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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 2015-01-27
    Alex Worsnip (forthcoming). Narrow-Scoping for Wide-Scopers. Synthese.
    Many philosophers think that requirements of rationality are “wide-scope”. That is to say: they are requirements to satisfy some material conditional, such that one counts as satisfying the requirement iff one either makes the conditional’s antecedent false or makes its consequent true. These contrast with narrow-scope requirements, where the requirement takes scope only over the consequent of the conditional. Many of the philosophers who have preferred wide-scope requirements to narrow-scope requirements have also endorsed a corresponding semantic claim, namely that ordinary (...)
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  2. added 2015-01-27
    Michael Brent (2014). Understanding Strength of Will. In Fabio Bacchini Massimo Dell'Utri & Stefano Caputo (eds.), New Advances in Causation, Agency, and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 165-178.
    Richard Holton has presented an important criticism of two prominent accounts of action, a criticism that employs a notion of strength of will. Holton claims that these well-known accounts of action cannot explain cases in which an agent adheres to the dictates of a previous resolution in spite of a persistent desire to the contrary. In this chapter, I present an explanation and defense of Holton’s criticism of these accounts of action, and then I argue that while Holton highlights a (...)
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  3. added 2015-01-27
    Robert Briscoe (2014). Spatial Content and Motoric Significance. Avant (2):199-216.
    According to “actionism” (Noë 2010), perception constitutively depends on implicit knowledge of the way sensory stimulations vary as a consequence of the perceiver’s self-movement. My aim in this contribution is to develop an alternative conception of the role of action in perception present in the work of Gareth Evans using resources provided by Ruth Millikan’s biosemantic theory of mental representation.
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  4. added 2015-01-26
    Justin Clarke-Doane (forthcoming). Objectivity in Ethics and Mathematics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    How do axioms, or first principles, in ethics compare to those in mathematics? I argue that while there are similarities between the cases, these are premised on an assumption which can be questioned, and which highlights the peculiarity of normative inquiry.
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  5. added 2015-01-25
    Thomas H. Smith (2015). 'Shared Agency', Gilbert, and Deep Continuity. Journal of Social Ontology 1 (1).
    I compare Bratman’s theory with Gilbert’s. I draw attention to their similarities, query Bratman’s claim that his theory is the more parsimonious, and point to one theoretical advantage of Gilbert’s theory.
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  6. added 2015-01-24
    Erik Thomsen, Fred Read, William Duncan, Tatiana Malyuta & Barry Smith (2014). Ontological Support for Living Plan Specification, Execution and Evaluation. In Semantic Technology in Intelligence, Defense and Security (STIDS). 10-17.
    Maintaining systems of military plans is critical for military effectiveness, but is also challenging. Plans will become obsolete as the world diverges from the assumptions on which they rest. If too many ad hoc changes are made to intermeshed plans, the ensemble may no longer lead to well-synchronized and coordinated operations, resulting in the system of plans becoming itself incoherent. We describe in what follows an Adaptive Planning process that we are developing on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory (...)
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  7. added 2015-01-23
    Simon Kittle (forthcoming). Abilities to Do Otherwise. Philosophical Studies.
    In this paper I outline a number of features of intrinsic dispositions and abilities and discuss how these features are relevant to free will when the latter is understood as requiring the ability to do otherwise. In the first section I will argue that dispositions and abilities are properly characterised or defined not simply by a set of stimulus conditions and a manifestation type, but in addition by a set of circumstances (against which that manifestation is to be expected, given (...)
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  8. added 2015-01-22
    Rachel McKinnon (forthcoming). Trans*Formative Experiences. Res Philosophica 92 (2).
    What happens when we consider transformative experiences from the perspective of gender transitions? In this paper I suggest that at least two insights emerge. First, trans* persons’ experiences of gender transitions show some limitations to L.A. Paul’s (forthcoming) decision theoretic account of transformative decisions. This will involve exploring some of the phenomenology of coming to know that one is trans, and in coming to decide to transition. Second, what epistemological effects are there to undergoing a transformative experience? By connecting some (...)
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  9. added 2015-01-21
    Paul Weirich (2015). Models of Decision-Making: Simplifying Choices. Cambridge University Press.
    The options in a decision problem generally have outcomes with common features. Putting aside the common features simplifies deliberations, but the simplification requires a philosophical justification that this book provides.
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  10. added 2015-01-21
    Andrei A. Buckareff (2014). Deciding to Believe Redux. In Jonathan Matheson Rico Vitz (ed.), The Ethics of Belief: Epistemic Norms and Social Contexts. Oxford University Press. 33-50.
    The ways in which we exercise intentional agency are varied. I take the domain of intentional agency to include all that we intentionally do versus what merely happens to us. So the scope of our intentional agency is not limited to intentional action. One can also exercise some intentional agency in omitting to act and, importantly, in producing the intentional outcome of an intentional action. So, for instance, when an agent is dieting, there is an exercise of agency both with (...)
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  11. added 2015-01-21
    Jennifer Hornsby, The Standard Story of Action: An Exchange.
