l e under the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'. For actions are not the only objects of desires: we can,also desire to have c e r t a i n things, to bring about states of a f f a i r s , to secure c e r t a i n items, etc. But, with suitable changes, the remarks to be made about the description 'desire tp perform a c e r t a i n action' and the implications of i t apply when other objects of desires, (e.g., things or states of a f f a i r s ) , are substituted for actions. I also take t h i s opportunity to remind the reader that, as I announced i n Chapter I I I I would, I adopt this s i m p l i f i c a t i o n throughout.  125 this description i m p l i e s — a n d the nature and strength of this implicat i o n w i l l be discussed  s h o r t l y — t h e application of the description  'desire  which w i l l be followed by the execution of that action unless there i s some condition obtaining, such as that the project i s not believed  to  be f e a s i b l e , or there i s no occasion to d o , i t , or the agent lacks  the  necessary p e r t i n a c i t y , etc., that w i l l explain why  not  performed'.  the action was  This l a t t e r description Pears refers to as 'the disjunctive  description'.  Thus, according to Pears, the application of the des-  c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' implies the application of the disjunctive description. Now  one who  adopts this view just sketched, and holds that  desires are causes,of actions, w i l l not merely hold that s p e c i f i c desires w i l l be followed  by actions, other things being equal, but  that s p e c i f i c desires w i l l be the cause equal.  of actions, other things being  Thus he w i l l interpret the disjunctive description causally.  Interpreted  causally, i t would read as follows:  'desire which w i l l  be the cause of that action unless there is.some condition that w i l l explain why And  obtaining  the desire does not bring about i t s e f f e c t ' .  I think that he must so interpret the disjunctive description;  for i f he did not, i t would be d i f f i c u l t to see in.what sense he maintains that desires cause actions.  Thus one who  accepts the view  that s p e c i f i c desires are only i d e n t i f i a b l e under the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action', holds that t h i s description implies the disjunctive description, and maintains that desires  are  causes of actions, w i l l and must hold that the description 'desire to  126 perform a c e r t a i n action' implies the description 'desire which w i l l be the cause of that action unless there i s some condition  obtaining  that w i l l explain why the desire does not bring about i t s e f f e c t ' . It i s now important to determine the nature of the implication l i n k i n g the two descriptions. ment or presupposition, 'presupposition'  The Implication may be one of e n t a i l -  i n Pears's sense of that l a t t e r term.  By  Pears means that p presupposes q i f p mentions some-  thing about which we could not establish communication unless p were very seldom true when q was f a l s e .  I t w i l l make a great deal of  difference which of these two views of the implication we adopt.  The  acceptance of what has been said so far about the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of s p e c i f i c desires only being possible under the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action', and about t h i s description implying the disjunctive description, does not commit us to anything that would, according to the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (3), prohibit us from saying that desires are causes of actions.  However, when we come.to s t a t e —  as we must—what the nature of t h i s implication i s , and the only a l ternatives here are entailment or presupposition,  depending on which  of these.alternatives we adopt, we w i l l either be allowed or proh i b i t e d by the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (3) to regard desires as causes of actions.  Let me now demonstrate that t h i s i s so.,  Let us suppose that the r e l a t i o n between the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' and the disjunctive description  127 i s entailmento  5  Now i f we hold that the description 'desire to perform  a c e r t a i n action' implies the disjunctive description and hold that desires are causes of actions, then we must, as I have argued, interpret the d i s j u n c t i v e description causally.  Accordingly,  i f we are only i n  a p o s i t i o n to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action', and i f t h i s description e n t a i l s the dis-r junctive description interpreted causally, as 'desire which w i l l be the cause of that action unless there i s some condition obtaining that w i l l explain why the desire does not bring about i t s e f f e c t ' , then a desire w i l l not be i d e n t i f i a b l e under a description that does not connect i t causally with action.  Thus we could not regard desires as causes of  It i s perhaps worth pointing out that to speak, as Pears does, of one description e n t a i l i n g another description i s to use the notion of entailment i n an extended way; for entailment i s a r e l a t i o n that i s normally considered to hold between statements. And as I s h a l l , following Pears, continue to speak of one description e n t a i l i n g another, a word about what i s meant by saying t h i s would be i n order, We may say that one description, e n t a i l s another description, D^, i f and only i f Dj can be predicated of a subject x to form a statement Sj and I>2 can be predicated of the same subject x to form a statement S% such that, of the two statements so formed out of t h i s subject and these descriptions, Sj e n t a i l s Now to say that entails i s to say that i t i s inconsistent to assert Sj and yet to deny £«>. Thus to ..say that Di e n t a i l s i s to 'say that i t i s inconsistent to predicate Dj of a subject and yet to refuse to predicate of that subject. Let me i l l u s t r a t e t h i s . The descriptions 'six feet t a l l ' and 'less than ten feet t a l l ' can be predicated of a common subject, e.g., John, to y i e l d the following two statements: 'John i s s i x feet t a l l ' and 'John i s less than ten feet t a l l ' . And since the former statement e n t a i l s the l a t t e r one, we may say that the description 'six feet t a l l ' ent a i l s the description 'less than ten feet t a l l ' ; that i t i s inconsistent to predicate 'six feet t a l l ' of a subject and yet refuse to predicate 'less than ten feet t a l l ' of that subject. With these explanations, I hope that the extended use of the notion of entailment, as i n d i c a t i n g a r e l a t i o n holding between descriptions, w i l l create no problems,  128  actions on this analysis without v i o l a t i n g the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (3), for according to ( 3 ) , a cause must be i d e n t i f i a b l e under a desc r i p t i o n that does not connect i t causally with i t s supposed e f f e c t . And  since, as has already been argued, we cannot v i o l a t e (3) without  being forced to admit that the r e l a t i o n i n question i s not a contingent r e l a t i o n , given that the causal r e l a t i o n i s a  contingent  r e l a t i o n , we could not regard desires as causes of actions i f . t h e relationship between the two descriptions i s entailment. In t h i s case, we would be driven to this conclusion i n the following way.  According  to the argument now  under consideration  that holds that we are only i n a p o s i t i o n to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action', and that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between this description and the disjunctive description i s entailment,  i f we regard desires as causes of actions,  (thus i n t e r p r e t i n g the disjunctive description c a u s a l l y ) , then a s p e c i f i c desire cannot be i d e n t i f i e d i n any way  that does not  fall  under the description 'the cause of a c e r t a i n action unless there i s some condition obtaining that w i l l explain why bring about i t s e f f e c t ' .  the desire does not  This description i s equivalent to the des-  c r i p t i o n 'the cause of a c e r t a i n action i f c e r t a i n other are s a t i s f i e d ' .  conditions  Thus, accepting the argument under consideration,  and  regarding desires as causes of actions, a s p e c i f i c desire cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except as f a l l i n g under the description 'the cause of a c e r t a i n action i f c e r t a i n other conditions are s a t i s f i e d ' .  If we  now  claim that the desire to perform a c e r t a i n action i s the cause of that  action, t h i s claim amounts to the claim that the cause of a certain action, i f c e r t a i n other conditions are s a t i s f i e d , i s the cause of that action.  And  since i t i s self-contradictory to suppose that  the  cause of a c e r t a i n action, given the s a t i s f a c t i o n of certain other conditions, occurred, those other conditions were s a t i s f i e d , and  yet  the action did not occur, the relationship between the desire, those conditions  that must be s a t i s f i e d i f . a c t i o n i s to follow the desire,  and the action, i s not a contingent r e l a t i o n . r e l a t i o n , could not be a causal r e l a t i o n . p r i n c i p l e stated i n (3),  And  i f not a contingent  Thus i f we accept the  as i t seems we must, hold that a s p e c i f i c  desire cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except under the description 'desire to perform a certain action', and hold that t h i s description e n t a i l s the disjunctive description, then i t seems impossible to regard desires as causes of actions. However, the matter i s d i f f e r e n t i f we hold that the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' presupposes the disjunctive description.  For according to t h i s , the description 'desire to per-  form a c e r t a i n action' i s only very description i s f a l s e .  seldom  true when the disjunctive  But the p o s s i b i l i t y that the f i r s t description  can be t r u l y applied, and the disjunctive description be f a l s e , permits us to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under a description that does not f a l l under the disjunctive description. may  And  since t h i s i s so,  we  regard desires as causes of actions without the consequence of  being unable to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire except under a description that connects i t causally with i t s supposed e f f e c t , action.  And hence  130 the v i e w of the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n s h i p e x p r e s s e d i n (3) g i v e s us no trouble.  Thus i f we a c c e p t ( 3 ) , h o l d t h a t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s  only  i d e n t i f i a b l e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e to p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , and h o l d t h a t t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n presupposes the d e s c r i p t i o n , then i t  disjunctive  i s p o s s i b l e t o h o l d t h a t d e s i r e s a r e causes of  actions. So f a r we have been f o l l o w i n g P e a r s ' s a c c o u n t , and e x p l o r i n g the consequences f o r the q u e s t i o n of whether o r not d e s i r e s are causes of a c t i o n s of h o l d i n g two a l t e r n a t i v e v i e w s i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h a d o p t i n g the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n ( 3 ) , and the v i e w t h a t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e to p e r f o r m a certain action'.  These c o n c e r n the s t r e n g t h of the i m p l i c a t i o n  link-  i n g the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' and the disjunctive description.  But i t  i s t o be n o t i c e d t h a t t h i s e x p l o r a -  t i o n o n l y e x h a u s t s p a r t of the d i a l e c t i c of the p r o b l e m .  So f a r  n o t h i n g has been s a i d about the consequences f o r the q u e s t i o n of whether o r not d e s i r e s a r e c a u s e s . o f a c t i o n s of d e n y i n g the v i e w t h a t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e to p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , and p l a c i n g e i t h e r of the two a l t e r n a t i v e s i n d i c a t e d towards the end of Chapter I I I  i n i t s stead.  B u t b e f o r e we e x p l o r e t h e . c o n s e q u e n c e s of d o i n g t h i s  latter,  l e t us f i r s t see how the account of the l o g i c a l c o n n e x i o n h o l d i n g between d e s i r e s and a c t i o n s t h a t I have o f f e r e d i n C h a p t e r I I I  relates  to the a c c e p t a n c e of the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n (3) t o g e t h e r w i t h the a d o p t i o n of the v i e w t h a t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under  131 the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'.  