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Keywords:

  • action;
  • agency;
  • causation;
  • constitution view;
  • Davidson;
  • first-person concept;
  • first-person perspective;
  • first-personal aspects of agency;
  • human action;
  • intentional explanation;
  • moral agency;
  • neural phenomena;
  • nonhuman action;
  • persons;
  • practical reasoning;
  • rational agency

Abstract: On standard accounts, actions are caused by reasons (Davidson), and reasons are taken to be neural phenomena. Since neural phenomena are wholly understandable from a third-person perspective, standard views have no room for any ineliminable first-personal elements in an account of the causation of action. This article aims to show that first-person perspectives play essential roles in both human and nonhuman agency. Nonhuman agents have rudimentary first-person perspectives, whereas human agents—at least rational agents and moral agents—have robust first-person perspectives. The author concludes with a view of intentional causation, according to which reasons are constituted by (but not identical to) neural phenomena. The idea of constitution without identity allows for a causal account of action that automatically includes first-personal aspects of agency.