Manifest Activity : Thomas Reids Theory Of Action
Manifest Activity presents and critically examines the model of human power, the will, our capacities for purposeful conduct, and the place of our agency in the natural world of one of the most important and traditionally under-appreciated philosophers of the 18th century: Thomas Reid.
For Reid, contrary to the view of many of his predecessors, it is simply manifest that we are active with respect to our behaviours; it is manifest, he thinks, that our actions are not merely remote products of forces that lie outside of our control. Reid holds, instead, that actions are all and only those events that spring from active power and he produces insightful and imaginative arguments for the claim that only a creature with a mind is capable of having active power. He believes that only human beings, and creatures ‘above us’, are capable of directing events towards ends, of endowing them with purpose or direction, the distinctive feature of action. However, he also holds that all events, and not merely human actions, are products of active power, power possessed either by human beings or by God. This collection of theses leads Reid to the view that human behaviour and the progress of nature are both essentially teleological. Patterns in nature are the products of laws of which God is the author; patterns in human conduct are the products of character and the laws that individuals set for themselves.
Manifest Activity examines Reid’s arguments for this view and the view’s implications for the nature of character, motivation and the special kind of causation involved in the production of human behavior.
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SKU (ISBN): 9780199268559
Binding: Cloth Text
Published: June 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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