    Book synopsis: The causal theory of action (CTA) is widely recognized in the literature of the philosophy of action as the "standard story" of human action and agency—the nearest approximation in the field to a theoretical orthodoxy. This volume brings together leading figures working in action theory today to discuss issues relating to the CTA and its applications, which range from experimental philosophy to moral psychology. Some of the contributors defend the theory while others criticize it; some draw from historical (...)
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  12. added 2015-01-19
    Richard Bradley & H. Orri Stefánsson (forthcoming). Counterfactual Desirability. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The desirability of what actually occurs is often influenced by what could have been. Preferences based on such value dependencies between actual and counterfactual outcomes generate a class of problems for orthodox decision theory, the best-known perhaps being the so-called Allais Paradox. In this paper we solve these problems by extending Richard Jeffrey's decision theory to counterfactual prospects, using a multidimensional possible-world semantics for conditionals, and showing that preferences that are sensitive to counterfactual considerations can still be desirability maximising. We (...)
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  13. added 2015-01-16
    Hanoch Ben-Yami (2015). On Free Will and on the Nature of Philosophy. Iyyun 64:89-96.
  14. added 2015-01-08
    Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). Preference and Choice. Dissertation, Royal Institute of Technology
  15. added 2015-01-06
    Daniel Whiting (forthcoming). The Glass is Half Empty: A New Argument for Pessimism About Aesthetic Testimony. British Journal of Aesthetics.
    Call the view that it is possible to acquire aesthetic knowledge via testimony, optimism, and its denial, pessimism. In this paper, I offer a novel argument for pessimism. It works by turning attention away from the basis of the relevant belief, namely, testimony, and toward what that belief in turn provides a basis for, namely, other attitudes. In short, I argue that an aesthetic belief acquired via testimony cannot provide a rational basis for further attitudes, such as admiration, and that (...)
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  16. added 2015-01-06
    Tomasz Żuradzki (2014). Trzeci rodzaj normatywności – wymóg reagowania na racje. Filozofia Nauki 88 (4):35-51.
    Celem artykułu jest krytyka przyjętego przez niektórych filozofów podziału na normatywność w podstawowym sensie oraz normatywność wymogów wąsko rozumianej racjonalności. Pokazuję, że podział taki nie jest wyczerpujący, ponieważ pomija ważny typ wymogów normatywnych, a mianowicie reagowanie na racje. Z jednej strony tego rodzaju wymogi nie przypominają wymogów normatywnych w podstawowym sensie, a z drugiej — istotnie różnią się od racjonalności rozumianej jako spójność między nastawieniami. Dochodzę do wniosku, że reagowanie na racje należy uznać za trzeci typ wymogów normatywnych.
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  17. added 2015-01-06
    Tomasz Żuradzki (2012). Internalizm i eksternalizm w metaetyce. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego.
    Książka dotyczy trzech powiązanych z sobą zagadnień: internalizmu racji działania, internalizmu motywacyjnego i tzw. hume’owskiej teorii motywacji. Próbuje odpowiedzieć m.in. na następujące pytania: Czy wolno nam stwierdzić, że ktoś powinien coś zrobić, nawet gdy nie może być motywowany do tego działania? Czy można szczerze akceptować jakiś osąd moralny i nie być motywowanym do postępowania zgodnie z jego zaleceniami? Czy normy moralne służą tak naprawdę realizacji egoistycznych pragnień, czy może są fikcją wpajaną przez instytucje społeczne? Autor pokazuje, jak wiele współcześnie dyskutowanych (...)
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  18. added 2015-01-05
    Clayton Littlejohn (forthcoming). How and Why Knowledge is First. In A. Carter, E. Gordon & B. Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge First. Oxford University Press.
    A defense of the idea that knowledge is first in the sense that there is nothing prior to knowledge that puts reasons or evidence in your possession. Includes a critical discussion of the idea that perception or perceptual experience might provide reasons and a defense of a knowledge-first approach to justified belief.
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  19. added 2015-01-05
    Kevin Reuter, Lara Kirfel, Raphael Van Riel & Luca Barlassina (2014). The Good, the Bad, and the Timely: How Temporal Order and Moral Judgment Influence Causal Selection. Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-10.
    Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...)
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  20. added 2015-01-05
    William Simkulet, What Moral Responsibility Requires.
    The primary goal of this dissertation is to articulate and defend a robust commonsense libertarian theory of moral responsibility; that moral agents are the causes, and owners, of their actions, and in virtue of this it is appropriate to hold them praiseworthy or blameworthy for what they do. Here, I critique and defend two commonsense principles concerning moral responsibility - the control principle, and the principle of alternate possibilities. In recent years these principles have come under attack from philosophers seeking (...)
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  21. added 2015-01-04
    Christine Tappolet (forthcoming). Reasons and Emotions. In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity.
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  22. added 2015-01-04
    Christine Tappolet (2014). Emotions, Reasons, and Autonomy. In Andrea Veltman & Mark C. Piper (eds.), Autonomy, Oppression and Gender. Oxford University Press. 163-180.