According  to that  account, i f a 'want'-statement i s t r u l y made, then at l e a s t one of the following,disjuncts i s entailed by i t : action w i l l follow, or there w i l l be some countervailing wants, or the agent w i l l not believe that he has the a b i l i t y , or the agent w i l l not believe that he has the opportunity.^ Now since the clause 'other things being equal' was designed to cover the l a s t three disjuncts mentioned, the claim can be put more,simply as follows.  Any true 'want!-statement e n t a i l s a statement to the e f f e c t  that, other things being equal, the agent w i l l perform a c e r t a i n action. Accordingly, we may say that the true description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' e n t a i l s the description 'desire which w i l l be followed 7  by that action, other things being equal'.  And i f , accepting  this  analysis, we want to regard desires as causes of actions, we w i l l , and I think must, interpret this l a t t e r description causally, as follows: 'desire which w i l l be the cause of that action, other things being equal'. At t h i s point, I wish to remind the reader of the r e s t r i c t i o n I imposed i n Chapter I I I that enables me to put the f i r s t disjunct here as * action w i l l follow', and write below that 'any true "want"statement e n t a i l s a statement,to the e f f e c t that, other things being equal, the agent w i l l perform a c e r t a i n action'. I am r e s t r i c t i n g my discussion to cases where what the agent wants to do or wants to secure requires him to,perform an action to do or to secure i t . Without t h i s r e s t r i c t i o n , i t would be,false to say these things. For, as I noted i n Chapter I I I , one may want to do something, (e.g., conjure up a mental picture of another's face), that does not involve any action on h i s part. ^1 s h a l l , i n what follows, on occasion refer to t h i s entailed description as 'the disjunctive description'.  132 Now i f (a) a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , and (b) t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n e n t a i l s the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e which w i l l be f o l l o w e d by that a c t i o n , other  things being  equal',  and (c) t h i s l a s t d e s c r i p t i o n  i s i n t e r p r e t e d c a u s a l l y , as ' d e s i r e which w i l l be the cause o f t h a t a c t i o n , other  things being  equal',  then (d) t h e d e s c r i p t i o n  'desire  to p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' e n t a i l s the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e which w i l l be  t h e cause o f t h a t a c t i o n , other  things being  r e l a t i o n i n (d) i s one o f e n t a i l m e n t , no  equal'.  And s i n c e t h e  then, assuming t h a t  (a) I s t r u e ,  d e s i r e can be regarded as a cause o f a c t i o n and be i d e n t i f i e d  except  as f a l l i n g under t h e d e s c r i p t i o n 'the cause o f a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ,  other  things being  desires  equal'.  I f t h i s i s t h e c a s e , then we cannot r e g a r d  as causes o f a c t i o n s and y e t i d e n t i f y them i n such a way as t o s a t i s f y the requirement l a i d down i n p r i n c i p l e  ( 3 ) ; and s i n c e p r i n c i p l e (3)  s t a t e s a requirement t h a t any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must so c o u l d not r e g a r d  d e s i r e s as causes o f a c t i o n s .  We now have b e f o r e  us an argument designed t o show t h a t  cannot be causes o f a c t i o n s .  desires  But t h i s argument may be c h a l l e n g e d  c h a l l e n g i n g one o r b o t h o f two o f i t s p r e m i s e s . challenge  satisfy,  by  S p e c i f i c a l l y , one may  t h e argument by c h a l l e n g i n g premise ( b ) , a c c o r d i n g  t o which  the r e l a t i o n between the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' and t h e d i s j u n c t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n i s e n t a i l m e n t , ing  premise  (a), according  o r by c h a l l e n g -  t o which a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s o n l y  identi-  f i a b l e under t h e d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , o r by  c h a l l e n g i n g b o t h these p r e m i s e s .  We have a l s o seen what the  133 a l t e r n a t i v e s t o these premises a r e , premise  (b) i s t o h o l d t h a t t h e r e l a t i o n i n q u e s t i o n  i n the sense t h a t has been g i v e n natives  The a l t e r n a t i v e t o a d o p t i n g  t o a d o p t i n g premise ( a ) .  t h a t term.  i s presupposition,  And there a r e two a l t e r -  One may c l a i m t h a t b e s i d e s  being  a b l e t o i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , we may a l s o make t h e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n under e i t h e r o r both s o r t s o f d e s c r i p t i o n s . i n d i c a t e d a t the end o f Chapter III.  The f i r s t  o f these was a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t c o r r e l a t e s t h e d e s i r e  w i t h some s t a t e o f a f f a i r s t h a t i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i t i n a one-to-one f a s h i o n , e.g., o f the form 'the dominant d e s i r e I had a t 10:00 t h i s morning'; t h e second was a n e u r o l o g i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n . As  r e g a r d s the d i a l e c t i c o f the argument, we have found  that  one who a c c e p t s t h e p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n ( 3 ) , on which t h e argument i s founded, a l s o a c c e p t s premise ( a ) , a c c o r d i n g  t o which a s p e c i f i c  d e s i r e i s o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , but d e n i e s premise ( b ) , a c c o r d i n g  t o which t h e  r e l a t i o n between t h a t d e s c r i p t i o n and t h e d i s j u n c t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n i s entailment,  claiming  instead that i t i s presupposition,  c o n c l u s i o n o f the argument. i s i n t h i s respect  can evade t h e  We have n o t y e t seen what t h e p o s i t i o n  o f one who a c c e p t s t h e p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n (3) t o -  gether w i t h premise ( b ) , b u t who d e n i e s premise (a) i n t h e i n t e r e s t o f a f f i r m i n g t h a t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s a l s o i d e n t i f i a b l e under a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t c o r r e l a t e s the d e s i r e w i t h some.state o f a f f a i r s t h a t i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i t i n a one-to-one f a s h i o n o r under a n e u r o l o g i c a l description.,  134  So l e t us begin to consider.this argument by examining premise (b), the denial of which we know w i l l enable us to avoid the conclusion that desires are not causes of actions.  And  l e t us begin t h i s examin-  ation by considering the claim that the r e l a t i o n between the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' and the description 'desire which w i l l be followed by that action, or, i f not, the agent w i l l have some countervailing wants, or f a i l to believe that he has the a b i l i t y , or f a i l to believe that he has the opportunity' i s presupposition and entailment.  not  The term 'presupposition' i s used here i n the s p e c i a l sense  introduced by Pears, according to which p presupposes q I f p mentions something about which we could not e s t a b l i s h communication unless p were very seldom true when q was  false.  Thus, when i t i s said that the  description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' presupposes the d i s junctive description, i t i s being claimed that we could not e s t a b l i s h communication about our desires unless they could very seldom be t r u l y ascribed to us when we do not subsequently act and when none of the conditions l i s t e d i n the disjunctive description apply.  Now  t h i s , I.  think, i s true; and I think that the further implication, namely, that i f there were t h i s r e l a t i o n of,presupposition between the two  descrip-  tions then we could e s t a b l i s h communication about our desires, i s also true.  So from the point of view of what i s required to e s t a b l i s h  communication about our.desires, presupposition seems to be a l l that i s necessary.  Entailment  would of course also be s u f f i c i e n t , but i t  would be more than i s necessary.  We must now come to grips with, the problem of determining which of these,two i s the r e l a t i o n obtaining between,the description to perform a c e r t a i n action' and the disjunctive description,,  'desire Let me  begin to try to do this by s t a t i n g , once again, what p o s i t i o n those who claim that the relationship i s entailment are committed to hold; and, i n contrast to t h i s , to what those who claim that the relationship i s presupposition  are committed.  Those who hold that the relationship between the f i r s t and second descriptions i s entailment must say that i f the agent claims to want to do,something, and, when the time for action has come, does not t r y to do i t though he does not have any countervailing wants, or does not f a i l to believe that he has the a b i l i t y , or does not f a i l to believe that he has the opportunity, then he does not r e a l l y want to do i t at that time.  This i s equivalent  to saying that the f i r s t description,,  'desire to perform a certain action', cannot be t r u l y applied to the agent i f , when the time for action has come, the second description, 'desire which w i l l be followed by that action, or, i f not, there w i l l be some condition obtaining  that w i l l explain why the action was not  performed', turns out to be f a l s e .  So those who hold that the r e l a t i o n -  ship between the two descriptions i s one,of entailment rest their case on the meaning of the verb 'desire' (or 'want') according to which the a p p l i c a b i l i t y or not of the second description i s the decisive factor i n determining whether or not the agent r e a l l y wants to do something. On the other hand, those who hold that the relationship between the two descriptions i n question i s one of presupposition,  though they  136 must hold that the second description cannot often f a i l to hold when the f i r s t i s a p p l i c a b l e — f o r otherwise communication established about our desires—cannot  could not be  regard the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the  second description as a deo-is-ive check on the truth of the f i r s t desc r i p t i o n ; for to do,this would amount to saying that the f i r s t desc r i p t i o n entailed the second.  Those who hold that the r e l a t i o n s h i p  i s one of presupposition claim that the agent's assertion that he wants to perform a c e r t a i n action i s , on occasion, to be given more weight than the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the second description when we are assessing whether or not an agent r e a l l y wants to do something.  Thus they  allow that there w i l l be times when the description 'desire to.perform a c e r t a i n action' can be t r u l y applied to the agent even i f , when the time for action has come, no action follows, and the agent does not have any countervailing wants, or f a i l to believe.that he has the a b i l i t y , or f a i l to believe that he has the opportunity. Now  i t seems to me that such a case as t h i s , where the agent  states with a s i n c e r i t y that cannot be doubted that he wants to do something, and yet, when the time for action has come, neither acts nor can c i t e any reason why he f a i l s to perform, i s l o g i c a l l y odd. For i f the agent r e a l l y wants to do something, does not want to do anything more than this that would prevent him from doing that thing, believes he has the a b i l i t y and opportunity  to do i t , and s t i l l does  not t r y to do i t , what i s the force of saying that he wants to do i t ? In such a case, we would, I think, ask for some explanation of why the agent did not act; and i n default of such an explanation, as i n  137 t h i s c a s e , deny t h a t t h e agent r e a l l y wanted t o a c t a t t h e time when a c t i o n was a p p r o p r i a t e ;  Now assuming t h a t the agent was r e a l l y  sincere  when he made t h e statement, we c o u l d n o t v e r y w e l l deny t h a t he had some p r o - a t t i t u d e towards t h a t which he c l a i m e d t o want t o do., But we c o u l d , and I t h i n k would, deny t h a t t h i s p r o - a t t i t u d e was p r o p e r l y described  as a want.  