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Philosophy of Action

Edited by Constantine Sandis (Oxford Brookes University)
Assistant editor: István Zárdai (University of Pécs, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy, Oxford Brookes University)
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  1. added 2015-07-06
    Tillmann Vierkant (2015). How Do You Know That You Settled a Question? Philosophical Explorations 18 (2):199-211.
    It is commonly assumed in the philosophical literature that in order to acquire an intention, the agent has to settle a question of what to do in practical deliberation. Carruthers, P. has recently used this to argue that the acquisition of intentions can never be conscious even in cases where the agent asserts having the intention in inner speech. Because of that Carruthers also believes that knowledge of intentions even in first person cases is observational. This paper explores the challenge (...)
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  2. added 2015-07-05
    Matteo Bianchin (forthcoming). Simulation and the We-Mode. A Cognitive Account of Plural First Persons. Philosophy of the Social Sciences:0048393115580267.
    I argue that a capacity for mindreading conceived along the line of simulation theory provides the cognitive basis for forming we-centric representations of actions and goals. This explains the plural first personal stance displayed by we-intentions in terms of the underlying cognitive processes performed by individual minds, while preserving the idea that they cannot be analyzed in terms of individual intentional states. The implication for social ontology is that this makes sense of the plural subjectivity of joint actions without making (...)
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  3. added 2015-07-03
    Amir Saemi (forthcoming). Aiming at the Good. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-23.
    This paper shows how we can plausibly extend the guise of the good thesis in a way that avoids intellectualist challenge, allows animals to be included, and is consistent with the possibility of performing action under the cognition of their badness. The paper also presents some independent arguments for the plausibility of this interpretation of the thesis. To this aim, a teleological conception of practical attitudes as well as a cognitivist account of arational desires is offered.
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  4. added 2015-07-02
    John Bishop (forthcoming). On the Prospects for a Naturalistic Incompatibilist Metaphysics of Agency. Analysis:anv048.
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  5. added 2015-07-02
    Sabine Döring & Bahadir Eker (forthcoming). Desires Without Guises: Why We Need Not Value What We Want. In Julien Deonna & Federico Lauria (eds.), The Nature of Desire. Oxford University Press.
    Evaluativism about desire, the view that desires just are, or necessarily involve, positive evaluations of their objects, currently enjoys widespread popularity in many philosophical circles. This chapter argues that evaluativism, in both of its doxastic and perceptual versions, overstates and mischaracterises the connection between desires and evaluations. Whereas doxastic evaluativism implausibly rules out cases where someone has a desire, despite evaluating its object negatively, being uncertain about its value, or having no doxastic attitude whatsoever towards its evaluative status at all, (...)
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  6. added 2015-07-01
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). A Partial Defense of Permissivism. Ratio.
    Permissivism is the view that sometimes an agent’s total evidential state entails both that she is epistemically permitted to believe that P and that she is epistemically permitted to believe that Q, where P and Q are contradictories. Uniqueness is the denial of Permissivism. Permissivism has recently come under attack on several fronts. If these attacks are successful, then we may be forced to accept an unwelcome asymmetry between epistemic and practical rationality. In this essay I clarify the debate by (...)
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  7. added 2015-06-30
    Facundo M. Alonso (forthcoming). Reasons for Reliance. Ethics.
    Philosophers have in general offered only a partial view of the normative grounds of reliance. Some maintain that either one of evidence or of pragmatic considerations has a normative bearing on reliance, but are silent about whether the other kind of consideration has such a bearing on it as well. Others assert that both kinds of considerations have a normative bearing on reliance, but sidestep the question of what their relative normative bearing is. My aim in this article is to (...)
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  8. added 2015-06-30
    Karen Jones & François Schroeter (2014). Co-Deliberation, Joint Decision, and Testimony About Reasons. Analyse & Kritik 36 (1):209-216.
    We defend the claim that there can be testimonial transfer of reasons against Steinig’s recent objections. In addition, we argue that the literature on testimony about moral reasons misunderstands what is at stake in the possibility of second-hand orientation towards moral reasons. A moral community faces two different but related tasks: one theoretical and one practical . In between, simultaneously theoretical and practical, lies the activity of co-deliberation. Virtuous participation in co-deliberation can require limited moral deference. Refusal to recognize this, (...)
