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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 2014-12-18
    Christopher Evan Franklin (forthcoming). Everyone Thinks That an Ability to Do Otherwise is Necessary for Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Philosophical Studies:1-17.
    Seemingly one of the most prominent issues that divide theorists about free will and moral responsibility concerns whether the ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility. I defend two claims in this paper. First, that this appearance is illusory: everyone thinks an ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility. The central issue is not whether the ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility but which abilities to do otherwise are necessary. Second, (...)
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  2. added 2014-12-18
    Christopher Evan Franklin (forthcoming). If Anyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist, Then Everyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist. Mind.
    Nearly all defenses of the agent-causal theory of free will portray the theory as a distinctively libertarian one—a theory that only libertarians have reason to accept. According to what I call ‘the standard argument for the agent-causal theory of free will’, the reason to embrace agent-causal libertarianism is that libertarians can solve the problem of enhanced control only if they furnish agents with the agent-causal power. In this way it is assumed that there is only reason to accept the agent-causal (...)
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  3. added 2014-12-18
    Christopher Evan Franklin (2014). Powers, Necessity, and Determinism. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):225-229.
    Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum have argued that a theory of free will that appeals to a powers-based ontology is incompatible with causal determinism. This is a surprising conclusion since much recent work on the intersection of the metaphysics of powers and free will has consisted of attempts to defend compatibilism by appealing to a powers-based ontology. In response I show that their argument turns on an equivocation of ‘all events are necessitated’.
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  4. added 2014-12-17
    Andreas Dorschel (1992). Die idealistische Kritik des Willens: Versuch über die Theorie der praktischen Subjektivität bei Kant und Hegel. Meiner.
    In Die idealistische Kritik des Willens [German Idealism’s Critique of the Will] Dorschel defends an understanding of freedom as choice against Immanuel Kant’s and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s ethical animadversions. He objects both to Kant’s claim that „a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same thing“ („ein freier Wille und ein Wille unter sittlichen Gesetzen einerlei“) (Immanuel Kant, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten AB 98) and to Hegel’s doctrine that „freedom of the will is (...)
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  5. added 2014-12-17
    Andreas Dorschel (1989). Ist strategisches Handeln ergänzungsbedürftig? Karl-Otto Apels These und ihre Begründung. Archives Européenes de Sociologie 30:123-149.
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  6. added 2014-12-11
    Ariela Tubert (forthcoming). Nietzsche's Existentialist Freedom. Journal of Nietzsche Studies.
    Following Solomon’s Living with Nietzsche, I defend an interpretation of Nietzsche’s views about freedom that are in line with the existentialist notion of self-creation. Given Nietzsche’s emphasis on the limitations on human freedom, his critique of the notion of causa sui (self-creation out of nothing), and his critique of morality for relying on the assumption that we have free will, it may be surprising that he could be taken seriously as an existentialist – existentialism characteristically takes freedom and self-creation to (...)
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  7. added 2014-12-11
    Annette Dufner (2014). Contrasting Mill and Sidgwick. A Development Analysis of the Value Theory of Classical Utilitarianism. Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 39 (2):173-193.
    This paper points out a number of long-standing objections to Mill’s theory of the good and shows how exactly Sidgwick’s more detailed approach can avoid these pitfalls. In particular, critics have always insisted that (i) Mill’s "proof" of utilitarianism represents a naturalistic fallacy, and that (ii) his qualitative hedonism is inconsistent. Sidgwick’s "ideal element" of the good allows him to avoid these charges, and sheds new light on the assumption that the 'hedonism' of classical utilitarianism is a purely naturalistic concept. (...)
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  8. added 2014-12-08
    Georg Brun (2009). Wer hat ein Problem mit irrationalen Präferenzen? Entscheidungstheorie und Überlegungsgleichgewicht. Studia Philosophica 68:11-41.
    Decision theory explicates norms of rationality for deriving preferences from preferences and beliefs. Empirical studies have found that actual preferences regularly violate these norms, launching a debate on whether this shows that subjects are prone to certain forms of irrationality or that decision theory needs to be revised. It has been claimed that such a revision is necessitated by the fact that normative uses of decision theory must be justified by a reflective equilibrium. The paper discusses three points. First, the (...)
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  9. added 2014-12-07
    C. G. Pulman (2014). Voluntary Interventions. In , Hart on Responsibility. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  10. added 2014-12-05
    Miranda del Corral (2014). El problema de las razones inadecuadas. Factótum 11:103-111.
