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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 Un i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1963 M.A., The Univ e r s i t y of 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 the Department ° £ PHILOSOPHY We accept t h i s t hesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1970-In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree tha p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r 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 the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f Philosophy  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada Date 1^ November 1970 i ABSTRACT Introduction My purpose in 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 his reason or reasons for action, or by giving his motive or motives for action. Some philosophers have claimed that such explanations are causal explanations, whereas others have denied this. I shall argue that reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations, but constitute an irreducibly different kind of explana-tion altogether. Chapter I. Reason-Explanations In.this Chapter I try to make clear what i s involved in 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 in terms of the agent's desires or his desires and information. Chapter II. Motive-Explanations In this 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 II is that the question 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action by giving the agent's i i reason(s) or motive(s) for action?' can be re-formulated in a more trac-table way, as: 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action in terms of his desires or his desires and information?' Chapter III. Desires and Actions I' begin,this Chapter by arguing that whether or not explanations of actions in terms of the agent's desires or his desires and informa-tion are causal explanations depends on whether or not desires are causes,of actions. Many of the arguments designed to show that desires are not causes of actions depend on one or both of two features claimed for the concept of desire. These are specific accounts of (1) the logical connexion that holds between desires and actions, and (2) the descriptions under which specific desires are,identifiable. My major aim i n this Chapter i s to make the nature of these features clear. i Chapter IV. Desires as Causes of Actions (I) In this Chapter I take up the question 'Are desires causes of actions?and review some of the arguments and considerations that have been advanced both in favour of answering i t in the affirmative and in the negative. I argue that none of these forces us to answer the question in one way or the other. Chapter V. Desires as Causes of Actions (II) In this Chapter I give my own answer to the question 'Are desires causes of actions?' I present two distinct arguments to show that they • -! -' i l l are not, each of which exploits a different feature of the causal relation. The f i r s t argument I present exploits the fact that the causal relation i s a contingent relation. I begin this argument by stating a principle that I claim any genuine causal relation must satisfy. In support of this claim, I argue that i f this principle i s violated, we w i l l be forced to admit that the relation i n question i s not a contingent relation. And since the causal relation i s a contin-gent relation, any relation that f a i l s to satisfy this principle could not be a causal relation. I then argue that the relation between desires, the conditions under which desires are followed by actions, and actions, f a i l s to satisfy this principle; and that, consequently, these items.do not stand in.a contingent, and hence could not stand in a causal, relation. The second argument I present to show that desires are not causes of actions begins with the claim that we require empiri-cal evidence,to establish the existence of any causal relation. I then go on to argue that we can establish the existence of a relation between desires, certain other conditions, and actions i n the absence of any empirical evidence whatsoever; and that, hence, the relation between these items i s not a causal relation. Chapter VI. Concluding Remarks In my concluding remarks, I,draw together the findings of Chapters I to V to yield an answer to the question 'What kind of explan-ation are we giving when we explain an agent's action i n terms of his reason(s) or motive(s) for action? In Chapters! and II, I argued that iv to explain an agent's action by giving his reason(s) or motiye(s) for action i s to explain the action in terms of the agent's desires or his desires and information., In Chapter III I argued that whether or not explanations in terms of the agent's desires or his desires and infor-mation are causal explanations depends on whether or not desires are causes of actions. Thus the crucial question to be answered to deter-mine whether or not reason- and motive-explanations are causal ex-planations turned out to be 'Are desires causes of actions?' In Chapters IV and V, I took up this question, and argued that they are not, And with this finding, we must conclude that reason- and motive-explana-tions are not causal explanations, but a completely and irreducibly different sort of explanations altogether. V TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page INTRODUCTION 1 I REASON-EXPLANATIONS . j . 5 II MOTIVE-EXPLANATIONS . . . „ . . . • . • . . . . - . . . . • . 26 III DESIRES AND ACTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 IV DESIRES AS CAUSES OF ACTIONS (I) 103 V DESIRES AS CAUSES OF ACTIONS (II) 121 VI CONCLUDING REMARKS 168 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 Dr 0 Donald G. Brown and Dr. Warren J . M u l l i n s , who supervised the w r i t i n g of 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 c r i t i c i s m s . I have also p r o f i t e d from discussions on s p e c i f i c issues with Dr. Samuel C Coval, Dr. Howard 0. Jackson, Dr. Richard I. Sikora, and Mr. Brian E. Davies. REASONS, MOTIVES, AND CAUSES Introduction We often explain an agent's action by giving his 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 are causal ex-planations, whereas others have denied this,^" It w i l l be my aim in this thesis to try to resolve this dispute. I shall argue that when we explain an agent's action by giving his reason(s) or motive(s) for action we are not giving a causal explanation of that action, but an irreducibly different sort of explanation altogether. But before this conclusion can.be established, a certain amount of preliminary work must be done; and I shall now, both in the interest 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 this thesis. We must f i r s t determine what i s involved in giving reason- and motive-explanations. In particular, we need to answer the question, 'When we explain an agent's action by giving his 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 ex-planations, and one of those who take or who are sympathetic towards the opposing view, w i l l be found in the Bibliography under the heading 'Reasons and Causes'. 2 take up this question with respect to reasons in Chapter I; and with respect to motives in Chapter II. I shall argue that when we explain an agent's action by giving his reason or reasons for action we are explaining the action in terms of his desires or his desires and in-formation. And I shall 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. If these contentions are sound, we may then re-formulate the question 'What kind of explana-tion are we giving when we explain an agent's action by giving his reason or reasons for action or motive or motives for action?' in a more tractable way, as: 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action in terms of his desires or his desires and information?' Now i t i s obvious, when we explain an agent's action just in terms of some desire of his, that whether or not this i s a causal explanation depends on whether or not the desire caused the action. It i s not obvious that this is so when we explain an agent's action in terms of his desires and information, but nonetheless I think i t i s the case, as I shall argue in Chapter III. If so, then the crucial question to be answered to determine whether or not reason- or motive-explanations are causal explanations i s 'Are desires causes of actions?' Arguments have been put to support both answers to this question. 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 logical relation 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 . I t i s important, then,for anyone concerned with the question 'Are desires causes of actions?' to make clear the nature of these features appealed to. And i n Chapter I II 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 to r a i s e the question 'Are desires causes of ac t i o n s ? 1 In dealing with t h i s question i n Chapter IV, I s h a l l review some of the arguments and considerations that have been advanced both i n favour,of answering i t i n the a f f i r m a t i v e and i n the negative. The arguments i n favour of answering the question i n the negative that I s h a l l consider are c h i e f l y those of, or ones that derive from or are v a r i a t i o n s of those of, Ryle and Melden. None of these arguments or considerations w i l l force us,to say that desires are, o r are not, causes of actions. As I s h a l l argue, those considera-tions i n favour of saying that they are, are i n d e c i s i v e at best; and those arguments i n favour of saying that they are not, are unsound. In Chapter V I s h a l l give my own answer to the question 'Are desires causes of 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 that they are not, each of which w i l l e x p l o i t a d i f f e r e n t feature of the causal r e l a t i o n . The f i r s t argument I s h a l l present w i l l e x p l o i t the f a c t that the causal r e l a t i o n i s a contingent r e l a t i o n . This argu-ment w i l l begin with a statement of 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 s a t i s f y . In support.of t h i s claim, I s h a l l argue that i f t h i s p r i n c i p l e i s violated,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 r e l a t i o n . And since the causal r e l a t i o n Is a contingent 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 4 this principle could not be a causal relatione I shall then argue that the relation between desires, the conditions,under which desires are followed by actions, and actions, f a i l s to satisfy this principle; and that, consequently, these items do not stand in a contingent, and hence could not stand in a causal, relation. The second argument I shall present 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 existence of any causal relation. I shall exploit this fact by arguing that we can establish the existence of a relation between desires, certain other conditions, and actions in the absence of any empirical evidence whatsoever; and since this i s so, that these items do not stand in a causal relation. 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 in terms of the agent's desires alone are not causal explana-tions. And i f my claim in Chapter III, namely 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, i s correct, w i l l also show that these explanations are not causal explanations. Thus, i f my arguments to this point are sound, we shall find that reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations, but explanations of a completely different and irreducible sort. This i s , i n outline, the course that my argument w i l l take. I shall now embark on the detailed analyses and argumentation required to establish the conclusion. CHAPTER I REASON-EXPLANATIONS One of the most common ways of explaining an agent's a c t i o n i s to give h i s reason or reasons for act i o n . I s h a l l term explanations that explain an agent's action by giving h i s reason or reasons.for ac t i o n 'reason-explanations'. And i n t h i s Chapter, I s h a l l t r y to determine what i s involved i n giving a reason-explanation of an act i o n . There are four.features of reason-explanations that I should l i k e to begin by i n d i c a t i n g . The f i r s t i s that they can be used to answer the questions 'Why did he do so-and-so? 1, 'Why i s he doing so-and so?', and 'Why does he plan to do so-and-so?' That i s , they can be used to explain why an agent did,something i n the past, i s doing something i n the present, or plans to do something i n the future. The second feature i s that they can be used to give third-person explana-t i o n s , i . e . , to explain why someone e l s e d i d , i s doing, or plans to do something, and f i r s t - p e r s o n explanations, i . e . , tp explain why I d i d , am doing, or plan to do something. The t h i r d feature — one already mentioned in,the d e f i n i t i o n of reason-explanations above, but which I wish to emphasise — i s that the reason that we c i t e to explain the agent's action i s the agent's reason; or, what i s the same as t h i s , something the agent regards as a reason for action (or i n cases where the a c t i o n has been performed, regarded as a reason for a c t i o n ) . And to say that the agent regards or regarded something as a reason for doing something i s quite d i f f e r e n t from saying that there is or there 6 was a reason f o r doing that thing. I s h a l l now t r y to show that there i s a d i f f e r e n c e , and why the reasons relevant to reason-explanations are the agent's reasons. There may be a reason f o r the agent's doing something without him regarding i t as a reason f o r doing that thing. For instance, the f a c t that I have an appointment at 12:30 that i t would be i n my i n t e r -est to keep i s a reason for my cu t t i n g short my lunch hour. But i f I am unaware of t h i s f a c t , I would not regard i t as a reason f o r acti o n . And i f I d i d cut short my lunch hour, t h i s would not be explained by saying that I had an appointment at 12:30. Conversely, the agent may regard something as a reason f o r doing something without.it being a reason f o r doing that thing. For example, I may think that I have an appointment at 12:30, regard t h i s as a reason f o r cu t t i n g short my lunch hour, and cut short my lunch hour. But i f I am mistaken i n V . thinking t h i s , to say that I have an appointment at 12:30 would not be to give a reason f o r my acti o n . I t would only be to give something I regarded as a reason f o r acting as I d i d . But, as such, i t could explain my ac t i o n . What i s necessary to convert t h i s 'could explain' into a 'would,explain 1 w i l l be indicated i n the fourth feature of reason-explana-tions below. But at t h i s point, we may say that when we state what a c t u a l l y are reasons f o r the agent's acting (or having acted or planning to act) i n a p a r t i c u l a r way we are not i n a l l cases giving an explana-t i o n of h i s acti o n . We could only be doing so when the reason co-incided with the agent's reason. And when we explain the agent's action by giving h i s reason f o r doing what he d i d , or i s doing, or plans to 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 cite must be the reason that actually led him to act. It is not enough simply to claim that by giving something the ' i agent regards as a reason for performing a particular 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 in such a case, to cite 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 for 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 for X, that I did Y because of One important point, however, must now be made with respect to this claim that the statement 'I did I because of X% implies the truth of the counterfactual 'If I had not regarded X as reason for action, I would not have done J/'. This i s that Y i n the 8 counterfactual must be taken to stand for the particular action that the agent did in fact perform. The following i l l u s t r a t i o n w i l l perhaps make this point clear. 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 particular action I did perform. It does not imply that I would never have gone to the store. It would be as absurd to hold that the statement does.have this latter 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 cite must be that for which, or because of which, the agent acted, and to say that an agent acted for, or because of, a certain reason.is to say that i f i t were not for that reason, the agent would not have acted in the particular way he did. It follows from these two claims that i t i s a requirement of any reason-explanation that i t yield a true conterfactual statement. For i f the counterfactual yielded by a proposed reason-explanation were false, then i t would be false that the agent acted for or because of that reason; and i f this were false, we would not have a reason-explana-tion of the action in question. Now no d i f f i c u l t i e s arise concerning what must be cited i n order to give a reason-explanation of an action when there i s only a single factor in 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 arise in this respect where 9 there are two (or more) factors that the agent regards or regarded as reasons for action,. So let us now turn to consider what sorts of cases are.possible here, and, remembering that any reason-explanation must yield a true cpunterfactual, try to determine what must.be cited in order to give a reason-explanation in such instances. It may be the case that an agent regards two things as reasons for doing an act, both of which are independently sufficient for his doing the act. Now i f he does the act, we cannot without further infor-mation say what must be cited in order to give a reason-explanation of his action. Further information about the case may yield two possi-b i l i t i e s , each of which must be treated differently. In the f i r s t of these, i t may be that though an agent regards two things as sufficient reasons for doing an act, and does i t , only one is his reason for doing i t . For example, a man might have two sufficient reasons for mowing the lawn: to beautify his garden and to please his wife. But even though he perhaps would have mowed the lawn later to beautify his garden, he might do i t now to please his wife. In such a case, in order to give a reason-explanation of the action, we would only cite one.of his sufficient reasons, and say that he did the deed because he wanted to please,his wife. One might object, however, that we could not say this on the ground that to do so i s to imply, what is ex hypothesi false, that i f i t were not for his desire to please his wife he would not have mowed the lawn. But i t would be wrong to object i n this way. For i f this counterfactual i s taken to mean that i f i t were not for his desire to please his wife, he would not have mowed the lawn at aVl> though 10 this i s ex hypothesi false, i t i s not implied by the statement that he mowed the lawn because he wanted to please his wife. This latter 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 his desire to please his wife he would not have mowed the lawn, i s taken in this latter way, i t does not constitute grounds for an objection. For this latter counterfactual i s ex hypothesi true. In the case just discussed, though the agent regarded two things as independently sufficient reasons for doing an act, only one of them was operative. But this may not be the case. The agent may have two independently sufficient reasons for doing something that operate concurrently. For example, a man may mow the lawn at a certain time both in order,to beautify his garden and to please his wife. In such a case, we cannot cite just one of these in explanation of his acting. For to do this i s to imply, what i s ex hypothesi false, that i f i t were not for that reason, he would not have acted in the way he did. And since any reason-explanation must yield a true counterfactual, the c i t -ing of just one of these concurrent and independently sufficient reasons for action would not be to give a reason-explanation of the action. To give a reason-explanation of the action in such a case, we must cite both reasons of the agent's. However, when we do this and say that he mowed the lawn (did 1) because both he wanted to beautify his garden (p) and to please his wife (q), this 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 i n -sufficient reasons for the agent 's for doing J, 4pr •-.that p^and, qr,. were, (. independently insufficient but jo 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 for p and the agent would not have done J. And this counterfactual, i s true for both interpretations. Now since the explanation 'He did Y be-cause both p and q% 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 sufficient reasons of the agent 's for doing J, and cases where p. and q are independently insufficient but. joi n t l y sufficient reasons of the agent.'.s for. doing Yi by saying 'He did Y because both p and q*. If, however.?, iwe.iwish ,toa be jmore^pr.ecis.e, and to indicate; which of these alternatives/we ,have in< mind<,.>ritnseems;y to me that we can only do this by a more explicit, statement tof. the(. 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 sufficient concurrent reasons, p and qt or that the agent did Y for two independently insufficient but jointly, sufficient reasons, p and q. ,, . . ; i .: In the further discussion of reason-explanations that follows, I shall, for the sake of simplicity, confine my remarks to cases where there i s only a single reason of the agent 's i n question. Cases where there are two (or more) reasons of the agent 's i n question are more complex, 1 2 and must be handled i n the ways Indicated above, But apart from t h i s , they introduce no further d i f f i c u l t i e s . Let us now turn to consider what i s involved i n giving a reason-explanation of an action , i.e.,, to consider what factor or factors we are appealing to when we explain an agent's a c t i o n by gi v i n g h i s reason or reasons f o r acti o n . I t has sometimes been suggested, f o r example by Pears, Davidson, and Gean,''" that when we explain an agent's a c t i o n by giving h i s reason f o r ac t i o n , 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 responsible f o r the agent's acting i n the way he did. The q u a l i f i c a t i o n 'If given i n f u l l 1 i s necessary here. For the agent often gives h i s reason f o r ac t i o n (or we often give the agent's reason for action) by mentioning only one or the other of these f a c t o r s . For example, I may say that I am stopping the car because I am hungry; or because there i s a restaurant nearby. And sometimes the agent's reason for a c t i o n i s given i n another way that mentions neither of these f a c -t o r s , as when I say I am stopping the,car to get food. But, according to the suggestion under consideration, when the agent's reason f o r action i s given i n these ways, i t i s given incompletely. The suggestion i s that, i n cases where only some item of information or some desire i s c i t e d , the stated reason f o r ac t i o n would be understandable as the agent's D. Pears, "Are Reasons for Actions 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. Davidson, "Actions, Reasons, and Causes", i n Free Will and,Determinism, ed. B, Berofsky, (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 for action, and would constitute an explanation of his action, only i f the other i s understood to be present i n the situation. And, in cases where neither i s cited, as when we give the agent's reason for action by reporting his intention, the suggestion i s that we can elucidate this reason for action more concretely and f u l l y in terms of the agent's desires and information. Accordingly, i f these suggestions are correct, when we explain an agent's action by giving his reason for action, this 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 respon-sible for the action. Now before raising the question of whether i t i s true that both desire and information must appear in any complete reason-explanation, I should like to say something about the nature of this information. Much of what I say here ought to be clear from the fact that the reasons involved in giving reason-explanations are the agent's reasons. But I shall risk repetition in the hope of gaining c l a r i t y . Often the infor-mation in question w i l l be a fact. But to say that i t i s always a fact i s in one way saying too l i t t l e and i n another way saying too much. It would be saying too l i t t l e i n cases where the agent i s or was not aware of the fact. For example, i f a man were not aware of the fact that there i s a restaurant nearby, the citing of this fact would not explain why he stopped the car. This fact indeed, even i f unconsidered by the agent, could be a reason for stopping the car, but i t could not be his (or a part of his) reason for doing what he did. And It 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 the agent mistakenly thinks something to be a facto For the agent may act on the basis of t h i s mistaken i n f o r -mation; and t h i s (mistaken) information could be used to explain h i s acti o n by giving h i s reason or reasons,for doing what he did. For example, we could explain why a man was f i l l i n g h i s fountain pen with black water by saying that he thought I t was ink. So i t seems that the information i n question cannot consist e x c l u s i v e l y i n , or be r e s t r i c t e d to, f a c t s . We do, however, often c i t e f a c t s i n giving reason-explanations. But the c i t i n g of a fac t explains the a c t i o n only on the assumption that the agent i s aware of I t , Accord-i n g l y , the agent!s knowledge must be included i n what we mean by i n f o r -mation. But since, as we have already seen, the agent's actions can be explained by c i t i n g something which he mistakenly thinks to be.a f a c t , we cannot r e s t r i c t the information i n question to knowledge. The agent's b e l i e f s must also be included under t h i s head. Thus we may say that the relevant information i n question when we are t a l k i n g about,reason-explan-ations i s an Item of knowledge or b e l i e f . Let us now consider the tr u t h of the suggestion that whenever we explain an agent's a c t i o n by giving h i s reason for ac t i o n , t h i s reason, i f given i n f u l l , would make reference to both desire and information as being the fa c t o r s that were responsible for h i s acting In the.way he did. We often explain an agent's a c t i o n by giving h i s reason f o r ac t i o n by mentioning only some item of information, i . e . , some item of knowledge or b e l i e f . Here are some examples: 15 (1) I am s topp ing the car b e c a u s e ; t h e r e i s a r es tau ran t nearby. (2) I am v o t i n g because i t i s my duty to do s o , (3) I handed over the money because he had a gun a t my head. (4) I made myse l f get to work on t ime every morning because the company rewards p u n c t u a l i t y , (5) I gave him the book because i t was ve ry amusing. Now i t seems t h a t , i n a l l these c a s e s , the c i t i n g o f t h i s i n f o r m a -t i o n i s i n t e l l i g i b l e as the a g e n t ' s reason 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 , on l y because i t i s taken f o r granted tha t he wants (to do) or wants to avo id (doing) someth ing. For example, say ing tha t there i s a r e s t a u r a n t nearby e x p l a i n s my s topp ing the ca r on l y i f i t i s assumed, e . g . , tha t I am hungry. Un less i t i s assumed or understood tha t the re i s something tha t the agent wants o r wants to do which can be s a t i s f i e d by s topp ing a t the r e s t a u r a n t , to say 'because there 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 den ied tha t there was any th ing tha t he wanted (to do) which cou ld be s a t i s f i e d by s topp ing a t the r e s t a u r a n t , we shou ld no longer be ab le to understand t h i s as h i s reason f o r a c t i o n . S i m i l a r remarks cou ld .be made i n the cases of the o ther examples o f f e r e d . Thus i t seems tha t to c i t e some i tem of i n f o r m a t i o n i s to g i ve something i n t e l l i g i b l e as the a g e n t ' s reason f o r a c t i o n , and i s to e x p l a i n the a g e n t ' s a c t i o n , on l y i f some d e s i r e i s unders tood . to be p resent i n the s i t u a t i o n . And s i n c e some d e s i r e must be presupposed whenever one c i t e s on l y some i tem o f i n f o r m a t i o n as the a g e n t ' s reason f o r a c t i o n , to c i t e on l y some, i tem of i n f o r m a t i o n cannot be to g i ve the a g e n t ' s reason f o r 16 action i n f u l l . If we were to give the agent's reason for action i n f u l l , we would have to make explicit this presupposition; and i f we did this, mention would be made of both desire and information, I shall 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 his reason f o r action by just citing some,desire, the citing 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 in the situation. If i t i s true, then i f we were to give the agent's reason for action in f u l l , mention would be made of both desire and information. We often explain an agent's action by giving his 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 in order to do, achieve, secure, or avoid something that I want to do, achieve, secure, or avoid. And in the case of the f i r s t three examples, the citing 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 situation. 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 his being hungry and his stopping the car, we should no longer be able to understand 'because,I am hungry' as his reason for action. Similar remarks could be made about the second and third 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 un-necessary in most cases to add that I believe i t i s raining or w i l l rain, and that by taking my umbrella I w i l l achieve my desired objective. It would be appropriate for me to state my belief that i t w i l l rain only when i t would be unusual for me to hold,this belief, 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 It is in many cases unnecessary to add this, my point Is that some such i n -formation must be present in a l l cases where I am doing what I am not for i t s own sake, but i n order,to do,or secure or achieve or avoid.something that w i l l satisfy some,desire of mine; and that the citing of some desire gives an explanation of the action only on the understanding that some, such Information i s present i n the situation. Consequently, i f we were to give the agent's reason for action i n f u l l , this Information, in addi-tion to the stated desire, would appear in the statement of i t . The fourth example, of my playing tennis simply because I want to, differs 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 this case I am doing what I am doing for i t s own,sake. I am playing tennis simply because I want to. Now i n such cases one may question whether the agent had any reason at a l l for action; whether such actions are susceptible of reason-explanations , For i f an agent i s doing something simply for i t s own sake, and i s asked why he i s doing i t , the reply 'For no reason*, seems natural. But this reply cannot be taken to mean that the agent had no reason at a l l for doing the action. For i f he i s doing the action simply for 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, this i s his 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 further reason; no reason, that i s , besides wanting to do i t . So i t does seem that when an agent,does an action simply for 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 in 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 this. 