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The Inner Life of a Rational AgentIn Defence of Philosophical Behaviourism$
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Rowland Stout

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623433

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623433.001.0001

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Ways of Behaving

Ways of Behaving

(p.78) 5 Ways of Behaving
The Inner Life of a Rational Agent

Rowland Stout

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that practical rationality is essential to agency. It starts with the claim that action is essentially goal directed and develops the claim that action is essentially norm governed. By employing the distinction between framework causes and input causes established in Chapter 4, it is shown that it is the framework cause of behaviour which must be characterised in terms of goals and in terms of norms. This means that behavioural dispositions – the dispositions which are to be identified with mental states in the author’s approach – must be characterised in terms of goals and norms. In particular, we can say that what it is to be an agent, and hence a subject of mental states, is to be disposed to behave in a way which is sensitive to goals and norms – and hence to practical rationality.

Keywords:   practical rationality, agency, action, framework cause, behaviour, goals, norms, behavioural dispositions

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