    Reasons are of the wrong kind if, despite appearing of the right kind, are not able to justify nor to motivate the formation of a mental attitude. Initially, this problem was thought to apply only within the theoretical realm of reason, but Kavka's Toxin Puzzle showed that reasons of the wrong kind are also found in the practical realm. The aim of this paper is to analyze the scope of this problem, in order to determine the kind of reasons it (...)
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  11. added 2014-12-02
    Maria Joana Rigato (forthcoming). Reductionism, Agency and Free Will. Axiomathes:1-10.
    In the context of the free will debate, both compatibilists and event-causal libertarians consider that the agent’s mental states and events are what directly causes her decision to act. However, according to the ‘disappearing agent’ objection, if the agent is nothing over and above her physical and mental components, which ultimately bring about her decision, and that decision remains undetermined up to the moment when it is made, then it is a chancy and uncontrolled event. According to agent-causalism, this sort (...)
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  12. added 2014-12-02
    Christoph Jäger (2013). Das Konsequenzargument. In Rolf W. Puster (ed.), Klassische Argumentationen der Philosophie. 275-296.
  13. added 2014-12-02
    Christoph Jäger (2011). Molina on Foreknowledge and Transfer of Necessities. In Christian Tapp and Edmund Runggaldier (ed.), God, eternity, and time. Ashgate. 81-96.
  14. added 2014-12-02
    Christoph Jäger (2004). Epistemic Deontology, Doxastic Voluntarism, and the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. In Winfried Löffler and Paul Weingartner (ed.), Knowledge and Belief. ÖBV. 217-227.
  15. added 2014-12-01
    Nick Riggle (forthcoming). Personal Style and Artistic Style. Philosophical Quarterly.
    What is it for a person to have style? Philosophers working in action theory, ethics, and aesthetics are surprisingly quiet on this question. I begin by considering whether theories of artistic style shed any light on it. Many philosophers, artists, and art historians are attracted to some version of the view that artistic style is the expression of personality. I clarify this view and argue that it is implausible for both artistic style and, suitably modified, personal style. In fact, both (...)
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  16. added 2014-11-27
    Varun Dutt, Horacio Arlo-Costa, Jeffrey Helzner & Cleotilde Gonzalez (2014). The Description–Experience Gap in Risky and Ambiguous Gambles. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 27 (4):316-327.
  17. added 2014-11-25
    Patrick Todd, Fatalism. Oxford Bibliographies Online.
    In contemporary philosophy, arguments for “fatalism” are arguments for the conclusion that no human actions are free. Such arguments typically come in two varieties: logical and theological. Arguments for logical fatalism proceed, roughly, from truths about future actions to the conclusion that those actions are unavoidable, and hence unfree. Arguments for theological fatalism, on the other hand, proceed, roughly, from divine beliefs about future actions to the conclusion that those actions are unavoidable, and hence unfree. What is characteristic of any (...)
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  18. added 2014-11-23
    Gregg Caruso (2014Southwest Ph). (Un)Just Deserts: The Dark Side of Moral Responsibility. Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):27-38.
    What would be the consequence of embracing skepticism about free will and/or desert-based moral responsibility? What if we came to disbelieve in moral responsibility? What would this mean for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and the law? What would it do to our standing as human beings? Would it cause nihilism and despair as some maintain? Or perhaps increase anti-social behavior as some re- cent studies have suggested (Vohs and Schooler 2008; Baumeister, Masi- campo, and DeWall 2009)? Or would (...)
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  19. added 2014-11-23
    Gregg Caruso (2014). Précis of Derk Pereboom’s Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life. Science, Religion and Culture 1 (3):178-201.
    Derk Pereboom’s Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life (2014) provides the most lively and comprehensive defense of free will skepticism in the literature. It contains a reworked and expanded version of the view he first developed in Living without Free Will (2001). Important objections to the early book are answered, some slight modifications are introduced, and the overall account is significantly embellished—for example, Pereboom proposes a new account of rational deliberation consistent with the belief that one’s actions are causally (...)
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  20. added 2014-11-21
    Adam Morton (2014). Review of Bratman *Acting Together*. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 84.
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  21. added 2014-11-21
    Achille C. Varzi (2009). È successo tra qualche anno. In Armando Massarenti (ed.), Stramaledettamente logico. Esercizi di filosofia su pellicola. Laterza. 3–32.
    A discussion of some philosophical themes in the Terminator film series, including: the possibility of time travel, backward causation, the difference between changing the past/future and affecting it, the difference between determinism and fatalism, and how such issues depend on the underlying philosophy of time (eternism vs. presentism vs. the growing-block theory).
