From My Arm Rising to Me Raising It: a Taxonomy of Behaviors and Actions

Abstract

Human behavior can range from automatic and even unconscious bodily movements to very elaborate and rational decisions. In this paper I develop a taxonomy based on the empirical analysis of the phenomenology associated with selected instances of different forms of behavior. The transition from sub-actional behavior to proper actions is shown to take place when the agent intervenes actively in the causal process leading from her mental states to the bodily movement by exercising her power to form intentions to act. It is argued that this type of analysis could be helpful to agent-causal accounts of action and free will.

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