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  9. added 2015-06-29
    Daniel Whiting (2015). Knowledge is Not Belief for Sufficient (Objective and Subjective) Reason. Logos and Episteme 6:237-243.
    Mark Schroeder has recently proposed a new analysis of knowledge. I examine that analysis and show that it fails. More specifically, I show that it faces a problem all too familiar from the post-Gettier literature, namely, that it is delivers the wrong verdict in fake barn cases.
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  10. added 2015-06-24
    Paul Benson (2005). Authority and Voice in Autonomous Agency. In Anderson Joel & Christman John (eds.), Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism. Cambridge University Press. 101-126.
    How can any of my actions genuinely be my own? How can they be more than just intentional performances, with whatever investment of my will that involves, but also belong to me in the special way that makes me autonomous in performing them? How, in other words, can any of my actions be my own in such a way that they arise from or manifest my capacities for self-governance? -/- The literature on (locally) autonomous agency employs a number of metaphors (...)
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  11. added 2015-06-23
    Ramsay MacMullen (2014). 3 Reason and Decision-Making. In Why Do We Do What We Do? Motivation in History and the Social Sciences. De Gruyter Open. 57-98.
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  12. added 2015-06-23
    Sabina Lovibond (2002). Chapter One. The Practical Reason View of Ethics. In Ethical Formation. Harvard University Press. 3-23.
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  13. added 2015-06-22
    Robyn Repko Waller & Russell L. Waller (forthcoming). Forking Paths and Freedom: A Challenge to Libertarian Accounts of Free Will. Philosophia:1-14.
    The aim of this paper is to challenge libertarian accounts of free will. It is argued that there is an irreconcilable tension between the way in which philosophers motivate the incompatibilist ability to do otherwise and the way in which they formally express it. Potential incompatibilist responses in the face of this tension are canvassed, and it is argued that each response is problematic. It is not claimed that incompatibilist accounts in general are incoherent, but rather that any incompatibilist account (...)
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  14. added 2015-06-21
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). Nothing but the Evidential Considerations? Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    A number of philosophers have claimed that non-evidential considerations cannot play a role in doxastic deliberation as motivating reasons to believe a proposition. This claim, interesting in its own right, naturally lends itself to use in a range of arguments for a wide array of substantive philosophical theses. I argue, by way of a counterexample, that the claim to which all these arguments appeal is false. I then consider and reply to seven objections to my counterexample. Finally, as a way (...)
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  15. added 2015-06-17
    Eddy Nahmias (2015). Why We Have Free Will. Scientific American 312 (1):77-79.
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  16. added 2015-06-17
    Caspar Hare & Brian Hedden (2015). Self‐Reinforcing and Self‐Frustrating Decisions. Noûs 49 (2).
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  17. added 2015-06-17
    Eddy Nahmias (2011). Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? The New York Times 11.
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  18. added 2015-06-17
    Takahiro Osumi & Hideki Ohira (2010). The Positive Side of Psychopathy: Emotional Detachment in Psychopathy and Rational Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game. Personality and Individual Differences 49:451–456.
    An emotional deficit in individuals with psychopathy has been regarded as a potential factor in the disinhibition of selfish behaviors, which can be an impediment to a successful life in human society. However, recent studies in the field of economics have made clear that emotional function is associated with irrational decision-making. In the present study, to test whether psychopathy may have a positive aspect in a social setting, we examined the decision-making of college students with high and low tendencies for (...)
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  19. added 2015-06-17
    Paul Guyer (2009). CHAPTER 4: Reason, Desire, and Action. In Knowledge, Reason, and Taste: Kant's Response to Hume. Princeton University Press. 161-197.
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  20. added 2015-06-15
    Anne Margaret Baxley (2014). Virtue, Self-Mastery, and the Autocracy of Practical Reason. In Lara Denis & Oliver Sensen (eds.), Kant’s Lectures on Ethics: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. 223-238.
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  21. added 2015-06-14
    Randolph Clarke (2011). Alternatives for Libertarians. In Robert Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd edition. 329-48.
    This essay examines several varieties of libertarian accounts of free will. Some require free actions to be uncaused, some require agent causation, and some require non-deterministic event causation. Difficulties are raised for all of these varieties.