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  22. added 2014-11-19
    John Schwenkler (forthcoming). Understanding 'Practical Knowledge'. Philosophers' Imprint.
    The concept of practical knowledge is central to G.E.M. Anscombe's argument in Intention, yet its meaning is little understood. There are several reasons for this, including a lack of attention to Anscombe's ancient and medieval sources for the concept, and an emphasis on the (supposedly) more straightforward concept of knowledge "without observation" in the interpretation of Anscombe's position. This paper remedies the situation, first by appealing to the writings of Thomas Aquinas to develop an account of practical knowledge as a (...)
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  23. added 2014-11-16
    Eliezer Malkiel (2013). Ratson, Ḥerut Ṿe-Hekhreaḥ =. Universiṭat Bar-Ilan.
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  24. added 2014-11-16
    Patrick Todd, Manipulation. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
  25. added 2014-11-12
    Abraham Sesshu Roth (2014). Team Reasoning and Shared Intention. In Anita Konzelmann Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents. Springer. 279-295.
  26. added 2014-11-12
    Abraham Sesshu Roth (2014). Indispensability, the Discursive Dilemma, and Groups with Minds of Their Own. In Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks & Gerhard Preyer (eds.), From Individual to Collective Intentionality. Oxford University Press. 137-162.
  27. added 2014-11-10
    Stephen Finlay (2012). Explaining Reasons. Deutsches Jahrbuch Fuer Philosophie 4:112-126.
    What does it mean to call something a “reason”? This paper offers a unifying semantics for the word ‘reason’, challenging three ideas that are popular in contemporary philosophy; (i) that ‘reason’ is semantically ambiguous, (ii) that the concept of a normative reason is the basic normative concept, and (iii) that basic normative concepts are unanalyzable. Nonnormative uses of ‘reason’ are taken as basic, and as meaning explanation why. Talk about normative reasons for action is analyzed in terms of explanations why (...)
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  28. added 2014-11-10
    Geert Keil (2000). Handeln und Verursachen. De Gruyter.
    Wenn wir handeln, greifen wir in den Lauf der Welt ein und führen Veränderungen herbei, von denen wir zu Recht denken, daß sie nicht eingetreten wären, hätten wir nicht eingegriffen. Durch menschliche Eingriffe herbeigeführte Veränderungen machen aber nur einen kleinen Teil dessen aus, was in der Welt geschieht. Der größere Teil geschieht ohne unser Zutun. Beide Arten von Geschehnissen werden sowohl alltagssprachlich wie philosophisch in kausalem Vokabular beschrieben. Handelnde werden als kausale Urheber eines Geschehens verstanden; zugleich sind die mit Handlungen (...)
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  29. added 2014-11-04
    Michael J. Shaffer (forthcoming). Approximate Truth, Quasi-Factivity and Evidence. Acta Analytica.
    The main question addressed in this paper is whether some false sentences can constitute evidence for the truth of other propositions. In this paper it is argued that there are good reasons to suspect that at least some false propositions can (at least some times) constitute evidence for the truth of certain other contingent propositions. The paper also introduces a novel condition concerning propositions that constitute evidence that explains a ubiquitous evidential practice and it contains a defense of a particular (...)
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  30. added 2014-11-02
    Lilian O'Brien (forthcoming). Side Effects and Asymmetry in Act-Type Attribution. Philosophical Psychology:1-14.
    Joshua Knobe's work has marshaled considerable support for the hypothesis that everyday judgments of whether an action is intentional are systematically influenced by evaluations of the action or agent. The main source of evidence for this hypothesis is a series of surveys that involve an agent either helping or harming something as a side effect. Respondents are much more likely to judge the side effect intentional if harm is involved. It is a remarkable feature of the discussion so far that (...)
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  31. added 2014-10-31
    Wayne Wu (forthcoming). Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agency. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By placing attention at the center of the theory of action, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can recharacterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way; explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of (...)
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  32. added 2014-10-29
    Daniele Porello & Nicolas Troquard (2014). A Resource-Sensitive Logic of Agency. In Ios Press (ed.), Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI'14), Prague, Czech Republic. 2014. 723-728.
    We study a fragment of Intuitionistic Linear Logic combined with non-normal modal operators. Focusing on the minimal modal logic, we provide a Gentzen-style sequent calculus as well as a semantics in terms of Kripke resource models. We show that the proof theory is sound and complete with respect to the class of minimal Kripke resource models. We also show that the sequent calculus allows cut elimination. We put the logical framework to use by instantiating it as a logic of agency. (...)