I n t h e case under d i s c u s s i o n , t h i s  would, I t h i n k , be most n a t u r a l l y d e s c r i b e d If  pro-attitude  as an i d l e w i s h .  I am c o r r e c t i n these remarks about t h e proper a p p l i c a t i o n  of the verb  'want' (or ' d e s i r e ' ) , then t h e f i r s t  description,  'desire  to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , does e n t a i l , and n o t presuppose, the second d e s c r i p t i o n , ' d e s i r e which w i l l be f o l l o w e d by t h a t a c t i o n unless  there  i s some c o n d i t i o n o b t a i n i n g  a c t i o n was n o t performed'.  t h a t w i l l e x p l a i n why the  And i f t h i s i s s o , assuming t h a t  specific  d e s i r e s a r e o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n , we c o u l d n o t i n t e r p r e t t h e second d e s c r i p t i o n 1  c a u s a l l y , and hence c o u l d n o t r e g a r d  d e s i r e s as causes o f a c t i o n s ,  w i t h o u t b e i n g unable t o , i d e n t i f y any s p e c i f i c d e s i r e under a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t does n o t connect i t c a u s a l l y w i t h i t s a l l e g e d e f f e c t .  And  s i n c e we must be a b l e t o so i d e n t i f y s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s i f they a r e t o be  causes o f a c t i o n s , we c o u l d n o t r e g a r d  d e s i r e s as causes o f a c t i o n s .  I now t u r n t o the second way i n d i c a t e d o f c h a l l e n g i n g the argument s e t out on page 132.  This consists i n challenging i t s f i r s t  premise, namely, t h a t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' . his  r e c e n t book Psychological  Explanation,  J.A. Fodor, i n  has i n e f f e c t  challenged  t h i s s o r t of argument i n t h i s way.  And we may u s e f u l l y b e g i n by  considering Fodor's account, Fodor b e g i n s by s p e c i f y i n g a requirement  t h a t he t h i n k s any  genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y , w r i t i n g as f o l l o w s ?  I t i s , o f c o u r s e , t r u e t h a t i f X is the cause of Y, then t h e r e must be some d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t i s t r u e of X and t h a t i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the d e s c r i p t i o n ' 7 ' s c a u s e ' , and t h e r e must be some d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t i s t r u e of Y and t h a t i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the d e s c r i p t i o n ' Z ' s effect'. 8  T h i s statement h i n t s a t something t h a t I t h i n k i s t r u e , but i t as c l e a r as one c o u l d w i s h f o r .  is  not  F o r what k i n d of d e s c r i p t i o n we r e -  q u i r e to be t r u e oi.X and I i s not s p e c i f i e d ; and s u r e l y n o t j u s t any d e s c r i p t i o n s t r u e of X and J . t h a t ly)  of the d e s c r i p t i o n s  a r e l o g i c a l l y independent  ' 7 ' s c a u s e ' and ' Z ' s e f f e c t '  (respective-  w i l l e n a b l e us  to say t h a t X i s the cause of J . F o r example, i t might be t r u e t h a t X was  unfortunate  and t h a t Y was u n p l e a s a n t .  ' X was u n f o r t u n a t e '  And though the d e s c r i p t i o n s  and ' 7 was u n p l e a s a n t ' may be t r u e of X and J r e s -  p e c t i v e l y , and a r e r e s p e c t i v e l y l o g i c a l l y independent of the d e s c r i p tions  ' J ' s c a u s e ' and ' Z ' s e f f e c t ' ,  t h e s e d e s c r i p t i o n s a r e s u r e l y not  of the s o r t r e q u i r e d to e n a b l e us to r e g a r d X as the cause of Y., The s o r t of d e s c r i p t i o n Fodor, seems to have i n m i n d , i n h i s statement t h e r e q u i r e m e n t t h a t he h o l d s any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must is  an identifying  description.  satisfy,  That i s , h i s p o s i t i o n seems t o be t h a t  i n o r d e r f o r X to be the cause of Y, we must be a b l e t o i d e n t i f y X  Psychological  Explanation  of  (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 8 ) , p.  35.  139 under some description that i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the description 'y's cause', and be able to i d e n t i f y J under some description that i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the description 'X's e f f e c t ' .  And this r e -  quirement, (or, more s t r i c t l y , the f i r s t part of t h i s requirement), i s , with the simplifying omission of the conditions under which X operates as a cause, i d e n t i c a l to the one on which the argument now under conr sideration depends, v i z . , that i f A, under.conditions C, i s the cause of B, we must be able to i d e n t i f y A i n some.way that i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the description 'the cause of B, given C" . Now Fodor c l e a r l y thinks that t h i s requirement can be s a t i s f i e d i n the case of psychological states such as motives, intentions, des i r e s , etc., and goes.on to indicate how, writing that that demand [ i . e . , the requirement just.stated] would be s a t i s f i e d i f the materially s u f f i c i e n t conditions for having a c e r t a i n motive could be formulated i n neurological terms. Indeed, the existence of any state of a f f a i r s that i s associated i n a one-to-one fashion with a psychological state, either by a law of nature, or by a true empirical, generalization, or by a sheer accident, would permit one to make an i d e n t i f y i n g reference to that state without r e f e r r i n g to the behaviour that i t i s alleged to cause.^  Fodor then proceeds to i l l u s t r a t e this suggestion.  He writes (and  here I adapt h i s remarks to the case of d e s i r e s ) : Suppose, for example, that i t happens to be the case that there i s a draft i n the Tower of London when and only when Smith has a desire to eat a melon. Then the desire Smith  Psychological  Explanation  (New York, 1968), p.  35.  140 has when he d e s i r e s to eat a melon c o u l d be u n e q u i v o c a l l y r e f e r r e d t o w i t h o u t , r e f e r r i n g t o the e a t i n g of the melon by employing some such form of words as ' t h e d e s i r e Smith has whenever the Tower of London i s d r a f t y ' . l O  Thus Fodor c l a i m s t h a t the v i e w t h a t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s identifiable is  false.  only  under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e to p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n '  A c c o r d i n g t o . h i m , we can a l s o i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e  v a r i o u s o t h e r ways.  And we may now make a s h o r t . l i s t  under w h i c h F o d o r ' s account s u g g e s t s we may make the  of  in  descriptions  identification.  F o d o r ' s account s u g g e s t s t h a t , b e s i d e s b e i n g a b l e to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e to p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , we may a l s o do so under the f o l l o w i n g s o r t s of  descriptions:  (1)  The d e s i r e I have whenever the Tower of London i s  (2)  The dominant d e s i r e I had a t 10:00 t h i s  (3)  The d e s i r e I had on s e e i n g the melon.  (4)  The d e s i r e t h a t was the e f f e c t  drafty.  morning.  of my not e a t i n g any l u n c h .  Fodor a l s o e n v i s a g e s , i n a d d i t i o n t o t h e s e d e s c r i p t i o n s t h a t we a c t u a l l y have a v a i l a b l e , the p o s s i b i l i t y of our b e i n g a b l e , a t some f u t u r e  time,  to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e under some n e u r o l o g i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n . Fodor not o n l y s u g g e s t s i n h i s account t h a t we can i d e n t i f y s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s i n t h e s e w a y s , but a l s o c l a i m s t h a t the  possibility  of our b e i n g a b l e to do so e n a b l e s us to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e a way t h a t i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the d e s c r i p t i o n J'  ' t h e cause o f .  (where ' J ' s t a n d s f o r some s p e c i f i c a c t i o n ) ; a n d , c o n s e q u e n t l y ,  Psychological  Explanation  in  (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 3 5 .  that  141  there i s no conceptual bar to regarding desires as causes of actions. But l e t us be quite clear as to what would be required i n order f o r us to be able to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire i n a way that i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the description 'the cause of J ' , and so enable us to regard desires as causes of actions.  I t i s not enough merely to provide  other i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions besides the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n . 1  In addition, these alternative i d e n t i f y i n g  descriptions must be such that we can apply them without also applying the d i s j u n c t i v e description, i . e . , the description 'desire which w i l l be followed by the action that i t i s a desire to perform, other things being equal'.  I t would be of no help to us i n regarding desires as  causes of actions to say that, besides being able to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under the description,  , 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action',  we can also i d e n t i f y the desire under descriptions Dg, we could not apply descriptions Dg the disjunctive description. Z?2»  e t C o  t  e  D^, etc., without also  t  c , if  applying  For i f we could not apply descriptions  » without also applying the disjunctive description, these  descriptions would not permit us to regard desires as causes of actions and be able to i d e n t i f y the desire under some description that did not connect i t causally with i t s supposed e f f e c t , action.  And, consequently,  since we must be able to so i d e n t i f y s p e c i f i c desires i f we are,to be able to regard them as causes of actions, we s t i l l could not regard desires as causes of actions. Perhaps an i l l u s t r a t i o n w i l l make t h i s point clearer. I have a desire to eat a melon.  Suppose  We have already seen how, i f we are  142 only able to i d e n t i f y t h i s desire under the description,  , 'desire  to eat a melon', and regard desires as causes of actions, we are unable to Identify the desire in,a way that does not connect I t causally with i t s supposed e f f e c t .  For Z)^, 'desire to eat a melon', e n t a i l s the  disjunctive description, which, i f we regard desires as causes of actions, we must interpret causally, as 'desire which w i l l be the cause of my eating a melon, other things being equal'; and i f we are only i n a p o s i t i o n to i d e n t i f y the desire under the description 'desire to eat a melon', then we are unable to regard desires as causes of actions and yet i d e n t i f y the desire i n any way that i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the description 'the cause of my eating a melon, other things being equal'.  But now the suggestion i s that we can i d e n t i f y the desire i n  question i n some other way, for example, under description £>,,, 'the desire I have whenever the Tower of London i s drafty'. cannot apply t h i s description without also applying  However, i f we  the disjunctive  description, 'desire which w i l l be followed by my eating a melon, other things being equal', the fact that D^ i s available w i l l not help us to regard the desire as the cause of the action. apply description D^ without also applying  For i f we cannot  the disjunctive description,  then we are s t i l l unable to interpret the disjunctive description causally, and so.unable to regard desires as causes of actions, while at the same time being able to i d e n t i f y the desire i n a way that i s l o g i c a l l y independent of the description 'the cause of my eating a melon, other things being equal'.  143 Thus i t does not matter to the i s s u e of whether or not are causes of a c t i o n s c r i p t i o n o t h e r than  i f a d e s i r e can be  d e s c r i p t i o n s which we But  s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s are i d e n t i f i a b l e under  can a p p l y w i t h o u t a l s o a p p l y i n g  the  disjunctive  I f some i d e n t i f y i n g d e s c r i p t i o n s a t i s f y i n g t h i s  l a t t e r requirement can be  found, then i t would seem t h a t the  so f a r p r e s e n t e d would not p r o h i b i t us causes of  i d e n t i f i e d under some.des-  ' d e s i r e to p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' ; what i s  important i s whether or not  description.  desires  from r e g a r d i n g  grounds  desires  as  actions.  L e t us now  see  i f the a l t e r n a t i v e i d e n t i f y i n g d e s c r i p t i o n s  s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s suggested by Fodor's account p r o v i d e us w i t h required  c o n c e p t u a l Independence.  