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  1. Agent-based control in a global-vision robotic soccer team.John Anderson & Jacky Baltes - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Agents Meet Robots Workshop, 17th Conference of the Canadian Society for the Computational Studies of Intelligence (Ai-04).
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  2. Modeling Action: Recasting the Causal Theory.Megan Fritts & Frank Cabrera - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Contemporary action theory is generally concerned with giving theories of action ontology. In this paper, we make the novel proposal that the standard view in action theory—the Causal Theory of Action—should be recast as a “model”, akin to the models constructed and investigated by scientists. Such models often consist in fictional, hypothetical, or idealized structures, which are used to represent a target system indirectly via some resemblance relation. We argue that recasting the Causal Theory as a model can not only (...)
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  3. Autonomy as Practical Understanding.Reza Hadisi - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I offer a theory of autonomous agency that relies on the re-sources of a strongly cognitivist theory of intention and intentional action. On the proposed account, intentional action is a graded notion that is ex-plained via the agent’s degree of practical knowledge. In turn, autonomous agency is also a graded notion that is explained via the agent’s degree of practical understanding. The resulting theory can synthesize insights from both the hierarchical and the cognitivist theories of autonomy with (...)
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  4. Action Unified.Yair Levy - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly:pqv056.
    Mental acts are conspicuously absent from philosophical debates over the nature of action. A typical protagonist of a typical scenario is far more likely to raise her arm or open the window than she is to perform a calculation in her head or talk to herself silently. One possible explanation for this omission is that the standard ‘causalist’ account of action, on which acts are analyzed in terms of mental states causing bodily movements, faces difficulties in accommodating some paradigmatic cases (...)
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  5. Knowing what you Want.Eric Marcus - forthcoming - In Lucy Campbell (ed.), Forms of Knowledge. Oxford.
    How do you know what you want? Philosophers have lately developed sophisticated accounts of the practical and doxastic knowledge that are rooted in the point of view of the subject. Our ability to just say what we are doing or what we believe—that is, to say so authoritatively, but not on the basis of observation or evidence—is an aspect of our ability to reason about the good and the true. However, no analogous route to orectic self-knowledge is feasible. Knowledge of (...)
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  6. Naive Action Theory and Essentially Intentional Actions.Armand Babakhanian - 2024 - Southwest Philosophy Review 40 (1):229-237.
    In their recent paper, “Practical Knowledge without Luminosity,” Bob Beddor and Carlotta Pavese (2022) claim that the doctrine of essentially intentional actions, or “essentialism,” is false. Essentialism states that some actions are essentially intentional, such that, “whenever they are performed, they are performed intentionally” (2022, p. 926). Beddor and Pavese work to reject essentialism, which figures as a key premise in Juan Piñeros Glasscock’s anti-luminosity argument against the knowledge condition for intentional action (Piñeros Glasscock, p. 1240). Historically, essentialism has received (...)
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  7. Unavoidable actions.Justin A. Capes - 2023 - Philosophical Explorations 27 (1):57-73.
    ABSTRACT It’s often assumed, especially in discussions of free will and moral responsibility, that unavoidable actions are possible. In recent years, however, several philosophers have questioned that assumption. Their views are considered here, and the possibility of unavoidable actions is defended and then applied to issues in action theory and in the literature on moral responsibility.
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  8. Religion as Make-Believe: a theory of belief, imagination, and group identity.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2023 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    We often assume that religious beliefs are no different in kind from ordinary factual beliefs—that believing in the existence of God or of supernatural entities that hear our prayers is akin to believing that May comes before June. Neil Van Leeuwen shows that, in fact, these two forms of belief are strikingly different. Our brains do not process religious beliefs like they do beliefs concerning mundane reality; instead, empirical findings show that religious beliefs function like the imaginings that guide make-believe (...)
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  9. Gregory of Nyssa on the Individuation of Actions and Events.Beau Branson - 2022 - In James Siemens & Joshua Matthan Brown (eds.), Eastern Christian Approaches to Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 123-148.
    Beau Branson rounds out the previous two chapters, by exploring the doctrine of inseparable operations ad extra in the writings of St Gregory of Nyssa. This doctrine says that all the activities of the three hypostases of the Trinity, at least insofar as they relate to things outside of (“ad extra”) the Trinity, are not only qualitatively identical but numerically identical. Importantly, Branson focuses his attention on Gregory’s theory of action and the individuation of events that emerges from his theological (...)
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  10. A Teleofunctionalist Solution to the Problem of Deviant Causal Chains of Actions.Jakob Roloff - 2022 - Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy (3-4):247-261.