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  33. added 2014-10-25
    Yair Levy (forthcoming). Brennan, Eriksson, Goodin, and Southwood, 'Explaining Norms' (OUP 2013). [REVIEW] Mind.
  34. added 2014-10-25
    Rebekah L. H. Rice (forthcoming). Reasons and Divine Action: A Dilemma. In Kevin Timpe Dan Speak (ed.), Free Will and Theism: Connections, Contingencies, and Concerns. Oxford University Press.
    Many theistic philosophers conceive of God’s activity in agent-causal terms. That is, they view divine action as an instance of (perhaps the paradigm case of) substance causation. At the same time, many theists endorse the claim that God acts for reasons, and not merely wantonly. It is the aim of this paper to show that a commitment to both theses gives rise to a dilemma. I present the dilemma and then spend the bulk of the paper defending its premises. I (...)
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  35. added 2014-10-25
    Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (forthcoming). The Epistemology of the Precautionary Principle: Two Puzzles Resolved. Erkenntnis.
    In a recent paper in this journal (forthcoming), Carter and Peterson raise two distinctly epistemological puzzles that arise for anyone aspiring to defend the precautionary principle. The first puzzle trades on an application of epistemic contextualism to the precautionary principle; the second puzzle concerns the compatibility of the precautionary principle with the de minimis rule. I argue that neither puzzle should worry defenders of the precautionary principle. The first puzzle can be shown to be an instance of the familiar but (...)
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  36. added 2014-10-25
    Yair Levy (2014). Money Pumps, Diachronic and Synchronic. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy:XX.
    The Money Pump argument is designed to demonstrate the irrational flaw of having cyclic preferences, by showing how the irrational agent is vulnerable to exploitation. The argument faces some longstanding objections, which point out how one may avoid the threat of exploitation without resolving the associated irrationality. Recently a new, synchronic version of Money Pump has been put forward which promises to undercut those standard objections. However, I argue that the synchronic Money Pump cannot deliver on its promise: parallel objections (...)
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  37. added 2014-10-21
    Frank J. Hoffman (2001-2002). “Karma in Buddhism and Jainism: Karma, Rebirth, and the Question of Transferability of Karma”. Indian Philosophical Annual 23.
  38. added 2014-10-16
    Luara Ferracioli (forthcoming). The Anarchist’s Myth: Autonomy, Children and State Legitimacy. Hypatia.
    Philosophical anarchists have made their living criticizing theories of state legitimacy and the duty to obey the law. The most prominent theories of state legitimacy have been called into doubt by the anarchist’s insistence that citizens’ lack of consent to the state renders the whole justificatory enterprise futile. Autonomy requires consent, they argue, and justification must respect autonomy. In this essay, I want to call into question the weight of consent in protecting our capacity for autonomy. I argue that if (...)
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  39. added 2014-10-13
    Carrie Figdor & Mark Phelan (forthcoming). Is Free Will Necessary for Moral Responsibility?: A Case for Rethinking Their Relationship and the Design of Experimental Studies in Moral Psychology. Mind and Language.
    Philosophical tradition has long held that free will is necessary for moral responsibility. We report experimental results that show that the folk do not think free will is necessary for moral responsibility. Our results also suggest that experimental investigation of the relationship is ill-served by a focus on incompatibilism vs. compatibilism. We propose an alternative framework for empirical moral psychology in which judgments of free will and moral responsibility can vary independently in response to many factors (including beliefs about determinism). (...)
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  40. added 2014-10-13
    Timothy Lane & Georg Northoff (forthcoming). Is Depressive Rumination Rational? In T. W. Hung (ed.), Reason and Rationality. Elsevier.
    Most mental disorders affect only a small segment of the population. On the reasonable assumption that minds or brains are prone to occasional malfunction, these disorders do not seem to pose distinctive explanatory problems. Depression, however, because it is so prevalent and costly, poses a conundrum that some try to explain by characterizing it as an adaptation—a trait that exists because it performed fitness-enhancing functions in ancestral populations. Heretofore, proposed evolutionary explanations of depression did not focus on thought processes; instead, (...)
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  41. added 2014-10-11
    Joshua Shepherd (forthcoming). Scientific Challenges to Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Philosophy Compass.
    Here I review work from three lines of research in cognitive science often taken to threaten free will and moral responsibility. This work concerns conscious deciding, the experience of acting, and the role of largely unnoticed situational influences on behavior. Whether this work in fact threatens free will and moral responsibility depends on how we ought to interpret it, and depends as well on the nature of free and responsible behavior. I discuss different ways this work has been interpreted, and (...)