w i l l consider  I s h a l l ignore  a d d i t i o n to b e i n g a b l e  but  descrip-  those o t h e r  These were t h a t , i n  to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e under the  ' d e s i r e to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , we  d e s i r e under the  And  f o r the p r e s e n t ,  Here I o n l y w i s h to c o n s i d e r  d e s c r i p t i o n s suggested by Fodor's account.  tion  the  l a t e r , the p o s s i b i l i t y of g i v i n g a n e u r o l o g i c a l  t i o n of a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e .  of  can.identify a  descrip-  specific  descriptions:  (1)  The  d e s i r e I have whenever the Tower of London i s d r a f t y .  (2)  The  dominant d e s i r e I had  (3)  The  d e s i r e I had  (4)  The  d e s i r e t h a t was  the r e l e v a n t  whether or not we description.  question  on s e e i n g  to be  a t 10:00  t h i s morning.  the melon.  the e f f e c t of my  not  e a t i n g any  lunch.  r a i s e d about these d e s c r i p t i o n s i s  can a p p l y them w i t h o u t a l s o a p p l y i n g  the d i s j u n c t i v e  There i s one f e a t u r e o f these proposed i d e n t i f y i n g d e s c r i p t i o n s ( l ) - ( 4 ) t h a t I now w i s h t o draw a t t e n t i o n t o .  When w e . i d e n t i f y  a  s p e c i f i c d e s i r e under,a d e s c r i p t i o n o f the form ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , (e.g., say  ' d e s i r e t o e a t a melon'), one cannot go on t o  t h a t he does n o t know what d e s i r e i s b e i n g  i s n o t so i n t h e case o f d e s c r i p t i o n s  referred to.  (1)-(4).  But t h i s  When any o f these p r o -  posed i d e n t i f y i n g d e s c r i p t i o n s i s o f f e r e d , i t always makes sense f o r one  t o go and ask 'What d e s i r e i s b e i n g  referred to?'  In f a c t ; i t  seems t o me, as I s h a l l now t r y t o argue, t h a t b o t h anyone u s i n g ex^ pressions  o f the s o r t e x e m p l i f i e d  by ( l ) - ( 4 ) t o make an i d e n t i f y i n g  reference  t o some s p e c i f i c d e s i r e he h a s , and anyone w i t h whom communi-  c a t i o n i s e s t a b l i s h e d about what d e s i r e i s b e i n g  r e f e r r e d t o , must be  aware o f t h e d e s i r e under a d e s c r i p t i o n o f the form ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a certain action'. The  f i r s t p a r t o f t h i s c l a i m , v i z . , t h a t the speaker must be  aware.of any s p e c i f i c d e s i r e he has under the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , I take t o be f a i r l y o b v i o u s . d e s i r e s do n o t , so t o speak, c o n c e a l  F o r specific''""'"  t h e i r o b j e c t s ; we a r e immediately  aware o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f our s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s as b e i n g  desires to  perform c e r t a i n a c t i o n s , to secure c e r t a i n t h i n g s , to maintain a c e r t a i n p o s i t i o n , and so on.  And t h i s i s e q u i v a l e n t  to saying  t h a t we a r e  ' S p e c i f i c ' here has the f o r c e o f l i m i t i n g t h e d e s i r e s i n q u e s t i o n t o those we can i d e n t i f y . Without t h i s , o r some e q u i v a l e n t , q u a l i f i c a t i o n , i t would be f a l s e t o c l a i m t h a t d e s i r e s do n o t c o n c e a l t h e i r o b j e c t s ; f o r , as I noted i n Chapter I I I , we can want something but y e t n o t know what i t i s t h a t we want.  145 immediately aware o f the i d e n t i t y o f our s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s under a d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e form ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' . then when a speaker uses any o f the e x p r e s s i o n s  o f the s o r t  t r a t e d by ( l ) - ( 4 ) t o make an i d e n t i f y i n g r e f e r e n c e  I f so,  illus-  t o some s p e c i f i c  d e s i r e he h a s , he must a l s o be aware o f the d e s i r e under another d e s c r i p t i o n , v i z . , t h e d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' . I now t u r n t o c o n s i d e r c l a i m , v i z . , t h a t i n order what d e s i r e i s b e i n g desire i n question a certain action'.  t h e t r u t h o f the second p a r t o f the above  f o r communication t o be e s t a b l i s h e d about  r e f e r r e d t o , t h e h e a r e r must be aware o f t h e  under a d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e form ' d e s i r e t o p e r f o r m I t i s obvious t h a t , i n cases where a d e s i r e i s  r e f e r r e d t o by an e x p r e s s i o n  t h a t c o r r e l a t e s i t w i t h some s t a t e o f  a f f a i r s t h a t i s a c c i d e n t l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i t , e.g., o f t h e form 'the d e s i r e I have whenever the Tower o f London i s d r a f t y ' , no one c o u l d p o s s i b l y understand what d e s i r e i s b e i n g  r e f e r r e d t o u n l e s s he  possessed some such knowledge as t h a t whenever the Tower o f London i s d r a f t y , I have a d e s i r e t o (say) e a t a melon.  But t h i s i s j u s t t o  r e q u i r e t h a t we do i d e n t i f y the d e s i r e under a d e s c r i p t i o n o f the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' .  S i m i l a r remarks c o u l d ,  I think,  be made o f cases o f temporal i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s o f s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s , e.g., of t h e form 'the dominant d e s i r e I had a t 10:00 t h i s morning'. The  other  two examples, v i z . , 'the d e s i r e I had on s e e i n g the  melon' and 'the d e s i r e t h a t was t h e e f f e c t . o f my n o t e a t i n g any l u n c h ' , seem, a t f i r s t  s i g h t , t o do a b i t b e t t e r a t e s t a b l i s h i n g some s o r t o f  communication about t h e d e s i r e i n q u e s t i o n .  But even these do not  146  succeed i n unequivocally question.  establishing communication about the desire i n  The description 'the desire I had on seeing the melon' does  not,, for i f we admit that a description c o r r e l a t i n g a desire with any state of a f f a i r s that i s accidently associated with i t can be used to make an i d e n t i f y i n g reference to that desire, one w i l l remain unclear as to whether or not the desire i n question has anything  to do with the  melon, or i s just correlated i n a unique way with the sight of the melon. It may,  for example, be the case that the desire I had on seeing  melon was  a desire to go swimming.  the  Nor would this u n c l a r i t y be removed  by saying, instead, 'the desire that was  caused by my seeing the melon'.  For there are any number of desires that may  be caused i n t h i s way:  may want to eat, or paint, or squash, or f e e l the melon.  I  Similarly i n  the case of the i d e n t i f y i n g description 'the desire that was  the e f f e c t  of my not eating any lunch': what the desire that i s the e f f e c t of this i s remains unclear.  It may  be, among other things, simply the desire to  eat, or the desire to have an early dinner, or the desire to eat some s p e c i a l kind of food, e.g.,  a melon.  And i t seems that the only way  in  which we could remove these doubts and u n c l a r i t i e s as to the i d e n t i t y of the desire i n question would be to i d e n t i f y the desire under a descript i o n of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action',  If so, then i t  follows that i n order for communication to be established concerning  the  i d e n t i t y of the desire i n question, the hearer must come.to be.aware of the desire under, a description of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'.  147  For these reasons, I think that both a speaker who has some desire, and anyone with whom he establishes communication concerning the i d e n t i t y of the desire he has, must be aware of the desire under, a description of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'. And, of course, i f i t i s true that a speaker cannot communicate the i d e n t i t y of some desire of h i s own,without i d e n t i f y i n g that desire under a description of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action', he c l e a r l y could not communicate the i d e n t i t y of anyone else's desire unless he both knew, and i d e n t i f i e d for the hearer, that desire under a description of this form.  Thus, to put i t generally, we may say  that whenever communication i s established concerning the i d e n t i t y of a s p e c i f i c desire, both.the speaker and the hearer must know that desire under a description of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'. I s h a l l now use t h i s claim to t r y to argue that the i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions suggested by Fodor's account do not provide us with the required conceptual independence  to enable us to regard desires as  causes of actions. . I have just argued that whenever communication i s established concerning the i d e n t i t y of a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e — o r , more simply, whenever a s p e c i f i c desire Is i d e n t i f i e d — b o t h the speaker and hearer must know that desire under a description of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'.  I have also e a r l i e r argued that the a p p l i -  cation of the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' e n t a i l s the a p p l i c a t i o n of the disjunctive description, 'desire which w i l l be followed by that action, other things being equal'.  I f I am correct  on these two points, then since any time a description of the sort i l l u s t r a t e d by ( l ) - ( 4 )  i s used to make an,identifying reference  to a  s p e c i f i c desire that succeeds i n i d e n t i f y i n g that desire, we also know that a p a r t i c u l a r description of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' applies, and since the application of t h i s l a t t e r desc r i p t i o n e n t a i l s the application of the disjunctive description, we cannot i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under any description of the sort (l)-(4)  and yet refuse to apply the disjunctive description.  t h i s i s so, then, for reasons.already given, descriptions  And i f  ( l ) - ( 4 ) do  not enable us to Identify a s p e c i f i c desire under a description such that we could regard desires as causes of actions and yet be able to i d e n t i f y the desire under a description that does not connect i t . causally with i t s supposed e f f e c t .  Thus i t seems that the uniquely  i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions suggested by Fodor's account do not provide us with the required conceptual independence to enable us to regard desires as causes of actions. So far we have f a i l e d to find any description under which we can i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire that would permit,us to regard desires as causes of actions.  A l l the i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions we have con-  sidered f a i l to do t h i s because we found that we could not apply any of them without also applying  the disjunctive description.  But there  i s one other possible sort of description, already alluded to, to be considered.  I t may be that we can i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under a  neurological description which we can apply without also applying the disjunctive description.  I f so, then we could avoid the d i f f i c u l t y we  149 found i n regarding desires as causes of actions, and hence would not be barred from regarding desires as causes of actions on the grounds that have so far been presented. Let us f i r s t consider what would be involved i n giving a neurol o g i c a l description of s p e c i f i c desires that would be relevant to regarding desires as causes.of actions.  Insofar as we wish to regard  desires as causes of actions, and to give a.description of them s o l e l y i n neurological terms, i t i s necessary to show that desires are i d e n t i c a l with c e r t a i n neural states.  It would not be enough to show  that desires can be correlated with neural states.  For i n this case,  i f we regarded the neural states as causes of actions, as we presumably would, we would have to say either that the neural states are  the  causes of actions, i n which case desires would not be the causes, or that actions have two simultaneous.causes, neural states and desires, i n which case desires would not be describable s o l e l y i n neurological terms.  So i t seems that the i d e n t i t y claim must be made.  But to claim  that desires are i d e n t i c a l with neural states i s j u s t to a f f i r m the truth of one version of the Identity Thesis.  I say 'one version', for  the l a b e l 'the Identity Thesis' does not uniquely i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c thesis.  