    Donald Davidson’s causal theory of actions states that actions must be rationalized and caused by a belief-desire-pair. One problem of such a causal theory are cases of deviant causal chains. In these cases, the rationalized action is not caused in the right way but via a deviant causal chain. It therefore intuitively seems to be no action while all conditions of the causal theory are met. I argue that the problem of deviant causal chains can be solved by adding a (...)
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  11. Narrative Determination.Paul Studtmann & Christopher Shields - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (4):779-798.
    The traditional problem of free will has reached an impasse; we are unlikely to see progress without rethinking the terms in which the problem had been cast. Our approach offers an alternative to the standard terms of the debate, by developing an authorially parameterized approach articulated within a two-dimensional semantics for temporal predicates.
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  12. Pluralistic Attitude-Explanation and the Mechanisms of Intentional Action.Daniel Burnston - 2021 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 130-153.
    According to the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), genuine actions are individuated by their causal history. Actions are bodily movements that are causally explained by citing the agent’s reasons. Reasons are then explained as some combination of propositional attitudes – beliefs, desires, and/or intentions. The CTA is thus committed to realism about the attitudes. This paper explores current models of decision-making from the mind sciences, and argues that it is far from obvious how to locate the propositional attitudes in the (...)
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  13. Let me go and try.Kirk Ludwig - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (3):340-358.
    This paper argues for a deflationary account of trying on which ‘x tried to ϕ’ abbreviates ‘x did something with the intention of ϕ-ing’, where ‘did something’ is treated as a schematic verb. On this account, tryings are not a distinctive sort of episode present in some or all cases of acting. ‘x tried to ϕ’ simply relates some doing of x’s to a further aim x had, which may or may not have been achieved. Consequently, the analysis of ‘x (...)
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  14. The shape of agency: Control, action, skill, knowledge.Joshua Shepherd - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The Shape of Agency offers interlinked explanations of the basic building blocks of agency, as well as its exemplary instances. The first part offers accounts of a collection of related phenomena that have long troubled philosophers of action: control over behaviour, non-deviant causation, and intentional action. These accounts build on earlier work in the causalist tradition, and undermine the claims made by many that causalism cannot offer a satisfying account of non-deviant causation, and therefore fails as an account of intentional (...)
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  15. Skill and Sensitivity to Reasons.Joshua Shepherd - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):669-681.
    In this paper I explore the relationship between skill and sensitivity to reasons for action. I want to know to what degree we can explain the fact that the skilled agent is very good at performing a cluster of actions within some domain in terms of the fact that the skilled agent has a refined sensitivity to the reasons for action common to the cluster. The picture is a little bit complex. While skill can be partially explained by sensitivity to (...)
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  16. The Backside of Habit: Notes on Embodied Agency and the Functional Opacity of the Medium.Maria Brincker - 2020 - In Fausto Caruana & Italo Testa (eds.), Habits: Pragmatist Approaches from Cognitive Neuroscience to Social Science by Caruana F. & Testa I. (Eds.). Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press. pp. 165-183.
    In this chapter what I call the “backside” of habit is explored. I am interested in the philosophical implications of the physical and physiological processes that mediate, and which allow for what comes to appear as almost magic; namely the various sensorimotor associations and integrations that allows us to replay our past experiences, and to in a certain sense perceive potential futures, and to act and bring about anticipated outcomes – without quite knowing how. Thus, the term “backside” is meant (...)
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  17. Events, processes, and the time of a killing.Yair Levy - 2020 - Ratio 33 (3):138-144.
    The paper proposes a novel solution to the problem of the time of a killing (ToK), which persistently besets theories of act-individuation. The solution proposed claims to expose a crucial wrong-headed assumption in the debate, according to which ToK is essentially a problem of locating some event that corresponds to the killing. The alternative proposal put forward here turns on recognizing a separate category of dynamic occurents, viz. processes. The paper does not aim to mount a comprehensive defense of process (...)
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  18. The Place of the Trace: Negligence and Responsibility.Samuel Murray - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (1):39-52.
    One popular theory of moral responsibility locates responsible agency in exercises of control. These control-based theories often appeal to tracing to explain responsibility in cases where some agent is intuitively responsible for bringing about some outcome despite lacking direct control over that outcome’s obtaining. Some question whether control-based theories are committed to utilizing tracing to explain responsibility in certain cases. I argue that reflecting on certain kinds of negligence shows that tracing plays an ineliminable role in any adequate control-based theory (...)
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  19. Can the mind wander intentionally?Samuel Murray & Kristina Krasich - 2020 - Mind and Language 37 (3):432-443.