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  42. added 2014-10-11
    Joshua Shepherd (forthcoming). Conscious Action/Zombie Action. Noûs.
    I argue that the neural realizers of experiences of trying (that is, experiences of directing effort towards the satisfaction of an intention) are not distinct from the neural realizers of actual trying (that is, actual effort directed towards the satisfaction of an intention). I then ask how experiences of trying might relate to the perceptual experiences one has while acting. First, I assess recent zombie action arguments regarding conscious visual experience, and I argue that contrary to what some have claimed, (...)
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  43. added 2014-10-11
    Joshua Shepherd (2014). Deciding as Intentional Action: Control Over Decisions. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    Common-sense folk psychology and mainstream philosophy of action agree about decisions: these are under an agent's direct control, and are thus intentional actions for which agents can be held responsible. I begin this paper by presenting a problem for this view. In short, since the content of the motivational attitudes that drive deliberation and decision remains open-ended until the moment of decision, it is unclear how agents can be thought to exercise control over what they decide at the moment of (...)
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  44. added 2014-10-10
    Brendan Dill & Richard Holton (2014). The Addict in Us All. Frontiers in Psychiatry 5 (139):01-20.
    In this paper, we contend that the psychology of addiction is similar to the psychology of ordinary, non-addictive temptation in important respects, and explore the ways in which these parallels can illuminate both addiction and ordinary action. The incentive salience account of addiction proposed by Robinson and Berridge (1993; 2001; 2008) entails that addictive desires are not in their nature different from many of the desires had by non-addicts; what is different is rather the way that addictive desires are acquired, (...)
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  45. added 2014-10-09
    Matthew A. Benton (2014). Knowledge Norms. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:nn-nn.
    Encyclopedia entry covering the growing literature on the Knowledge Norm of Assertion (and its rivals), the Knowledge Norm of Action (and pragmatic encroachment), the Knowledge Norm of Belief, and the Knowledge Norm of Disagreement.
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  46. added 2014-10-08
    Patrick Todd (forthcoming). Future Contingents Are All False! On Behalf of a Russellian Open Future. Mind.
    There is a familiar debate between Russell and Strawson concerning bivalence and ‘the present King of France’. According to the Strawsonian view, ‘The present King of France is bald’ is neither true nor false, whereas, on the Russellian view, that proposition is simply false. In this paper, I develop what I take to be a crucial (and unnoticed) connection between this debate and a different domain where bivalence has been at stake: future contingents. On the familiar ‘Aristotelian’ view, future contingent (...)
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  47. added 2014-10-02
    Jonathan Way (forthcoming). Reasons as Premises of Good Reasoning. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Many philosophers have been attracted to the view that normative reasons are premises of good reasoning – that for some consideration to be a normative reason to φ is for it to be the premise of good reasoning towards φ-ing. However, while this reasoning view is indeed attractive, it faces a problem accommodating outweighed reasons. In this paper, I argue that the standard solution to this problem is unsuccessful, and propose an alternative, which draws on the idea that good patterns (...)
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  48. added 2014-09-30
    Gunnar Björnsson (2014). Essentially Shared Obligations. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):103-120.
    This paper lists a number of puzzles for shared obligations – puzzles about the role of individual influence, individual reasons to contribute towards fulfilling the obligation, about what makes someone a member of a group sharing an obligation, and the relation between agency and obligation – and proposes to solve them based on a general analysis of obligations. On the resulting view, shared obligations do not presuppose joint agency.
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  49. added 2014-09-29
    Randolph Clarke (2014). Agency and Incompatibilism. Res Philosophica 91 (3).
    This paper is part of a symposium discussing Helen Steward's A METAPHYSICS FOR FREEDOM. Steward argues for what she calls Agency Incompatibilism: agency itself is incompatible with determinism. This paper examines what Steward presents as her main argument for Agency Incompatibilism and finds it wanting.
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  50. added 2014-09-29
    Randolph Clarke (2014). Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophical theories of agency have focused primarily on actions and activities. But, besides acting, we often omit to do or refrain from doing certain things. How is this aspect of our agency to be conceived? This book offers a comprehensive account of omitting and refraining, addressing issues ranging from the nature of agency and moral responsibility to the metaphysics of absences and causation. Topics addressed include the role of intention in intentional omission, the connection between negligence and omission, the distinction (...)
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