So far as I.have been able to determine, there are two  ent theses that go under this name.  differ-  These d i f f e r not i n the ways i n  which they t r y to e s t a b l i s h a p a r t i c u l a r conclusion, but i n the conclusions they t r y to establish.. And only one of these, held in.a p a r t i c u l a r way,--the reason for this q u a l i f i c a t i o n to.emerge s h o r t l y — seeks.to show that desires a r e . i d e n t i c a l with neural states.  150 I s h a l l now Thesis  t r y to l o c a t e the p a r t i c u l a r v e r s i o n of the  t h a t w i l l have to be m a i n t a i n e d i f we  are to have the  s o r t of n e u r o l o g i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n s of s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s . s h a l l b e g i n by b r i e f l y name of called  'the  The  first  the R e d u c t i v e I d e n t i t y T h e s i s i  not w i s h to deny the e x i s t e n c e  relevant  do  this,  t h e o r i e s t h a t b o t h go under  s t a t i n g the two  Identity Thesis'.  To  Identity  theory.to  be  s t a t e d may  the be  A proponent of t h i s t h e o r y  of mental phenomena; he  I  does  o n l y wishes to  deny t h a t they c o n s t i t u t e an i r r e d u c i b l y d i f f e r e n t s o r t of phenomena from p h y s i c a l phenomena.  According  mental phenomena are c o n t i n g e n t l y  to the R e d u c t i v e I d e n t i t y  and  strictly  i d e n t i c a l with,  r e d u c i b l e t o , c e r t a i n n e u r o l o g i c a l s t a t e s of the According phenomena and  to the second t h e o r y ,  e n t i t i e s and served  non-existent  and  organism.  the r e l a t i o n between mental  p h y s i c a l phenomena i s 'not  s o r t . o f r e l a t i o n which o b t a i n s  Thesis,  strict  between, to put  i d e n t i t y , but i t crudely,  e n t i t i e s when r e f e r e n c e  (some o f ) the purposes p r e s e n t l y  served  f o r m e r — t h e s o r t of r e l a t i o n t h a t h o l d s ,  e.g.,  by  rather  the  existent  to the l a t t e r reference  to  once the  between " q u a n t i t y  of  12 caloric  f l u i d " and  "mean k i n e t i c energy of molecules'".  a r e now  prepared to i d e n t i f y  'what used to be  J u s t as  c a l l e d quantity of  we caloric  f l u i d ' w i t h m o l e c u l a r motion of a c e r t a i n s o r t , so t h i s s o r t , o f I d e n t i t y T h e o r i s t m a i n t a i n s t h a t we now And,  may.also be  a b l e t o . i d e n t i f y 'what p e o p l e  c a l l mental phenomena' w i t h c e r t a i n s o r t s of n e u r o l o g i c a l s t a t e s . f u r t h e r , once we  Review  make t h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , j u s t as we.are prepared  R. R o r t y , "Mind-Body.Identity, P r i v a c y , and of Metaphysics, XIX (1965), 26.  Categories",  151 i n the former case to say.that there i s no such thing as c a l o r i c f l u i d , so we may,also go on.to say i n the l a t t e r case that there are no such things as mental phenomena.  This theory may  thus be c a l l e d the Elimin-  13 ative Identity Thesis. Now  of these two versions of the Identity Thesis, only one  who  holds the reductive version can claim that desires are causes of actions. And hence only a Reductive Identity Theorist i s i n a p o s i t i o n to t r y to provide neurological descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires that would be. relevant to regarding desires as causes of actions.  A proponent of the  Eliminative Identity Thesis cannot claim that desires are causes of actions, f o r , on that theory, the existence of mental phenomena such as desires and sensations i s denied.  And not being able to claim that  desires are causes of actions, an Eliminative Identity Theorist i s not i n a p o s i t i o n to t r y to provide neurological descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires that would be relevant to regarding desires as causes of actions. In presenting these two versions of the Identity Thesis, I have talked undiscriminatingly about,the reduction or elimination of mental phenomena. But i t should be.noted that this i s an oversimplif i c a t i o n : not a l l proponents of these theories hold that their accounts apply to-the whole,sphere of mental phenomena. For example, U.T. Place ("Is Consciousness a Brain Process?", B r i t i s h Journal of Psychology, XLVII ( 1 9 5 6 ) , 44-50) and J.J.C. Smart ("Sensations and Brain.Processes", Philosophical Review, LXVIII ( 1 9 5 9 ) , 1 4 1 - 1 5 6 ) , who are proponents of the Reductive Identity Thesis, do not hold this theory with respect to v o l i t i o n a l concepts (e.g., intending, desiring) or cognitive concepts (e.g., knowing, b e l i e v i n g ) , but only with respect to other mental phenomena concepts such as sensation, consciousness, experience, and mental imagery. And R. Rorty (Op. ait.), who i s perhaps the most exp l i c i t proponent of the Eliminative Identity Thesis, only argues for an elimination of sensations. I have, however, extended both theories to cover the whole f i e l d of mental phenomena s o l e l y i n the interest of bringing the only relevant sorts of concepts to the discussion at hand— v o l i t i o n a l c o n c e p t s — i n s i d e the compass of those theories.  Thus we may  exclude, as being i r r e l e v a n t to the question at hand, the  eliminative version of the Identity Thesis. Accordingly, we may  say that i f we are to have neurological  descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires that would be relevant to regarding desires as causes of actions, the Reductive Identity Thesis must be maintained.  But this i s not yet precise enough.  For the Reductive  Identity Thesis can be held, as It sometimes has been, (e.g., by Smart and Place), i n such a way  as to be inapplicable to v o l i t i o n a l concepts  such as wanting and.intending.  And, held i n this way,  the truth of  the Reductive Identity Thesis would c l e a r l y be of no help to one wishes to give neurological descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires.  who  If we  are to have neurological descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires that would be relevant to regarding desires as causes of actions, we should have to support the Reductive Identity Thesis when that theory i s i n t e r preted as seeking to i d e n t i f y s p e c i f i c desires with neural states. But i f i t i s possible to support the Reductive Identity Thesis i n t h i s form, then i t would also seem possible to i d e n t i f y s p e c i f i c desires under purely neurological descriptions which we could apply without also applying the disjunctive description.  And  i f such i d e n t i f y i n g  descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires are possible, nothing that has been said so far would p r o h i b i t us from regarding desires as causes of actions; for then s p e c i f i c desires would be i d e n t i f i a b l e under desc r i p t i o n s such that we could treat desires as causes of actions, and yet be able to i d e n t i f y the desires i n ways that do not connect them causally with their supposed e f f e c t s .  It  thus becomes a m a t t e r of some.importance t o d e t e r m i n e whether  o r n o t the R e d u c t i v e I d e n t i t y T h e s i s can be m a i n t a i n e d i n , s u c h a way as to s u p p o r t the c o n t e n t i o n t h a t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s a r e i d e n t i c a l w i t h neural states.  So l e t us now see whether o r n o t t h i s can be done,  s h a l l argue t h a t i t  I  cannot b e .  One can t r y t o show t h a t a p h i l o s o p h i c a l p o s i t i o n such as t h a t o f the R e d u c t i v e I d e n t i t y T h e o r i s t i s m i s t a k e n e i t h e r by examining and c r i t i c i s i n g the arguments such a t h e o r i s t uses to t r y to e s t a b l i s h h i s c o n c l u s i o n * o r by moving d i r e c t l y to a c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the c o n c l u s i o n t o be e s t a b l i s h e d , and t r y i n g t o show t h a t i t any way.  cannot be e s t a b l i s h e d i n  The two arguments a g a i n s t the R e d u c t i v e I d e n t i t y Theory t h a t  I s h a l l d i s c u s s i n what f o l l o w s b o t h t r y i n the l a t t e r way t o show the t h e o r y to be m i s t a k e n . The f i r s t argument I s h a l l s t a t e and examine i s one t h a t Fodor d e s c r i b e s as ' p e r h a p s the m o s t . i m p o r t a n t  argument f o r the v i e w t h a t no  statement of the form "a; i s y" c o u l d be s i g n i f i c a n t where £ i s a m e n t a l t e r m , y i s a p h y s i o l o g i c a l t e r m , " i s " means i d e n t i t y ,  and a l l  terms  14 bear t h e i r current s e n s e s ' , a condition that i t satisfy.  T h i s argument b e g i n s w i t h a statement  i s a l l e g e d any genuine i d e n t i t y  of  statement must  T h i s c o n d i t i o n i s embodied i n what i s known.as the Law o f  T r a n s f e r a b l e E p i t h e t s , a c c o r d i n g t o w h i c h i f a; i s i d e n t i c a l w i t h y, t h e n any p r e d i c a t e s m e a n i n g f u l l y a p p l i c a b l e to x must a l s o be m e a n i n g f u l l y applicable tot/. 0p„ ait,,,  O r , t o put i t p, 100,  a n o t h e r way, i f x i s i d e n t i c a l w i t h y . 3  154 and i f Fx makes sense ( i s l i n g u i s t i c a l l y p o s s i b l e ) , then Fy must also make sense (be l i n g u i s t i c a l l y possible).'''  5  The proponent of this  argument then alleges that mental phenomena such as desires and a f t e r images can be described i n ways i n which i t makes no sense to describe physical phenomena such as neural states.  For example, he urges that  while i t makes sense to describe desires as 'intense',  'compelling',  'weak', 'fluctuating', etc., and after-images as ' c i r c u l a r ' , 'green', 'dim', 'fading', etc., i t does not make sense to describe neural states i n these ways.  And conversely, he alleges that physical phenomena such  as neural states can be described i n ways that would be inappropriate to the characterisation of mental phenomena such as desires and a f t e r images.  For example, he claims that while i t makes sense to describe  neural states as occupying a c e r t a i n s p a t i a l l o c a t i o n , no sense attaches location.  to saying that desires and after-images have a c e r t a i n s p a t i a l Yet, the argument runs, i f mental phenomena were i d e n t i c a l  with a c e r t a i n sort of physical phenomena such as neural states, i t must make sense to mutually transfer these sorts of predicates; but since i t makes no sense to do t h i s , mental phenomena cannot be i d e n t i c a l with a c e r t a i n sort of physical phenomena. In e f f e c t , the proponent of t h i s argument charges the Reductive Identity Theorist with holding a theory that involves the commission of what Ryle.has termed a 'category mistake'.  That i s , he alleges that  since the requirement stated by the Law of Transferable Epithets must  This formulation of the Law of Transferable Epithets i s Fodor's,  ibid.  155 be  s a t i s f i e d by any  genuine i d e n t i t y Statement, i f we  are to  identify  mental phenomena w i t h a c e r t a i n s o r t of physical.phenomena, we  must  a b l e to t r a n s f e r p r e d i c a t e s  expressions  j  concerning  a p p l i c a b l e to mental phenomena to  t h a t s o r t of p h y s i c a l phenomena, and  t h a t s o r t of p h y s i c a l phenomena to e x p r e s s i o n s phenomena. we  But,  f i n d t h a t we  he c o n t i n u e s ,  when we  c a t e g o r y , and  so end  up  Thus, i t i s a l l e g e d ,  the  t h e r e are some r e p l i e s open.to  the  premises:  (1) The  E p i t h e t s s t a t e s a r e q u i r e m e n t . t h a t any s a t i s f y , and 'The  (2) Statements such as  d e s i r e occurred  The by  or One  d e s i r e occurred  Both these premises can.be  ( 2 ) , and  argument  Transferable  'Neural s t a t e N was  claiming  i n t e n s e ' are odd,  takes t h i s l i n e t r i e s to r e s i s t  pressions  of  intense'  and  cortex'  challenged.  t r y to meet t h i s argument  t h a t though e x p r e s s i o n s  i n such-and-such a lobe of the c e r e b r a l  'Neural s t a t e N was who  Law  The  genuine i d e n t i t y statement must  R e d u c t i v e I d e n t i t y T h e o r i s t may  c h a l l e n g i n g premise  'The  examine.  i n such-and-such a lobe of the c e r e b r a l  are nonsense statements.  the  a serious.difficulty for  R e d u c t i v e I d e n t i t y T h e o r i s t , which I s h a l l now depends on the t r u t h of two  of  true.  T h i s argument, I t h i n k , p r e s e n t s But  predicates,  t h a t b e l o n g to a d i f f e r e n t l o g i c a l  cannot be  Reductive I d e n t i t y Theorist,  mental  t h a t belong to e x p r e s s i o n s  t a l k i n g nonsense.  