What makes an action? : a confluence in practical thought
Kennelly, Nikolaus Knight
May 6, 2019
In this paper I make a few steps towards a synthesis of Christine Korsgaard’s writings on the action-agent relation and Robert Brandom’s writings on sociality of action. In rough, Korsgaard makes the case that actions are what they are only insofar as they constitute an agent as an autonomous and efficacious cause of its own motions. This requires the agent to choose to act in accordance with a maxim through consideration of a practical identity such that anyone with that practical identity would choose similarly. But where do these practical identities come from? Brandom provides an answer by first paralleling Korsgaard in making the case that an agent must choose through consideration of practical commitments and then going on to give an account of these practical commitments in terms of social practices.
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