Aristotle on Action



When I raise my arm, what makes it the case that my arm's going up is an instance of my raising my arm? In this paper, I discuss Aristotle's answer to this question. His view, I argue, is that my arm's going up counts as my raising my arm just in case it is an exercise of a certain kind of causal power of mine. I show that this view differs in an interesting way both from the Davidsonian ‘standard causal account’ of action and from accounts put forward by recent critics of Davidson, such as Hornsby, Alvarez and Hyman.