pp 1–11 | Cite as

Explaining Public Action

  • Víctor M. VerdejoEmail author


Actions are uncontroversially public. However, the prevailing model of explanation in the debate about the de se seems to conflict with this fact by proposing agent-specific explanations that yield agent-specific types of action—i.e. types of action that no two agents can instantiate. Remarkably, this point affects both proponents and critics of the de se. In this paper, I present this kind of problem, characterise the proper level of analysis for action explanation compatible with the publicity of action—i.e. the agent-bound level—and suggest that acknowledgement of this level highlights two important amendments of contemporary views. First, sceptics must accept that, when explanation is attitude-involving, the attitudes mentioned in the explanation of action must refer to the agent. Secondly, and perhaps more surprisingly, proponents of the de se should seek for accounts of de se attitudes that are not confined to a specific agent and are, therefore, sharable across agents.


De se attitude Action explanation Action type Public action Agent-bound level 



Thanks are due to the insightful audience of the 1st CCC Conference where an ancestor of this paper was presented and to two anonymous referees for very valuable suggestions. This work has received financial support from the Secretary for Universities and Research of the Department of Economy and Knowledge (Government of Catalonia) and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Government of Spain) and the European Union through the research projects FFI2016-80588-R and FFI2015-63892-P (MINECO, AEI/FEDER, EU).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Barcelona (LOGOS Research Group)BarcelonaSpain

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