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 be-cause he wants (to do) 7 , we can understand the agent's wanting to do X as his reason for 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 his desire i s related to his action. And so there does not seem to be any necessity to supplement the agent's desire with some item of information in order to give a complete statement of his reason for action. It 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 be-lieves that by performing the action he w i l l satisfy his desire to do so. And in 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 satisfy his desire to do so. But i t does not seem to me that some such belief i s always consciously entertained when an agent performs an action for i t s own sake, and unrealistic to say that i t must be present. Often, i t seems to me, an agent does.an action with-out any thought in mind except his wanting to do i t . If I.am right in this, i t cannot be said that some item of information w i l l always appear in a complete statement of the agent's reason for action. And thus i t does not seem true in a l l cases that i f we were to give the agent's reason for action in f u l l , both some.desire and some item of related information would appear in the statement of i t . Sometimes when we are doing something for i t s own sake, to cite 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 exp l i c i t l y occur i n reason-explanations that explain by citing 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, in 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. But to say that I am hungry implies that I want to eat, '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 thirsty implies that I am doing X because I want to drink. Some other words that can be used i n the place of 'want' in giving a reason-explanation are: 'crave', 'lust for', 'fear', 'interested', 'tired', and 'starving'. Examples of sentences in 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 in hearing the speaker. (4) I stopped running because I was tired. (5) I stole the pie because I was starving. A l l the words in question that appear in the above examples are used to imply that the agent wanted (to do) or wanted to avoid (doing) something. Some of them (e.g., 'crave') indicate the degree to which he wanted i t ; and others (e.g., 'interested') indicate to some extent why he wanted i t . And i t seems a f a i r l y straightforward matter to re-phrase the sentences so that the word 'want' ex 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 rest. (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 in the giving of a reason-explanation of an agent's action that explains the action in terms of the agent's desires, they are not always so used. Examples of cases where they are not used in the giving of the agent's reason for action are easy to find. Take the words 'starving' and 'tired' for instance. To say that I f e l t weak because I.was starving, or that I collapsed because I was tired, is 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 afraid, but we would not say that fear was my reason for fidgeting. The words 'love' and 'hate' can also be used in reason-explana-tions. These words, I think, imply that the agent wants (to do) or wants to avoid (doing) something, but they are slightly more complex than the words li s t e d above. We cannot always—and in,most.cases cannot—sub-stitute the word 'want' for them as easily as we can do this i n the case of the words just considered. For often when these words are used in 22 giving a reason-explanation, what i t i s that the agent wants (to do) or wants to avoid (doing) i s not specified, but has to be understood from the context. For example, i f I say that I withheld the bad news , from her because I loved her, what I wanted to do is not specified. But i t i s clear that I did want to do something: I wanted to do some-thing to benefit her. Similarly with hate. If I give someone the wrong information because I hate him^ what I want to,do i s not speci-fied. But we do know that I wanted to do,something to harm him. The notions of harm and benefit, however, are not always appli-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 It 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 in. 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 stating 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 his i n -tention. Let us now look at how intentions are reported. Intentions are sometimes—perhaps most often—reported 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 in 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. But when we say any of these things, what we say i s equivalent to saying that he went to the store to get bread. It 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 is . . . ' 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 in doing, or planning to do X was or i s to tf', we may say that his reason for acting was or i s to tf. For example, i f the agent i s taking a hot bath to relax, or selling sub-standard merchandise to increase his profits, we may say that his reason for acting i s (respectively) to relax or to increase his profits. And by giving his reason,for action by reporting his intention we w i l l be explaining his action. But while when we explain, an agent's action by giving his reason for action by reporting his 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 is,taking 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 his objective; to know that an agent i s selling sub-standard merchandise to increase his profits i s to know that he wants to increase his profits and that he knows or be-lieves that by selling 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-ingly, i t seems that whenever an agent's action i s explained by giving his reason for action by reporting his intention, we can elucidate this reason for 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 in f u l l , we should cite the agent's desires and information as the factors that were responsible for the agent's acting in the way he did. To sum up the discussion of reason-explanations. We found that when an action that has been performed, is being performed, or i s planned~to be performed not simply for 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 for action in a way that mentions only some item of information or some desire, the citing of this factor counts as giving a reason-explanation of the action only because the other i s taken for granted. We also found, in cases where an action i s performed (or has been, or i s planned to be, performed) simply for i t s own.sake, that sometimes the action i s explained by.giving the agent's reason for action by citing only some desire, without our having to make,any assump-tions about related Information. Further, we found that we can explain an agent's action by giving his reason for action by reporting his 25 intention. And that, though when we so explain an action we do not expl i c i t l y mention either any desire nor any information of the agent's, we can always elucidate this reason for action more concretely and fu l l y in terms of the agent's desires and information. Consequently, we may say that when we explain an agent's action by giving his reason for action, this reason, i f given in f u l l , w i l l (1) always mention some desire of the agent's, and (2) in every case, except some in which the action i s performed for 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 in terms of the agent's desires and infor-mation, and sometimes in terms of the agent's desires alone. Accordingly, one of the questions that w i l l be answered in this thesis, 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 his desires or his desires and information?' One possible answer to this question that I wish to examine i s that this type of explanation i s a causal one. But having put the question i n this form, I shall defer the examination of this possible answer t i l l a later Chapter. CHAPTER II MOTIVE-EXPLANATIONS In this Chapter I shall discuss another common way of explain-ing an agent's action: that of explaining his action by giving his motive or motives for action. I shall term explanations,that explain an agent's action by giving his motive or motives for action 'motive-explanations'. 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., precisely to what does the citing of the agent's motive or motives point in order to explain the agent's action? I shall discuss these questions i n order. There i s no such thing as simply having a motive; nor do we have motives for feeling i r r i t a b l e or cold, having indigestion or hallucinations, or being pleased or depressed. We talk about motives only when there i s an action i n question. 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 his motive i n doing so-rand-so?', 'What i s his motive in doing so-and-so?', or 'What is his 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 per-forming, or plans to perform. Let us now raise the f i r s t question posed above: What kinds of actions can have motives? It only makes sense to ask for the agent's 27 motive or motives f o r acting when the action i s , or i s thought to be, an i n t e n t i o n a l one. We do not ask for the agent's motive when we know that the act i o n i s not or was not an i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n . For example, we do not ask for the agent's motive when we know that the act i o n was done by mistake or by accident. Nor do we ask for the agent's motive when we know that the action 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 think, necessary to 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 of r e f l e x actions; f o r i t seems that some actions that are the outcome of conditioned reflexes are i n t e n t i o n a l actions. For example, a d r i v e r who slams on h i s brakes on seeing a red l i g h t seems to.be a c t i n g , though from a conditioned r e f l e x , i n t e n t i o n a l l y . And s i m i l a r l y , much of what a trained t y p i s t does i s the r e s u l t of conditioned r e f l e x e s ; but we should not deny that her actions were inten-t i o n a l . Whether or not an i n t e n t i o n a l action of t h i s type, v i z . , one which i s the r e s u l t of some conditioned r e f l e x i s one that can have a motive w i l l be determined by whether or not i t possesses c e r t a i n other features, to be discussed below, which are necessary f o r an act i o n to possess i n order to have a,motive. But we must not preclude the e n t i r e c l a s s of actions done as a r e s u l t of conditioned r e f l e x e s from the class of actions that can have motives on the ground that they are not Inten-t i o n a l actions. At t h i s point we may say that though i t makes sense to ask f o r the agent's motive only when the action i s , or i s thought to be, an i n t e n t i o n a l one, only i f the act 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 act i o n that i s not i n t e n t i o n a l , i s an ac t i o n done without a motive. Let us now t r y to i d e n t i f y more p r e c i s e l y the cla s s 28 of actions that can have motives. The class of intentional 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 just because he likes or enjoys,jogging. (2) The action may be performed with no particular purpose or for the sake of no particular end, i.e.,. neither for i t s own sake nor for the sake of anything else. I think that there are many ways in which this can occur; some of them are as follows. The action may be just the exercise of,a disposition. For example, a vain man might do vain things intentionally but automatically, and not for the sake of doing those things or in order to achieve any-thing else. The action may be the outcome or exercise of a mood. For instance, I may speak sharply to a salesman because I am feeling 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 strol l i n g down a street suddenly jump and catch a leaf. Or the action may be one that i s done purely from force of habit. 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 in order to do or secure anything else. 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; and this, even i f he did i n fact do or secure something by doing X. 29 The above actions I have placed in class (2) are types of inten-tional actions that I think may be done without any purpose whatsoever. One might, however, deny this, 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 special 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 in class (1) or classes (3) or (4) to be discussed below. I do not know how this issue concern-ing the existence of class (2) of actions,can be clearly decided one way or the other. On the one hand, there i s a certain plaus 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 intentional, 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 plausibly classed as special cases of actions done for their own sakes. And this 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 in one or the other of these ways. But on the other hand, i t seems dogmatic to insist that a l l intentional 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 this can be shown to be the case. For i t i s always open to one who .denies that this i s so to say, in cases where an intention-al action cannot plausibly be claimed to be done for i t s own sake and where we cannot cite any purpose, hidden or otherwise, of the agent's, that there 30 i s some purpose but that i t has just 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), this w i l l not affect my argument in any substantial way. As w i l l become clear, 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 intentional 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 in order to get her money. Marrying the g i r l i s not getting her money, but i s a means to this further end. (4) The action may be performed in order to do or secure something that i s not a further end. For example, I may be under an obligation to go to a meeting, and go to the meeting in order to f u l f i l l my obligation to do so. In such a case, going to the meeting and f u l f i l l i n g my obligation to go to the meeting cannot be said to be related as a means to a further end. For in order to say that an action i s a means to the doing or securing of some further end, the former and latter must be distinct events; and there are not two distinct events i n question here. Rather, there is 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 obligation to do so. Consequently, i f I go to the meeting, though I do so i n order to dp something, viz. , f u l f i l l my obligation to go to the meeting, this latter i s not some further end for which going to the meeting i s a means. The above are four sub-classes into which the class of intentional actions can be divided. But the division 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, for example, fish both because I^enjoy angling and in 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 like going to meetings as well as in order to discharge an obligation of mine. Thus an action can be-long to class (1), v i z . , the class of actions done for their 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 in 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 in order to do or secure 7 , then either doing X i s a means to the further end of doing or securing Yt or doing X is doing or securing 7 . It cannot be both; for 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 distinct 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 obligation), then there i s only one event f a l l i n g under two des-criptions in 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 intentional 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 imp ly because he loved h e r , or committed a murder f o r i t s own.sake, 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 ,mo t i ve . Once we know tha t the agent i s do ing or d i d X s imp ly f o r i t s own sake , we a l s o know tha t he i s not do ing or d i d not do X from any mot i ve . S i m i l a r l y w i t h a c t i o n s be long ing to c l a s s (2 ) . To know tha t an agent i s do ing or d i d X w i thout any purpose whatsoever i s to know tha t he i s not a c t i n g or d i d not ac t from a mot i ve . For 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 tha t he made them w i thou t any end i n v i e w , but tha t they w e r e . j u s t (say) the outcome of some mood of h i s , we would not s a y . t h a t he had a mot ive i n making the remarks. But a c t i o n s tha t be long to c l a s s e s (3) or ( 4 ) , i . e . , those a c t i o n s which an agent performs i n o rder to do o r secure something (whether t h i s something i s a f u r t h e r end or n o t ) , c a n . c l e a r l y have mo t i ves . For example, a man who mar r i es a g i r l i n o rder to get her money, or k i l l s a man i n o r d e r , t o get revenge, i s a man a c t i n g from a mot i ve . In the f i r s t c a s e , h i s a c t i o n i s performed as a means to a f u r t h e r end; i n the second i t i s n o t : h i s k i l l -i n g the man i s h i s be ing revenged. Such a c t i o n s may a l s o be long to c l a s s ( 1 ) . In the case of the f i r s t example, the man might marry the g i r l bo th from t h i s mot ive and because he l oves h e r . And, i n the case of the second, k i l l the man both from t h i s mot ive and because,he en joys h u r t i n g o t h e r s . Thus i t seems tha t on l y a c t i o n s be long ing to c l a s s e s (3) and (4)—whether--or not they a l s o be long to c l a s s (1)—can have mo t i ves . I f I am r i g h t i n t h i s , and on l y a c t i o n s be long ing to c l a s s e s (3) and (4) above, v i z . , on l y a c t i o n s done i n order to do or secure something tha t i s a f u r t h e r e n d , or done i n o rder to do or secure something tha t i s 33 not a further end, can have motives, we may make the following two points. F i r s t , i t i s wrong to,say, as P.H. Nowell-Smith^ does, and as 2 RoSo Peters reports many psychologists do, that every i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n has a motive. For an action done f or i t s own sake i s an i n t e n t i o n a l act i o n , but a motiveless one; and so, i t seems, are some actions that are done without any purpose,whatsoever i n t e n t i o n a l but motiveless. And, second, i t i s wrong to, t r y to correct t h i s error by claiming, as N.S. 3 Sutherland. does, that when we explain an action by assigning a motive we are explaining that action i n terms of some further end to be achieved by that action. This claim e n t a i l s that only i n t e n t i o n a l actions done i n order to do or secure something that i s a further end can have motives.. And i t i s wrong to claim e i t h e r of these things. For i f I k i l l a man i n order to get revenge, revenge i s my motive i n , k i l l i n g the man. And i n assigning t h i s motive, my act i o n i s explained. But the act i o n i n ques-t i o n here i s neither one explained i n terms of, nor one done i n order to achieve, some further end. For my k i l l i n g the man is my being r e -venged ; revenge i s not some further end to be achieved by my k i l l i n g the man, But i s i t true to say that every i n t e n t i o n a l a c t i o n that i s done, i n order to do or secure something i s an action done from a motive? Sutherland holds, or at any rate commits himself to hold, t h i s p o s i t i o n . 1Ethias (Baltimore, 1954), pp.„ 114, 124. 2 The Concept of Motivation (London, 1958), p. 30. 3"Motives as Explanations", Mind, LXVIII (1959), 148. 34 For he w r i t e s tha t ' I f we say "He d i d X because he wanted Y" then i t i s c l e a r tha t a mot ive type e x p l a n a t i o n i s be ing g i ven and there i s no 4 n e c e s s i t y to say tha t " H i s mot ive f o r do ing X was tha t he wanted Y " ' . • In say ing t h i s , Su ther land commits h i m s e l f to the p o s i t i o n tha t any sub -s t i t u t i o n i n s t a n c e f o r J i n the above, type of e x p l a n a t i o n counts as a mot i ve . And s i n c e any a c t i o n tha t i s d o n e , i n o rder to do or secure something can be g i ven an e x p l a n a t i o n of the type 'He d i d X because he wanted Yl, Su ther land a l s o has to ma in ta in tha t every a c t i o n of t h i s type i s an a c t i o n done from a mo t i ve . But our o r d i n a r y usage of the term ' m o t i v e ' does not support t h i s c l a i m . For example, i f I p i c k up my f o r k i n o rder to eat my peas , or because I want to eat my peas , i t would be odd to say tha t I am a c t i n g from a mo t i ve ; tha t my d e s i r e to eat my peas was my mot ive 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 tha t when one g i ves Chr is tmas p resen ts In o rder to p l ease h i s f r i e n d s tha t t h i s was h i s mot ive i n a c t i n g . And we would norma l l y r e -sent the i m p l i c a t i o n of be ing asked what our mot ive 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 . So i t seems tha t i t i s not always a p p r o p r i a t e to speak o f , or ask about , mot ives when the a c t i o n i s one tha t i s done i n o rder to do or secure someth ing; tha t not a l l a c t i o n s s u s c e p t i b l e of ' i n o rder t o ' exp lana t i ons a re a c t i o n s done from mo t i ves . A c c o r d i n g l y j we must f u r t h e r d e l i m i t the c l a s s o f a c t i o n s tha t can have mo t i ves . F i r s t of a l l , I t on ly seems app rop r i a t e to ask f o r the a g e n t ' s mot ive when t h e . a c t i o n i n ques t i on i s a r e l a t i v e l y impor tant one. 0p. c i t . , p. 153, 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 his conduct up for assessment',"* where 'there i s an issue of ju 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 is often to imply that his action i s a socially unacceptable one, one that stands in need of ju s t i f i c a t i o n . Hence the resentment we would naturally feel on being asked for our motive in giving Christmas presents. But i t does not seem that Peters i s right in claiming that i t i s only appropriate to ask for a man's motives where there i s a question of assessment, let 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 his motive in giving up his legal practice just when he was becoming successful?' or 'What was his motive in making that odd bequest i n his w i l l ? ' Of course, in certain contexts, to ask these questions may be to hold up the conduct for assessment, and to suggest that some ju 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 of Motivation^ p. 29. ^Tbidi3 p. 31. 7 These examples are adapted from R. Brown, Explanation in Social Science (London, 1963), p, 91, 36 agent's action. And i n asking for the agent's motive, we may only wish to dispel the mystery that his action holds for us; a l l we want i s an explanation. We may now take Peters's claim and this latter one together, and say that i t i s only appropriate to ask for ah agent's motive when the action i s a relatively important one that stands in need of either j u s t i f i c a t i o n or explanation. But when are either of these.things called for? It 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 for some socially un-acceptable reason. In the absence of any reason to suspect this, 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 justification) when there i s no reason to suppose that the action was done for some socially unacceptable reason, but when the action i s in some way an unusual one. There are, I think, three sorts of actions that we would classify as un-usual. 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 in 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 classifications, we would not c a l l i t an unusual one; and i f i t were not unusual in some way, i t would not be appropriate to ask for an explana-tion of the action. With these,explanations, of when ju s t i f i c a t i o n and explanation are called for, we can now specify more precisely when i t i s 37 appropriate to ask for the agent's motive; It seems that i t i s only appropriate to ask for the agent's motive when the action i s a relatively important one that seems to be done for some socially unacceptable reason, or that i s in some way unusual, or, of course, that i s both un-usual and seems to be done for some socially unacceptable reason. Now giving the agent's motive may, by rebutting the presumption or suspicion that the action was .done for some socially unacceptable reason, ju s t i f y or excuse the action. Or i t may, by confirming the suspicion that the action was done for some socially unacceptable reason, discredit the action. But i t may also do something lying between these: i t may mitigate the agent's guilt 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 find that a priest's motive for leaving his parish was to work in a leper colony. And sometimes there i s no question of assessment at a l l , good or bad, involved in giving the agent's motive. On occasion, giving the agent's motive does no more than explain the action, as when we say that his motive i n giving up his legal practice was that he wanted to spend more time with his family. We. have now determined what kinds of actions can,have motives. In summary, we have found that two requirements must be satisfied: (1) the action must be an.intentional one that i s done,in order to do or secure something (where this something may be a further end or not), and (2) the action of this kind must be a relatively important one that stands in 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 socially unacceptable reasonj or one 38 that is i n some way unusual, or one that i s both unusual and seems to be done for some socially unacceptable reason. Having thus answered the f i r s t question raised at the beginning of this 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 bit more concretely, precisely to what does the citing 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 shall f i r s t examine the views of some others, beginning with Gilbert Ryle's. There i s a negative and positive part to Ryle's account. Nega-tively, Ryle denies that to explain an action by.assigning a motive i s to explain the action by saying that i t was preceded and caused by the occurrence of a.certain feeling. Positively, Ryle asserts that to ex-plain an action by assigning a motive is to give a dispositional explan-ation of the action i n terms of 'law-like hypothetical,propositions'. Ryle writes that 'To explain an act as done from a certain motive i s not analagous to saying that the glass broke, because a stone hit i t , but to the quite different type of statement that the glass broke, when the g stone hit i t , because the glass was b r i t t l e ' . Proceeding on this analogy, Ryle recommends construing 'He boasted from vanity' not as saying that 'He boasted and the cause of his boasting was the occurrence in him of a The Concept of Mind (London, 1949), pp. 86-87. 39 p a r t i c u l a r f e e l i n g or impulse of v a n i t y ' , but as say ing 'He boasted on meet ing the s t range r and h i s do ing so s a t i s f i e s the l a w - l i k e p r o p o s i t i o n tha t whenever he f i n d s a chance of s e c u r i n g the admi ra t i on 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 admi ra t i on and 9 e n v y ' . Acco rd ing t o . R y l e , 'To say [ that a man d i d something from a c e r t a i n mot ive] i s to say tha 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 c i r -cumstances, was j u s t the s o r t of t h i n g tha t tha t was an i n c l i n a t i o n to do. I t i s to say "he would do t h a t 1 " . 1 0 Now i t seems to me. tha t R y l e V i s - . r i g h t i n what he d e n i e s , but wrong i n what he a s s e r t s . I do not propose to rehearse h i s arguments f o r what he d e n i e s , but s h a l l on l y c r i t i c i s e h i s p o s i t i v e account . I t has o f t e n , and I t h i n k r i g h t l y , been po in ted out tha t acco rd ing to 11 R y l e ' s account a man cannot ac t from a mot ive on one o c c a s i o n o n l y . T h i s i s s o , f o r , acco rd ing to 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 mot ive 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 tha t the agent i s a man who,tends to do the s o r t o f t h i ng the mot ive i n d i c a t e s ; i t i s to say 'he would do t h a t ' . . But I t h i n k tha t t h i s consequence tha t a man cannot ac t from a mot ive on one o c c a s i o n on l y Is f a l s e . I t seems to me tha t a man can boast from v a n i t y w i thou t be ing a v a i n man, i . e . , w i thou t be ing a man who tends to do v a i n t h i n g s , or The Concept of Mind, p. 89 10Ibid. pp. 92 -93 . ^ F o r example, by G . E i M . Anscombe, Intention (Ox fo rd , 1963) , p. 21 ; P . F o o t , " F r e e W i l l as I n v o l v i n g De te rm in i sm" , i n Free Will and Determin-isms ed . B. B e r o f s k y , (New Y o r k , 1966) , p; 103; and A . Kenny, Action, Emotion and Will (London, 1963) , p. 77. AO without even being a man who tends to boast. And similarly, that a man can act from other motives such as generosity or revenge without being a generous or vengeful man, i.e., without being a man who tends to act generously or vengefully. If this i s so, then Ryle's account of motive-explanations cannot be correct. Now we might try to amend Ryle's account to meet this 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 brittleness which could be temporary. And then by explaining 'He acted from vanity' as meaning that at that particular 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 and envy of others, he does whatever he thinks w i l l produce this admiration 12 and envy. But, as P. Foot has argued, i t would be wrong to say this; 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 liable to do other things of this kind. For example, a man who 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. Russell Grice, in his 13 recent book The Grounds of Moral Judgement, has offered an alternative explanation to that of Ryle's as to how the words 'vanity', "Free Will as Involving Determinism", in Free Will and Determin-ism, ed. B. Berofsky, pp. 103-104. 13 Cambridge, 1967, Ch. I, sec. 3. '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 patriot-ism', 'Because he i s considerate', etc. He then comments that these answers are in some sense motive-explanations, but that i t by no means follows that the motive i s ex p l i c i t l y named i n them.. For the alterna-tive remains that such answers explain why a certain motive, which i s not e x p l i c i t l y named, was a motive for a particular man. Grice adopts this alternative view. Taking the example of a man who has acted to ease his neighbour's burden where his action i s explained as done out of considerateness, Grice claims that the explanation functions in a two-fold way. F i r s t , i t explains why the belief that a certain action would ease his neighbour's burden was a motive for this man whereas for many others i t would not be a motive. And this 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 characteristic of him to be moved by such a belief. Second, i t explains by revealing the kind of belief which provided the motive for 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 this i s not Grice's account of motives, but only his account of what Ryle takes to be motives. Grice's own account, which I shall not dis-cuss, i s similar to the one I shall offer later in this Chapter. 