    Mind wandering is typically operationalized as task-unrelated thought. Some argue for the need to distinguish between unintentional and intentional mind wandering, where an agent voluntarily shifts attention from task-related to task-unrelated thoughts. We reveal an inconsistency between the standard, task-unrelated thought definition of mind wandering and the occurrence of intentional mind wandering (together with plausible assumptions about tasks and intentions). This suggests that either the standard definition of mind wandering should be rejected or that intentional mind wandering is an incoherent (...)
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  20. The World and the Will: On the Problem of Photographic Agency.John Schwenkler - 2020 - Nonsite 32.
    This essay is my contribution to a symposium responding to several papers by Walter Benn Michaels that bring the work of Elizabeth Anscombe to bear on philosophical problems of artistic representation. In it, I take Benn Michaels's side in a dispute with Dominic McIver Lopes over the difference between Anscombe's view of intentional agency and that of Donald Davidson. I also critique Benn Michaels's reading of a difficult passage in section 29 of Anscombe's INTENTION, where she presents the famous case (...)
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  21. Review of Christian Kietzmann: Handeln aus Gründen als praktisches Schließen, 2019. [REVIEW]Sascha Settegast - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 74 (2):310-313.
  22. Agency as a Two-Way Power: A Defence.Helen Steward - 2020 - The Monist 103 (3):342-355.
    This paper presents a dilemma which it has been alleged by Kim Frost must be faced by any defender of the notion of a two-way power and offers a solution to the dilemma which is distinct from Frost’s own. The dilemma is as follows: assuming that powers are to be individuated by what they are powers to do or undergo, then either there is a unified description of the manifestation-type which individuates the power, or there is not. If there is, (...)
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  23. From Simple to Composite Agency: On Kirk Ludwig’s From Individual to Plural Agency.Olle Blomberg - 2019 - Journal of Social Ontology 5 (1):101-124.
    According to Kirk Ludwig, only primitive actions are actions in a primary and non-derivative sense of the term ‘action’. Ludwig takes this to imply that the notion of collective action is a façon de parler – useful perhaps, but secondary and derivative. I argue that, on the contrary, collective actions are actions in the primary and non-derivative sense. First, this is because some primitive actions are collective actions. Secondly, individual and collective composites of primitive actions are also actions in the (...)
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  24. Skilled action.Wayne Christensen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (11):e12631.
    I focus on problems defining skill and a core theoretical dispute over whether skilled action is largely automatic or consciously controlled. The dominant view in philosophy and psychology has been that skills are automatic, but an emerging body of work suggests that conscious cognition plays a significant role.
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  25. Knowing how, basic actions, and ways of doing things.Kevin Lynch - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):956-977.
    This paper investigates whether we can know how to do basic actions, from the perspective according to which knowing how to do something requires knowledge of a way to do it. A key argument from this perspective against basic know-how is examined and is found to be unsound, involving the false premise that there are no ways of doing basic actions. However, a new argument along similar lines is then developed, which contends that there are no ways of doing basic (...)
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  26. Aristotle's Four Causes of Action.Bryan C. Reece - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):213-227.
    Aristotle’s typical procedure is to identify something's four causes. Intentional action has typically been treated as an exception: most think that Aristotle has the standard causalist account, according to which an intentional action is a bodily movement efficiently caused by an attitude of the appropriate sort. I show that action is not an exception to Aristotle’s typical procedure: he has the resources to specify four causes of action, and thus to articulate a powerful theory of action unlike any other on (...)
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  27. Basic Action and Practical Knowledge.Will Small - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    It is a commonplace in philosophy of action that there is and must be teleologically basic action: something done on an occasion without doing it by means of doing anything else. It is widely believed that basic actions are exercises of skill. As the source of the need for basic action is the structure of practical reasoning, this yields a conception of skill and practical reasoning as complementary but mutually exclusive. On this view, practical reasoning and complex intentional action depend (...)
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  28. Action always involves attention.Wayne Wu - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):693-703.
    Jennings and Nanay argue against my claim that action entails attention by providing putative counterexamples to the claim that action entails a Many–Many Problem. This reply demonstrates that they have misunderstood the central notion of a pure reflex on which my argument depends. A simplified form of the argument from pure reflex to the Many–Many Problem as a necessary feature of agency is given, and putative counterexamples of action without attention are addressed. Attention is present in every action. In passing, (...)
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  29. Agents in movement.István Zoltán Zárdai - 2019 - Kagaku Tetsugaku 143:61-83.
