Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall 2008
Sneddon on Action and Responsibility
The paper is a critical discussion of Sneddon’s recent proposal to revive ascriptivism in philosophy of action. Despite his declarations, Sneddon fails in his central task of giving an account of the distinction between actions and mre happenings. His failure is due to three major problems. First, the account is based on a misconceived methodology of “type” necessary and “token” sufficient conditions. Second, the “type” necessary condition he proposed is so weak that the connection that obtains between action and responsibility also obtains between action and lack of responsibility. Third, neither the idea of responsibility nor the idea of defeating conditions is elucidated sufficiently to play any role in understanding what it is to be an action.