42 the belief that the action would help his neighbour and not,by the belief that he would be judged a benevolent man, nor that his neighbour would return the kindness to him. This account seems open to the same sort of objection as i s Ryle's. Grice's account entails the view that a man cannot act out of considerateness, vanity, patriotism, etc., unless he i s a considerate, vain, patriotic, 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 consider-ate, vain, patriotic, etc. And Grice could not hold this view unless he also held that a man cannot act out of considerateness, vanity, etc., unless he i s a' considerate, vain, etc,, man. But surely i t i s wrong to assert that a man cannot ;act out of considerateness, vanity, etc., unless he is considerate, vain, etc. It seems clear that the most inconsiderate of men can act out of considerateness on occasion. And similarly, men who are generally not vain or patriotic can, on occasion, act out of vanity or patriotism. If this i s "correct, then to explain an action by using these words cannot be to give a motive-explanation of the action in the way Grice claims i t to be. I shall now turn to give my answer to the question 'What is i n -volved in giving a motive-explanation of an action?' By a motive-explan-ation I mean an explanation of an agent's action that explains the action by giving his motive or motives for action. The f i r s t thing to be noticed is that i t i s not enough simply to claim that by giving some motive that the agent has for performing a certain 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 in such a case, to cite 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 for 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 his motive, the motive must be the one that moved him to form that intention. But for the sake of simplifying the exposition, I shall, 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 in Chapter I, ' 7 ' i n the counterfactual yielded by saying 'X moved the agent to do 7 ' , viz . , 'If i t werenot for Xt the agent would,not have done 7 ' , must be taken to stand for the par-ticular 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 for 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 latter statement only implies that i f i t were not for the cancer, the man would not have died at the time he did, the former only implies that i f i t were not for X, the agent would not have done 7 at the time he did, i.e., would not have performed the particular 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 is to say that i f i t were not for that thing he would not have acted i n the way he did, 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 false, then i t would be false to say that the thing cited i n the proposed motive-explanation moved the agent to act; and i f this were false, 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 so-and-so implies the truth of a counterfactual statement. Accordingly, i f the implied counterfactual were false, i t would be false to say that the agent performed the action because so-and-so; and i f this were false, we would not have an explanation of the action at a l l . At this point, however, certain d i f f i c u l t i e s arise. These con-cern what we must cite in order to give a motive-explanation of an action i n cases where there was more than one factor that moved, or that was sufficient to move, the agent to act. The d i f f i c u l t i e s that arise 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 sufficient to move him to act. Now i f the agent did the action, we cannot say what must be cited 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 let us now see what these poss 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. An example of such a case is as follows. 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 later to get revenge, he did so to prevent him from giving evidence. In such a case we should, in order to give a motive-explanation of the action, cite only one of these motives, and say that he k i l l e d the man to pre-vent him from giving evidence. For i t was the desire to do this that moved him to act. And we can say this without violating 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 is 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 false, 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 this, 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 sufficient motives may reveal. It may be that these motives operated concurrently. For example, a man possessing two motives for k i l l i n g another (doing 7 ) , say to get revenge (fv7) and to prevent him from giving evidence (X), each of which was sufficient to move him to do 7 , may do 7 from these motives,. In such a case what must we cite i n order to give a motive-explanation of the action? We cannot simply cite W, his desire to get revenge, nor can we simply cite X, his desire to prevent the man from giving evidence. For to say that W (or X) moved the agent to act is to imply, what i s ex hypothesi false, 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 cite both motives of the agent's. When we do this, however, and say that W and X moved the agent to do 7 , (or that the agent did 7 because of W and X), this explanation Is ambiguous. It may be taken to mean that W and X were.factors that were independently sufficient to move the agent to do 7 , and that these fac-tors operated concurrently to do so. Or i t may be taken to mean that W and X were factors that were independently insufficient, but jointly sufficient, to move the agent to do 7 , and that they operated concurrently -47 to move the agent to do 7 . On either interpretation the counterfactual yielded by saying that W and X moved the agent to do 7 , (or that the agent did Y because of W and X), i s the same: i f i t were not for W and X the agent would not have done7 . And this counterfactual i s true for both interpretations. 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 this statement i s true for both interpreta-tions, i t seems that i t i s appropriate to give a motive-explanation in this way i n either sort of case. That i s , we can give a motive-explana-tion of the agent's doing Y from W and X both i n cases where W and X were two concurrently operating factors, each of which was independently sufficient to move the agent to do 7 , and i n cases where W and X were two concurrently operating factors, each of which was independently i n -sufficient and only jointly sufficient to move the agent to do 7 , by simply citing W and X. However, whereas in the f i r s t case, where W and X were independent-ly sufficient to move the agent to do 7 , we should regard W and X as each being a motive of the agent's for doing 7 , and together the agent's motives for doing 7 , we could not do this in the second case, where.W and X were independently insufficient and only jo i n t l y sufficient 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 , in the appropriate circumstances, could have moved the agent to act. And ex hypothesi i n the second case, neither W nor X could independently do this. In such cases as the second one, where 17 and X are independently insufficient and only jointly sufficient to move 48 the agent to act, the situation 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 cite the motive or motives from which the agent acted i s to give a motive-explanation 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 earlier, where an agent performs an action both for i t s own sake and in order to do or secure something, with a view to determining whether or not such actions are susceptible of motive-explanations. I shall argue that they are not. There are two possible cases to be considered here. In the f i r s t of them, we shall find that an agent can act from a motive and yet that action not be explained by citing that motive; and in the second, we shall find that though i t might seem as i f an agent has a motive in acting i n a particular way, he does not in fact have one. I now turn to consider these cases. It may be the case that an agent did J both in order to do or to secure something, say from some motive Xt and for i t s own sake, where each of these factors was sufficient to move him to do J. For example, a man might go to a meeting both i n order to annoy the chairman and be-cause he likes going to meetings in any event. In such a case as this, The suggestion to so treat this type of case i s CD. Broad's, Five Types of Ethical Theory (Totowa, New Jersey, 1965), p. 122. 49 merely to cite that motive and say that X moved the agent to do J would not be to explain the action. For to say this i s to imply, what is ex hypothesi false, that i f i t were not for X the agent would not have done Yo 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, in addition, the other factor or factors that was or were operative in moving the agent to act. But since to assign that motive and to cite 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 partial explanation of the action. And since this part of the explanation explains by reference to.a motive, we may say that such partial explanations are partial motive-explanations. The second and f i n a l sort of case to be considered can be stated as follows. 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 sufficient, but both necessary and jointly sufficient 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 is the desire for something to be achieved by the action) are neither singly sufficient, but each necessary and joi n t l y sufficient 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, his desire to share her money would not have been sufficient 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 for his desire to share her money. In such a case, i t is tempting, but as I shall argue wrong, to say that his desire to share her money (X) was a motive, or the motive, or a part of an internally complex motive the agent had in marrying her (doing 7 ) . It would be wrong to say that X was a motive the agent had in doing 7 , for to say this i s to say, what is ex hypothesi false, that X by i t s e l f could have moved the agent to do 7 . And i t would be wrong to say that X was the agent's motive in doing 7 , for though one implication of this, namely that i f i t were not for X, the agent would not have done 7 i s true, i t i s false to say that J moved the agent to do 7 . An example w i l l perhaps make the f a l s i t y of this clearer. Suppose that there i s a rock which, in order to move, we must both l i f t and pu l l . Exerting up-wards pressure on the rock alone w i l l not move i t , nor w i l l just pulling at i t ; but together they w i l l . Now i f I exert upwards pressure on the rock while someone else pulls at i t , and the rock moves, i t would be false to say that I moved the rock or that my partner did. Neither of us moved the rock; together we did. Similarly in the above case, neither X nor Z moved the agent to do 7 ; together X and Z did. But i t would not be correct to take X and Z together as a single internally 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 in 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 arriving at an adequate characterisation of the influence that X exerted. I suggest that factors such asJf, i.e., factors that, were they sufficient to move the agent to act would be classifiable as motives, but which are in fact necessary but not sufficient 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 could have moved the agent to do 7. It is only to assert that X i n conjunc-tion with a certain other factor, or certain other factors, 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 this, i.e., in a case where an action i s per-formed both for i t s own sake and i n order to do or to secure something, where neither of these factors i s sufficient, but each necessary and jo i n t l y sufficient to move the agent to act, i t i s clear that only to cite 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 cite 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 cite a motive-factor i s to give a partial explanation of the action. But we cannot go on to say, as we could and did i n the above case, that this i s a partial motive-explanation; for motive-factors are not motives. 52 For the sake of simplicity, I shall, in the subsequent remarks I w i l l make in this Chapter about motives and motive-explanations, pre-suppose that only one simple motive i s i n question. Cases where there is more than one motive in question, or where the motive i s internally complex, are more complicated, but in principle the same. The remarks I shall make w i l l also apply, with terminological modifications, to partial motive-explanations; but I shall not ex p l i c i t l y mention such explanations again. Now can we say anything more specific 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 shall argue that to explain an action by giving the agent's motive i s to explain the action by refer-ence to the agent's reason for action; and to do this, i n cases where the action i s one done in order to do or to secure something (which are the only cases of actions relevant here), Is, as we found i n Chapter I, to explain the action in terms of the agent's desires and information. In saying this, my proposed account w i l l be seen to be partially in agree-ment with that offered by Ryle. For, as D. Davidson has pointed out, Ryle's analysis of motive-explanations entails that the agent has certain desires and certain related information *.. Ryle, i t w i l l be remembered, analyses 'He boasted from vanity' into 'He boasted on meeting the stranger and his doing so satisfies the law-like proposition that when-ever 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, rightly 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 his action would produce this admiration and envy; true or false, 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,, partly to draw attention to the agent's desires and information. But this i s not a l l that there i s to i t , as we have seen. He goes on to connect explanations in terms of the agent's motive with character traits of the agent. And to do this, as I have argued above, leads to false consequences.. My proposed account differs from his 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, let 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) forward-looking, (2) backward-looking, and (3) interpretative motives (or motives-in-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 Will and Determinism3 ed. B. Berofsky, p. 226. 54 criterion, 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 motives i s determined 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 this past or present event was good or bad for the agent, thus giving rise to the agent's doing something good or bad in return. I think, (following A. Kenny),1'' that Anscombe can be most plausibly interpreted as maintaining that what distinguishes backward-looking motives from the other two kinds is just that they assign something in 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 just an incidental, though according to Anscombe.invariable, feature of them which she uses to distinguish backward-looking motives from mental causes. And by Interpretative motives, (or motives-in-general), Ans-combe means those motives that place the action i n a certain light. As she puts i t , 'To give a motive (of the sort I have labelled "motive-in-general", as opposed to backward-looking motives and intentions) is to 18 say something like "See the action in this light"'. Anscombe offers no definite l i s t of interpretative motives. She suggests that the motives of curiosity, friendship, admiration, love of truth, fear, spite, and despair, among a 'host of others', are of this type, but goes on to Action, Emotion and Will, p. 84; ^Intention, p. 21. comment that these motives are 'either of this extremely complicated kind [i.e., are interpretative 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 last sentence, Anscombe means one that i s partly interpretative, partly forward-looking. I shall later argue, in opposition to this, that those motives Anscombe tentatively l i s t s as interpretative motives are either forward-looking or partially forward- and partially backward-rlooking motives. Let me now draw attention to some defects in this classificatory scheme. One.defect is that, according to i t , a motive can be both forward-looking (i.e., be equivalent to an intention) and backward-look-ing (i.e., assign something in the past or present as the ground of the action). Take the motive of revenge for example. If I do X.out of revenge, my motive i n doing X i s to get back at someone for having done something hurtful. And to say this i s at once to report my intention ('to get back at someone . . ..') and to assign something in the past as the ground for my action (' . . . for having done something hurt-f u l ' ) . Thus revenge must be, on Ahscombe's classification 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 interpretative motives is not a class that i s distinct from the class of motives that are.equiva-lent to intentions. For example, i f we take curiosity as an instance,of Intention, p. 21. 56 this type of motive, i f I do something out of curiosity (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 definite, as for example to check on a specific reference, or indefin-i t e , as for example to find out what, i f anything, is i n the cave—I could not be said to be acting out,of curiosity. Thus to say that I am acting out of curiosity entails that I am acting to find out something. And since to say that I am acting to find out something i s to report my intention, to say that I am acting out of curiosity i s equivalent to reporting my intention. Now since,Anscombe has not given any definite examples of interpretative motives, and comments after suggesting some that might be interpretative motives that they perhaps are forward-looking or mixed, i t could be objected that by showing the motive of curiosity to be equivalent to an intention, I have not thereby shown that the class of interpretative motives is not distinct from the class of forward-looking motives; there may be other motives among those on the l i s t that are not equivalent to intentions. I have merely at this point taken curiosity to be a l i k e l y candidate for being an interpreta-tive motive to show that not a l l those motives tentatively classed under the heading of interpretative motives are distinct from forward-looking motives. I shall examine the other motives on the l i s t later, and argue that they too are equivalent to intentions. Is the class of interpretative motives distinct,from the class of backward-looking motives? Take the example of curiosity again. In one way this can be claimed not to be a backward-looking motive, for to 57 assign the motive of curiosity i s not necessarily to point to something that has happened or is at present happening because of which the action i s performed. But i n another way, curiosity can function as a backward-looking motive, for what aroused my curiosity might have been something that occurred i n the past. A remark, for example, might have made me curious to check on i t . And in 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 curiosity because of some past event. Since, as we have seen above, Anscombe has not succeeded i n dis-tinguishing forward-looking from backward-looking motives by saying that the former are equivalent to intentions while the latter are not, we may try to salvage the distinction by re-formulating the defining character-i s t i c of the class of forward-looking motives. Instead,of simply equating forward-looking motives with intentions, we may say that forward-looking motives are those that assign something lying in 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 lying in the past or present as the ground of the agent's action. Drawn in 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 in order to achieve some.future objective not because of anything that has happened or is 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 is acting from a motive in 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 this way, we are now able to say, as we would be unable to say on Anscombe|s account, that when one does something solely because of something that happened in. the past—as one might in 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. For we may now admit that backward-looking motives do report the 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 qualification i n the f i r s t sentence of the above paragraph. I have written that when one does something solely because of something that happened in the past out of the motives of revenge, gratitude, or remorse, that revenge, gratitude, or remorse are classifiable simply as backward-looking motives. I have qualified my statement in this way because one does not always act out of the motives of revenge, gratitude, or remorse solely because of something in 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 for a past wrong. And i n such cases there i s , i n addition to the backward-looking element essential to these three motives, a forward-looking element present in the motive. Thus, though once we know that the agent's motive in acting was revenge (or gratitude or remorse) we can always say that his motive i s partially backward-looking, we cannot without further information classify his motive as a. 59 backward-looking motive simpliciter* It i s similarly d i f f i c u l t to produce a l i s t of motives that are, always forward-looking. 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 position 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 is acting. But one does not always act from ambition solely to secure the end for i t s own sake or for some further future end; one may act to secure this end because of something that happened i n the past. For example, one might want to obtain a more important position 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 artially at least, in the past. Ambition, then, is not always simply a forward-looking motive. Nor are others, such as patriotism, vanity, and avarice, that are normally forward-looking: a man may act out of patriot-ism because his country did something for him, or out of vanity because he was often slighted, or out of avarice because he was poor for many years. And so on. And in a l l these cases we may say that the agent acted, partially at least, i n order to redress some,imbalance, which imbalance was caused by some past fact, event, or experience. In fact, i t seems to me that most actions are prompted by, and done for the sake of, both something that l i e s i n the past and something to be.obtained in the future. 60 Thus we have seen that there i s no clear-cut division 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 just one or the other of these categorieso But we can, I think, s t i l l draw the distinction, for there are some motives that always have a backward-looking element i n them, such as revenge, gratitude, and remorse. And this feature sets them apart from other motives such as ambition, patriotism, vanity, etc., that do not necessarily point to some past fact, event, or experience, but which normally indicate some objective lying in the future. I shall use this distinction to classify motive-words when I come to discuss them. I now wish to turn and argue for the claim, entered earlier above, that to give a motive-explanation of an action i s to explain the action by reference to the agent's reason,for action, i.e., i n terms of the agent's desires and information. But before embarking on the actual argument for this, i t w i l l perhaps be useful to give a sketch of how I shall argue. I shall argue that: (1) to explain an action by giving the agent's motive for action i s to explain the action by indicating the agent's end* goal, objective, aim, or purpose in 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 his; (3) to explain the agent's action by reporting his intention or by reporting some,desire of his i s to explain the action by giving the agent's reason for action; (A) to explain the agent's action by giving his reason for action i n either of these ways, i n cases where the action is done in 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 try to make out these claims by examining the ways in which we give the agent's motive. We often give the agent's motive by f i l l i n g in a sentence-frame of the sort 'He acted out of . . . ' ' . . . made him do such-and-such', 'His motive in doing such-and-such was . . . ', 'He did such-and-such from . . . ', with a single word such as 'ambition', 'vanity', 'greed', 'jealousy 1, 'revenge', 'curiosity', etc. We must now try to determine whether, when we explain an action by giving the agent's motive in any of these ways, we are explaining the action in terms of some end, purpose, objective, aim, or goal towards which the action i s directed. I shall 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 in mind. Similarly, vengeful persons can act vengefully, greedy persons greedily, avaricious persons avariciously, without acting in order to do or to secure anything. And in such cases we may explain the action by saying that the agent acted out.of vanity, revenge, greed, avaricious-ness. 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 disposition. The agent did not act purposively in order to dp or to secure something; he only acted out of some disposition 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 in order to do or to secure something, we do not ask for, or talk about, the agent's motive. But while explaining an agent's action as being only the exercise of some disposition does, preclude that the agent had some goal in mind, i t i s quite consistent to say that an agent acted out of a certain dis-position and in.order to do or to secure something. For clearly a man possessing a vain disposition or character t r a i t may act out of that disposition, and do so i n order to secure the admiration and envy of others. And in such a case we can also explain the agent's action by saying that he acted out of vanity. But since, as we saw earlier, 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 disposit-i o n , to give a disposition or a character t r a i t of the agent's cannot be included in what i s involved in giving the agent's motive.. So let us see what i t means to say that an agent acted out of vanity, revenge, curiosity, etc., when these phrases.are used to give the agent's motive. I shall begin by considering the meaning of some of the words that are nprmally used to give forward-looking motives. Among these are: 'ambition', 'greed', 'avarice', 'generosity', 'cowardice', 'patriotism', 'vanity'. 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 position or to succeed or something of this sort. To say that an agent acted out of greed i s to say that he acted to try to get more than his 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 freely share some-thing he had (time, money, etc.). To say that an agent acted out of cowardice i s to say that he acted to avoid,a dangerous situation that in some sense he ought to have faced. To say that an agent acted out of patriotism is-to say that he acted to benefit his country for i t s own sake. The qualification 'for i t s own sake' i s necessary here, for one may act to benefit his country in order to gain personal glory; and in 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 , in order to secure the admiration of others or to give himself a chance to contemplate his (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 indicating some end, goal, purpose, etc,, towards which the action i s directed; and indicate this end, goal, pur-pose, 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 position. And,to say this i s to explain the agent's doing X by indicating his goal i n acting by reporting his intention. 64 Similar remarks could be made in 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 partially backward-looking motives. These are motives that assign something in the past or present, as the ground because of which the agent acts. Words that assign motives that are always at least p a r t i a l l y backward-looking by virtue of the fact that they always point to some ground in 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 backward-looking motive by assigning some ground in the present as that because of which the agent acts. I shall argue that these words, as we found was the case with those that normally indicate forward-looking motives, explain an agent's action by indicating the agent's end, goal, purpose, etc., in acting by reporting his intention. But they do more than just report his intention;,they indicate why he had,the intention by pointing to.some past or present fact, 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 hurtful. To say that an agent acted out of gratitude is 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 like 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 indicating the agent's end, goal, pur-pose, etc., in acting by reporting his intention, and to allude to some past or present fact, event, or experience as the ground for his having this intention. We do not know what specific fact, 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 indicating motives f a l l i n g under Anscombe's third classification: those motives she calls 'inter-pretative motives' which function to place the action in a certain light. Under this category, she tentatively l i s t s the motives of curios-i t y , friendship, fear, spite, despair, love of truth, and admiration. The motives of this class seem to be normally forward-looking. There i s no backward-looking element essential to these motives as there i s in the case of the motives of revenge, gratitude, remorse, and jealousy. But, as was pointed out in the case of curiosity earlier, there may be a backward-looking element present in them which could be discovered i f we knew the agent's motive i n f u l l enough detail. I now wish to suggest that to give a motive-explanation of an action by using the words 'cur-io s i t y ' , 'friendship', 'fear', 'spite', 'despair', 'admiration', and the phrase 'love of truth', i s to explain the action by indicating the agent's end, goal, purpose, etc., i n acting; and to indicate this by reporting the agent's intention. An examination of-how these words and this phrase explain actions w i l l show that this i s so. 66 To say that an agent acted out of curiosity i s to say that he acted to find something out. To say that an agent acted out of friend-ship i s to say that he acted to benefit a friend for his 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 danger-ous. To say that an agent acted out of spite is,to say that he acted out of a particular kind of i l l w i l l to harm or annoy someone, or to affect him i n some other negative way. Despair seems only rarely to be a motive for action. And when,it is a motive, i t i s a motive for ceasing to do something. For despair i s a state of mind in which the agent i s certain that something he wishes to be so is,not so. A man may give up a project out of despair, but can never start 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 his action by saying that he did so to save himself the effort of pursuing a project that he consider-ed 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 frustration involved in 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 his spare time reading non-fiction out of a love of truth, i s to say that he acted to find out the truth for i t s own sake, i.e., not for i t s u t i l i t y or for the sake of anything else, but because he had a certain feeling, 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 A3 does not seem to f i t the pattern exemplified by the other words discussed. That i s , we found in 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 in order to obtain a more important position; in the case of 'gratitude', we found that to say that one is doing X out of gratitude i s to say that he i s doing X in 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 in the other cases, what he i s acting in order to do: to say that an agent did X out of admiration i s to say that he did X in order to-. . . what? It may of course be that the agent did X to show admiration for someone or something. And in such cases the agent's end i n acting i s clear. But we often act out of admiration without acting to show admiration. And in such cases where the agent acts out of admiration, we cannot ascertain the agent's end or purpose in acting by just explicating the meaning of the word, as we found we could in the cases of an agent's acting out of ambition, patriotism, gratitude, revenge, etc. As with the cases of explanations u t i l i s i n g the words 'love' and 'hate' dis-r cussed in Chapter I, when we.explain an agent's action by saying that he did i t out of admiration, his end in acting has to be gathered from the context. For example, to say that an agent voted for A out of admiration, or because he admired A, Is to say that he voted for A because he thought A to be an admirable man or an admirable man in some,respects. And since to vote for someone is to try to elect him, to know that an agent voted 6 8 for A because he admired him i s to know that he voted for A i n order to try to elect someone he regarded as an admirable man or an admirable man in 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 indicating his end or purpose or aim or goal or objective i n acting by reporting his intention. I suggest, further, that any single word that i s used to give the agent's motive functions tp explain the action in this way. Now to give the agent's end or purpose etc., i n acting by reporting his intention i s to give his reason for action. For, for any «5, whenever we say that the agent's end i n acting (or in planning to act) i s (or was) to tf, we may say that his reason for acting (or in planning to act) i s (or was) to. j.