    The paper discusses the category of one of the most fundamental expressions of agency, those movements of agents that are actions. There have been three dominant views of action since the 1960s: 1. the Causal Theory of Action, 2. the Tryings/Willings view, and 3. Agent Causation. These views claim that actions are: 1. events of bodily movements which have the right causes; 2. specific types of mental events causing events of bodily movements; 3. instances of the causal relationship between agents (...)
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  30. Intelligibility and the Guise of the Good.Paul Boswell - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):1-31.
    According to the Guise of the Good, an agent only does for a reason what she sees as good. One of the main motivations for the view is its apparent ability to explain why action for a reason must be intelligible to its agent, for on this view, an action is intelligible just in case it seems good. This motivation has come under criticism in recent years. Most notably, Kieran Setiya has argued that merely seeing one’s action as good does (...)
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  31. The Metaphysics of Action: Trying, Doing, Causing.David-Hillel Ruben - 2018 - London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    A discussion of three central ideas in action theory; trying to act, doing or acting, one's action causing further consequences.
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  32. The Vague Time of a Killing.Kenneth Silver - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1383-1400.
    The problem of the time of a killing concerns exactly when and where to locate our actions. It is a problem for many of our actions beyond killing, and there are versions of the problem that can be raised no matter where your theory locates actions in particular. To answer the problem, I claim that we should be guided to the referent of ‘the killing’ by examining the definition of ‘to kill.’ Once we have the correct definition, we can see (...)
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  33. Process, Action, and Experience.Rowland Stout (ed.) - 2018 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    Process, Action, and Experience offers a radical new approach to the philosophy of mind and action, taking processes to be the central subject matter. An international team of contributors consider what kinds of things processes are, and explore the progressive nature of action and conscious experience.
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  34. Does the Rose-Tinted Glasses Effect in Contemporary Physics Prevent Us from Explaining Consciousness?W. Baer - 2017 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (7-8):8-27.
    Anyone wearing rose-tinted glasses might be forgiven if s/he comes to the conclusion that the world out there is rosier than it actually is. With his Fish Story, Sir Arthur Eddington warned us how analogous illusions might have happened in our models of the physical world. His allegory describes how observer characteristics can be inadvertently assigned to the systems being observed. If Eddington's conjecture is applicable, the most fundamental properties of nature will turn out to be the construction rules of (...)
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  35. G.E.M. Anscombe on the Analogical Unity of Intention in Perception and Action.Christopher Frey & Jennifer A. Frey - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (3):202-247.
    Philosophers of action and perception have reached a consensus: the term ‘intentionality’ has significantly different senses in their respective fields. But Anscombe argues that these distinct senses are analogically united in such a way that one cannot understand the concept if one focuses exclusively on its use in one’s preferred philosophical sub-discipline. She highlights three salient points of analogy: (i) intentional objects are given by expressions that employ a “description under which;” (ii) intentional descriptions are typically vague and indeterminate; and (...)
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  36. Halfhearted Action and Control.Shepherd Joshua - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    Some of the things we do intentionally we do halfheartedly. I develop and defend an account of halfheartedness with respect to action on which one is halfhearted with respect to an action A if one’s overall motivation to A is weak. This requires getting clear on what it is to have some level of overall motivation with respect to an action, and on what it means to say one’s overall motivation is weak or strong. After developing this account, I defend (...)
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  37. One Self per Customer? From Disunified Agency to Disunified Self.David Lumsden & Joseph Ulatowski - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (3):314-335.
    The notion of an agent and the notion of a self are connected, for agency is one role played by the self. Millgram argues for a disunity thesis of agency on the basis of extreme incommensurability across some major life events. We propose a similar negative thesis about the self, that it is composed of relatively independent threads reflecting the different roles and different mind-sets of the person's life. Our understanding of those threads is based on theories of the narrative (...)
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  38. The divisibility of basic actions.Kevin Lynch - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):312-318.
    The notion of basic action has recently come under attack based on the idea that any putative basic action can always be divided into more basic sub-actions. In this paper it is argued that this criticism ignores a key aspect of the idea of basic action, namely, the ‘anything else’ part of the idea that basic actions are not done by doing anything else. This aspect is clarified, and it is argued that doing the sub-actions of which a putative basic (...)
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  39. Halfhearted Action and Control.Joshua Shepherd - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    Some of the things we do intentionally we do halfheartedly. I develop and defend an account of halfheartedness with respect to action on which one is halfhearted with respect to an action A if one’s overall motivation to A is weak. This requires getting clear on what it is to have some level of overall motivation with respect to an action, and on what it means to say one’s overall motivation is weak or strong. After developing this account, I defend (...)
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  40. Skilled Action and the Double Life of Intention.Joshua Shepherd - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):286-305.
