Frederick Stoutland (St. Olaf) concludes his very illuminating introduction to this new volume of essays on Anscombe by contrasting the "two pictures" of Davidson and Anscombe. He writes (p. 19):
In the Davidsonian picture, the fundamental relations human beings as such--as knowing the world and acting intentionally in it--have to the world are causal. We know the world because it affects our senses and thus causes us to have various perceptual beliefs that constitute knowledge of the world if they are internally coherent. We know the objects and events in the world, not directly but through their causaing beliefs in us that are about them. Our acting in the world is similarly indirect. We act when our beliefs and desires cause bodily movements that cause events outside our body The movement of our fingers causes the switch to flip, which causes the light to go on, and so on.
By contrast, on Anscombe's picture,
The knowledge we gain through percetual experience is of the world directly without the mediation of beliefs: the causal relations that underlie such experience enable it to be direct rather than constitute it as indirect. Action is also direct. To act is not to have one's bodily movements caused by one's beliefs and desires; it is to exercise the power to move one's body directly and intentionally. Further, to exercise that power is not primarily to cause events outside one's body; it is to perform actions that extend beyond one's body and its movements. Walking, running, eating, drinking, pounding, skiing, greeting, writing--ordinary bodily activities all--do not consist of bodily movements plus events they cause; they are our moving our bodies in ways that extend beyond them. We can run or walk only on a surface, that is, only in a world outside ourselves that also acts on us....To us a hammer is not to cause it to move, and to ski is not to cause skis to move: those are extended bodily movements. All these bodily activities require that the bodily movements occurs as constituents of a structured activity that is more than the sum of the movements.
Professor Stoutland then sums this all up, quite aptly it seems, as follows (pp. 19, 20):
The Davidsonian picture has its roots in the Cartesian revolution, which conceived of the physical world as consisting only of what plays a role in the new physics, a physics purified of the teleological, intentional, and normative terms of Aristotelian physics....
Anscombe's conception of the physical world is not physicalist, and hence her conception of agents, which she took to be physical beings, is not simply physicalist either. This allows the relations of agents to their world to be much closer and richer than causal relations....
What Stoutland does not say directly, but certainly implies, is that Anscombe's world is the world of "Aristotelian physics," one rich in teleologies.
Thoughts from readers?