• Thus to know that the agent's motive was ambition i s tp know that his end in acting was to obtain a more important position; and to know that his end in acting was to obtain a more important position i s to know that this was his reason for acting. Similar remarks could be made in 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 citing a motive-wcrd, we are explaining the action by indicating the end towards which the action i s directed by reporting his intention, and (2) that to give the agent's end in acting by reporting his intention i s to give the agent's reason for acting, i t follows that whenever we explain an agent's action by giving his motive by the use of a motive-word, we are explaining the 69 action by giving his 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. The agent's motive i s often also given in the following ways: 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 'ambi-tion', 'vanity', 'jealousy', etc., but must be completed in some such way as the examples indicate. Let us now see how the agent's motive, given in these ways, explains his action. I think i t i s f a i r i y clear that the above i t a l i c i z e d expressions serve to introduce the agent's end, goal, objective, purpose, or aim in 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 'in order to get her money', 'to get her money1, '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 in acting by reporting his intention. A l l are equivalent to saying 'to get her money'. And, as was argued above, for any tf, whenever we say that the agent's end, pur-pose, goal, etc., i n acting (or in planning to act) Is (or was) to ^ , we may say that his reason.for acting (or in planning to act) i s (or was) 70 to Thus, i f we know that the agent's end in marrying the g i r l was to get her money, we know that his 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 indicating the agent's end or purpose in acting by reporting some desire of the agent's. And when we say that the agent did (or i s doing, or plans to do) something because he desired (or desires) something, by specifying his desire we are giving his reason for action. Accordingly, when we know that he married the g i r l because he wanted her money, we know that his reason for marrying the g i r l was his desire for her money. Thus when we explain an agent's action by giving his motive i n any of the ways just considered, we are explaining that action i n terms of the agent's reason for action; and doing so by either reporting his' intention or reporting some desire of his. 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 his Intention and by reporting some desire of his, we can give the agent's motive by mentioning some external circumstance or event, or by mentioning some belief 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 raining', 'because he had a gun', 'because he i s a Seventh Day Adven-t i s t ' , and so on. These expressions mentioning some external event or circumstance or some belief 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 his motive i n handing over the money was the fact that there was a gun at his head, or that his 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 indicating his end, goal, purpose, aim, or objective in 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 his intention or by reporting some desire of his. That i s , the agent's motive Is always given in, 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 special kind, namely a reason of the agent's that indicates the objective or goal aimed at. It i s this that moved the agent to act. Accordingly, motive-explanations are a species of reason-explanations. Now, as was argued i n Chapter I, whenever we explain an action by giving the agent's reason for action by reporting his intention, we can always elucidate this reason for action more concretely and f u l l y in terms of the agent's desires and information. For example, to ex-plain my undertaking extra responsibilities by saying that I did so to 72 obtain a more important position i s equivalent to explaining my action by saying that I wanted a more important position, and knew or believed that by undertaking more, responsibilities I would increase my chances of, or contribute to, achieving my objective. And, as again was argued in Chapter I, to give the agent's reason for action by reporting some desire of his, 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 letter 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 letter 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 just 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 in the way he did, 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 his motive or motives for action?', i n a similar 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 his reason or reasons for action?', as 'What kind of explanation are we giving when we explain an agent's action i n terms of his desires and information?' One possible answer to this question i s : 'A causal explanation'. But I shall leave the examination of this answer u n t i l later; in this Chapter I shall; 7 3 remain content with having put the question in this form. I shall 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 in the past, being done in the present, or planned to be done in the future; (2) they can be used to give third-person ex-planations, i.e., to explain why someone else did, or i s doing, or plans to do something, and first-person explanations, i.e., to explain why I did, or am doing, or plan to do something; (3) the reasons that are rele-vant to them are those reasons of the agent's that actually moved or led him to act i n the way he did; and (4) to explain an action i n terms of them is to explain the action in terms of the agent's desires and informa-tion. (This last 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 differ from reason-explanations i n general in that: (5) they can only be offered to.explain actions that are done in order to do or to secure something; and (6) they can only be offered to explain actions that are relatively important and standing i n need of j u s t i f i c a -tion or explanation (or both). For i t i s only when an action i s a relatively important one that stands i n need of one or both these things do we say that the agent acted from a motive. CHAPTER III DESIRES AND ACTIONS We have now seen the different forms an explanation of an agent's action in terms of his reason(s) for action and motive(s) for action can take. We have seen that we can explain an agent's action by giving his reason for action by reporting some desire of the agent's, or by citing some information the agent possesses, or by reporting his intention. And we have seen that we can explain an agent's action by giving his 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 in doing such-and-such was . . .', 'He did such-and-such from . . .' with a motive-word such as 'ambition', 'gratitude', 'curiosity', or by reporting the agent's desire, or by reporting the agent's intention. We have further found something in common amongst a l l these types of explanations. In the case of explanations in terms of the agent's reasons, we found that we are explaining the action in terms of the agent's desires or his de-sires and information. And in 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., If 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 his reasoh(s) or motive(s) for 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 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 in terms of some desire of his, 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 shall now try to show that this i s so. In discussing the relation between an agent's informa-tion and his action i n what follows, I shall be concerned with only one kind of action, namely, intentional action. By making this restriction, I exclude from consideration those possible cases i n which the agent's information may be claimed to produce an.action in a completely mechanical or conditioned way; for in such cases, the action produced w i l l not be an intentional 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 intentional action. The knowledge that a child i s , starving, or the belief that an operation w i l l save his 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 totally indifferent to the welfare of the child or his wife, this information would not be acted on. Put generally, I think i t can be truly said that whether or not one acts on the information at his disposal Throughout this Chapter, and i n the following ones, I shall use the words 'desire' and 'want' interchangeably. 76 depends on whether or not he has some particular 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 posses-sion of some item of information. But i n either case, without the desire there would be.no action. 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 shall now proceed to give an account of the ways i n which the agent's information can exert an influence on him and his actions. Since I am interested here primarily i n determining whether or not, when an action i s performed, the agent's information i s causally related to that action, I shall ignore the role that information can.play in extinguish-ing certain desires that the agent may have, and the role.that the agent's information can play i n preventing him from acting in a particular way. The only cases I shall here be considering are those where an agent per-forms an action because he has certain desires and certain information; and I shall be concerned, with respect to these cases, to give an account of the function of the agent's information. On the account I shall offer, i t w i l l emerge that the agent's information can be causally related to his action only i f the agent's desires are causally related to his action. And thus, i f this account be correct, the crucial question to be answered in,order to determine whether or not explanations of an agent's action i n terms of his 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 in which some desire he has can be satis-fied. Let us now examine these two ways in some more detail. Under the f i r s t head, where the agent's information arouses some desire, there are two distinct 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 the information arouses i t . I may, for example, have a latent desire to go skiing, and the information that there i s fresh snow on the mountains may arouse the desire. Or, to take a slightly different case f a l l i n g under this 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 in 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 in need. I may hold the view that they ought to help themselves. But st r i k -ing information about l i v i n g conditions in depressed areas may cause me to revise my opinion, and produce in me a desire to do something to help. Now i n the cases just considered, i f I do what my information arouses in 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 in his A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. II, 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 this desire caused me to send a donation could the information be causally related to the action. The causal relation i s transitive. If X i s the cause of 7, and 7 i s the cause of Z, ihen X i s the cause of Z. Accord-ingly, 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 can-not 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 his action, and so we may say, i n cases where the agent's information arouses his desire (in either of the two ways discussed), that only i f the agent's desire can be construed as a cause of his action can his information be said to be causally related to the action. I now turn to the second way in which the agent's information can function: that of informing the agent of some way in which some desire he has can be satisfied. I may want to catch a fi s h , and one may t e l l me that the fis h are i n the middle of the lake. This information w i l l then make me want to fis h in the middle; I w i l l have a desire to fis h i n the middle of the lake. Or I may have a desire to be,in Seattle at 12:00, and find 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 train. But even 79 i f my information causes me to want to fi s h in the middle of the lake or to want to catch the 9:00 train, 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 particular desire, but the desire did not cause my action, then the information was not causally related to my action. In many practical situations, ^he agent's information w i l l function in both this way and i n the way previously discussed, i.e., certain infor-mation w i l l provide the agent with alternative ways,of satisfying some desire he has, and certain other information about these alternative courses of action w i l l arouse in him a desire to perform one of them. This desire may be aroused in either of the two ways earlier discussed: by arousing some.latent desire or by producing a desire where there was none before. Schematically, the situation here being envisaged i s as follows. I may want J f , know that At S, C are ways of securing Z, and certain features of 4 , B, C may cause me to want to do A over B or C. But even in 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 his desire is causally related to the action. For i f I do A, then only i f my de-sire 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 limiting the role of information to the two just discussed, i t seems that whether or not explanations of actions in 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 logical relation that holds between desires and actions, and the descriptions under which specific desires are identifiable. It i s important, then, for anyone, concerned with the question '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 try to do this. With respect to the f i r s t point at issue, the logical relation that holds between desires and actions, I shall provide an account that I w i l l rely on in my argu-ment i n Chapter V. But with respect to the second, the descriptions under which specific desires are identifiable, I shall not commit myself to any particular view. Rather, I shall 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 feature claimed for the concept of desire. I shall then provide two alternative views that have been.taken on the question of how specific desires are identifiable. Having done this, I shall 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 in this Chapter. Let me now begin by turning to consider what the logical relation-ship holding between desires and actions i s . I shall argue that we cannot want to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to dp or to secure something i n the appropriate circumstances. But before I actually go on to argue for this claim, some.preliminary 81 clarifications are necessary: something must be said about the nature of the agent in question; the 'other things being equal' clause requires explanation; and the relevant use of the word 'want' needs to be located. I shall discuss these points in order. I shall limit my discussion of wants and actions to those that can be ascribed to developed, rational, and conscious.human agents. And I shall further presuppose that the agent in question i s capable of trying. The only requirement for being able to try to do something, where doing that something involves making some bodily movement, i s , I think, that the agent not be totally immobilized (by paralysis, or by being physically bound, etc.). For to say that one is trying to do some-thing i s always to say that he i s actually doing something with a view to accomplishing a certain result, whether that result i s accomplished or not. The concept of trying i s incompatible with doing nothing. Now i f a man were totally immobilized so that he could not move a muscle, then he could not do anything physically; 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 partially immobilized, say only his arm was paralyzed, then i t seems to me.that he could try to move i t : he could, for example, tense certain muscles or grit his teeth in the attempt to move his arm. These things would count as trying to do something. However, i f he did none of these sorts of things, then we would say that he i s not trying. I shall 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 app rop r i a t e c i r cums tances . Tfte q u a l i f i c a t i o n ' o t h e r t h ings be ing e q u a l ' i s meant to exc lude 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 ha t he has e i t h e r or both the a b i l i t y and/or oppo r tun i t y to do or to secure what he wants . Thus, f i l l i n g i n the ' o t h e r t h i ngs be ing e q u a l ' c l a u s e , my c l a i m amounts to say ing tha t i f the agent has a want , :io c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wants , and b e -l i e v e s tha t he has the a b i l i t y and oppo r tun i t y to r e a l i s e or s a t i s f y h i s want , then he w i l l t r y to do s o . I am c l a i m i n g tha 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 antecedent and the consequent of t h i s c o n d i t i o n a l i s tha t o f en ta i lmen t . Th i s means, i f we l e t 'p' s tand f o r the p r o p o s i t i o n tha t i s the antecedent and 'qr' s tand f o r the p r o p o s i -t i o n tha t i s the consequent o f the above c o n d i t i o n a l , tha t i t i s i n c o n s i s -ten t to a s s e r t p and ye t deny I t shou ld be n o t i c e d here tha t i t i s not necessary tha t the agent actually have the a b i l i t y and o p p o r t u n i t y ; i t i s on l y necessary tha t he believe h i m s e l f to have the a b i l i t y and the oppo r tun i t y i n o rder f o r i t to be necessary t h a t , g i ven he has a want and no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wants , he t r y to do someth ing. Some comments on c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wan ts , a b i l i t y , and oppo r tun i t y would now be i n o rde r . In e x p l a i n i n g what i s i n c l u d e d under these th ree heads , the import of my c l a i m w i l l , I hope, 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 ngs or a c t i o n s or s t a t e s of a f f a i r s tha t the agent wants or wants to do .o r wants to b r i n g about more than he wants to 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 to something i n v o l v e d i n s a t i s f y i n g or r e a l i s i n g the want i n q u e s t i o n . ' For example, I may want to 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 'ability' here to cover such things as s k i l l s as well 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 clearly the case that when one is in a position to do something that certainly 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 restr i c t the application of the term 'opportunity' to cases such as these, where the agent i s i n a position to do something that w i l l certainly or probably succeed in achieving some end. For ex-ample, we quite naturally say that every candidate at the convention had the opportunity to become leader of the party. And when we say this we certainly do not mean that they were a l l in a position to certainly or probably become leader. Or again, we can say that a man had the opportun-i t y to stop the thief. And we can quite properly say this even i f i t is not certain or probable that he would have stopped the thief 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 is that It would have been possible for them, respectively, to attain the leadership or to stop the thief. 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 for him to succeed. For example, in the second case, where a man i s said to have had the opportunity to stop the thief, 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 oppor-tunity nonetheless, Thus i t seems that a l l that i s required for someone to have the opportunity to do or to secure something i s that he be in a position 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; for this i s what is relevant to the discussion of the 'other things being equal' clause. If, as I have argued, to say that an agent has the opportunity to do or to secure something i s to say that he i s in a position that makes i t possible for 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 arising out.of the account I have offered of what i t means to say that one has the opportun-it 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 ab i l i t y and the opportunity to satisfy his want, then he w i l l try to do so, I have also claimed that the relation 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 probability of success i s low, or when i t i s possible but improbable for him to succeed, the agent may believe that he has the opportunity but not 85 ac t because of the lowness of 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 to suggest tha t an agent can have a want , no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wan ts , b e l i e v e tha t he has the a b i l i t y and o p p o r t u n i t y , and ye t not ac t because the p r o b a b i l i t y of success a t t a c h i n g to h i s oppo r tun i t y i s not h i g h enough; and t h a t , hence, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the antecedent and consequent of t h i s c o n d i t i o n a l cou ld not be one of en ta i lmen t . I propose to dea 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. I f the p r o b a b i l i t y o f success i s ve ry low, or where success i s p o s s i b l e but improbab le , I may dec ide not to t r y to do a n y t h i n g ; but I dec ide not to t r y to do any th ing because I <^o not want to expend the e f f o r t t r y i n g to do something tha t has so l i t t l e a chance of s u c c e s s . That i s , i t i s a s t ronger counter-want tha t accounts f o r my not pe r fo rm ing . 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 tha t ho lds that an agent can have a want , no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wan ts , b e l i e v e tha t he has the a b i l i t y and o p p o r t u n i t y j and ye t not ac t because the p r o b a b i l i t y of success a t tached to the oppo r tun i t y i s not h i g h enough, i s to deny tha t when the p r o b a b i l i t y I s not h i gh enough tha t the agent has no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g wants . Wi th these 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 tha t we cannot want to do or to secure any th ing w i t h o u t , o the r t h i ngs be ing e q u a l , t r y i n g to do or to secure something i n the app rop r i a t e c i r - r cumstances. Something must now be s a i d about the r e l e v a n t use of the word ' w a n t 1 . The word 'want ' may be used i n many d i s t i n c t ways, not a l l of which are 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 . We may beg in to 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 exc lud ing the f o l l o w i n g uses as be ing 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 : (1) Commands. E . g . , ' I want you to b e , i n my o f f i c e a t . t e n s h a r p ' . (2) Reques ts . E . g . , ' I want a p i e c e of p i e , p l e a s e ' . (3) C h o i c e s . E . g . , 'I want the one on the l e f t ' . (4) 'Want ' i n the sense of ' o u g h t ' . E . g . , 'You want to eat b e -f o r e you g o ' . 3 R . B . Brandt and J . Kim a l s o exc lude the f o l l o w i n g uses of 'want ' as be ing i r r e l e v a n t to the unders tand ing of a c t i o n s : (5) 'Want ' i n the sense of ' n e e d ' . E . g . , 'The c h i l d wants to be d i s c i p l i n e d ' . : (6) 'Want ' i n the ways i n which the word i s used i n the sen tences : 'The p o l i c e want h i m ' , 'You are wanted by the b o s s ' . As the word i s used i n these sen ten -c e s , 'want ' i s used i n the sense of ' s e e k ' ; o r perhaps , i n the second sen tence , i n the sense of ' n e e d ' . But though the word 'want ' when used i n the sense of ' n e e d ' or ' s e e k ' i s sometimes, as i n the above examples, 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 , we cannot exc lude these uses as be ing always i r r e l e v a n t . Sometimes they are c l e a r l y r e l e v a n t to e x p l a i n i n g a c t i o n s , as i n the f o l l o w i n g c a s e s . I f 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 cou ld be exp la i ned by say ing tha 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 . S i m i l a r l y , i f I made some out rageous. remark because I sought p u b l i c i t y , my a c t i o n cou ld be exp la i ned by say ing tha t I made tha t outrageous remark because I "Wants as Exp lana t i ons of A c t i o n s " , Journal of Philosophy3 LX (1963) , 426. 87 wanted publicity.. Thus these uses of 'want1, viz. , i n the senses of 'need' and 'seek', cannot be totally excluded from consideration*' The word 'want' can be used In a wider or narrower way. When used in a narrower way, i t can be contrasted with words or expressions like 'needs' or 'has to'. For example, we may say that he went to the library not because he wanted to, but because he had (or needed) to. , But using i t in the wider way, to say that he went to the library because he had (or needed) to entails that he went there because he wanted to. It i s this wider use of 'want' that i s relevant to the explaining of actions. But what i s this wider use? I think that i t can be indicated with sufficient precision by saying that i t is the use of 'want' in which that term can always be substituted for the phrase 'in order to' (together with, of course, changes in the surrounding sentence-structure). It seems that whenever we say that one did X in order to do or to secure J, we may re-phrase this by saying that one did X because he wanted to do. or to secure Yt 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 inclination, i.e., would do i f there were no other considerations involved. For example, I may go to a meeting in order to read a paper, but I may hate reading papers. But even in such a.case, there is a sense in 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 fishing, which I love doing. And here too we can clear-ly replace 'in order to' with 'because I want to'. Of course, the 'in 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 for i t s own sake, simply because he wants to. But this 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. It 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 relied upon to make i t clear which i s the case. As this 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 in my claim that we cannot want to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to do or to secure something in the appro-priate circumstances. Accordingly, when one says 'I want to go to the library", he may or may not be anticipating, with pleasure, the t r i p . He may want to go there because he has to for some purpose or other, or he may want to go there because he likes or enjoys going to libr 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 in the appropriate circum-stances, and having isolated the relevant use of the word 'want', I now wish to turn to argue for this claim. I shall begin by examining what i t means for an agent to say that he wants to do or to secure something. Take, for example, the sentence 'I want to go to the circus'. 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 is either true or false: i t i s either true or false that I want to go to the circus. When I make the statement 'I want to go to the circus', I am describing something about myself in the way in which a piece of glass can be.described as b r i t t l e . When we say that the glass i s b r i t t l e , this entails that i f i t i s acted upon in certain ways i t w i l l break. If 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 false. In a similar manner, when I say that I want to go to the circus, this entails that i f there is a circus in town, then, other things being equal, I w i l l intend to go to i t . If I do not, and a l l the conditions are met, (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 false; just as the claim that the glass is b r i t t l e would be false i f the glass did not break when struck in the appropriate way. And, as I shall shortly show, we often have behavioural c r i t e r i a by which we can verify 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 in the appropriate circumstances. Thus wants involve conditional intentions. It is important to notice here that what we i n -tend to do need not be what we want to do. When we want something we may act directly 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 act indirectly by doing something which i s believed to be a means to securing 90 what we want, i n which case the object of 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 entails that he w i l l , other things being equal, try to do or to secure that thing in.the appropriate circumstances. If 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 did not act on the intention, he could not properly be said,to have i t . From such a failure tc try to do something under these conditions, we should con-clude either that he had changed his mind or was lying when he claimed to have the intention. If I am correct in this, we cannot intend to do or to secure anything without, other things being equal, trying to do or to secure i t in the appropriate circumstances. I am now i n a position 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 circum-stances, 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 in the appropriate circumstances. Now i f we f i l l i n the 'other things being equal' clause in (3), we can.arrive at a statement citing certain conditions that w i l l entail a statement to the effect.that we w i l l try 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-ta i l s the statement that we w i l l try to do or to secure something i n the appropriate circumstances. Now I claim that the conditions.listed in the 'other things being equal' clause, (viz., no countervailing wants, and the belief on the part of the agent that he has both the ab i l i t y and opportunity to do or to secure something that would lead to the satisfaction or, the realisation of his want), are exhaustive in the sense that, given that the agent wants (to dp) something, any specific alternative 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 least 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. If 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 this allows for the fact that, i f there i s a time-lag between the making of-the state-ment and the time for action, the agent may change his mind. If the agent does not try 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 just 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 ish to t u rn to the ways i n which we can v e r i f y or f a l s i f y a 'wan t ' - s t a temen t . Very o f t e n there 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 presence o r l a c k of which we can v e r i f y or f a l s i f y a ' w a n t ' - s t a t e -ment. 