  41. The Experience of Acting and the Structure of Consciousness.Joshua Shepherd - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (8):422-448.
    I offer an account of the experience of acting that demonstrates how agentive aspects of experience associated with the execution of intentions are richly integrated with perceptual aspects associated with parts of action taking place in the publicly observable world. On the view I elucidate, the experience of acting is often both an engagement with the world and a type of intimate acquaintance with it. In conscious action the agent consciously intervenes in the world and consciously experiences the world she (...)
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  42. Time and the Philosophy of Action.Roman Altshuler & Michael J. Sigrist (eds.) - 2016 - New York: Routledge.
    Although scholarship in philosophy of action has grown in recent years, there has been little work explicitly dealing with the role of time in agency, a role with great significance for the study of action. As the articles in this collection demonstrate, virtually every fundamental issue in the philosophy of action involves considerations of time. The four sections of this volume address the metaphysics of action, diachronic practical rationality, the relation between deliberation and action, and the phenomenology of agency, providing (...)
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  43. Action without attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings & Bence Nanay - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):29-36.
    Wayne Wu argues that attention is necessary for action: since action requires a solution to the ‘Many–Many Problem’, and since only attention can solve the Many–Many Problem, attention is necessary for action. We question the first of these two steps and argue that it is based on an oversimplified distinction between actions and reflexes. We argue for a more complex typology of behaviours where one important category is action that does not require a solution to the Many–Many Problem, and so (...)
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  44. Why Intentions?Jesse M. Mulder - 2016 - Ratio 31 (S1):51-64.
    There is an influential conception of intentional agency in terms of just beliefs and desires. And there is an equally influential conception that adds intentions as separate ingredients. It remains disputed whether adding intentions is really necessary, and what difference that addition exactly makes. I argue that adding intentions is required, but only because and insofar as it makes room for a distinctively practical kind of reasoning. I critically consider Bratman's main considerations in support of adding intentions, viz., conduct-control, inertia, (...)
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  45. Book Reviews: Action Reconceptualized: Human Agency and Its Sources by David Chan, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. [REVIEW]Amir Saemi - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:1-2.
    David K. Chan provides an account of various mental entities that interact with each other to produce human action. Once we have a theory of human action, Chan states, we will be in a better position to examine how to evaluate human actions from a moral perspective. I will address only two sets of claims that I don't find convincing. The first concerns Chan's idea that we need to introduce a new category of non-intentional action (besides intentional and unintentional) to (...)
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  46. Akrasia and the Constitution of Agency.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - In Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
    Argues that we do not act intentionally ‘under the guise of the good.’ This makes it hard to explain why akrasia is distinctively irrational; but this is no objection, since it is just as hard to explain on the opposing view. Ends with a problem of akrasia for ethical rationalists.
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  47. Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
    In this collection, Kieran Setiya explores the place of agency in ethics, arguing for a causal theory of intentional action on which it is understood through the knowledge embodied in our intentions, and against the rationalist project of deriving norms of practical reason from the nature of the will.
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  48. Bodily Movement and Its Significance.Will Small - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (1):183-206.
    I trace the development of one aspect of Fred Stoutland’s thought about action by considering the central role given by contemporary philosophy of action to bodily movement. Those who tell the so-called standard story of action think that actions are bodily movements (arm raisings, leg bendings, etc.) caused by beliefs and desires, that cause further effects in the world (switch flippings, door movements, etc.) in virtue of which they can be described (as flippings of switches, shuttings of doors, etc.). Those (...)
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  49. Beyond Fakers and Fanatics: a Reply to Maarten Boudry and Jerry Coyne.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):1-6.
    Maarten Boudry and Jerry Coyne have written a piece, forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology, called “Disbelief in Belief,” in which they criticize my recent paper “Religious credence is not factual belief” (2014, Cognition 133). Here I respond to their criticisms, the thrust of which is that we shouldn’t distinguish religious credence from factual belief, contrary to what I say. I respond that their picture of religious psychology undermines our ability to distinguish common religious people from fanatics. My response will appear in (...)
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  50. Imagination and Action.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2016 - In Amy Kind (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Imagination. New York: Routledge. pp. 286-299.
    Abstract: This entry elucidates causal and constitutive roles that various forms of imagining play in human action. Imagination influences more kinds of action than just pretend play. I distinguish different senses of the terms “imagining” and “imagination”: imagistic imagining, propositional imagining, and constructive imagining. Each variety of imagining makes its own characteristic contributions to action. Imagistic imagining can structure bodily movement. Propositional imagining interacts with desires to motivate pretend play and mimetic expressive action. And constructive imagination generates representations of possibilities (...)
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