Reductive Identity Thesis  concerning  a p p l i c a b l e to  t r y to t r a n s f e r these  are a p p l y i n g p r e d i c a t e s  o n e . l o g i c a l c a t e g o r y to e x p r e s s i o n s  predicates  be  like  cortex'  they are not n o n s e n s i c a l . the a s s i m i l a t i o n of these  , ex-  to the c l a s s of statements t h a t the proponent of the Argument,  from T r a n s f e r a b l e  Epithets claims  they b e l o n g , and  t r i e s instead  to  156 assimilate them to another c l a s s .  That i s , a proponent of the Argument  from Transferable Epithets t r i e s to assimilate these expressions to the class of clear nonsense statements such as 'Saturday i s t i r e d ' or 'The armchair i s wise'.  But one who claims that such statements are only  odd, not nonsense, t r i e s to assimilate them to the class of statements which are a b i t odd-sounding, but c l e a r l y not nonsensical, such as 'NaCl i s a tasty r e l i s h ' or. 1^0 i s a refreshing drink'. 1  Thus the pro-  ponent of the Argument from Transferable Epithets and the Reductive Identity Theorist who wishes to r e s i s t that argument i n this way are in.agreement on the point that the expressions i n question are odd. But whereas the former goes on to claim that this oddity constitutes nonsense, the l a t t e r denies t h i s . How can we decide on which side of the sense/nonsense l i n e these statements f a l l ?  I find t h i s question d i f f i c u l t to answer, owing to  the lack of any p r e c i s e l y drawn d i v i d i n g l i n e between the two classes of statements„ tired'  t  In the case.of some expressions such as  'Saturday.is  we can c l e a r l y say that they are not only odd, but nonsense; and  i n the case of others, such as 'NaCl i s a tasty r e l i s h ' , we can c l e a r l y say that they are only odd, not nonsense.  But the sorts of expressions,  now under consideration such as 'The desire occurred  i n such-and-such a  lobe of the cerebral cortex' and 'Neural state N was intense' seem to l i e between these two flanking clear cases. which class ofiexpressions  these belong.  And i t i s not clear to  What i s needed i s a l o g i c of  nonsense: we need some c r i t e r i o n or c r i t e r i a by which we can judge whether or not an oddity constitutes nonsense.  But lacking t h i s , as we  do, i t i s hard to see what conclusion ought to be drawn from the fact that the statements i n dispute are odd-sounding *  The proponent of  the Argument from Transferable Epithets.may urge that one ought not to hold theories that commit one to saying things that may be, as they seem to many to be, nonsense; but the Reductive Identity Theorist who seeks to r e s i s t the Argument from Transferable Epithets i n the way just sketched, may equally f o r c e f u l l y reply that u n t i l the statements alleged to be,nonsense  are shown to be i n fact so, he need not give  up the theory that commits him to them. This possible reply of the Reductive Identity Theorist to the Argument from Transferable Epithets I think e f f e c t i v e l y d u l l s the edge of that argument.  But i t Is not as conclusive a reply as one might  wish f o r . For while i t casts doubt on one of the premises of that argument, i t does.not establish  that that premise i s actually  false.  However, there i s a stronger l i n e a Reductive Identity Theorist can take to r e s i s t the Argument from Transferable Epithets which can be pressed with more success.  I now turn to consider this l i n e .  A Reductive Identity Theorist may t r y to meet the Argument from Transferable Epithets by challenging premise (1), and denying that the Law of Transferable Epithets states a requirement that must be s a t i s f i e d by any genuine i d e n t i t y statement.  According  to this Law, i f x  i s i d e n t i c a l with y, and i f Fa; makes sense, Fy must also make sense. But there are instances of i d e n t i t y statements that do not seem to be impugned by f a i l i n g to meet this requirement.  For example, we say that  the temperature of a gas i s i d e n t i c a l with the mean k i n e t i c energy of  158 of the gas molecules.  However, though we can sensibly speak of the  temperature of the gas being 80°C, i t does,not seem to make clear sense to say that the mean k i n e t i c energy of the gas molecules i s 80°C.  And  even granting that i t i s nonsense to say.the l a t t e r , we  would not, I think, conclude from t h i s that the i d e n t i t y statement i n question i s somehow u n j u s t i f i e d .  The fact i s that we sometimes allow 16  as legitimate what may  be termed, (to use Cornman's phrase),  category' i d e n t i t i e s of t h i s sort. Identity Theorist may  'cross-  In the l i g h t of t h i s , the Reductive  contend that the Argument from Transferable  Epithets poses no problem for his theory.  For i f the Law  of Transfer-  able Epithets does not state a requirement that any genuine i d e n t i t y statement must s a t i s f y , that law cannot be r i g h t l y used i n an argument to show that an alleged i d e n t i t y statement cannot i n fact be one, '' 1  This shows, I think, that the Argument from Transferable Epithets w i l l not defeat the Reductive Identity Theorist. though he can meet that argument i n t h i s way, from d i f f i c u l t i e s .  For he must now  But even  he is.not completely free  t r y to show that the i d e n t i t y he  wishes to claim i s an instance of a legitimate cross-category I s h a l l now  identity.  present an argument designed to show that he cannot do t h i s  i n the case of v o l i t i o n a l concepts. -J. Cornman, "The osophy, LIX ( 1 9 6 2 ) , 492,  I s h a l l present  t h i s argument with  Identity of Mind and Body", Journal  of P h i l -  17 These two counters to the Argument from Transferable Epithets just considered are not the only ones, but they are I think the most p l a u s i b l e F o d o r produces a t h i r d counter (op, ait., pp, 105-106) i n addition to s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t versions of the two I have presented.  159  reference  to desires;  but a s i m i l a r argument could be generated to  cover intentions. Let me begin by re-stating the p o s i t i o n of the Reductive Identity Theorist.  The Reductive Identity Theorist does not wish to deny any  of the f a m i l i a r facts about mental phenomena; he only wishes to deny that they constitute an i r r e d u c i b l y d i f f e r e n t sort of phenomena from physical phenomena.  I t i s h i s view that we can account f o r a l l so-  c a l l e d mental phenomena i n terms of certain physical states of the organism; and, s p e c i f i c a l l y , that the so-called mental phenomena are contingently  and s t r i c t l y i d e n t i c a l with, and reducible to, certain  physical phenomena, which are usually supposed to be sorts of neurol o g i c a l phenomena.  Thus, to l i m i t the discussion to the relevant case  at hand, the case of desires, the Reductive Identity Theorist  (pre-  supposing, of course, that such a theorist holds the Reductive Identity Theory i n such a way as to be applicable to v o l i t i o n a l concepts) w i l l claim that desires are contingently certain neural  i d e n t i c a l with, and reducible to,  states.  Now when one type of phenomena, A, i s reduced to, by way of being i d e n t i f i e d with, another type of phenomena, B, two conditions must be satisfied.  (1) We must be able to explain a l l phenomena explained i n  terms of A (the phenomena to.be reduced) i n terms of B (the phenomena to which A i s reduced), and (2) the explanations i n terms of B must be more  The argument that follows i s adapted from one used i n a d i f f e r e n t context by N, Malcolm, "The Conceivability of Mechanism"j Philosophical Review, LXXVII (1968), 45-72. See esp. sees. 1-7.  160 b a s i c than the e x p l a n a t i o n s  i n terms o f A.  c o n d i t i o n to b e , s a t i s f i e d , the laws invoked be more b a s i c than the laws invoked  I n order f o r t h i s second i n B-type e x p l a n a t i o n s must  i n A-type  explanations.  And t o say  t h a t B-laws a r e more b a s i c than 4-laws i s t o say t h a t the r e g u l a r i t i e s r e p o r t e d i n ,4-laws a r e dependent on t h e r e g u l a r i t i e s r e p o r t e d i n Blaws, but t h a t the converse does not h o l d . condition of.A And in not  (1), i . e . , give explanations  I f we c o u l d n o t s a t i s f y :  o f phenomena e x p l a i n e d i n terms  i n terms o f B, we c o u l d not c l a i m t h a t A i s identical  with  i f we c o u l d n o t s a t i s f y c o n d i t i o n ( 2 ) , i . e . , show t h a t terms o f B a r e more b a s i c than e x p l a n a t i o n s c l a i m t h a t A i s reducible If  B.  explanations  i n terms o f A, we c o u l d  to B.  t h i s i s r i g h t , then when one c l a i m s t h a t d e s i r e s a r e i d e n t i c a l  w i t h , and r e d u c i b l e t o , c e r t a i n n e u r a l s t a t e s , he must be a b l e t o (a) e x p l a i n phenomena e x p l a i n e d  i n terms o f d e s i r e s i n terms o f n e u r a l  s t a t e s , and (b) show t h a t the e x p l a n a t i o n s are more b a s i c than the e x p l a n a t i o n s  i n terms o f n e u r a l s t a t e s  i n terms o f . d e s i r e s .  Now  with  r e s p e c t t o ( a ) , we commonly e x p l a i n a c t i o n s i n terms o f the agent's desires.  Consequently, i f d e s i r e s a r e t o be i d e n t i f i e d w i t h  certain  n e u r a l s t a t e s , we must be a b l e to e x p l a i n a c t i o n s i n terms o f those neural states. to The  And t h e s e  explanations, according  be,more b a s i c than the e x p l a n a t i o n s argument a g a i n s t the R e d u c t i v e  grants that the f i r s t the second.can be.  t o ( b ) , must be shown,  i n terms o f the agent's d e s i r e s .  I d e n t i t y Theory I s h a l l now  present  requirement can be s a t i s f i e d , but q u e s t i o n s  In order t o see whether o r not t h i s  ment can be s a t i s f i e d , we f i r s t  that  second,require-  need t o determine what s o r t o f law  e x p l a n a t i o n s o f a c t i o n s i n terms o f the agent's d e s i r e s appeal  t o , and  what s o r t of law e x p l a n a t i o n s o f a c t i o n s i n terms o f . t h e agent's n e u r a l s t a t e s appeal  to.  With an eye to doing t h i s , l e t me now s e t out the  forms o f the two competing  explanations.  When we e x p l a i n an agent's a c t i o n by c i t i n g some.desire o f the agent's,  as when we say t h a t A t r i e d  to do X because he wanted t o , the  form o f t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n can be s e t out as f o l l o w s : I. 1.  Whenever ah agent wants to do X, then he w i l l , o t h e r  things  b e i n g e q u a l , t r y to do Xi 2.  A wanted to do X, and o t h e r t h i n g s were e q u a l .  Therefore, A t r i e d  to do X.  In o p p o s i t i o n to t h i s , by c i t i n g  i f we were t o e x p l a i n an agent's a c t i o n  some n e u r a l s t a t e , s a y i n g t h a t A t r i e d  to d o . I because he  was i n n e u r a l s t a t e N, the form o f t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n c o u l d be s e t out as I I . 1.  Whenever an agent of s t r u c t u r e S i s i n n e u r a l s t a t e N, he w i l l ,  2.  A  then  o t h e r t h i n g s b e i n g e q u a l , t r y t o do Z.  (an agent o f s t r u c t u r e S) was i n n e u r a l s t a t e N, and o t h e r  t h i n g s were e q u a l . Therefore, A t r i e d A Reductive  to do X,  I d e n t i t y T h e o r i s t must now t r y to show t h a t  explan-  a t i o n s o f , t h e s o r t i l l u s t r a t e d by I I a r e more b a s i c than those of the 19 s o r t i l l u s t r a t e d by I .  And to do t h i s , he must show t h a t the law  I t w i l l be n o t i c e d t h a t I have chosen s i m p l i f i e d cases of e x p l a n a t i o n s , v i z . , e x p l a n a t i o n s j u s t i n terms of some d e s i r e o f the agent's, t o i l l u s t r a t e the two competing forms o f e x p l a n a t i o n s . More  appealed to i n II i s more basic than the law appealed to i n , I ,  This  involves showing that the r e g u l a r i t y stated by the law appealed to i n I, v i z , , whenever an agent wants to do X, then he w i l l , other  things  being equal, t r y to do X, i s dependent on the r e g u l a r i t y stated i n the law appealed to i n I I , v i z . , whenever an agent of structure S i s i n neural state N, then he w i l l , other things being equal, t r y to. do X, but that the converse does not hold. It i s , however, impossible  to show t h i s .  For the law appealed  to i n I i s , as I argued i n Chapter I I I , an a p r i o r i law, made out s o l e l y , i n v i r t u e of the meaning of the verb 'want' (or 'desire'). appealed to i n II i s a contingent  law.  But the  law  And r e g u l a r i t i e s embodied i n  a p r i o r i laws, i . e . , r e g u l a r i t i e s determined s o l e l y by  consideration  of the meanings of certain.terms, cannot be dependent on r e g u l a r i t i e s embodied i n contingent investigation.  