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 not a s i m p l e ; m a t t e r , and I shou ld 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 i n v o l v e d . There are th ree d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e s o r t s of cases tha t have to be d e a l t w i t h h e r e . In d e a l i n g w i t h them, I s h a l l fo rmula te the 'wan t ' - s ta tement i n the f i r s t pe r son , but what I say about them e q u a l l y a p p l i e s to ' w a n t ' -s tatements i n any o ther pe r son . Case (1) : suppose A says ' I want X1 where e x t e r n a l and p u b l i c l y observab le behav iour i s a p p r o p r i a t e to secu r i ng X, and where X i s a v a i l a b l e . Now i f A does not t r y to secure X, or t r y to do any th ing tha 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 conclude s t r a i g h t o f f tha t he does not want 1 and tha t h i s statement i s f a l s e . In o rder to be a b l e to do t h i s , we would have to be ab le to say the f o l l o w i n g : (a) A has no s t ronger coun te r -wan ts , (b) A b e l i e v e s tha t he has the a b i l i t y to succeed i n , s e c u r i n g X, and (c) A b e l i e v e s tha t he has the oppo r tun i t y to secure X, or to do something tha t he b e l i e v e s to be a means to s e c u r i n g X. I f , and on l y i f , we were sure of these th ree t h i ngs cou ld we then 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 of f a l l i n g to observe A In Chapter V , I s h a l l defend t h i s accoun t , acco rd ing to which a . 'wan t ' - s ta tement e n t a i l s a statement to the e f f e c t t h a t , o ther t h i n g s be ing e q u a l , the agent w i l l t r y to do or to secure .someth ing i n the a p p r o p r i a t e c i r cums tances , aga ins t a r i v a l account tha t ho lds tha t the r e l a t i o n s h i p i n ques t i on i s one o ther than en ta i lmen t . t r y i n g to secure X—to f a l s i f y the statement. Now we can often asc e r t a i n whether or not.one or more of these three things i s operative i n pre-venting A from t r y i n g to secure J by asking A why he i s not t r y i n g to secure I . And i f A, i n reply, does.not c i t e anything that f a l l s under one.or more of these three heads^ we would then be e n t i t l e d to say that he does not want X, and that h i s statement 'I want X* i s f a l s e . On the other hand, i n order f o r us to v e r i f y 4's statement, we (or someone) should have to see A t r y i n g to secure X, or t r y i n g to ,do.something which i s believed by A to be a means to 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 of observation. 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 into account. That i s , i t may be the case that J i s the sole means to X, and we.see A doing Z. This would be a v e r i f i c a t i o n of the statement i f we knew that A believed (mistakenly, i n t h i s case) that Z was a means to Z, Case (2): suppose A says 'I want X1 where external and p u b l i c l y observable behaviour i s appropriate to securing X, but where X i s not a v a i l a b l e . 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 i s true or f a l s e as long as X i s not a v a i l a b l e . But as soon as I becomes a v a i l a b l e , then he no longer occupies a p r i -v i l e g e d p o s i t i o n . Others are able to v e r i f y or f a l s i f y h i s statement i n the ways indicated i n case (1), Case (3): suppose A says 'I want X1 where external and p u b l i c l y observable-behaviour i s not appropriate to obtaining Z. Examples of t h i s sort of ease would be when /. wants tc think of a synonym or solve some.puzzle i n h i s head. Often a 'want'-statement of t h i s sort can be 94 v e r i f i e d by A's announcing the answer. However, such 'want'-statements are, I b e l i e v e , impossible to conclusively f a l s i f y . For from the f a c t that A does not announce the answer, we may conclude only that any one of the following i s the case: ( i ) he t r i e d and got the answer but wants to keep i t to himself, or ( i i ) he t r i e d but could not get the answer, or ( i i i ) he did not even t r y . Only i f we could be sure that ( i i i ) i s the case, together with the three factors indicated i n case ( 1 ) — v i z . , he had no stronger counter-wants, he believed he had the a b i l i t y to succeed, and he believed he had the o p p o r t u n i t y — c o u l d we conclude that he did not want X, and that h i s statement that 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 observable behaviour i s not appropriate to securing X, there are often v i s i b l e signs of an i n t e r n a l struggle-or t r y i n g . And by observing these signs we may on occasion v e r i f y the 'want'-statement i n cases ( i ) and ( i i ) . But these signs are not always present. And-where they are not, though we may sometimes be tempted to say that he i s not t r y i n g , we can never be sure of t h i s . Consequently, we can never be c e r t a i n that ( i i i ) i s the case. And thus, i n case (3), though we can often v e r i f y a 'want'—statement, we can never conclusively f a l s i f y i t . I now want to point out an important d i f f e r e n c e between case (3), where the agent wants to think of a synonym or solve some puzzle In h i s head, and case (1), where the agent wants to do or to secure something, such as to climb a mountain, that requires p u b l i c l y observable behaviour. Both cases have- i n common the feature that i f the agent wants to do ei t h e r .of these sorts of things, then he must, other things being 95 equal, t r y to do them. But they d i f f e r i n that i n the case of t r y i n g to think of a synonym or solve a puzzle i n one's head, the agent i s not performing an action; whereas i n t r y i n g to do,something that r e -quires p u b l i c l y observable behaviour, such as t r y i n g to ;climb a mountain, the agent i s performing an acti o n . Thus t r y i n g to do or to secure something may-or may n o t : i n v o l v e any action on the part of the agent. And accordingly, i t would be,incorrect to claim that a 'want'-statement together with a statement of c e r t a i n other conditions e n t a i l s an 'action'-statement. It would only be correct to claim t h i s where what one wants to do or to secure requires him to perform an action to do or to secure i t . Now as my i n t e r e s t i n t h i s thesis i s to give an account of the type of explanation that actions are susceptable of, I s h a l l henceforward confine my discussion to cases where what one wants to do or to secure requires him to perform an acti o n . Thus I s h a l l , when I come ( i n Chapter V) to make use of the claim I have established e a r l i e r i n t h i s Chapter, v i z . , that 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 to do or to secure something, or there w i l l be some countervailing wants, or the agent w i l l not be l i e v e that he has the a b i l i t y , or the agent w i l l not beli e v e that he has the opportunity, write i t as: i f a 'want'-statement i s t r u l y made, then e i t h e r action w i l l follow or one or more.of the disj u n c t s of the 'other things being equal' clause w i l l obtain. I turn from the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved i n v e r i f y i n g or f a l s i f y i n g a 'want'-statement, where we know the object of the agent's want, to the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved i n i d e n t i f y i n g the object of the agent's want, 96 given that we know he wants something and observe his trying to secure something. Though the agent's trying to get something may be a publicly observable phenomenon, i t may.be d i f f i c u l t to identify what i t i s that he is trying to get. What I have i n mind here can be illustrated as follows. Suppose we see a man pick out and purchase the largest desk in the shop. We cannot validly Infer from this alone that he wanted to buy the largest desk in the shop; he may, for example, have wanted to buy a walnut desk, and, as i t happened, the only walnut desk in the shop was the largest desk in the shop. And the principle of substitution known as Leibnitz's Law w i l l not sanction a valid inference from 'He wanted to buy a walnut desk' and 'The only walnut desk in the shop i s the largest desk in the shop' to 'He wanted to buy the largest desk in the shop'. The way in 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 just by observing him pick out the desk. There i s a similar d i f f i c u l t y in identifying the ob-ject 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 validly infer that he intended to buy the largest desk i n the shop. As we must take how the agent conceives of his 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 is that the agent wants or intends to do. But one's beliefs can be, and often are, known by others; this i s just a fact of experience.. And i f the agent's action i s viewed against the background of his beliefs, or character, what he wants or intends to do can always in principle, and often in fact, be determined by others. There i s a further d i f f i c u l t y with respect to i d e n t i f y i n g the object.of the agent's want. This a r i s e s since, as I have noted, we may act d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y to secure the object of our want. Thus from the fa c t that we see the agent t r y i n g to secure X we cannot always t e l l whether he wants X as ah end, or wants some other end for which he believes X to be.a means. However, we often can. There are some things that are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y means, such as buying plane t i c k e t s . And even i n those cases i n which the agent does something that can be done, as an end or as a means, (e.g., buying a new car because he wants i t , or buying a new car because he wants to impress people), we can often determine which i s the end by taking h i s character, or circumstances, or b e l i e f s , into account. So f a r I have dealt With the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved i n v e r i f y i n g or f a l s i f y i n g a 'want'-statement, and i n i d e n t i f y i n g the object of the agent's want and i n t e n t i o n . At t h i s point, I wish to mention yet another d i f f i c u l t y : that of p r e d i c t i n g what the agent w i l l do given that he wants, and we know he wants, X. Suppose X here stands for 'to get Smith to pay a debt'. Jones may, to secure t h i s end, send Smith l e t t e r s , phone him, threaten him, t r y to persuade him, or use other devices. And we cannot.predict with c e r t a i n t y what he w i l l do. This d i f f i c u l t y i n p r e d i c t i n g what Jones w i l l do i s also present when we say that he intends Z. Though Jones must, i n the appropriate circumstances, and other things being equal, t r y to get Smith to pay the debt, what means he w i l l employ to do so i s uncertain. But we may be able to get a f a i r l y good idea of what he w i l l do i n ei t h e r of these cases i f we 98 knew enough about Jones's character, what he has done.in the past in similar circumstances, his 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. If this i s so, we have a way of drawing the distinction. For clearly, 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 a 'wish'-statement nor a,'hope'-statement entails a statement to the effect that, other things being equal, the agent w i l l try to do or to secure anything, a 'want'-statement does entail a statement to the effect that, other things being equal,,the agent w i l l try 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 in this Chapter. This concerns the descriptions under which specific desires are Identifiable. As I mentioned earlier, many of the arguments designed to show that desires are not causes of actions appeal to a specific view on this issue. And as I shall be considering some of these arguments in the following Chapters, i t w i l l be Important to make clear what this view i s . It w i l l also be useful to know, prior to considering these arguments, both.that this view has been challenged, 99 and what a l t e r n a t i v e views have been offered. I s h a l l , then, f i r s t make c l e a r the view concerning 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 that many of the arguments designed to. show that desires are not causes of actions appeal to, and then go on.to i n d i c a t e the a l t e r n a t i v e s to adopting t h i s view; i The view appealed to i n many of the arguments designed to show that desires are not causes of actions r e s t s on the following f a c t about desires. We do not simply desire; we desire to do something, or to secure something, or that something be the case. We can also desire to do nothing; but the sense i n which we can do t h i s , to do nothing i s the object of our des i r e ; what we want i s some free time. For every desire we have, there i s an object of that desire. Sometimes we are not sure what i t i s that we want; we want something but cannot say quite what i t i s . But even i n such cases, there i s an object of our desi r e , though i t i s imperfectly known to us. Some philosophers have then gone on to claim that the only way i n which we can sp e c i f y our desires, 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 that mentions the object, be i t action , thing, or state of a f f a i r s , that i t i s a desire to do, secure, or bring about. 5 That i s , they claim 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 desire under the descriptions 'desire to perform 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 object', 'desire to bring about a c e r t a i n state of a f f a i r s ' , 'desire to have a c e r t a i n thing', and so,on. For 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 simplicity of exposition, their claim can be put, as I shall put i t both in this and in subsequent Chapters, as that the only way in which we can identify a specific desire i s under the description 'desire to perform a certain 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 af f a i r s ) , are sub-stituted for actions. Though this view that we are only i n a position to identify a specific desire under the description 'desire to perform a certain action' i s widely held, i t i s not universally held. Recently, i t has been challenged by J.A. Fodor i n his book Psychological Explanation. Fodor suggests two alternative ways of giving identifying references to specific desires. The f i r s t of these i s that we can identify a specific desire under a description that correlates the desire with some state of affairs that is associated with i t in a one-to-one fashion. This suggestion can be illustrated as follows. Suppose i t happens to be the case that there i s a draft in the Tower of London when and only when Smith has a desire to eat a melon. If so, we could make an unequivocal identifying 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 is drafty'. And, following up this suggestion, other possible identifying descriptions of specific 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 at 10:00 t h i s m o r n i n g 1 ; ' t he d e s i r e I had on see ing the m e l o n ' ; ' t he d e s i r e tha t was the e f f e c t of my not e a t i n g any l u n c h ' . The second s o r t of way env isaged by .Fodor of i d e n t i f y i n g a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e w i thou t ment ion ing the ob jec t of that d e s i r e , i s 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 . Having thus b r i e f l y i n d i c a t e d some of the v iews concern ing 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 are i d e n t i f i a b l e , I w i sh to de fe 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 choose . to do. t h i s , because the r e l e v a n c e , o f hav ing or not hav ing these 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 of s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s f o r the ques t i on of whether or not d e s i r e s are causes of a c t i o n s w i l l then be c l e a r e r than i t i s at t h i s s tage of the argument; and I t h i n k i t bes t to 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 tu rns on i t . I t w i l l now perhaps b e , u s e f u l to g i ve a ske tch of how the argument w i l l proceed from h e r e . In Chapters I and I I , I have argued tha t to 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 reason(s ) or mot i ve (s ) f o r a c t i o n 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 or h i s d e s i r e s and i n f o r m a t i o n . In t h i s Chap te r , I have argued tha t whether or not 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 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 , exp lana t i ons i n terms of the a g e n t ' s d e s i r e s a lone) are c a u s a l exp lana t i ons depends on.whether or not d e s i r e s are causes of a c t i o n s . Thus the c r u c i a l ques t i on to be,answered i n o rder to determine whether or not r e a s o n - and mo t i ve -exp lana t i ons are c a u s a l exp lana t i ons turned out to be ' A r e d e s i r e s causes of a c t i o n s ? ' In the next Chap te r , I s h a l l beg in to cons ide r t h i s ques t i on by rev iew ing some of the arguments 102 and considerations that have been adduced both, in favour.of answering i t in the affirmative and in the negative. I shall then go on, in Chapter V, to give my own answer to this question. I shall argue that desires are not,causes of actions, and that, hence, reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations. CHAPTER IV DESIRES AS CAUSES OF ACTIONS (I) In this Chapter I want to raise the question 'Are desires causes of actions?' 1 In dealing with this question in this Chapter, I shall f i r s t review some of the arguments and considerations that have been adduced in 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 shall f i n d , forces us to answer the question in one way or the other. I shall 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 let 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 cite them to explain actions. For example, we say things like 'My desire to get in 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 skis'. 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 'want' interchangeably throughout. 2 These considerations to be discussed are put forward by, among others, W.D. Gean, "Reasons and Causes", Review of Metaphysicss XIX, 4 (June, 1966), 674-676. 104 naturally used in these contexts, as when one,says 'I took the early bus because.I wanted to get in 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 in this way to refer to the agent's desires, this linguistic fact alone w i l l not establish that desires are causes of actions. For the possibility remains that the words 'cause' and 'made' have a use other than a causal.use i n these contexts; they may, for example, be used.in a metaphorical way to indicate the compelling (but not causal) nature of the desire. And the word 'because' cannot be taken to invariably indicate a causal relation. For we can, for example, indicate the relationship between the premises and conclusion of a valid argument, say where a conclusion r i s deduced from premises p and qt by saying r, because p and q-; and here,we are clearly not indicating a causal relation. 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 in favour of the claim. The second consideration often adduced is that statements explain-ing an agent's action in terms of his desires, like causal statements, normally imply the truth of counterfactuals. For example, in 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. Similarly, in 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 things being equal, have done Z', 1 0 5 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 invalid 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 equal, the argument would not have been invalid'. But we would not, I think, say that the undistributed middle term caused the argument to be invalid. Or again, to take an example not u t i l i s i n g the 'because'-construction but which s t i l l yields a counterfactual, the statement 'I discharged my o b l i -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 obligation'. But we would not say that going to the meeting caused me to discharge my obligation; for going to the meeting is discharging my obligation, and so cannot be the cause of i t . Thus this second considera-tion remains a prima f a c i e one only. The third 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 in his actions; (2) It i s inconsistent to assert that by modifying x we can bring about changes in 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 manipulat-ing x we can control y\ Similar views are held by D. Gasking, "Causa-tion and Recipes", Mind, LXIV ( 1 9 5 5 ) , 4 7 9 - 4 8 7 , and H.L.A. Hartand A.M. Honors, Causation in the Law (Oxfordj 1 9 5 9 ) . The-argument was put to-gether in a slightly different form by W.D. Gean, op. cit*, p. 6 7 4 . 106 But we cannot show that desires are causes of actions by arguing in this way because premise (2) i s false. A counter-example to i t i s as follows. Suppose I am under an obligation to go to a meeting. Now by modifying my behaviour, i.e., by going to the meeting or not, I can bring about changes in the discharge of my obligations. But we certainly would deny that going to the meeting caused me to discharge my obligation to go to that meeting. Going to the meeting is discharging my obligation to go to that meeting. These—'going to the meeting' and 'discharging my obligation to go to.that meeting'—are just two descriptions.of different aspects of the same b i t of behaviour. The relation between going to the meeting and discharging my obligation to go to that meeting i s not an empirical relation, but a conceptual one. And this i s , I think, why the counter-example works against the principle stated in premise (2). Noticing this. We may try to salvage the principle stated in (2) by restricting i t to relations 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 in y and yet to deny that x causes y, where .the relation between x and y i s an empirical relation. Perhaps, thus restricted, the principle i s . true; let ,us grant that i t i s . But even i f true when re-formulated in this way, i t cannot, as I shall 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 rightly apply to non-empirical rela-tions a principle whose sphere of application i s limited to empirical relations. If this principle i s to be.used, then, the relation between, desires and actions must be an empirical relation. Specifically, before 107 we can properly apply the principle in 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 there w i l l be a resultant change in his actionso But the relation between desires and actions i s not, as I,have argued in,Chapter III, an empirical relation, but a logical one, determined in virtue 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 is 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 not properly be said to.have had the desire to do.I. Thus i t seems.that premise (1), which states that by modifying an agent's desires we can bring about changes in his actions, expresses a conceptual,, and not an empirical, relation. If I am right in this, the argument cannot succeed. For given that the relation expressed in premise (1) i s a conceptual one, the application of the principle expressed in premise (2) cannot be r e s t r i c t -ed to empirical relations without making i t irrelevant to the argument. But i f we leave the principle unrestricted in this way, though i t would be relevant to the argument, i t would also be, as I have argued, false. Thus this 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 considerations to be, indecisive; i t i s not a consideration at a l l . 108 Thus the two c o n s i d e r a t i o n s we are 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 say ing tha t d e s i r e s are causes of a c t i o n s a r e : (a) tha t c a u s a l id ioms are 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 to 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 ta tements , s tatements 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 normal ly-imp ly the t r u t h of c o u n t e r f a c t u a l s . Now to say tha t these c o n s i d e r a t i o n s are.prima facie c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i s to say tha t they would be d e c i s i v e i f • there were no o ther 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 there are arguments tha t have been put to t r y to show tha t d e s i r e s are 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 ish to cons ide r d e r i v e s from R y l e . I t can : be s t a t e d as f o l l o w s : (1) Only events can be causes ; (2) D e s i r e s are s t a t e s or d i s p o s i t i o n s , not even 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 which we cou ld r e fuse to accept t h i s argument. We cou ld agree w i t h the v iew expressed i n , p r e m i s e ( 1 ) , acco rd ing to which f o r any th ing to be a cause i t must be an even t , and deny premise ( 2 ) , tha t a s s e r t s tha t d e s i r e s are d i s p o s i t i o n s or s t a t e s , not even t s . Or we cou ld agree w i t h premise ( 2 ) , and deny tha t on l y events can be causes . O r , f i n a l l y , we cou ld deny both p remises . Now i f the account of want ing p rov ided i n Chapter I I I i s c o r r e c t , we cannot r e j e c t t h i s argument i n any way tha t i n v o l v e s denying premise (2 ) ; f o r the account I have p rov ided there i s a d i s p o s i t i o n a l one. Consequent ly , whether or not t h i s argument i s to be r e j e c t e d depends on whether or not See h i s Concept of Mind (London, 1949) , p. 113. we accept the v i e w , expressed by premise (1 ) , tha t f o r any th ing to be a cause i t must be an event . Th i s v i e w , however, seems f a l s e . We f r e q u e n t l y c i t e s t a t e s and d i s p o s i t i o n s as be ing causes of even ts . For example, we say th ings l i k e : the abnormal ly h i gh a i r temperature caused the p lane to c rash on t a k e o f f ; the con t i nu i ng presence of organisms i n the b lood-s t ream caused the f eve r to p e r s i s t ; 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 caused i t to f a l l o f f ; 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 the b r i d g e to c o l l a p s e ; and so on . And i n none of these cases i s what i s be ing named as the cause an event . On t h i s master , Urmson w r i t e s t h a t : . . . i t i s a mere s u p e r s t i t i o n to t h i n k tha t on l y an event,may be p r o p e r l y named as a cause . I t would indeed be absurd i n . o r d i n a r y c i rcumstances to g i ve the f a c t tha t a p i e c e of g l a s s has the (o rd ina ry ) b r i t t l e n e s s of g l a s s as the cause of i t s b r e a k i n g ; but i n o r d i n a r y c i rcumstances i t would be ve ry proper to ment ion the (unusual) b r i t t l e n e s s of an a i r c r a f t ' s wing as the cause of the wing 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 to ment ion the f a c t , t h a t the wind was p r e s s i n g aga ins 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 the cause of an a c c i -d e n t . 5 I t thus seems f a l s e to say tha t on ly events can be causes , f o r we have j u s t seen tha t s t a t e s or d i s p o s i t i o n s can a l s o be causes . I f s o , R y l e ' s argument must be r e j e c t e d . But at 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 tha t of R y l e ' s can be urged. I s h a l l now cons ide r t h i s argument. J . O . Urmson, "Mot i ves and C a u s e s " , Proceedings of the A r i s t o -telian Society, _Supplementary Volume, XXVI (1952), 192. The argument begins with the claim that mention of a state or disposition only gives a cause on the assumption that there was also an event that occurred not later than the event, caused. For instance, in the cases-of a bridge collapse or an aircraft's wing f a l l i n g off, where we cite some state or disposition 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 in air pressure. And though i t would not be appropriate to cite the application of (normal) weight, or the (normal) increase in air pressure that an airplane encounters at various times, as being the causes of the events i n ques-tion, i t might be urged that mention of things like certain structural defects, or the unusual brittleness of.the aircraft'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 this view may try 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 like a bridge.collapse or a wing f a l l i n g off by citing some state or disposi-tion, and explaining actions by citing some desire, (granting that desires are states or dispositions). The difference, he may urge, con-r sists in this: whereas in 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 off, we are unable to do this in the latter one. Now i f ,it i s true, as I think i t i s , that mention of a.state or disposition only gives a cause on the assumption that there was also some preced ing or s imul taneous even t , and i f i t i s f u r t h e r t r ue tha t there, i s no p reced ing or s imu l taneous ,event i n the case of d e s i r e s , (construed a s , s t a t e s or d i s p o s i t i o n s ) , be ing fo l l owed by a c t i o n s , t h i s would show tha t d e s i r e s are not causes of a c t i o n s . But i s there r e a l l y a d i s - a n a l o g y here? Dav idson .den ies tha t there i s . He accepts the v iew tha t ment ion of a s t a t e or d i s p o s i t i o n on l y g i ves a cause on the assumption tha t there was a l s o a p reced ing or s imul taneous event . He a l s o accepts the v iew that d e s i r e s a re ,no t even ts . But he goes on to c l a i m tha t w h i l e d e s i r e s are not themselves even 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 even t . Dav idson w r i t e s t h a t : S ta tes and d i s p o s i t i o n s are not e v e n t s , but the ons laught o f , a s t a t e or d i s p o s i t i o n i s . A d e s i r e to hu r t your f e e l i n g s may s p r i n g up at t he moment you anger me; I may s t a r t want ing to eat a melon j u s t when I see .one; and b e l i e f s may beg in at ^ the moment we n o t i c e , p e r c e i v e , l e a r n , or remember something. 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 . I f he i s , there i s no r e l e v a n t d i f f e r e n c e , at l e a s t on what has so f a r been s a i d , between 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 or a wing f a l l i n g o f f by c i t i n g some,s ta te or d i s p o s i t i o n such as s t r u c t u r a l de fec 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 or d i s p o s i t i o n such as a d e s i r e . In both cases there i s some event tha t occur red not l a t e r than the event caused. In the fo rmer , the event may be something l i k e the a p p l i c a t i o n of we igh t , or 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 may be the D. Dav idson , " A c t i o n s , Reasons, and C a u s e s " , i n Free Will and Determinism,,ed. B. B e r o f s k y , (New Yo rk , 1966) , p. 231. 