Action and Responsibility by Andrew Sneddon


By Andrew Sneddon

What makes an occasion count number as an motion? usual solutions entice the best way the development was once produced: e.g., possibly an arm flow is an motion whilst as a result of psychological states (in specific ways), yet now not whilst brought on in alternative ways. Andrew Sneddon argues that this kind of resolution, which he calls "productionism", is methodologically and considerably fallacious. specifically, productionist solutions to this query are typically both individualistic or foundationalist, or either, with out specific defence. in its place, Sneddon bargains an externalist, anti-foundationalist account of what makes an occasion count number as an motion, which he calls neo-ascriptivism, after the paintings of H.L.A. Hart. in particular, Sneddon argues that our practices of attributing ethical accountability to one another are at the least partially constitutive of occasions as activities.

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Ladd’s objection only has force if one thinks one can identify actions and attribute responsibility outside of the rule-governed contexts of social ways of life. 4 Objection 4: Action not always tied to Responsibility The most obvious and most important objection is also the simplest: issues of responsibility just do not arise in all cases of action. 62 Both Geach and Pitcher hold that Hart was misled by his choice of examples. One might be tempted to think that responsibility is essentially linked to action if you consider such sentences as ‘He hit her’, as Hart does, but that when other sorts of example are considered, the link is not so attractive.

227. ASCRIPTIVISM DEFENDED 39 conceptual confusion by pointing out that we individuate actions by their consequences. 47 The accordion-effect has received attention48 since Feinberg’s characterization of it (he attributes the insight to J. L. Austin), but subtleties have been missed due to omission of the context in which Feinberg introduced the concept. In considering whether Hart’s account of the concept ‘action’ can be said to apply to action sentences not obviously attributing responsibility, Feinberg examines a variety of notions of responsibility and their attribution.

To Ladd, these are unacceptable ways of interpreting our practices. Is there some third option besides having no practice or having a groundless practice? To ground the attribution of responsibility, we need something independent of that for which responsibility is attributed. Ladd presents the matter as if all there were to a single attribution of responsibility was the judge, the action, the consequence, and the agent. Amongst these items, if responsibility is attributed for the action as well as the consequence, there is nothing left to ground the judgment.

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