laws, i . e . , r e g u l a r i t i e s determined by empirical  Thus the neurological law appealed to i n II could not  be more,basic than the a p r i o r i law appealed to i n I.  It follows from  t h i s that the sort of explanation i l l u s t r a t e d by II could not be more basic than the sort of explanation i l l u s t r a t e d by I.  And i f not, i t  would seem that a Reductive Identity Theorist cannot make out the claim that desires are reducible to, and i d e n t i f i a b l e with, c e r t a i n neural states.  For i n this case one of the necessary conditions,any  reductive  frequently, reason-explanations are not just i n terms of some desire the agent has, but i n terms of h i s desires and Information. However, the point I s h a l l now make concerning these two forms of explanations also applies to explanations i n terms of the agent's desires and i n formation.  163 account must s a t i s f y cannot be s a t i s f i e d , namely, t h a t e x p l a n a t i o n s i n terms o f t h e phenomena t o which some o t h e r phenomena a r e reduced must be more b a s i c than e x p l a n a t i o n s  i n terms o f t h e phenomena t o be reduced..  I t would perhaps be i n o r d e r here t o s t a t e a l i m i t a t i o n o f the argument j u s t produced.  I f sound, i t w i l l o n l y show t h a t  concepts such as wanting and i n t e n d i n g way o f b e i n g  reduced t o , c e r t a i n n e u r a l  volitional  cannot be i d e n t i f i e d w i t h , by states.  I t w i l l n o t show t h a t  o t h e r mental concepts such as c o n s c i o u s n e s s , e x p e r i e n c e ,  sensation,  and mental imagery a r e i r r e d u c i b l e t o , and u n i d e n t i f i a b l e w i t h ,  neural  s t a t e s ; f o r t h e r e a r e no a p r i o r i laws p e r t a i n i n g t o these s o r t s o f phenomena.  So f o r a l l t h a t has been shown, one.could be a R e d u c t i v e  I d e n t i t y T h e o r i s t about some mental c o n c e p t s , v i z . , t h e l a s t mentioned above.  But i n any c a s e , i f my argument t e n d i n g  c l u s i o n t h a t d e s i r e s cannot be i d e n t i f i e d w i t h , neural  t o the con-  and reduced t o , c e r t a i n  s t a t e s i s sound, we cannot g i v e n e u r o l o g i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n s o f  s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s t h a t would be r e l e v a n t t o r e g a r d i n g of  sort  d e s i r e s as causes  actions. Thus i t seems t h a t we cannot a v o i d  t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e argument  s e t out on page 132 by denying i t s f i r s t premise, namely, t h a t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s o n l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under t h e d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e t o perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' .  For the only a l t e r n a t i v e s to holding  p o s i t i o n seem to.be t o c l a i m t h a t we may a l s o i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c  this desire  under a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t c o r r e l a t e s the d e s i r e w i t h some s t a t e o f a f f a i r s t h a t i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i t i n a one-to-one f a s h i o n ,  (e.g., o f the form  'the dominant d e s i r e I had a t 10:00 t h i s morning'), o r t h a t we may do so  under a neurological description.  And, on examining these a l t e r n a t i v e s ,  we found, i n the case of the former, that such i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions w i l l not help; and, i n the case of the l a t t e r , that such descriptions are not, i n p r i n c i p l e , a v a i l a b l e . And  this f i n d i n g , v i z . , that we cannot avoid the conclusion of  the argument by denying i t s f i r s t premise, taken i n conjunction with the e a r l i e r finding that the r e l a t i o n between the description 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' and the disjunctive description i s , as the second premise has i t , entailment  and not presupposition, y i e l d s the  consequence that we cannot escape the conclusion that desires cannot be causes of actions. I have just completed one argument designed to show that a negative answer must,be given to the question actions?'  'Are desires causes of  But even i f my argument i s mistaken at some point, or can  be overcome.in some way, there i s , I think, another argument that w i l l establish the thesis that desires are not causes of actions. now present  I shall  this argument.  The basis of the argument now to be presented consists i n the fact that the grounds we require to claim that A  t  under conditions C,  w i l l cause B are t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the grounds on which we claim that a desire to perform a c e r t a i n action, other things being w i l l be followed by that action.  equal,  In order to say that A, under con-  d i t i o n s C, w i l l cause B, we require some empirical evidence.  This  evidence may consist i n the experience of events of type A being regularl y followed by events of type B under conditions C.  Or perhaps i t may  165 consist i n the experience of a single instance of A and C being by B under c a r e f u l l y controlled conditions.  followed  Or i t may even be of an  i n d i r e c t sort; for example, we might predict that compound J w i l l cause sleep on the basis of knowledge of s i m i l a r compounds.  That i s , we  might know that compound X i s c l o s e l y related to nitrous oxide, and that nitrous oxide, under c e r t a i n conditions, causes sleep; and on the basis of this predict that compound X, under c e r t a i n conditions, w i l l cause sleep.  I do not contend that the evidence of the above three  sorts i s s u f f i c i e n t for claiming that A, under conditions C , w i l l cause 5.  Perhaps an observed r e g u l a r i t y of sequence i s not enough to e n t i t l e  us to say that A, under conditions C , w i l l cause 5; perhaps a single observation, however c a r e f u l , would not be s u f f i c i e n t ; perhaps we could not argue from our knowledge of s i m i l a r i t i e s . ment i s that we cannot, to tally  A l l I need for my argu-  independent of experience, say that A,  under conditions C, w i l l cause B ; that some empirical evidence (the nature and extent of which need not be specified) i s required for the claim.  And this i s a l l that I am claiming here. If I am correct i n t h i s , then before we can make any causal  statement to the e f f e c t that A, under conditions C, w i l l cause B, we require empirical evidence.  Thus i f we can say that a p a r t i c u l a r desire,  other things being equal, w i l l be followed by a p a r t i c u l a r action without any empirical evidence whatsoever, then t h i s statement w i l l not be a causal one. And this j u s t so happens to be the case.  No empirical  evidence i s needed f o r , nor appropriate to, the claim that i f we want to do something we w i l l , other things being equal, t r y to do i t i n the  166 appropriate circumstances.  This claim, as I have argued i n Chapter I I I ,  i s true i n v i r t u e of the meaning of the verb 'desire' (or 'want'); the connexion between desires and actions i s a l o g i c a l or conceptual connexion, made out t o t a l l y a priori.  Accordingly, since empirical  evidence i s required to say that A, under conditions C, w i l l cause B, and since no empirical evidence i s required to say that a desire to do X, other things being equal, w i l l be followed by the doing of X, desires are not causes of actions. But, at this point, one might make the following objection. Granted that i n the case of statements expressing ordinary causal r e l a t i o n s empirical.evidence statements expressing  i s required, and that i n the case of  the r e l a t i o n between desires and actions i t i s  not, t h i s fact only shows that the r e l a t i o n between desires and actions i s not a causal r e l a t i o n of the ordinary sort.  I t does not show that  the r e l a t i o n i s not a causal one i n any sense; for the p o s s i b i l i t y remains that i t i s an extra-ordinary sort of causal r e l a t i o n . But i f one were to maintain this position, holding that empirical evidence i s required before we can make any causal statement except when we come to r e l a t i o n s such as that between desires and actions, I think the difference between h i s p o s i t i o n and mine turns out only to be one of terminology.  That i s , one who holds that there i s a sense i n which the  r e l a t i o n between desires and actions i s a causal r e l a t i o n , and I who hold that the r e l a t i o n between desires and actions i s not a causal one, agree that the r e l a t i o n i n question i s not a causal r e l a t i o n i n the ordinary sense.  We only disagree on whether or not the r e l a t i o n between  167 desires and actions ought to be called a causal r e l a t i o n i n some sense. My reason for saying that i t ought not, i s just that i t i s misleading to do so.  There i s , after a l l , an important difference between ordinary  causal relations and the r e l a t i o n between desires and actions; and difference ought not to be obscured i n the way causal relations  this  that c a l l i n g them both  (though i n different senses) would tend to do.  Nothing  i s gained by c a l l i n g them both causal r e l a t i o n s , but there i s , I think, a loss i n c l a r i t y .  Thus I suggest that we ought tp mark the,difference  between the twc, and dp SP by denying that the r e l a t i e n between desires and acticns i s a causal r e l a t i e n .  CHAPTER VI CONCLUDING REMARKS The findings of Chapters I-V may now be drawn together to y i e l d an answer to the question  'What kind of explanation are we giving when  we explain an agent's action i n terms of his reason(s) or motive(s) for action?'  We found i n Chapter I that when we explain an agent's  action by giving his reason or reasons for action we are explaining the action i n terms of h i s desires or h i s desires and information. We found i n Chapter I I that when we explain an agent's action by giving his motive or motives for action we are explaining the action In terms of his desires and information.  Now c l e a r l y , when we explain an  agent's action just i n terms of h i s desires, whether or not this i s a causal explanation depends on whether or not desires are causes of actions.  And I argued i n Chapter III that whether or not explanations  i n terms of the agent's desires and information are causal  explanations  also depends on.whether or not desires are causes of actions.  Thus the  c r u c i a l question to be answered to determine whether or not reason- and motive-explanations are causal explanations desires causes of actions?'  turned out to be 'Are  In Chapters IV and V, I took up this ques-  t i o n , and we found that desires are not causes of actions.  And with  this f i n d i n g , we must conclude that reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations, but a completely and i r r e d u c i b l y d i f f e r e n t sort of explanations  altogether.  169 But one might now f e e l t h a t t h i s c o n c l u s i o n i s i n some way unsatisfying,  D a v i d s o n , f o r example, w r i t e s  that  One way we can e x p l a i n an event i s by p l a c i n g i t i n the c o n t e x t of i t s c a u s e ; cause and e f f e c t form the s o r t of p a t t e r n t h a t e x p l a i n s the e f f e c t , i n a sense of ' e x p l a i n ' t h a t we u n d e r s t a n d as w e l l as any. I f r e a s o n and a c t i o n i l l u s t r a t e a d i f f e r e n t p a t t e r n of e x p l a n a t i o n , t h a t p a t t e r n must be i d e n t i f i e d . !  And l a t e r ,  that  I f , as Melden c l a i m s , c a u s a l e x p l a n a t i o n s a r e ' w h o l l y i r r e l e v a n t to the u n d e r s t a n d i n g we s e e k ' of human a c t i o n s then we a r e w i t h o u t an a n a l y s i s of the ' b e c a u s e ' i n 'He d i d i t because . . . ' , where we go on to name a reason.2  Now i n s a y i n g t h i s , D a v i d s o n c o u l d not mean, o r c o u l d not s i b l y mean, t h a t i f  we deny t h a t r e a s o n s a r e c a u s e s , then we do not  o r cannot e x p l a i n a p a r t i c u l a r  a c t i o n by c i t i n g some d e s i r e o r some  d e s i r e and some r e l a t e d i t e m of i n f o r m a t i o n if  sen-  t h a t the agent h a s .  For  I say I am s t o p p i n g the c a r because I am hungry and know t h a t  i s a restaurant  there  nearby I am e x p l a i n i n g my a c t i o n ; and what I say does  not cease t o be an e x p l a n a t i o n i f i n d i c a t e s a causal connexion.  I go on t o deny t h a t the ' b e c a u s e '  In one s e n s e , the i s s u e o f whether  not r e a s o n - e x p l a n a t i o n s a r e c a u s a l e x p l a n a t i o n s does not a f f e c t u n d e r s t a n d i n g of a c t i o n s i n terms of the a g e n t ' s r e a s o n f o r  or  our  action.  