112 onslaught of the s t a t e of d e s i r i n g , or a p e r c e p t i o n , or a pass i ng thought , tha t t r i g g e r s 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 be ing 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 there seems to be no th ing i n the v iews j u s t cons idered to show that d e s i r e s are n o t , or cannot b e , causes of a c t i o n s . The next two at tempts to show that d e s i r e s are not causes of a c t i o n s . t h a t I w ish to examine bo th appeal to some p r i n c i p l e w h i c h , i t i s a l l e g e d , s t a t e s a requirement tha 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 . In each c a s e , the argument proceeds to the c o n c l u s i o n tha t d e s i r e s are not causes of a c t i o n s on the ground that 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 requ i rement . Le t us now see what these p r i n c i p l e s a r e . The f i r s t p r i n c i p l e tha t I s h a l l examine i s put fo rward , (but on l y to be l a t e r r e j e c t e d ) , by A . S . Kaufman,''' I t i s as f o l l o w s : (1) Two purpor ted occur rences (or events) can be c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d i f and on l y i f t h e i r d e s c r i p t i o n s are not l o g i c a l l y (or concep tua l l y ) r e l a t e d . T h i s " P r a c t i c a l D e c i s i o n " , Mind, LXXV ( J a n , , 1966) , 41 . Kaufman does not fo rmula te the en ta i lment of p r i n c i p l e (1) i n e x a c t l y the same way I have. Acco rd ing to h im, the p r i n c i p l e s t a ted i n (1) expresses a concep t ion of the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n s h i p o f t en a t t r i b u t e d to Hume. And, 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 tha t ' i f some .desc r i p -t i o n of an occur rence 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 occu r rence , 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 any th ing which can.be c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d to one another under those descriptions' (my i t a l i c s ) . I omit t h i s q u a l i f i c a t i o n because I am not sure tha 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 one, 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 that i f some d e s c r i p t i o n of an occurrence (or event) i s l o g i c a l l y (or conceptually) r e l a t e d to another d e s c r i p t i o n of an occurrence (or event), then those,descriptions,do not r e f e r to things which can be causally r e l a t e d to one,another. If we accept t h i s p r i n c i p l e , we may then t r y to show that desires are not causes of actions by arguing i n the following way. F i r s t , we may claim that a s p e c i f i c desire can only be i d e n t i f i e d under.the des-c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'; and that, hence, descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires are always l o g i c a l l y or conceptually r e l a t e d to the descriptions of the actions that they are a desire to perform. We may then go on to, invoke the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (1), and say that since there i s always a l o g i c a l or conceptual connexion between the d e s c r i p t i o n of a , s p e c i f i c desire and,the d e s c r i p t i o n of the action that i t i s a desire to perform, desires cannot be causes of actions. But before we can use the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (1) i n t h i s way to preclude,desires from being causes of actions, i t must f i r s t be shown that no genuine causal r e l a t i o n can f a i l to s a t i s f y the requirement stated by that p r i n c i p l e . However, i t seems possible to give counter-examples to (1). One such counter-example would be as follows: exposure to excessive sunshine i s , t h e cause of sunburn. This i s a genuine and f a m i l i a r causal r e l a t i o n ; the f i r s t occurrence,can be properly said to cause the second. And yet there i s an obvious.logical or conceptual connexion between the descriptions 'exposure to excessive sunshine' and 'sunburn'. Or again^ taking a f a t a l dose of barbituate can be said to be the cause of death; and t h i s i n s p i t e of the f a c t that there i s a 114 logical or conceptual connexion between the descriptions.'fatal dose1 and 'death'. Thus i t .seems that, contrary to what principle (1) states, descriptions which are logically or conceptually related can report occurrences that are causally related. Accordingly, even granting that there i s a logical or conceptual connexion between the descriptions 'de- , siring to do X1 and 'doing X1, the principle stated in (l) cannot properly be used to prohibit us from saying that desires are causes of actions. The second principle I wish to examine purports to specify a type of logical or conceptual relation that would preclude there.also being a causal relation. As I shall i l l u s t r a t e below, several philosophers hold this principle, and appeal to i t to try to show that desires are not causes of actions. The principle in question i s as follows: (2) A cause must be identifiable under some description that does not mention i t s supposed effect. This i s to say that A cannot be regarded as the cause of B unless A can be specified in some way that does not mention B, This requirement stated in (2) is different,from, and narrower in scope than, the one stated in (1). It i s narrower i n scope and differs in the following way. According to (1), i f two descriptions are logically 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 in descriptions that are logically or conceptually related cannot be causally related, whether or not alter-native descriptions of those occurrences that are not.logically related are available. But (2) only stipulates that unless alternative des-criptions which are not logically or conceptually related are availablej 115 then, of two descriptions that are-logically 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 fatal dose of barbituate be said to be.the cause of death, for there.is an, internal conceptual or logical relationship between the descriptions of the alleged causes and the supposed effects. But, according to (2), exposure to excessive sunshine can be said.to be the cause of sunburn, and a fatal dose of barbituate can be said to be.the cause of death, for we may describe the two occurrences in both examples i n a way that does not connect them logically or conceptually. Such a re-description of the f i r s t example would be as follows: exposure to ultra-violet rays over a certain frequency emanating from the sun for ah excessive period of time was the cause of burns to.the skin. And, of the second example, forty grains of barbituate taken at one time was the cause of death. Thus (2) states a requirement that i s narrower in scope than the one stated in (1). And the counter-examples offered against (1) do not affect 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-fied in some way that does not mention B, then we must admit (2a) that i f a desire cannot be identified except under a description that mentions. the action that i t is a desire to perform, then i t cannot cause the action. Now i t i s clear that the admission made in (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 identified except under descriptions.that connect them with actions. But several philosophers claim that this is.the case, and then go on to. use the principle stated in (2) in this way, (i.e., as entailing (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 distinguish one [desire] from another. Similar remarks cannot be made about genuine causes, however, which are never charac-terless or indescribable apart from their effects; and from this we can conclude that desires, as they are represented in the theory before,us, are not even f i t candidates for causes of actions. . , .8 L.W. Beck takes a similar line: 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 identify the former without reference to the latter i n order subsequently to establish a contingent relation between them, .. . • „ The fact i s that we cannot identify the 'cause' in question except by virtue of the fact that i t i s a desire to go to the bookstore, and thus the situation described as 'desiring to go to the bookstore' stands In a logical and not a contingent relation to going to the bookstore, ceteris paribus.** We also find A,I. Melden writing that: As Humean cause or internal impression, [desiring] must be describable without reference to anything else—object desired, Action and1 Purpose (Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . , 1966), p. 255. o "Conscious and Unconscious Motives", Mind, LXXV (April, 1966) 163, n. 1. ' 117 the a c t i o n of g e t t i n g or the a c t i o n of t r y i n g to get the t h i ng d e s i r e d ; but as d e s i r e t h i s i s imposs ib le „ 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 necessary connec t ion w i t h the t h i ng 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 want ing to do would b e , indeed i t must b e , d e s c r i b a b l e independent ly 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 want ing tha t i t i s the want ing 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 ng one has . Hence the r e l a t i o n between the want ing to do and the do ing cannot be a c a u s a l o n e . 1 1 Now one may re fuse to accept these arguments on three d i f f e r e n t grounds. F i r s t l y , one may accept the p r i n c i p l e s t a ted i n ( 2 ) , e s s e n t i a l to a l l these arguments, that ho lds that A cannot be regarded 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 tha t does not -mention B; f u r t h e r admit that t h i s p r i n c i p l e e n t a i l s (2a ) , acco rd ing to which i f a d e s i r e cannot be i d e n t i f i e d except under .a d e s c r i p t i o n tha t ment ions, the a c t i o n tha t i t i s a d e s i r e to per fo rm, then i t cannot cause the a c t i o n ; but then go on to argue tha t these p r i n c i p l e s cannot be used to show tha t d e s i r e s are not causes of a c t i o n s on the ground tha 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 ways tha t do not connect them w i t h a c t i o n s . Second ly , one may re fuse to accept the arguments i n . q u e s t i o n by accep t i ng the c l a i m that s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s are on 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 tha t connects them w i t h a c t i o n s , but then go on . to deny tha 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 tha t s t a t e s a r e q u i r e -ment that any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y . And i f , t h e p r i n c i p l e Free Action (London, 1961) , p. 114. •Ibid., p. 128. 118 stated in (2) i s false, no ground whatsoever has been provided for holding, as i s stated by (2a), that i f a desire cannot be identified except under some description that mentions.the action that i t i s a desire to perform, i t cannot cause the action. Thirdly, and f i n a l l y , one may refuse.to accept these arguments by rejecting both the claim that specific desires are only identifiable under descriptions that connect them with actions, and the claim that principle (2) states a requirement that any genuine causal relation must satisfy. Now I do not think that these arguments from Taylor, Beck, and Melden are good ones. But I do not wish to try to break them by claim-ing that specific desires are identifiable under descriptions that do not connect them with actions. Rather, I wish to do so by showing that the principle stated in (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 relation must satisfy. The principle stated in (2) can be refuted i f a counter-example can be found according to which one. occurrence cannot be identified except under a description that connects, i t with i t s alleged effect, and yet where no conceptual incoherence i s introduced in treating the occurrence as the cause of that effect. D.F. Pears offers two such counter-examples.. One of them i s as follows. F a i r y s t o r i e s , which treat wishes as causes and describe a wish simply as concentrated w i l l i n g that such and such should happen, may be i n c r e d i b l e , but they are not conceptually incoherent. I t i s only a contingent fa c t that magic wishes do not bring about the events which are t h e i r objects. The other counter-example he o f f e r s departs from the realm.of mythology; i t i s that fear of a p a r t i c u l a r accident may cause that accident. And even i f the relevant wish and the relevant fear 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 that does not mention t h e i r alleged e f f e c t s , no con-ceptual incoherence i s Introduced i n tr e a t i n g these things as causes. In f a c t , i n the case of fe a r s , we know that such things can be causes. These counter-examples seem to me dec i s i v e against the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (2). If I am r i g h t i n thinking t h i s , the p r i n c i p l e expressed i n (2) does not state a requirement that must be met i n order to be,able to regard something as a cause. Thus, even i f we were to admit 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 t h e i r objects, and that no a l t e r n a t i v e ways of making t h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n are po s s i b l e , the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (2) cannot properly be appealed to to p r o h i b i t us from regarding desires as causes of actions. For i f , as i s the case, the v i o l a t i o n of t h i s p r i n c i p l e does not p r o h i b i t us from saying that 12 The f i r s t of these counter-examples which follows appears i n Pears's a r t i c l e ; " A r e Reasons for Actions 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 "Desires as.Causes of Actions", 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 particular accident, where this i s the only way in which we can identify the fear, then this principle cannot rightly be used to prohibit us from saying such things as that the raising 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 in the stronger position. For we have found that there are two prima f a c i e considerations in favour of saying that desires are causes of actions, and no good arguments against saying this. But though the arguments purporting to show that desires are not causes of actions considered above do not succeed in showing this, there are, I think, two arguments that w i l l . And I shall, in the following Chapter, present these argu-ments. CHAPTER V DESIRES AS CAUSES OF ACTIONS (II) In t h i s Chapter, I want to present two arguments which I think w i l l show that desires are not causes of actions. But before I turn to do t h i s , i t w i l l perhaps be w e l l to make clear a p o s i t i o n of strategy I s h a l l adopt. For anyone concerned to show that c e r t a i n things are not causes, the i d e a l way to proceed i s by f i r s t giving an analysis of the causal r e l a t i o n , and then going on to argue that the thing i n question f a i l s to possess some e s s e n t i a l feature or features revealed by that a n a l y s i s . This, however, i s not the way i n which I s h a l l proceed, f o r I neither have an analysis of the causal r e l a t i o n to o f f e r , nor know of any that I care to endorse. But I do not think that t h i s places me i n a p o s i -t i o n of r e a l weakness. For even i f we have no.complete analysis of the causal r e l a t i o n , there are, I think, some r e l a t i v e l y uncontrover-s i a l features of the causal r e l a t i o n . I have i n mind here, and s h a l l e x p l o i t i n what follows, two of these. The f i r s t i s that the causal r e l a t i o n i s a contingent r e l a t i o n . The second i s 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 . These are the only two features of the causal r e l a t i o n that I need for my arguments, and I s h a l l assume both of them. I s h a l l appeal to the f i r s t , v i z . , that the causal r e l a t i o n i s a contingent r e l a t i o n , i n the f i r s t argument I s h a l l present; and I s h a l l appeal to the second, v i z . , 122 tha t we r e q u i r e e m p i r i c a l ev idence 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 second, I now beg in to p resent the f i r s t of these arguments by c o n s i d e r -i ng ye t another p r i n c i p l e , i n a d d i t i o n to the two cons idered towards the end of Chapter IV , pu rpo r t i ng to s t a t e a requirement tha 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 . Th 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 ab le to i d e n t i f y A i n some way tha 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 he cause of B, g i ven C" , I s h a l l , i n order to make convenient r e fe rence 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 express i t i n what f o l l o w s as s t i p u l a t i n g tha t a cause.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 tha t does not connect i t c a u s a l l y w i t h i t s supposed e f f e c t . Now i f we accept (3) as s t a t i n g a requirement tha 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 are to regard d e s i r e s as causes of a c t i o n s , we must accept (3a) tha 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 tha 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 a c e r t a i n a c t i o n i f c e r t a i n o ther c o n d i -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 express i t , tha t a d e s i r e must be 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 tha t does not connect i t c a u s a l l y w i t h a c t i o n . But does (3) s t a t e a requirement tha t must be s a t i s f i e d ? Both 1 2 D . F . Pears and J . A , Fodor accept p r i n c i p l e s tha t I take to be "Are Reasons f o r A c t i o n s C a u s e s ? " , i n Epistemology3 ed . A , S t r o l l , (New Y o r k , 1967) , pp. 204-228, esp , pp. 214-215. 2 Psycholog%eal Explanation (New Yo rk , 1968) , p . 35. 123 equ i va len t to the p r i n c i p l e s t a ted i n ( 3 ) , h o l d i n g tha t they s t a t e a requirement that 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 these w r i t e r s has much to say on the ques t i on 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 . And I shou ld now l i k e to f i l l t h i s gap l e f t by t h e i r accounts by t r y i n g to show tha t p r i n c i p l e ( 3 ) , acco rd ing to which i f A, under c o n d i t i o n s C, i s the cause of B , we must be ab le to i d e n t i f y A i n some way tha 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 he cause of B , g i ven C ' , does s t a t e a requirement tha 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 con t ingent r e l a t i o n . Thus i f i t i s a f a c t tha t A, under c o n d i t i o n s C, i s the cause of B , i t i s a con t ingent f a c t . Th i s means tha t i t cannot be s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y to suppose tha t A and C occur red and yet B d i d n o t . I f , 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 ven C " , then i t would be s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y to suppose tha t A and C occur red and ye t B d i d n o t . For i n t h i s c a s e , i n say ing tha t A o c c u r r e d , we are say ing tha t the cause of B , g i ven C, o c c u r r e d ; and i t i s s e l f -c o n t r a d i c t o r y to say tha t the cause of B , g i ven Cy o c c u r r e d , C o c c u r r e d , and ye t B d i d no t . 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 , i t cou ld not be t rue tha t A, under cond i t ions .C, i s the cause of B. For i n t h i s case Ay C, and B are not c o n t i n g e n t l y r e l a t e d ; and i f not c o n t i n g e n t l y r e l a t e d , cou ld not be c a u s a l l y r e l a t e d . Thus, s i n c e the v i o l a t i o n of p r i n c i p l e ( 3 ) , acco rd ing to which i f A, under c o n d i t i o n s C, i s the cause of B , we must be ab le to i d e n t i f y A i n some way tha 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 he cause of B , g i ven C" , f o r c e s us to admit 124 that -.Aa C3 and B do not stand in a contingent relation, given that the causal relation i s a contingent relation, principle (3) states a re-quirement that any.genuine causal relation must satisfy. And since (3a), according to which i f a desire i s to be a cause of action, we must be able to identify that desire under some description that i s logically independent of the description 'the cause of a certain action i f certain other conditions are satisfied', is entailed by (3), (3a) also states a requirement that must be satisfied i f the thesis that desires are causes of actions is.to be maintained. Having thus seen that principle (3) does state a requirement that any genuine causal relation must satisfy, let us now see how Pears connects this principle with the question of whether desires can be 3 regarded as causes of actions. The connexion here depends on how specific desires are identifiable, and what the implications of their descriptions are. Pears begins by assuming that we are only i n a posi-tion to identify a specific desire under the description 'desire to 4 perform a certain action'. Now according to Pears, the application of 3 Pears's views to be expounded in what follows are those he puts forward in his "Are Reasons for Actions Causes?" 4 It i s , of course, a simplification to say that specific desires are only identifiable under the description 'desire to perform a certain action'. For actions are not the only objects of desires: we can,also desire to have certain things, to bring about states of aff a i r s , to secure certain items, etc. But, with suitable changes, the remarks to be made about the description 'desire tp perform a certain 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 this opportunity to remind the reader that, as I announced in Chapter III I would, I adopt this simplification throughout. 125 this description implies—and the nature and strength of this implica-tion w i l l be discussed shortly—the 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 feasible, or there is no occasion to do,it, or the agent lacks the necessary pertinacity, etc., that w i l l explain why the action was not performed'. This latter description Pears refers to as 'the disjunctive description'. Thus, according to Pears, the application of the des-cription 'desire to perform a certain 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 specific desires w i l l be followed by actions, other things being equal, but that specific desires w i l l be the cause of actions, other things being equal. 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 obtaining that w i l l explain why the desire does not bring about i t s effect'. And 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 specific desires are only identifiable under the description 'desire to perform a certain action', holds that this 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 certain action' implies the description 'desire which w i l l be the cause of that action unless there is some condition obtaining that w i l l explain why the desire does not bring about i t s effect'. It i s now important to determine the nature of the implication linking the two descriptions. The Implication may be one of entail-ment or presupposition, in Pears's sense of that latter term. By 'presupposition' 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 false. It 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 identification of specific desires only being possible under the description 'desire to perform a certain action', and about this description implying the disjunctive description, does not commit us to anything that would, according to the principle stated in (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 this 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 pro-hibited by the principle stated i n (3) to regard desires as causes of actions. Let me now demonstrate that this i s so., Let us suppose that the relation between the description 'desire to perform a certain action' and the disjunctive description 127 is entailmento 5 Now i f we hold that the description 'desire to perform a certain action' implies the disjunctive description and hold that desires are causes of actions, then we must, as I have argued, interpret the disjunctive description causally. Accordingly, i f we are only i n a position to identify a specific desire under the description 'desire to perform a certain action', and i f this description entails 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 effect', then a desire w i l l not be identifiable 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 entailing another description is to use the notion of entailment in an extended way; for entailment is a relation that i s normally considered to hold between statements. And as I shall, following Pears, continue to speak of one description entailing another, a word about what i s meant by saying this would be i n order, We may say that one description, entails 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 this subject and these descriptions, Sj entails 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 entails 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 il l u s t r a t e this. 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 yield the following two statements: 'John i s six feet t a l l ' and 'John i s less than ten feet t a l l ' . And since the former statement entails the latter one, we may say that the description 'six feet t a l l ' en-t a i l s the description 'less than ten feet t a l l ' ; that i t i s inconsis-tent to predicate 'six feet t a l l ' of a subject and yet refuse to pre-dicate '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 indicating a relation holding between descriptions, w i l l create no problems, 128 actions on this analysis without violating the principle stated i n (3), for according to (3), a cause must be identifiable under a des-cription that does not connect i t causally with i t s supposed effect. And since, as has already been argued, we cannot violate (3) without being forced to admit that the relation in question is not a contin-gent relation, given that the causal relation i s a contingent relation, we could not regard desires as causes of actions if.the relationship between the two descriptions is entailment. In this 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 position to identify a specific desire under the description 'desire to perform a certain action', and that the relationship between this description and the disjunctive description i s entailment, i f we regard desires as causes of actions, (thus interpreting the disjunctive description causally), then a specific desire cannot be identified i n any way that does not f a l l under the description 'the cause of a certain action unless there i s some condition obtaining that w i l l explain why the desire does not bring about i t s effect'. This description i s equivalent to the des-cription 'the cause of a certain action i f certain other conditions are satisfied'. Thus, accepting the argument under consideration, and regarding desires as causes of actions, a specific desire cannot be identified except as f a l l i n g under the description 'the cause of a certain action i f certain other conditions are satisfied'. If we now claim that the desire to perform a certain action is the cause of that action, this claim amounts to the claim that the cause of a certain action, i f certain other conditions are satisfied, i s the cause of that action. And since i t i s self-contradictory to suppose that the cause of a certain action, given the satisfaction of certain other conditions, occurred, those other conditions were satisfied, and yet the action did not occur, the relationship between the desire, those conditions that must be satisfied if.action is to follow the desire, and the action, i s not a contingent relation. And i f not a contingent relation, could not be a causal relation. Thus i f we accept the principle stated in (3), as i t seems we must, hold that a specific desire cannot be identified except under the description 'desire to perform a certain action', and hold that this description entails the disjunctive description, then i t seems impossible to regard desires as causes of actions. However, the matter is different i f we hold that the description 'desire to perform a certain action' presupposes the disjunctive description. For according to this, the description 'desire to per-form a certain action' i s only very seldom true when the disjunctive description is false. But the possibility that the f i r s t description can be truly applied, and the disjunctive description be false, per-mits us to identify a specific desire under a description that does not f a l l under the disjunctive description. And since this i s so, we may regard desires as causes of actions without the consequence of being unable to identify a specific desire except under a description that connects i t causally with i t s supposed effect, action. And hence 130 the v iew of the c a u s a l r e l a t i o n s h i p expressed i n (3) g i ves us no t r o u b l e . Thus i f we accept ( 3 ) , h o l d tha t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s on ly 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 per form a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , and ho ld tha t t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n presupposes the d i s j u n c t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n , then i t i s p o s s i b l e to ho ld tha t d e s i r e s are causes of a c t i o n s . So f a r we have been f o l l o w i n g P e a r s ' s accoun t , and e x p l o r i n g the consequences f o r the ques t i on of whether or 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 iews i n con junc t i on w i t h adopt -i n g the p r i n c i p l e s t a ted i n ( 3 ) , and the v iew tha t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s are on 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 per form a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' . These concern the s t reng th of the i m p l i c a t i o n l i n k -i n g the d e s c r i p t i o n ' d e s i r e to per form a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' and the d i s j u n c t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n . But i t i s to be n o t i c e d tha t t h i s e x p l o r a -t i o n on ly exhausts pa r t of the d i a l e c t i c of the problem. So f a r no th ing has been s a i d about the consequences f o r the ques t i on of whether or not d e s i r e s are causes .o f a c t i o n s of denying the v iew tha t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s are on 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 per form 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 s t e a d . But be fo re we exp lo re the.consequences of do ing t h i s l a t t e r , l e t us f i r s t see how the account of the l o g i c a l connexion h o l d i n g between d e s i r e s and a c t i o n s tha t I have o f f e r e d i n Chapter I I I r e l a t e s to the acceptance of the p r i n c i p l e s t a t e d i n (3) together w i t h the adop t ion of the v iew tha t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s are on l y i d e n t i f i a b l e under 131 the description 'desire to perform a certain action'. According to that account, i f a 'want'-statement i s truly made, then at least 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 last three disjuncts mentioned, the claim can be put more,simply as follows. Any true 'want!-statement entails a statement to the effect that, other things being equal, the agent w i l l perform a certain action. Accordingly, we may say that the true description 'desire to perform a certain action' entails 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 latter description causally, as follows: 'desire which w i l l be the cause of that action, other things being equal'. At this point, I wish to remind the reader of the restriction I imposed in Chapter III 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 entails a statement,to the effect that, other things being equal, the agent w i l l perform a certain action'. I am restricting 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 this restriction, i t would be,false to say these things. For, as I noted in Chapter III, one may want to do something, (e.g., con-jure up a mental picture of another's face), that does not involve any action on his part. ^1 shall, in what follows, on occasion refer to this entailed description as 'the disjunctive description'. 