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  22. added 2015-06-13
    James Dreier (2015). Can Reasons Fundamentalism Answer the Normative Question? In Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund (eds.), Motivational Internalism. Oxford University Press.
  23. added 2015-06-12
    Tim Klaassen, Nature's Providence: The Representational Role of Vision.
    In this paper, I propose that visual perception is a straightforward case of (mental) representation. The phenomenology of vision is key here: as we see, we are directly presented with aspects of the environment that are at various distances away from us. Through the process of vision, aspects of the environment that would otherwise still be unavailable or “absent”, are made (quasi-)available, or (quasi-)present. This already by itself makes vision deserving of the name ‘representational’. Moreover, all of this holds true, (...)
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  24. added 2015-06-12
    Holly Lawford-Smith (forthcoming). What 'We'? Journal of Social Ontology.
    The objective of this paper is to explain why certain authors - both popular and academic - are making a mistake when they attribute obligations to uncoordinated groups of persons, and to argue that it is particularly unhelpful to make this mistake given the prevalence of individuals faced with the difficult question of what morality requires of them in a situation in which there's a good they can bring about together with others, but not alone. I'll defend two alternatives to (...)
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  25. added 2015-06-12
    Ralph Wedgwood (forthcoming). The Pitfalls of 'Reasons'. Philosophical Issues 25.
    Many philosophers working on the branches of philosophy that deal with the normative questions have adopted a "Reasons First" program. This paper criticizes the foundational assumptions of this program. In fact, there are many different concepts that can be expressed by the term 'reason' in English, none of which are any more fundamental than any others. Indeed, most of these concepts are particularly fundamental in any interesting sense.
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  26. added 2015-06-11
    Hallvard J. Fossheim (2013). 5. The Prooimia, Types of Motivation, and Moral Psychology. In Christoph Horn (ed.), Platon: Gesetze/Nomoi. De Gruyter. 87-104.
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  27. added 2015-06-09
    Seth Shabo (2015). Review of Bruce Waller's The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2015 (April).
  28. added 2015-06-08
    Elizabeth S. Radcliffe (2015). The Inertness of Reason and Hume's Legacy (On-Line Publication 2015, Issue Backdated to 2012). Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (S1):117-33.
    Hume argues against the seventeenth-century rationalists that reason is impotent to motivate action and to originate morality. Hume's arguments have standardly been considered the foundation for the Humean theory of motivation in contemporary philosophy. The Humean theory alleges that beliefs require independent desires to motivate action. Recently, however, new commentaries allege that Hume's argument concerning the inertness of reason has no bearing on whether beliefs can motivate. These commentaries maintain that for Hume, beliefs about future pleasurable and painful objects on (...)
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  29. added 2015-06-05
    Philippe Mongin (2015). Ranking Multidimensional Alternatives and Uncertain Prospects. Journal of Economic Theory 157.
    We introduce a ranking of multidimensional alternatives, including uncertain prospects as a particular case, when these objects can be given a matrix form. This ranking is separable in terms of rows and columns, and continuous and monotonic in the basic quantities. Owing to the theory of additive separability developed here, we derive very precise numerical representations over a large class of domains (i.e., typically notof the Cartesian product form). We apply these representationsto (1)streams of commodity baskets through time, (2)uncertain social (...)
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  30. added 2015-06-04
    Timothy Lane (forthcoming). Rationality and its Contexts. In Hung T. W. & Lane T. J. (eds.), Rationality: Constraints and Contexts. Elsevier.
  31. added 2015-06-04
    David-Hillel Ruben (forthcoming). The Physical Action Theory of Trying. Methode 2015 (Oct.).
    Metaphysically speaking, just what is trying? There appear to be two options: to place it on the side of the mind (or brain) or on the side of the world (where the latter includes the agent’s body). Volitionists, who think that to try is to engage in a mental act, perhaps identical to willing and perhaps not, take the mind-side option. The second, or world-side option identifies trying to do something with one of the more basic actions by which one (...)
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  32. added 2015-06-04
    Gregg D. Caruso (forthcoming). Free Will Skepticism and Criminal Behavior: A Public Health-Quarantine Model. Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1).