D. D a v i d s o n , " A c t i o n s , Reasons, and C a u s e s " , i n Free Will arid  Determinism, e d . B. B e r o f s k y , (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 229, 'Ibid.,  p.  230.  170  S p e c i f i c a l l y , however we regard the status of reason-explanations, i,e», as being causal or non-causal, this w i l l not, on an everyday l e v e l , add to or detract from the i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y of explanations we give of human actions i n terms of the agent's reason for action.  For these explana-  tions are p e r f e c t l y i n t e l l i g i b l e whether or not we go on to assert or to deny that they are causal explanations. But on another, and deeper, l e v e l , i t may be claimed, this issue i s important.  For one may argue, and I take i t that this i s the force  of Davidson's comments, that i f reason-explanations are not causal explanations, the connexion between the agent's reason and h i s action i s i n some way mysterious; but i f we hold that such explanations are causal explanations, thus holding that the connexion i s a causal one, t h i s connexion becomes understandable and so no mystery a r i s e s . t h i s Is, I think, an i l l u s i o n .  But  Why should the l a b e l l i n g of a connexion  as 'causal' be supposed to add to our understanding of that  connexion?  We have, I t i s true, supplied a name for the connexion that we often apply to connexions between events.  But t h i s l a b e l l i n g of the connexion  does not seem to me to make any advance, as regards our understanding of the connexion, over simply saying that the agent had a reason for doing X and so did X where one denies that the connexion i s a causal one.  We  could, i f we wished, to d i s p e l the a i r of negativism that attends the non-causal theorist's denial, supply a name for this connexion; we might, c a l l i t , say, a ' r a t i o n a l ' connexion.  This, i t i s true, contributes  nothing to our understanding of the connexion; but neither, I submit,  does c a l l i n g the connexion  'causal' do so,  The history of analyses of  causation, both remote and recent, t e s t i f i e s to the fact that there i s no wide agreement over what i s meant by a causal connexion.  This being  so, there seems to be no gain i n assimilating reason-explanations to causal explanations.  And i t seems to me that any way i n which what I  have termed a 'rational* connexion may be called 'mysterious', so may 3 a causal connexion be c a l l e d . These remarks are intended to show that there i s nothing special about causal explanations that j u s t i f i e s our giving them a pre-eminent p o s i t i o n as regards their f a m i l i a r i t y or explanatory power.  I f they  do t h i s , then at least one, and I think the major, possible source of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with my conclusion that reason- and motive-explanations are a completely and i r r e d u c i b l y d i f f e r e n t sort of explanations.from causal explanations w i l l have been removed.  And the removal of this  source of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n should make for an easier acceptance of the conclusion I have argued f o r .  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The a b r i d g e d e d i t i o n o m i t s t h i s .  Prince-  Ch. V I o f t h e  B a r n e s , W.H.F. " I n t e n t i o n , M o t i v e , and R e s p o n s i b i l i t y . " Proceedings of the A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, Supplementary Volume, X I X (1945), 230-248. Beck, L.W. " C o n s c i o u s and Unconscious M o t i v e s . " 155-179. Brown, R.  Explanation  in Social  „ "Moods and M o t i v e s . " X L I I I (1965), 277-294. D'Arcy, E. Human Acts.  Science,  London, 1963.  Australasian  O x f o r d , 1963.  Mind, LXXV (1966),  Journal  Ch. I V .  of  Ch. V I I . Philosophy,  192 Dilman, I. "The Unconscious."  Mind, LXVIII (1959), 446-473,  Dingle, H. "The Logical.Status of Psychoanalysis." (1949), 63.  Analysis,  IX  Duncan-Jones, A. "Intention, Motive, and R e s p o n s i b i l i t y , " Proceedings of the A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, Supplementary Volume, XIX (1945), 267-288. Falk, W.D, "'Ought' and Motivation." Proceedings Society, XLVIII (1947-48), 111-138.  of the A r i s t o t e l i a n  . "Intention, Motive, and R e s p o n s i b i l i t y . " Proceedings of the A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, Supplementary Volume, XIX (1945), 249-266. Fingarette, H. "'Unconscious Behaviour' and A l l i e d Concepts; a New Approach to their Empirical Interpretation." Journal of Philosophy, XLVII (1950), 509-520. Flew, A. "Motives and the Unconscious." Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, v o l . 1, eds. H. F e i g l and M. Scriven, Minneapolis, 1956, 151-173. Gibson, Q.  The Logic  of Social  Grice, R. The Grounds of Moral Ch, I, sec, 3. Hardie, W.F.R, Analysis, Hobbes, T. Hume, D.  Enquiry. Judgement.  Leviathan.  Cambridge, 1967, Esp,  1651. Pt. I, Ch, VI. of Human Nature.  Jenkins, J . J . "Motive and Intention." (1965), 155-164, "Dr. Peter's Motives."  Kenny, A. Action,  Emotion  Locke, J . Essay Concerning Chs, XX-XXI, Louch, A,R.  Ch, IV,  "Mr. Toulmin on the Explanation of Human Conduct." XI (1950), 1-8.  A Treatise  ,  New York, 1960.  Explanation  1739. Bk. II* Pt. I I I . Philosophical  Quarterly,  XV  Mind, LXXV ( A p r i l , 1966), 248-254,  and Will.'  London, 1963.  Human Understanding.  and Human Action.  Margolis, J . "Motives, Causes and Action."  Ch. IV.  1690, Bk, I I ,  Berkeley, 1966. Methodos,  Ch. VI.  XVI (1964), 83-89.  193 McCracken, D.J. " M o t i v e s and Causes." Proceedings of the A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, Supplementary Volume, XXVI (1952), 163-178. M a c l n t y r e , A.C. .  The Unconscious.  London, 1958.  "Cause and Cure i n P s y c h o t h e r a p y . "  A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, Maslow, A.H.  Motivation  Melden, A . I .  Free  Action.  Supplementary  Proceedings  of  the  Volume, XXIX (1955), 43-58.  and Personality.  New  London, 1961.  York,  1954.  Chs. V I I I - I X .  N o w e l l - S m i t h , P.H. Ethics. B a l t i m o r e , 1954. Ch. IX. P e t e r s , R.S. • The Concept of Motivation. London, 1958. . "Cause, Cure and M o t i v e . " Analysis, X (1949-50), 103-109, R e p r i n t e d i n Philosophy and Analysis, ed, M. Macdonald, O x f o r d , 1954, pp. 148-154, . " M o t i v e s and M o t i v a t i o n . " Philosophy, XXXI (1956), 117-130. The main arguments of t h i s appear i n Ch. I I o f h i s The Concept of Motivation. :— . :  "The E d u c a t i o n of t h e Emotions,"  Unpublished  paper,  . " M o t i v a t i o n , Emotion, and t h e C o n c e p t u a l Scheme of Commons e n s e , " F o r t h c o m i n g ( i n 1969) i n M i s c h e l , T,, ed, , , ,  "Emotions  and the C a t e g o r y of P a s s i v i t y , "  the A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, .  "More About M o t i v e s . "  Proceedings  L X I I (1961-2), 117-134, Mind, LXXVI (1967), 92-97.  R y l e , G. The Concept of Mind, London, 1949. Chs. IV and S a r t r e , J,P. Being and'Nothingness. T r a n s , H.E, Barnes. 1956, Pp. 445-451. Shwayder, D,S. 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I I o f t h e a b r i d g e d e d i t i o n p u b l i s h e d by Random House, New Y o r k , 1965, . —  "Good Reasons."  Philosophical  Studies,  :— . "Reasons f o r Doing Something." Journal (1964) , 198-203.  IV ( J a n . 1953), 1-15. of Philosophy,  B e n n e t t , J . Review o f G a u t h i e r ' s P r a c t i c a l Reasoning. (1965) , 116-125.  Mind, LXXIV  Brown, D.G. Action. U n i v e r s i t y o f Toronto P r e s s , 1968. b e i n g r e a s o n s see Sees. 1.4, 1.8, 3.9. Brown, R. C a r e , N.S.  Explanation  in Social  Science.  "On Avowing Reasons."  London.  LXI  On f a c t s  1963.  Ch. V I I I ,  Mind, LXXVI (1967), 208-216.  C h i s h o l m , R, "The D e s c r i p t i v e Element i n t h e Concept o f A c t i o n , " Journal of Philosophy, L X I (1964), 613-625. C o l l i n g w o o d , R.G.  The New Leviathan.  O x f o r d , 1942.  Duncan-Jones, A. Butler's Moral Philosophy. 1952. Ch. I l l , s e c . 3. E d g l e y , R. ..  Reason in Theory and Practice. 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" P r a c t i c a l Reason," Philosophy, XVII (1942), 351-367, Primarily an analysis of the concept of ' v a l i d i t y of choice', „ Review of Paton's lecture "Can Reason Be P r a c t i c a l ? " Philosophy, XX (1945), 263-265, J a r v i s , J , " P r a c t i c a l Reasoning," (1962), 316-328, Kenny, A.J.  " P r a c t i c a l Inference,"  Philosophical Analysis,  Quarterly,  XII  XXVI (1966), 65-75.  Ladd, J . "The Desire to do One's Duty for i t s Own Sake." Morality and The Language of Conduct, eds. H.N. Castaneda and G, Nakhnikian, Detroit, 1965, pp, 301-349, esp. sees, 6 and 7, Macklin, R. "Norm and Law 400-409, Melden, A,I.  Free Action.  i n the Theory of Action," London, 1961.  Inquiry,  XI  (1968),  Esp, pp. 160-167,  :— . "Reasons for Action and Matters of Fact." Proceedings Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, XXXV (1961-1962), 45-60.  and  M o t h e r s i l l , M. "Anscombe's Account of the P r a c t i c a l Syllogism." Philosophical Review, LXXI (1962), 448-461. Paton, H.J. In Defense of Reason. . London, 1951, See esp, the Chapter "Can Reason Be P r a c t i c a l ? " , pp. 117-156. This Chapter i s r e printed from the Proceedings of the B r i t i s h Academy, XXIX (1943), 65-105, Rachels, J , "Wants, Reasons, and J u s t i f i c a t i o n s . " Quarterly, XVIII (1968), 299-309. Rescher, N„ " P r a c t i c a l Reasoning and Values," XVI (1966), 121-136.  Philosophical  Philosophical  Quarterly,  196 R o s s , W.D.  Aristotle.  New  Sachs, D. "On Mr. B a l e r ' s IV (1953), 65-69,  Y o r k , 1959.  Ch. V I I .  'Good Reasons'."  Philosophical  Studies,  S e l l a r s , W. " I m p e r a t i v e s , I n t e n t i o n s , and the L o g i c of 'Ought'." Morality and the Language of Conduct, eds. H.N. Castenada and G. N a k h n i k i a n * D e t r o i t , 1965, pp. 159-218, —  . "Thought and A c t i o n , " Freedom'and L e h r e r , New Y o r k , 1966, pp. 105-139.  Determinism,  Shwayder, D.S. The S t r a t i f i c a t i o n of Behaviour. Esp. pp. 84-115. S i n g e r , M.G.  Generalization  Smart, J . J . C . T e a l e , A.E.  in Ethics.  "Reason and Conduct." Kantian  Ethics.  Oxford,  New  New  ed,  York,  Y o r k , 1961,  Philosophy,  XXV  K.  1965.  Ch, I I I .  (1950),  209-224.  1951.  T e r r e l l , D.B. "A Remark on Good Reasons," Philosophical Studies, IV (1953), 58-63. A c r i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n of K. B a i e r ' s "Good Reasons". T o u l m i n , S. An Examination Cambridge, 1950. v o n W r i g h t , G.H. :  The  Varieties  of the Place  of Goodness.  . " P r a c t i c a l Inference." 159-179.  Wheatley, J .  of Reason in  "Reasons f o r A c t i n g . "  Philosophical Dialogue,  Ethics.  London, 1963. Review,  Ch. LXXII  V I I (1969),  VIII. (1963),  553-567.  197  VIIo  ANTHOLOGIES  The works l i s t e d below c o n t a i n s e v e r a l o f t h e p a p e r s r e f e r r e d to i n S e c t i o n s I - V I o f t h e b i b l i o g r a p h y , o f t e n t o g e t h e r w i t h u s e f u l i n t r o d u c t i o n s t o t h e problems„ Most o f them a l s o c o n t a i n r e a d i n g s on t o p i c s b o r d e r i n g on t h o s e o f h e a d i n g s I - V I , such as c a u s a t i o n , e x p l a n a t i o n , f r e e - w i l l , t h e mind-body p r o b l e m , e t c .  B e r o f s k y , B.  (ed.) Free  Will  and Determinism.  New Y o r k , 1966.  Brodbeck, M. (ed.) Readings New Y o r k , 1968.  in the Philosophy  C a r e , N.S. and C. Landesman. B l o o m i n g t o n , 1968.  (eds.)  C h a p p e l l , V.C. 1962. G u s t a f s o n , D.F. 1964. Hampshire, Hook, S.  S.  (ed.) The Philosophy  (ed.) Essays  L e h r e r , K.  of Mind.  Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . ,  Psychology.  Conceptual  and Empirical  Towards a General  Theory  London, 1963.  R e s c h e r , N. 1966.  (ed.) The Logic  and Action.  of Decision  Issues.  S t a n f o r d , 1961.  (ed.) Freedom of the Will.  The Philosophy  New Y o r k ,  New Y o r k , 1966,  P e a r s , D.F.  W h i t e , A.R. . (ed.)  Action.  New Y o r k , 1966.  (ed.) Freedom and Responsibility.  P a r s o n s , T. and E.A. S h i l s (eds.) Cambridge, Mass., 1951.  of  New Y o r k , 1961,  (ed,) Freedom and Determinism.  Mischel.T. (ed.) Human Action: New Y o r k , 1969, M o r r i s , H.  of Mind.  Sciences.  in the Theory  of Mind.  in Philosophical  (ed.) The Philosophy  (ed.) Dimensions  Readings  of the Social  of Action.  The Human Agent: Royal I n s t i t u t e of Philosophy 1966-1967. Glasgow, 1968,  of  Pittsburgh,  O x f o r d , 1968, Lectures,  Action.  vol. 1,  

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