132 Now i f (a) 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 d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform 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 'desire which w i l l be followed 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 interpreted causally, as 'desire which w i l l be the cause of that a c t i o n , other things being equal', then (d) the d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' e n t a i l s the d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire which w i l l be the cause of that action, other things being equal'. And since the r e l a t i o n i n (d) i s one of entailment, then, assuming that (a) Is true, no desire can be regarded as a cause of action and be i d e n t i f i e d except as f a l l i n g under the d e s c r i p t i o n 'the cause of a c e r t a i n a c t i o n , other things being equal'. If t h i s i s the case, then we cannot regard desires as causes of actions and yet i d e n t i f y them i n such a way as to 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 since p r i n c i p l e (3) states a requirement that any genuine causal r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y , so could not regard desires as causes of actions. We now have before us an argument designed to show that desires cannot be causes of actions. But t h i s argument may be challenged by challenging one or both of two of i t s premises. S p e c i f i c a l l y , one may challenge the argument by challenging premise (b), according to which the r e l a t i o n between the d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action' and the 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, or by challeng-ing premise (a), according to which a s p e c i f i c desire 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 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action', or by challenging both these premises. We have also seen what the 133 a l t e r n a t i v e s to these premises are, The a l t e r n a t i v e to adopting premise (b) i s to hold that the r e l a t i o n i n question i s presupposition, i n the sense that has been given that term. And there are two a l t e r -natives to adopting premise (a). One may claim 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 d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , we may also make the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n under ei t h e r or both sorts of des c r i p t i o n s . i n d i c a t e d at the end of Chapter I I I . The f i r s t of these was a d e s c r i p t i o n 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, e.g., of the form 'the dominant desire I had at 10:00 t h i s morning'; the second was a neurological d e s c r i p t i o n . As regards the d i a l e c t i c of the argument, we have found that one who accepts the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (3), on which the argument i s founded, also accepts premise (a), according to which a s p e c i f i c desire 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 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , but denies premise (b), according to which the r e l a t i o n between that d e s c r i p t i o n and the 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, can evade the conclusion of the argument. We have not yet seen what the p o s i t i o n i s i n t h i s respect of one who accepts the p r i n c i p l e stated i n (3) t o -gether with premise (b), but who denies premise (a) i n the i n t e r e s t of affi r m i n g that a s p e c i f i c desire i s also i d e n t i f i a b l e under a descri p -t i o n 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 or under a neurological d e s c r i p t i o n . , 134 So let 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 let us begin this examin-ation by considering the claim that the relation between the description 'desire to perform a certain 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 not entailment. The term 'presupposition' i s used here in the special sense introduced by Pears, according to which p presupposes q If p mentions something about which we could not establish communication unless p were very seldom true when q was false. Thus, when i t is said that the description 'desire to perform a certain action' presupposes the dis-junctive description, i t i s being claimed that we could not establish communication about our desires unless they could very seldom be truly ascribed to us when we do not subsequently act and when none of the conditions listed in the disjunctive description apply. Now this, I. think, i s true; and I think that the further implication, namely, that i f there were this relation of,presupposition between the two descrip-tions then we could establish communication about our desires, i s also true. So from the point of view of what is required to establish communication about our.desires, presupposition seems to be a l l that is necessary. Entailment would of course also be sufficient, 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 relation obtaining between,the description 'desire to perform a certain action' and the disjunctive description,, Let me begin to try to do this by stating, once again, what position those who claim that the relationship i s entailment are committed to hold; and, in contrast to this, 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 try 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 really 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 truly 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 false. So those who hold that the relation-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 applicability or not of the second description i s the decisive factor in determining whether or not the agent really 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 applicable—for otherwise communication could not be established about our desires—cannot regard the applicability of the second description as a deo-is-ive check on the truth of the f i r s t des-cription; for to do,this would amount to saying that the f i r s t des-cription entailed the second. Those who hold that the relationship is one of presupposition claim that the agent's assertion that he wants to perform a certain action i s , on occasion, to be given more weight than the applicability of the second description when we are assessing whether or not an agent really wants to do something. Thus they allow that there w i l l be times when the description 'desire to.perform a certain action' can be truly 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 this, where the agent states with a sincerity that cannot be doubted that he wants to do something, and yet, when the time for action has come, neither acts nor can cite any reason why he f a i l s to perform, i s logically odd. For i f the agent really 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 try to do i t , what i s the force of saying that he wants to do it? In such a case, we would, I think, ask for some explanation of why the agent did not act; and in default of such an explanation, as in 137 t h i s case, deny that the agent r e a l l y wanted to act at the time when action was appropriate; Now assuming that the agent was r e a l l y sincere when he made the statement, we could not very w e l l deny that he had some pro-attitude towards that which he claimed to want to do., But we could, and I think would, deny that t h i s pro-attitude was properly described as a want. In the case under discussion, t h i s pro-attitude would, I think, be most n a t u r a l l y described as an i d l e wish. If I am correct i n these remarks about the proper a p p l i c a t i o n of the verb 'want' (or 'des i r e ' ) , then the f i r s t d e s c r i p t i o n , '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 not presuppose, the second d e s c r i p t i o n , 'desire which w i l l be followed by that action unless there i s some condition obtaining that w i l l explain why the acti o n was not performed'. And i f t h i s i s so, assuming 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 d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n 1 , we could not in t e r p r e t the second d e s c r i p t i o n c a u s a l l y , and hence could not regard desires as causes of actions, without being unable t o , i d e n t i f y any s p e c i f i c desire under a descrip-t i o n that does not connect i t causally with i t s alleged e f f e c t . And 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 they are to be causes of actions, we could not regard desires as causes of actions. I now turn to the second way indicated of challenging the argument set out on page 132. This consists i n challenging i t s f i r s t premise, namely, that a s p e c i f i c desire 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 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'. J.A. Fodor, i n his recent book Psychological Explanation, 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 beg in by c o n s i d e r i n g F o d o r ' s account , Fodor beg ins by s p e c i f y i n g a requirement tha 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 rue tha t i f X is the cause of Y, then there must be some d e s c r i p t i o n that i s t rue of X and tha 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 there must be some d e s c r i p t i o n tha t i s t rue of Y and tha 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 e f f e c t ' . 8 Th i s statement h i n t s a t something tha t I t h i nk i s t r u e , but i t i s not as c l e a r as one cou ld w ish f o r . For 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 rue oi.X and I i s not s p e c i f i e d ; and s u r e l y not j u s t any d e s c r i p t i o n s t rue of X and J . t h a t are l o g i c a l l y independent ( r e s p e c t i v e -l y ) of the d e s c r i p t i o n s ' 7 ' s cause ' and ' Z ' s e f f e c t ' w i l l enable us to say tha t X i s the cause of J . Fo r example, i t might be t rue tha t X was un fo r tuna te and tha t Y was unp leasan t . And though the d e s c r i p t i o n s 'X was u n f o r t u n a t e ' and ' 7 was unp leasan t ' may be t rue of X and J r e s -p e c t i v e l y , and are 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 -t i o n s ' J ' s cause ' and ' Z ' s e f f e c t ' , these d e s c r i p t i o n s are s u r e l y not of the s o r t r e q u i r e d to enable us to regard 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 mind, i n h i s statement of the requi rement tha t he ho lds any genuine c a u s a l r e l a t i o n must s a t i s f y , i s an identifying d e s c r i p t i o n . That i s , h i s p o s i t i o n seems to be tha t i n o rder f o r X to be the cause of Y, we must be ab le to i d e n t i f y X Psychological Explanation (New Yo rk , 1968) , p. 35. 139 under some description that i s logically independent of the description 'y's cause', and be able to identify J under some description that i s logically independent of the description 'X's effect' . And this re-quirement, (or, more s t r i c t l y , the f i r s t part of this requirement), i s , with the simplifying omission of the conditions under which X operates as a cause, identical to the one on which the argument now under conr sideration depends, viz., that i f A, under.conditions C, i s the cause of B, we must be able to identify A in some.way that i s logically independent of the description 'the cause of B, given C" . Now Fodor clearly thinks that this requirement can be satisfied in the case of psychological states such as motives, intentions, de-sires, etc., and goes.on to indicate how, writing that that demand [i.e., the requirement just.stated] would be satisfied i f the materially sufficient conditions for having a certain motive could be formulated i n neurological terms. Indeed, the existence of any state of affairs 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 identifying reference to that state without referring to the behaviour that i t is 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 his remarks to the case of desires): Suppose, for example, that i t happens to be the case that there i s a draft in 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 cou ld be u n e q u i v o c a l l y r e f e r r e d to w i t h o u t , r e f e r r i n g to 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 la ims tha t the v iew tha t a s p e c i f i c d e s i r e i s on ly 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 per form a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' i s f a l s e . Acco rd ing 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 i n v a r i o u s o ther ways. And we may now make a s h o r t . l i s t of d e s c r i p t i o n s under which F o d o r ' s account suggests we may make the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . F o d o r ' s account suggests t h a t , bes ides be ing ab le 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 per form 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 d e s c r i p t i o n s : (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 at 10:00 t h i s morn ing. (3) The d e s i r e I had on see ing the melon. (4) The d e s i r e tha t was the e f f e c t of my not e a t i n g any l u n c h . Fodor a l s o env i sages , i n a d d i t i o n to these d e s c r i p t i o n s tha 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 be ing a b l e , at some fu tu re t ime , 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 on l y suggests i n h i s account tha 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 these ways, but a l s o c la ims tha t the p o s s i b i l i t y of our be ing ab le to do so enables 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 i n a way tha 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 he cause o f . J ' (where ' J ' s tands f o r some s p e c i f i c a c t i o n ) ; and , consequen t l y , tha t Psychological Explanation (New Yo rk , 1968) , p. 35. 1 4 1 there i s no conceptual bar to regarding desires as causes of actions. But let us be quite clear as to what would be required in order for us to be able to identify a specific desire in a way that i s logically independent of the description 'the cause of J ' , and so enable us to regard desires as causes of actions. It i s not enough merely to provide other identifying descriptions besides the description 'desire to per-form a certain action 1. In addition, these alternative identifying descriptions must be such that we can apply them without also applying the disjunctive 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'. It would be of no help to us in regarding desires as causes of actions to say that, besides being able to identify a specific desire under the description, , 'desire to perform a certain action', we can also identify the desire under descriptions Dg, e t c , i f we could not apply descriptions Dgt D^, etc., without also applying the disjunctive description. For i f we could not apply descriptions Z?2» e t C o » without also applying the disjunctive description, these descriptions would not permit us to regard desires as causes of actions and be able to identify the desire under some description that did not connect i t causally with i t s supposed effect, action. And, consequently, since we must be able to so identify specific 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 il l u s t r a t i o n w i l l make this point clearer. Suppose I have a desire to eat a melon. We have already seen how, i f we are 142 only able to identify this 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 It causally with i t s supposed effect. For Z)^, 'desire to eat a melon', entails 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 in a position to identify the desire under the description 'desire to eat a melon', then we are unable to regard desires as causes of actions and yet identify the desire in any way that i s logically independent of the description 'the cause of my eating a melon, other things being equal'. But now the suggestion i s that we can identify the desire in question in some other way, for example, under description £>,,, 'the desire I have whenever the Tower of London i s drafty'. However, i f we cannot apply this description without also applying the disjunctive description, 'desire which w i l l be followed by my eating a melon, other things being equal', the fact that D^ is available w i l l not help us to regard the desire as the cause of the action. For i f we cannot apply description D^ without also applying 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 identify the desire i n a way that i s logically independent of the description 'the cause of my eating a melon, other things being equal'. 143 Thus i t does not matter to the issue of whether or not desires are causes of actions i f a desire can be i d e n t i f i e d under some.des-c r i p t i o n other than 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'; what i s important i s whether or not s p e c i f i c desires are i d e n t i f i a b l e under descriptions which we can apply without also applying the d i s j u n c t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n . But 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 that the grounds so f a r presented would not p r o h i b i t us from regarding desires as causes of actions. Let 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 descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires suggested by Fodor's account provide us with the required conceptual Independence. I s h a l l ignore for the present, but w i l l consider l a t e r , the p o s s i b i l i t y of giving a neurological descrip-t i o n of a s p e c i f i c d e sire. Here I only wish to consider those other descriptions suggested by Fodor's account. These were that, i n a d d i t i o n to being able to i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under the descrip-t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , we can.identify a s p e c i f i c desire under the d e s c r i p t i o n s : (1) The desire I have whenever the Tower of London i s d r a f t y . (2) The dominant desire I had at 10:00 t h i s morning. (3) The desire I had on seeing the melon. (4) The d e s i r e that was the e f f e c t of my not eating any lunch. And the relevant question to be r a i s e d about these descriptions i s whether or not we can apply them without also applying the d i s j u n c t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n . There i s one feature of these proposed i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions ( l ) - ( 4 ) that I now wish to draw attention to. When we.identify a s p e c i f i c desire under,a d e s c r i p t i o n of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' , (e.g., 'desire to eat a melon'), one cannot go on to say that he does not know what desire i s being r e f e r r e d to. But t h i s i s not so i n the case of descriptions (1)-(4). When any of these pro-posed i d e n t i f y i n g descriptions i s offered, i t always makes sense for one to go and ask 'What desire i s being referred to?' In f a c t ; i t seems to me, as I s h a l l now t r y to argue, that both anyone using ex^ pressions of the sort exemplified by ( l ) - ( 4 ) to make an i d e n t i f y i n g reference to some s p e c i f i c desire he has, and anyone with whom communi-cation i s established about what desire i s being r e f e r r e d to, must be aware of the desire under a d e s c r i p t i o n of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'. The f i r s t part of t h i s claim, v i z . , that the speaker must be aware.of any s p e c i f i c desire he has under the d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action', I take to be f a i r l y obvious. For specific''""'" desires do not, so to speak, conceal t h e i r objects; we are immediately aware of the i d e n t i t y of our s p e c i f i c desires as being desires to perform c e r t a i n actions, to secure c e r t a i n things, 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 equivalent to saying that we are 'S p e c i f i c ' here has the force of l i m i t i n g the desires i n question to those we can i d e n t i f y . Without t h i s , or some equivalent, q u a l i f i c a t i o n , i t would be f a l s e to claim that desires do not conceal t h e i r objects; f o r , as I noted i n Chapter I I I , we can want something but yet not know what i t i s that we want. 145 immediately aware of the i d e n t i t y of our s p e c i f i c desires under a de s c r i p t i o n of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' . I f so, then when a speaker uses any of the expressions of the sort i l l u s -trated by ( l ) - ( 4 ) to make an i d e n t i f y i n g reference to some s p e c i f i c desire he has, he must also be aware of the desire under another des-c r i p t i o n , v i z . , the d e s c r i p t i o n 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' . I now turn to consider the truth of the second part of the above claim, v i z . , that i n order f o r communication to be established about what desire i s being r e f e r r e d to, the hearer must be aware of the desire i n question under a d e s c r i p t i o n of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n action'. It i s obvious that, i n cases where a desire i s refe r r e d to by an expression that correlates i t with some state of a f f a i r s that i s accidently associated with i t , e.g., of the form 'the desire I have whenever the Tower of London i s dra f t y ' , no one could possibly understand what desire i s being r e f e r r e d to unless he possessed some such knowledge as that whenever the Tower of London i s dra f t y , I have a desire to (say) eat a melon. But t h i s i s j u s t to require that we do i d e n t i f y the desire under a d e s c r i p t i o n of the form 'desire to perform a c e r t a i n a c t i o n ' . Similar remarks could, I think, be made of cases of temporal i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s of s p e c i f i c desires, e.g., of the form 'the dominant desire I had at 10:00 t h i s morning'. The other two examples, v i z . , 'the desire I had on seeing the melon' and 'the desire that was the e f f e c t . o f my not eating any lunch', seem, at f i r s t s i g h t , to do a b i t better at e s t a b l i s h i n g some sort of communication about the desire i n question. But even these do not 146 succeed in unequivocally establishing communication about the desire in question. The description 'the desire I had on seeing the melon' does not,, for i f we admit that a description correlating a desire with any state of affairs that is accidently associated with i t can be used to make an identifying 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 the melon was a desire to go swimming. Nor would this unclarity 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 in this way: I may want to eat, or paint, or squash, or feel the melon. Similarly i n the case of the identifying description 'the desire that was the effect of my not eating any lunch': what the desire that is the effect 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 special kind of food, e.g., a melon. And i t seems that the only way i n which we could remove these doubts and unclarities as to the identity of the desire in question would be to identify the desire under a descrip-tion of the form 'desire to perform a certain action', If so, then i t follows that in order for communication to be established concerning the identity of the desire in question, the hearer must come.to be.aware of the desire under, a description of the form 'desire to perform a certain action'. 147 For these reasons, I think that both a speaker who has some desire, and anyone with whom he establishes communication concerning the identity of the desire he has, must be aware of the desire under, a description of the form 'desire to perform a certain action'. And, of course, i f i t i s true that a speaker cannot communicate the identity of some desire of his own,without identifying that desire under a description of the form 'desire to perform a certain action', he clearly could not communicate the identity of anyone else's desire unless he both knew, and identified 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 identity of a specific desire, both.the speaker and the hearer must know that desire under a description of the form 'desire to perform a certain action'. I shall now use this claim to try to argue that the identifying 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 identity of a specific desire—or, more simply, whenever a specific desire Is identified—both the speaker and hearer must know that desire under a description of the form 'desire to perform a certain action'. I have also earlier argued that the appli-cation of the description 'desire to perform a certain action' entails the application of the disjunctive description, 'desire which w i l l be followed by that action, other things being equal'. If I am correct on these two points, then since any time a description of the sort illustrated by (l ) - ( 4 ) is used to make an,identifying reference to a specific desire that succeeds i n identifying that desire, we also know that a particular description of the form 'desire to perform a certain action' applies, and since the application of this latter des-cription entails the application of the disjunctive description, we cannot identify a specific desire under any description of the sort ( l ) - ( 4 ) and yet refuse to apply the disjunctive description. And i f this i s so, then, for reasons.already given, descriptions ( l ) - ( 4 ) do not enable us to Identify a specific desire under a description such that we could regard desires as causes of actions and yet be able to identify the desire under a description that does not connect i t . causally with i t s supposed effect. Thus i t seems that the uniquely identifying 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 failed to find any description under which we can identify a specific desire that would permit,us to regard desires as causes of actions. A l l the identifying descriptions we have con-sidered f a i l to do this 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. It may be that we can identify a specific desire under a neurological description which we can apply without also applying the disjunctive description. If so, then we could avoid the d i f f i c u l t y we 149 found in 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 in giving a neuro-logical description of specific 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 solely in neurological terms, i t i s necessary to show that desires are identical with certain neural states. It would not be enough to show that desires can be correlated with neural states. For in 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, in which case desires would not be the causes, or that actions have two simultaneous.causes, neural states and desires, in which case desires would not be describable solely in neurological terms. So i t seems that the identity claim must be made. But to claim that desires are identical with neural states i s just to affirm the truth of one version of the Identity Thesis. I say 'one version', for the label 'the Identity Thesis' does not uniquely identify a specific thesis. So far as I.have been able to determine, there are two d i f f e r -ent theses that go under this name. These differ not in the ways in which they try to establish a particular conclusion, but in the con-clusions they try to establish.. And only one of these, held in.a particular way,--the reason for this qualification to.emerge s h o r t l y — seeks.to show that desires are.identical with neural states. 150 I s h a l l now t r y to locate the p a r t i c u l a r version of the Identity Thesis that w i l l have to be maintained i f we are to have the relevant sort of neurological descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires. To do t h i s , I s h a l l begin by b r i e f l y s t a t i n g the two theories tha t both go under the name of 'the Identity Thesis'. The f i r s t theory.to be stated may be c a l l e d the Reductive Identity Thesis i A proponent of t h i s theory does not wish to deny the existence of 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 p h y s i c a l phenomena. According to the Reductive Identity Thesis, 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, c e r t a i n neurological states of the organism. According to the second theory, the r e l a t i o n between mental phenomena and p h y s i c a l phenomena i s 'not s t r i c t i d e n t i t y , but rather the sort.of r e l a t i o n which obtains between, to put i t crudely, existent e n t i t i e s and non-existent e n t i t i e s when reference to the l a t t e r once served (some of) the purposes presently served by reference to the former—the sort of r e l a t i o n that holds, e.g., between "quantity of 12 c a l o r i c f l u i d " and "mean k i n e t i c energy of molecules'". Just as we are now prepared to i d e n t i f y 'what used to be c a l l e d quantity of c a l o r i c f l u i d ' with molecular motion of a c e r t a i n s o r t , so t h i s sort,of Identity Theorist maintains that we may.also be able t o . i d e n t i f y 'what people now c a l l mental phenomena' with c e r t a i n sorts of neurological states. And, further, once we 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. Rorty, "Mind-Body.Identity, Privacy, and Categories", Review of Metaphysics, XIX (1965), 26. 151 in the former case to say.that there i s no such thing as caloric f l u i d , so we may,also go on.to say i n the latter case that there are no such things as mental phenomena. This theory may thus be called 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 is in a position to try to provide neurological descriptions of specific 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, for, 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 in a position to try to provide neurological descriptions of specific 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 oversimpli-fication: 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 (1956) , 44-50) and J.J.C. Smart ("Sensations and Brain.Processes", Philosophical Review, LXVIII (1959) , 141-156) , who are proponents of the Reductive Identity Thesis, do not hold this theory with respect to volitional concepts (e.g., intending, desiring) or cognitive concepts (e.g., knowing, believing), but only with respect to other mental phenomena concepts such as sensation, consciousness, experience, and mental imagery. And R. Rorty (Op. ait.), who is perhaps the most ex-p 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 solely in the interest of bringing the only relevant sorts of concepts to the discussion at hand— volitional concepts—inside the compass of those theories. Thus we may exclude, as being irrelevant 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 specific 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 volitional concepts such as wanting and.intending. And, held in this way, the truth of the Reductive Identity Thesis would clearly be of no help to one who wishes to give neurological descriptions of specific desires. If we are to have neurological descriptions of specific 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 inter-preted as seeking to identify specific desires with neural states. But i f i t is possible to support the Reductive Identity Thesis i n this form, then i t would also seem possible to identify specific desires under purely neurological descriptions which we could apply without also applying the disjunctive description. And i f such identifying descriptions of specific desires are possible, nothing that has been said so far would prohibit us from regarding desires as causes of actions; for then specific desires would be identifiable under des-criptions such that we could treat desires as causes of actions, and yet be able to identify the desires in ways that do not connect them causally with their supposed effects. I t thus becomes a mat ter of some.importance to determine whether or not the Reduc t i ve I d e n t i t y Thes i s can be main ta ined i n , s u c h a way as to support the con ten t i on tha t s p e c i f i c d e s i r e s are i d e n t i c a l w i t h n e u r a l s t a t e s . So l e t us now see whether or not t h i s can be done, I s h a l l argue tha t i t cannot b e . One can t r y to show tha 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 tha t o f the Reduc t i ve I d e n t i t y T h e o r i s t i s mis taken 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 * or 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 to be e s t a b l i s h e d , and t r y i n g to show tha t i t cannot be e s t a b l i s h e d i n any way. The two arguments aga ins t the Reduc t i ve I d e n t i t y Theory tha t I s h a l l d i s c u s s i n what f o l l o w s bo th t r y i n the l a t t e r way to show the theory to be m is taken . The f i r s t argument I s h a l l s t a t e and examine i s one that Fodor d e s c r i b e s as 'perhaps the most . impor tant argument f o r the v iew tha t no statement of the form "a; i s y" cou ld be s i g n i f i c a n t where £ i s a mental te rm, y i s a p h y s i o l o g i c a l te rm, " i s " means i d e n t i t y , and a l l terms 14 bear t h e i r cu r ren t s e n s e s ' , Th i s argument beg ins w i t h a statement of a c o n d i t i o n tha t i t i s a l l e g e d any genuine i d e n t i t y statement must s a t i s f y . Th i s c o n d i t i o n i s embodied i n what i s known.as the Law of T r a n s f e r a b l e E p i t h e t s , acco rd ing to which i f a; i s i d e n t i c a l w i t h y, then any p r e d i c a t e s mean ing fu l l y a p p l i c a b l e to x must a l s o be mean ing fu l l y a p p l i c a b l e t o t / . O r , to put i t another way, i f x i s i d e n t i c a l w i t h y3. 