    One of the most frequently voiced criticisms of free will skepticism is that it is unable to adequately deal with criminal behavior and that the responses it would permit as justified are insufficient for acceptable social policy. This concern is fueled by two factors. The first is that one of the most prominent justifications for punishing criminals, retributivism, is incompatible with free will skepticism. The second concern is that alternative justifications that are not ruled out by the skeptical view per (...)
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  33. added 2015-06-03
    Sarah Byers (2010). Augustine De Libero Arbitrio: Augustine's Way Into the Will. The Theological and Philosophical Significance of De Libero Arbitrio. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 60 (1):145-147.
  34. added 2015-05-30
    Maria Brincker (2015). Evolution Beyond Determinism - on Dennett's Compatibilism and the Too Timeless Free Will Debate. Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1):39-74.
    Most of the free will debate operates under the assumption that classic determinism and indeterminism are the only metaphysical options available. Through an analysis of Dennett’s view of free will as gradually evolving this article attempts to point to emergentist, interactivist and temporal metaphysical options, which have been left largely unexplored by contemporary theorists. Whereas, Dennett himself holds that “the kind of free will worth wanting” is compatible with classic determinism, I propose that his models of determinism fit poorly with (...)
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  35. added 2015-05-29
    Neil Sinhababu (forthcoming). Virtue, Desire, and Silencing Reasons. In Iskra Fileva (ed.), Perspectives on Character. Oxford University Press.
    John McDowell claims that virtuous people recognize moral reasons using a perceptual capacity that doesn't include desire. I show that the phenomena he cites are better explained if desire makes us see considerations favoring its satisfaction as reasons. The salience of moral considerations to the virtuous, like the salience of food to the hungry, exemplifies the emotional and attentional effects of desire. I offer a desire-based account of how we can follow uncodifiable rules of common-sense morality and how some reasons (...)
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  36. added 2015-05-29
    John Collins (2015). Decision Theory After Lewis. In Barry Loewer & Jonathan Schaffer (eds.), A Companion to David Lewis. John Wiley and Sons. 446-458.
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  37. added 2015-05-27
    Christian List & Franz Dietrich, Reason-Based Choice and Context-Dependence: An Explanatory Framework.
    We introduce a “reason-based” framework for explaining and predicting individual choices. It captures the idea that a decision-maker focuses on some but not all properties of the options and chooses an option whose motivationally salient properties he/she most prefers. Reason-based explanations allow us to distinguish between two kinds of context-dependent choice: the motivationally salient properties may (i) vary across choice contexts, and (ii) include not only “intrinsic” properties of the options, but also “context-related” properties. Our framework can accommodate boundedly rational (...)
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  38. added 2015-05-25
    Hanoch Ben-Yami (2014). Voluntary Action and Neural Causation. Cognitive Neuroscience 5:217-218.
    I agree with Nachev and Hacker’s general approach. However, their criticism of claims of covert automaticity can be strengthened. I first say a few words on what voluntary action involves and on the consequent limited relevance of brain research for the determination of voluntariness. I then turn to Nachev and Hacker’s discussion of possible covert automaticity and show why the case for it is weaker than they allow.
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  39. added 2015-05-21
    Neal A. Tognazzini & John Martin Fischer (forthcoming). Incompatibilism and the Past. In John Keller (ed.), Being, Freedom, and Method: Themes from van Inwagen. Oxford University Press.
    A style of argument that calls into question our freedom (in the sense that involves freedom to do otherwise) has been around for millennia; it can be traced back to Origen. The argument-form makes use of the crucial idea that the past is over-and-done-with and thus fixed; we cannot now do anything about the distant past (or, for that matter, the recent past)—it is now too late. Peter van Inwagen has presented this argument (what he calls the Consequence Argument) in (...)
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  40. added 2015-05-19
    Neal A. Tognazzini (forthcoming). Free Will and Time Travel. In Meghan Griffith, Neil Levy & Kevin Timpe (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Free Will. Routledge.
    In this chapter I articulate the threat that time travel to the past allegedly poses to the free will of the time traveler (drawing on the work of David Lewis, Kadri Vihvelin, Ted Sider, and others), and I argue that on the traditional way of thinking about free will, the incompatibilist about time travel and free will wins the day. However, a residual worry about the incompatibilist view points the way toward a novel way of thinking about free will, one (...)
