The rehabilitation of spontaneity: A new approach in philosophy of action

Philosophy East and West 60 (2):pp. 207-250 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Scholars working in philosophy of action still struggle with the freedom/determinism dichotomy that stretches back to Hellenist philosophy and the metaphysics that gave rise to it. Although that metaphysics has been repudiated in current philosophy of mind and cognitive science, the dichotomy still haunts these fields. As such, action is understood as distinct from movement, or motion. In early China, under a very different metaphysical paradigm, no such distinction is made. Instead, a notion of self-caused movement, or spontaneity, is elaborated. In this article a general conception of spontaneity from early Daoism is explained, detailing its constituent aspects. Similar notions appeared from time to time in Western philosophy, and these instances are pursued, exploring how their instantiations differed from Daoist spontaneity and why. Based on these approximate examples of spontaneity and on early Daoist spontaneity, new criteria are postulated for a plausible theory of action that dispenses with presuppositions that eventuate in a freedom/determinism dichotomy, and instead the possibility is offered of a general model of action that can be applied smoothly across current philosophical and cognitive scientific subdisciplines.

Similar books and articles

La espontaneidad no es un valor en el Zhuangzi.Mercedes Valmisa - 2016 - In Paulina Rivero Weber (ed.), Daoísmo: Interpretaciones Contemporáneas. Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico: pp. 197-223.
Spontaneity and Nonspontaneity in Wu-Wei as an Ethical Concept of Early Daoism.Peter Gan Chong Beng - 2013 - Philosophia: International Journal of Philosophy (Philippine e-journal) 14 (1):1-15.
Kant on Freedom and Spontaneity.Kate A. Moran (ed.) - 2018 - Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.
On will or the levels of action.Max Rieser - 1943 - Journal of Philosophy 40 (April):206-213.
XI-Mental Ballistics or The Involuntariness of Spontaneity.Galen Strawson - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):227-256.
The problem of moral spontaneity in the guodian corpus.Edward Slingerland - 2008 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (3):237-256.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-04-17

Downloads
690 (#25,457)

6 months
202 (#14,606)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Brian Bruya
Eastern Michigan University

Citations of this work

Creativity and Yóu: the Zhuāngzǐ and scientific inquiry.Julianne Chung - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-26.
The limits of decision and choice.Gabriel Abend - 2018 - Theory and Society 47 (6):805-841.
A Confucian Theory of Shame.Nathaniel F. Barrett - 2015 - Sophia 54 (2):143-163.
The Zhuangzi, creativity, and epistemic virtue.Julianne Nicole Chung - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (3):815-842.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Physics.Daniel W. Aristotle & Graham - 2018 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Attention and Effort.Daniel Kahneman - 1973 - Prentice-Hall.
The taming of chance.Ian Hacking - 1990 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

View all 24 references / Add more references