0p„ ait,,, p, 100, 154 and i f Fx makes sense (is l i n g u i s t i c a l l y possible), then Fy must also make sense (be li 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 after-images can be described in 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 'circular', 'green', 'dim', 'fading', etc., i t does not make sense to describe neural states in these ways. And conversely, he alleges that physical phenomena such as neural states can be described in ways that would be inappropriate to the characterisation of mental phenomena such as desires and after-images. For example, he claims that while i t makes sense to describe neural states as occupying a certain spatial location, no sense attaches to saying that desires and after-images have a certain spatial location. Yet, the argument runs, i f mental phenomena were identical with a certain 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 this, mental phenomena cannot be identical with a certain sort of physical phenomena. In effect, the proponent of this 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 i d e n t i f y mental phenomena with a c e r t a i n sort jof physical.phenomena, we must be able to t r a n s f e r predicates applicable to mental phenomena to expressions concerning that sort of p h y s i c a l phenomena, and predicates applicable to that sort of p h y s i c a l phenomena to expressions concerning mental phenomena. But, he continues, when we t r y to t r a n s f e r these predicates, we f i n d that we are applying predicates that belong to expressions of o n e . l o g i c a l category to expressions that belong to a d i f f e r e n t l o g i c a l category, and so end up t a l k i n g nonsense. Thus, i t i s alleged, the Reductive Identity Thesis cannot be true. This argument, I think, presents a s e r i o u s . d i f f i c u l t y f or the Reductive Identity Theorist, But there are some r e p l i e s open.to the Reductive Identity Theorist, which I s h a l l now examine. The argument depends on the t r u t h of two premises: (1) The Law of Transferable Epithets states a requirement.that any genuine i d e n t i t y statement must s a t i s f y , and (2) Statements such as 'Neural state N was intense' and 'The desire occurred i n such-and-such a lobe of the cerebral cortex' are nonsense statements. Both these premises can.be challenged. The Reductive Identity Theorist may t r y to meet t h i s argument by challenging premise (2), and claiming that though expressions l i k e 'The desire occurred i n such-and-such a lobe of the cerebral cortex' or 'Neural state N was intense' are odd, they are not nonsensical. , One who takes t h i s l i n e t r i e s to r e s i s t the a s s i m i l a t i o n of these ex-pressions to the c l a s s of statements that the proponent of the Argument, from Transferable Epithets claims they belong, and t r i e s instead to 156 assimilate them to another class. That i s , a proponent of the Argument from Transferable Epithets tries to assimilate these expressions to the class of clear nonsense statements such as 'Saturday i s tired' or 'The armchair i s wise'. But one who claims that such statements are only odd, not nonsense, tries to assimilate them to the class of statements which are a bit odd-sounding, but clearly not nonsensical, such as 'NaCl i s a tasty r e l i s h ' or.11^0 i s a refreshing drink'. Thus the pro-ponent of the Argument from Transferable Epithets and the Reductive Identity Theorist who wishes to resist that argument in 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 non-sense, the latter denies this. How can we decide on which side of the sense/nonsense line these statements f a l l ? I find this question d i f f i c u l t to answer, owing to the lack of any precisely drawn dividing line between the two classes of statements„ In the case.of some expressions such as 'Saturday.is t i r e d ' t we can clearly say that they are not only odd, but nonsense; and in the case of others, such as 'NaCl i s a tasty r e l i s h ' , we can clearly 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. And i t i s not clear to which class of iexpressions these belong. What i s needed i s a logic of nonsense: we need some criterion or c r i t e r i a by which we can judge whether or not an oddity constitutes nonsense. But lacking this, as we do, i t is 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 resist the Argument from Transferable Epithets in the way just sketched, may equally forcefully reply that u n t i l the statements alleged to be,nonsense are shown to be in 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 effectively dulls the edge of that argument. But i t Is not as conclusive a reply as one might wish for. 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 line a Reductive Identity Theorist can take to resist 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 try 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 satis-fied by any genuine identity statement. According to this Law, i f x i s identical with y, and i f Fa; makes sense, Fy must also make sense. But there are instances of identity 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 is identical with the mean kinetic 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 kinetic energy of the gas molecules i s 80°C. And even granting that i t i s nonsense to say.the latter, we would not, I think, conclude from this that the identity statement in question is somehow unjustified. The fact i s that we sometimes allow 16 as legitimate what may be termed, (to use Cornman's phrase), 'cross-category' identities of this sort. In the light of this, the Reductive Identity Theorist may 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 identity statement must satisfy, that law cannot be rightly used in an argument to show that an alleged identity statement cannot in fact be one,1'' This shows, I think, that the Argument from Transferable Epithets w i l l not defeat the Reductive Identity Theorist. But even though he can meet that argument in this way, he is.not completely free from d i f f i c u l t i e s . For he must now try to show that the identity he wishes to claim i s an instance of a legitimate cross-category identity. I shall now present an argument designed to show that he cannot do this in the case of volitional concepts. I shall present this argument with -J. Cornman, "The Identity of Mind and Body", Journal of P h i l -osophy, LIX (1962) , 492, 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 third counter (op, ait., pp, 105-106) in addition to slightly different versions of the two I have presented. 159 reference to desires; but a similar argument could be generated to cover intentions. Let me begin by re-stating the position of the Reductive Identity Theorist. The Reductive Identity Theorist does not wish to deny any of the familiar facts about mental phenomena; he only wishes to deny that they constitute an irreducibly different sort of phenomena from physical phenomena. It i s his view that we can account for a l l so-called mental phenomena in terms of certain physical states of the organism; and, specifically, that the so-called mental phenomena are contingently and s t r i c t l y identical with, and reducible to, certain physical phenomena, which are usually supposed to be sorts of neuro-logical phenomena. Thus, to limit 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 in such a way as to be applicable to volitional concepts) w i l l claim that desires are contingently identical with, and reducible to, certain neural states. Now when one type of phenomena, A, i s reduced to, by way of being identified with, another type of phenomena, B, two conditions must be satisfied. (1) We must be able to explain a l l phenomena explained in 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 in terms of B must be more The argument that follows i s adapted from one used in a different context by N, Malcolm, "The Conceivability of Mechanism"j Philosophical Review, LXXVII (1968), 45-72. See esp. sees. 1-7. 160 basic than the explanations i n terms of A. In order f o r t h i s second condition to b e , s a t i s f i e d , the laws invoked i n B-type explanations must be more basic than the laws invoked i n A-type explanations. And to say that B-laws are more basic than 4-laws i s to say that the r e g u l a r i t i e s reported i n ,4-laws are dependent on the r e g u l a r i t i e s reported i n B-laws, but that the converse does not hold. If we could not s a t i s f y : condition (1), i . e . , give explanations of phenomena explained i n terms of.A i n terms of B, we could not claim that A i s identical with B. And i f we could not s a t i s f y condition (2), i . e . , show that explanations i n terms of B are more basic than explanations i n terms of A, we could not claim that A i s reducible to B. If t h i s i s r i g h t , then when one claims that desires are i d e n t i c a l with, and reducible to, c e r t a i n neural states, he must be able to (a) explain phenomena explained i n terms of desires i n terms of neural sta t e s , and (b) show that the explanations i n terms of neural states are more basic than the explanations i n terms of .desires. Now with respect to (a), we commonly explain actions i n terms of the agent's des i r e s . Consequently, i f desires are to be i d e n t i f i e d with c e r t a i n neural states, we must be able to explain actions i n terms of those neural s t a t e s . And these explanations, according to (b), must be shown, to be,more basic than the explanations i n terms of the agent's de s i r e s . The argument against the Reductive Identity Theory I s h a l l now present grants that the f i r s t requirement can be s a t i s f i e d , but questions that the second.can be. In order to see whether or not t h i s second,require-ment can be s a t i s f i e d , we f i r s t need to determine what sort of law explanations of actions i n terms of the agent's desires appeal to, and what sort of law explanations of actions i n terms of.the agent's neural states appeal to. With an eye to doing t h i s , l e t me now set out the forms of the two competing explanations. When we explain an agent's action by c i t i n g some.desire of the agent's, as when we say that A t r i e d to do X because he wanted to, the form of t h i s explanation can be set out as follows: I. 1. Whenever ah agent wants to do X, then he w i l l , other things being equal, t r y to do Xi 2. A wanted to do X, and other things were equal. Therefore, A t r i e d to do X. In opposition to t h i s , i f we were to explain an agent's action by c i t i n g some neural state, saying that A t r i e d to do.I because he was i n neural state N, the form of t h i s explanation could be set out as I I . 1. 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 Z. 2. A (an agent of structure S) was i n neural state N, and other things were equal. Therefore, A t r i e d to do X, A Reductive Identity Theorist must now t r y to show that explan-ations of,the sort i l l u s t r a t e d by II are more basic than those of the 19 sort i l l u s t r a t e d by I. And to do t h i s , he must show that the law It w i l l be noticed that I have chosen s i m p l i f i e d cases of explanations, v i z . , explanations j u s t i n terms of some desire of the agent's, to i l l u s t r a t e the two competing forms of explanations. More appealed to i n II i s more basic than the law appealed to in,I, This involves showing that the regularity 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, try to do X, is dependent on the regularity stated in the law appealed to in II, viz., whenever an agent of structure S is i n neural state N, then he w i l l , other things being equal, try to. do X, but that the converse does not hold. It i s , however, impossible to show this. For the law appealed to i n I i s , as I argued in Chapter III, an a p r i o r i law, made out solely, in virtue of the meaning of the verb 'want' (or 'desire'). But the law appealed to in II i s a contingent law. And regularities embodied in a p r i o r i laws, i.e., regularities determined solely by consideration of the meanings of certain.terms, cannot be dependent on regularities embodied in contingent laws, i.e., regularities determined by empirical investigation. Thus the neurological law appealed to in II could not be more,basic than the a p r i o r i law appealed to i n I. It follows from this that the sort of explanation illustrated by II could not be more basic than the sort of explanation illustrated 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 identifiable with, certain neural states. For in this case one of the necessary conditions,any reductive frequently, reason-explanations are not just in terms of some desire the agent has, but in terms of his desires and Information. However, the point I shall now make concerning these two forms of explanations also applies to explanations in 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, that explanations i n terms of the phenomena to which some other phenomena are reduced must be more basic than explanations i n terms of the phenomena to be reduced.. It would perhaps be i n order here to state a l i m i t a t i o n of the argument j u s t produced. I f sound, i t w i l l only show that v o l i t i o n a l concepts such as wanting and intending cannot be i d e n t i f i e d with, by way of being reduced to, c e r t a i n neural states. I t w i l l not show that other mental concepts such as consciousness, experience, sensation, and mental imagery are i r r e d u c i b l e to, and u n i d e n t i f i a b l e with, neural states; f o r there are no a p r i o r i laws pertaining to these sorts of phenomena. So f o r a l l that has been shown, one.could be a Reductive Iden t i t y Theorist about some mental concepts, v i z . , the l a s t sort mentioned above. But i n any case, i f my argument tending to the con-c l u s i o n that desires cannot be i d e n t i f i e d with, and reduced to, c e r t a i n neural states i s sound, we cannot give neurological descriptions of s p e c i f i c desires that would be relevant to regarding desires as causes of actions. Thus i t seems that we cannot avoid the conclusion of the argument set out on page 132 by denying i t s f i r s t premise, namely, that a s p e c i f i c desire 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 'desire to 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 t h i s p o s i t i o n seem to.be to claim that we may also i d e n t i f y a s p e c i f i c desire under a d e s c r i p t i o n 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, (e.g., of the form 'the dominant desire I had at 10:00 t h i s morning'), or that we may do so under a neurological description. And, on examining these alternatives, we found, in the case of the former, that such identifying descriptions w i l l not help; and, in the case of the latter, that such descriptions are not, in principle, available. And this finding, viz., that we cannot avoid the conclusion of the argument by denying i t s f i r s t premise, taken in conjunction with the earlier finding that the relation between the description 'desire to perform a certain action' and the disjunctive description i s , as the second premise has i t , entailment and not presupposition, yields 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 'Are desires causes of actions?' 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. I shall now present this argument. The basis of the argument now to be presented consists in the fact that the grounds we require to claim that At under conditions C, w i l l cause B are totally different from the grounds on which we claim that a desire to perform a certain action, other things being equal, w i l l be followed by that action. In order to say that A, under con-ditions C, w i l l cause B, we require some empirical evidence. This evidence may consist in the experience of events of type A being regular-ly followed by events of type B under conditions C. Or perhaps i t may 165 consist in the experience of a single instance of A and C being followed by B under carefully controlled conditions. Or i t may even be of an indirect sort; for example, we might predict that compound J w i l l cause sleep on the basis of knowledge of similar compounds. That i s , we might know that compound X i s closely related to nitrous oxide, and that nitrous oxide, under certain conditions, causes sleep; and on the basis of this predict that compound X, under certain conditions, w i l l cause sleep. I do not contend that the evidence of the above three sorts i s sufficient for claiming that A, under conditions C , w i l l cause 5. Perhaps an observed regularity of sequence i s not enough to entitle us to say that A, under conditions C , w i l l cause 5; perhaps a single observation, however careful, would not be sufficient; perhaps we could not argue from our knowledge of similarities. A l l I need for my argu-ment i s that we cannot, to tally 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 this, then before we can make any causal statement to the effect that A, under conditions C, w i l l cause B, we require empirical evidence. Thus i f we can say that a particular desire, other things being equal, w i l l be followed by a particular action with-out any empirical evidence whatsoever, then this statement w i l l not be a causal one. And this just so happens to be the case. No empirical evidence i s needed for, nor appropriate to, the claim that i f we want to do something we w i l l , other things being equal, try to do i t in the 166 appropriate circumstances. This claim, as I have argued in Chapter III, is true in virtue of the meaning of the verb 'desire' (or 'want'); the connexion between desires and actions i s a logical or conceptual connexion, made out totally 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 in the case of statements expressing ordinary causal re-lations empirical.evidence i s required, and that i n the case of statements expressing the relation between desires and actions i t i s not, this fact only shows that the relation between desires and actions i s not a causal relation of the ordinary sort. It does not show that the relation i s not a causal one in any sense; for the possibility re-mains that i t i s an extra-ordinary sort of causal relation. 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 relations such as that between desires and actions, I think the difference between his position and mine turns out only to be one of terminology. That i s , one who holds that there i s a sense in which the relation between desires and actions i s a causal relation, and I who hold that the relation between desires and actions i s not a causal one, agree that the relation in question i s not a causal relation i n the ordinary sense. We only disagree on whether or not the relation between 167 desires and actions ought to be called a causal relation in 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 relation between desires and actions; and this difference ought not to be obscured in the way that calling them both causal relations (though in different senses) would tend to do. Nothing is gained by calling them both causal relations, but there i s , I think, a loss in 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 relatien between desires and acticns i s a causal relatien. CHAPTER VI CONCLUDING REMARKS The findings of Chapters I-V may now be drawn together to yield 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 in Chapter I that when we explain an agent's action by giving his reason or reasons for action we are explaining the action in terms of his desires or his desires and information. We found in Chapter II 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 clearly, when we explain an agent's action just in terms of his desires, whether or not this i s a causal explanation depends on whether or not desires are causes of actions. And I argued in Chapter III that whether or not explanations in terms of the agent's desires and information are causal explanations also depends on.whether or not desires are causes of actions. Thus the crucial question to be answered to determine whether or not reason- and motive-explanations are causal explanations turned out to be 'Are desires causes of actions?' In Chapters IV and V, I took up this ques-tion, and we found that desires are not causes of actions. And with this finding, we must conclude that reason- and motive-explanations are not causal explanations, but a completely and irreducibly different sort of explanations altogether. 169 But one might now f e e l tha t t h i s c o n c l u s i o n i s i n some way u n s a t i s f y i n g , Dav idson , f o r example, w r i t e s tha t 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 contex t of i t s cause ; cause and e f f e c t form the s o r t of p a t t e r n tha 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 ' tha t we understand as w e l l as any. I f reason 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 , tha 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 , tha t I f , as Melden c l a i m s , causa l exp lana t i ons are ' w h o l l y i r r e l e v a n t to the unders tand ing we seek ' of human a c t i o n s then we are w i thout an a n a l y s i s of the ' because ' i n 'He d i d i t because . . . ' , where we go on to name a reason .2 Now i n say ing t h i s , Davidson cou ld not mean, or cou ld not s e n -s i b l y mean, tha t i f we deny tha t reasons are causes , then we do not or 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 or some d e s i r e and some r e l a t e d i tem of i n f o rma t i on that the agent has . For i f I say I am s topp ing the car because I am hungry and know tha t there i s a r e s t a u r a n t 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 to be an e x p l a n a t i o n i f I go on to deny tha t the ' because ' i n d i c a t e s a c a u s a l connex ion . In one sense , the i s s u e of whether or not r eason -exp lana t i ons are c a u s a l exp lana t i ons does not a f f e c t our unders tand ing of a c t i o n s i n terms of the a g e n t ' s reason f o r a c t i o n . D. Dav idson , " A c t i o n s , Reasons, and C a u s e s " , i n Free Will arid Determinism, ed . B. B e r o f s k y , (New Yo rk , 1966) , p. 229, 'Ibid., p. 230. 170 Specifically, 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 level, 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 perfectly 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, level, i t may be claimed, this issue is 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 his action i s in some way mysterious; but i f we hold that such explanations are causal explanations, thus holding that the connexion i s a causal one, this connexion becomes understandable and so no mystery arises. But this Is, I think, an i l l u s i o n . Why should the labelling of a connexion as 'causal' be supposed to add to our understanding of that connexion? We have, It i s true, supplied a name for the connexion that we often apply to connexions between events. But this labelling 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 is a causal one. We could, i f we wished, to dispel the air 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 'rational' connexion. This, i t i s true, contributes nothing to our understanding of the connexion; but neither, I submit, does calling 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 in assimilating reason-explanations to causal explanations. And i t seems to me that any way in which what I have termed a 'rational* connexion may be called 'mysterious', so may 3 a causal connexion be called. 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 position as regards their familiarity or explanatory power. If they do this, then at least one, and I think the major, possible source of dissatisfaction with my conclusion that reason- and motive-explanations are a completely and irreducibly different sort of explanations.from causal explanations w i l l have been removed. And the removal of this source of dissatisfaction should make for an easier acceptance of the conclusion I have argued for. Similar remarks to those.I have made i n this and the preceding paragraph are offered by R.J, Richman, "Reasons and Causes: Some Puzzles", Australasian Journal of Philosophy, XLVII (1969), 43, Bibliography Bibliography entries are c o l l e c t e d under,the following heads: Page I WANTS AND DESIRES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 II INTENTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 XXX ACXION o o o o o o o o o o a f i o a o o Q a o o c o 177 IV REASONS AND CAUSES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187 (a) H i s t o r i c a l 187 (b) Favourable to the D i s t i n c t i o n . . . . . . . . 188 (c) C r i t i c a l of the D i s t i n c t i o n . . . . . . . . . 188 (d) . Other Relevant Discussions . . . . . . . . . 190 V MOXIVES • o t > o e o ' a e B O * e o o t > e e e > o o o o 191 VI PRACTICAL REASONING AND REASONS FOR ACTION . . . . 194 VII ANTHOLOGIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 173 I. WANTS AND DESIRES A b e l s o n , R. "Because I Want T o . 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PRACTICAL REASONING AND REASONS FOR ACTION Anscombe, G.E.M, Intention. Oxford, 2nd e d i t i o n , 1963. Sees. 33-52. A r i s t o t l e . Ethica Nicomachea. Bk. I l l , Chs. I-V; Bk. V I , Chs. I I , V, V I I I - X I I I . : ! „ De Motu Animalium. Ch. V I I . B a i e r , K. The Moral Point of View. I t h a c a , N.Y., 1958. Ch. I l l of the f u l l e d i t i o n ; Ch. I I of the abridged e d i t i o n published by Random House, New York, 1965, . "Good Reasons." Philosophical Studies, IV (Jan. 1953), 1-15. — :— . "Reasons f o r Doing Something." Journal of Philosophy, LXI (1964) , 198-203. Bennett, J . Review of Gauthier's P r a c t i c a l Reasoning. Mind, LXXIV (1965) , 116-125. Brown, D.G. Action. U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press, 1968. On f a c t s being reasons see Sees. 1.4, 1.8, 3.9. Brown, R. Explanation in Social Science. London. 1963. Ch. V I I I , Care, N.S. "On Avowing Reasons." Mind, LXXVI (1967), 208-216. Chisholm, R, "The D e s c r i p t i v e Element i n the Concept of A c t i o n , " Journal of Philosophy, LXI (1964), 613-625. Collingwood, R.G. The New Leviathan. Oxford, 1942. Chs. X I I I - X V I I , Duncan-Jones, A. Butler's Moral Philosophy. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1952. Ch. I l l , sec. 3. Edgley, R. Reason in Theory and Practice. London, 1969. . . " P r a c t i c a l Reason." Mind, LXXIV (1965), 174-191. Fa-Ik, W.D. " A c t i o n - g u i d i n g Reasons." Journal of Philosophy, LX (1963), 702-718, Foot, P. "Moral B e l i e f s . " Proceedings of the A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, LIX (1958-9), 83-104. Gauthier, D.P. P r a c t i c a l Reasoning. Oxford, 1964. 195 Geach, P,T. "Dr. Kenny on Practical Inference," Analysis, XXVI (1966), 76-79. Gean, W.D. "Reasons and Causes," Review of Metaphysics, XIX (1966), 667-688, esp, 670-673, Gibson, Q, The Logic of Social Enquiry, New York, 1960, Ch, IV, Grice, R, The Grounds of Moral Judgement. Cambridge, 1967, Ch, I. Hare, R,M, The Language of Morals* Oxford, 1952, , Freedom and Reason. Oxford, 1963, Jackson, R. "Practical Reason," Philosophy, XVII (1942), 351-367, Primarily an analysis of the concept of 'validity of choice', „ Review of Paton's lecture "Can Reason Be Practical?" Philosophy, XX (1945), 263-265, Jarvis, J, "Practical Reasoning," Philosophical Quarterly, XII (1962), 316-328, Kenny, A.J. "Practical Inference," Analysis, 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 in the Theory of Action," Inquiry, XI (1968), 400-409, Melden, A,I. Free Action. London, 1961. Esp, pp. 160-167, :— . "Reasons for Action and Matters of Fact." Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, XXXV (1961-1962), 45-60. Mothersill, M. "Anscombe's Account of the Practical Syllogism." Philosophical Review, LXXI (1962), 448-461. Paton, H.J. In Defense of Reason. . London, 1951, See esp, the Chapter "Can Reason Be Practical?", pp. 117-156. This Chapter i s re-printed from the Proceedings of the B r i t i s h Academy, XXIX (1943), 65-105, Rachels, J, "Wants, Reasons, and Justifications." Philosophical Quarterly, XVIII (1968), 299-309. Rescher, N„ "Practical Reasoning and Values," Philosophical Quarterly, XVI (1966), 121-136. 196 Ross, W.D. A r i s t o t l e . New York, 1959. Ch. V I I . Sachs, D. "On Mr. B a l e r ' s 'Good Reasons'." Philosophical Studies, IV (1953), 65-69, S e l l a r s , W. "Imperatives, 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. Nakhnikian* D e t r o i t , 1965, pp. 159-218, — . "Thought and A c t i o n , " Freedom'and Determinism, ed, K. Lehrer, New York, 1966, pp. 105-139. Shwayder, D.S. The S t r a t i f i c a t i o n of Behaviour. New York, 1965. Esp. pp. 84-115. Singer, M.G. Generalization in Ethics. New York, 1961, Ch, I I I . Smart, J.J.C. "Reason and Conduct." Philosophy, XXV (1950), 209-224. Teale, A.E. Kantian Ethics. Oxford, 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". Toulmin, S. An Examination of the Place of Reason in Ethics. Cambridge, 1950. vonWright, G.H. The Varieties of Goodness. London, 1963. Ch. V I I I . : . " P r a c t i c a l Inference." Philosophical Review, LXXII (1963), 159-179. Wheatley, J . "Reasons f o r A c t i n g . " Dialogue, V I I (1969), 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 of the papers r e f e r r e d to i n Sections I - VI of the b i b l i o g r a p h y , o f t e n together w i t h u s e f u l i n t r o d u c t i o n s to the problems„ Most of them a l s o c o n t a i n readings on t o p i c s b o r dering on those of headings 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 , the mind-body problem, e t c . Berofsky, B. (ed.) Free Will and Determinism. New York, 1966. Brodbeck, M. (ed.) Readings in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. New York, 1968. Care, N.S. and C. Landesman. (eds.) Readings in the Theory of Action. Bloomington, 1968. Chap p e l l , V.C. (ed.) The Philosophy of Mind. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J., 1962. Gustafson, D.F. (ed.) Essays in Philosophical Psychology. New York, 1964. Hampshire, S. (ed.) The Philosophy of Mind. New York, 1966, Hook, S. (ed.) Dimensions of Mind. New York, 1961, Lehrer, K. (ed,) Freedom and Determinism. New York, 1966. M i s c h e l . T . (ed.) Human Action: Conceptual and Empirical Issues. New York, 1969, M o r r i s , H. (ed.) Freedom and Responsibility. Stanford, 1961. Parsons, T. and E.A. S h i l s (eds.) Towards a General Theory of Action. Cambridge, Mass., 1951. Pears, D.F. (ed.) Freedom of the Will. London, 1963. Rescher, N. (ed.) The Logic of Decision and Action. P i t t s b u r g h , 1966. White, A.R. . (ed.) The Philosophy of Action. Oxford, 1968, The Human Agent: Royal I n s t i t u t e of Philosophy Lectures, vol. 1, 1966-1967. Glasgow, 1968, 

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