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  41. added 2015-05-19
    Francesco Di Iorio (forthcoming). Cognitive Autonomy and Methodological Individualism. Springer.
    ABOUT THIS BOOK: -/- – Links methodological individualism with the enactive paradigm of cognitive science -/- – Uses the theory of the mind as a complex self-organizing system to defend the interpretative approach of methodological individualism -/- – Criticizes the idea that the hermeneutical approach and scientific explanation are two alternative approaches, thus defending the unity of science -/- – Focuses on the non-atomistic variant of methodological individualism -/- OVERVIEW: -/- Unlike psychologistic paradigms, the non-atomistic variant of methodological individualism discussed (...)
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  42. added 2015-05-19
    Randolph Clarke, Michael McKenna & Angela M. Smith (2015). The Nature of Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    What is it to be morally responsible for something? Recent philosophical work reveals considerable disagreement on the question. Indeed, some theorists claim to distinguish several varieties of moral responsibility, with different conditions that must be satisfied if one is to bear responsibility of one or another of these kinds. -/- Debate on this point turns partly on disagreement about the kinds of responses made appropriate when one is blameworthy or praiseworthy. It is generally agreed that these include "reactive attitudes" such (...)
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  43. added 2015-05-19
    Anton Ford (2015). The Arithmetic of Intention. American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):129-143.
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  44. added 2015-05-19
    Neal A. Tognazzini (2009). Review of Alfred Mele's Free Will and Luck. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 118 (2):259-261.
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  45. added 2015-05-13
    Caleb Dewey, Naturalism Favours Utilitarianism.
    Ever since the founding of utilitarianism, philosophers have noted that naturalists (among others) have a particular affinity towards utilitarianism. In 1999, Jon Mendle explored whether naturalism actually implied utilitarianism and found that it did not. However, implication is not the only way for naturalism to favour utilitarianism. In this essay, I define utilitarianism in terms of practical reason, which I call ``the utilitarian backstory''. This backstory demonstrates that naturalism creates conditions in which rationality subsumes utilitarianism, making non-utilitarian ethics irrational. In (...)
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  46. added 2015-05-12
    Florian Cova (forthcoming). The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Empirical Approaches. In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy.
    This paper provides a comprehensive review of the experimental philosophy of action, focusing on the various different accounts of the Knobe Effect.
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  47. added 2015-05-11
    Markus E. Schlosser, Agency. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    In very general terms, an agent is a being with the capacity to act, and 'agency' denotes the exercise or manifestation of this capacity. The philosophy of action provides us with a standard conception and a standard theory of action. The former construes action in terms of intentionality, the latter explains the intentionality of action in terms of causation by the agent’s mental states and events. From this, we obtain a standard conception and a standard theory of agency. There are (...)
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  48. added 2015-05-11
    Adam Kolber (2014). Will There Be a Neurolaw Revolution? Indiana Law Journal 89:807-845.
    The central debate in the field of neurolaw has focused on two claims. Joshua Greene and Jonathan Cohen argue that we do not have free will and that advances in neuroscience will eventually lead us to stop blaming people for their actions. Stephen Morse, by contrast, argues that we have free will and that the kind of advances Greene and Cohen envision will not and should not affect the law. I argue that neither side has persuasively made the case for (...)
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  49. added 2015-05-10
    Rush T. Stewart (forthcoming). Conditional Choice with a Vacuous Second Tier. Synthese:1-25.
    This paper studies a generalization of rational choice theory. I briefly review the motivations that Helzner gives for his conditional choice construction . Then, I focus on the important class of conditional choice functions with vacuous second tiers. This class is interesting for both formal and philosophical reasons. I argue that this class makes explicit one of conditional choice’s normative motivations in terms of an account of neutrality advocated within a certain tradition in decision theory. The observations recorded—several of which (...)
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  50. added 2015-05-08
    Olle Blomberg (forthcoming). Shared Intention and the Doxastic Single End Condition. Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    What is required for several agents to intentionally φ together? I argue that each of them must believe or assume that their φ-ing is a single end that each intends to contribute to. Various analogies between intentional singular action and intentional joint action show that this *doxastic single end condition* captures a feature at the very heart of the phenomenon of intentional joint action. For instance, just as several simple actions are only unified into a complex intentional singular activity if (...)
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