    Personal autonomy is often taken to consist in self-government or self-determination. Personal autonomy thus seems to require self-control. However, there is reason to think that autonomy is compatible with the absence of self-control. Akratic action, i.e., action performed against the agent’s better judgement, can be free. And it is also plausible to think that free actions require autonomy. It is only when you determine what you do yourself that you act freely. It follows that akratic actions can be autonomous. At (...)
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  23. added 2015-01-04
    Christine Tappolet (2013). Comment la procrastination est-elle possible? Procrastination, souci de soi et identité personnelle. Repha 7:13-43.
    As common experience confirms, procrastination seems not only possible, but widespread. However, procrastination should not be taken for granted. Often, the procrastinator harms herself knowingly. It thus clearly seems that such a person lacks the self-concern that usually characterises us. After having spelled out what procrastination is, and having explored its main varieties, I consider the relation between procrastination and risk-taking. After this, I discuss the implications of this phenomenon for the debates about personal identity. The upshot, I argue, is (...)
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  24. added 2015-01-04
    Christine Tappolet (2009). Faiblesse de la Volonté Et Autonomie. In René Lefebvre & Alonso Tordesillas (eds.), Faiblesse de la volonté et maîtrise de soi. Presses Universitaires de Rennes. 191-203.
    Autonomy seems to require self-control. It also seems that acratic action results from a lack of self-control. Such actions would thus lack autonomy. However, there are reasons to think that acratic actions can be free. Since it is plausible to think that free actions necessarily are autonomous, one would have to conclude that acratic actions are autonomous. My aim is to evaluate the main solutions to this paradox.
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  25. added 2014-12-31
    Christopher Evan Franklin (forthcoming). Self-Determination, Self-Transformation, and the Case of Jean Valjean: A Problem for Velleman. Philosophical Studies:1-8.
    According to reductionists about agency, an agent’s bringing something about is reducible to states and events involving the agent bringing something about. Many have worried that reductionism cannot accommodate robust forms of agency, such as self-determination. One common reductionist answer to this worry contends that self-determining agents are identified with certain states and events, and so these states and events causing a decision counts as the agent’s self-determining the decision. In this paper I discuss J. David Velleman’s identification reductionist theory, (...)
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  26. added 2014-12-25
    Joëlle Proust (forthcoming). Time and Action: Impulsivity, Habit, Strategy. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-27.
    Granting that various mental events might form the antecedents of an action, what is the mental event that is the proximate cause of action? The present article reconsiders the methodology for addressing this question: Intention and its varieties cannot be properly analyzed if one ignores the evolutionary constraints that have shaped action itself, such as the trade-off between efficient timing and resources available, for a given stake. On the present proposal, three types of action, impulsive, routine and strategic, are designed (...)
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  27. added 2014-12-25
    Bruce D. Burns (forthcoming). Probabilistic Reasoning in the Two-Envelope Problem. Thinking and Reasoning:1-22.
    In the two-envelope problem, a reasoner is offered two envelopes, one containing exactly twice the money in the other. After observing the amount in one envelope, it can be traded for the unseen contents of the other. It appears that it should not matter whether the envelope is traded, but recent mathematical analyses have shown that gains could be made if trading was a probabilistic function of amount observed. As a problem with a purely probabilistic solution, it provides a potentially (...)
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  28. added 2014-12-22
    Andreas Dorschel (2010). Der ‘Kunstregelbau’. Kontrapunktik in Max Webers Fragment Zur Musiksoziologie. In Ulrich Tadday (ed.), Philosophie des Kontrapunkts. edition text + kritik. 135-142.
    In his social theory, Max Weber (1864 – 1920) attempts to identify patterns that have distinguished Western rationality. Music, he argues, is one of the domains that exhibit such structures. As a specific instance, Weber cites counterpoint as developed in 15th century Europe and – so he claims – culminating in Bach’s music. “No other epoch and culture possesses it”, Weber asserts. Counterpoint’s rationality is meant to manifest itself in rules; yet Weber’s approach lacks an analysis of such rules. Remarkably, (...)
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  29. added 2014-12-21
    Veikko Rantala (2011). Aesthetic Tension. Cognitive Aspects of Interpretation. Peter Lang.
    This is an interdisciplinary study of what is cognitively going on when we interpret, respresent, or evaluate cultural entities, works of art included. In addition, the role of interpretation in experience and in cultural objects is elucidated from a cognitive point of view. The book relies on theories of action, perception, possible worlds, modalities, intentionality. cognition, and brain research, and it contains anumber of case studies. The book ptovides some new insights into some much-discussed problems related to interpretation.
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  30. added 2014-12-19
    Christian List, Social Choice Theory. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social choice theory is the study of collective decision processes and procedures. It is not a single theory, but a cluster of models and results concerning the aggregation of individual inputs (e.g., votes, preferences, judgments, welfare) into collective outputs (e.g., collective decisions, preferences, judgments, welfare). Central questions are: How can a group of individuals choose a winning outcome (e.g., policy, electoral candidate) from a given set of options? What are the properties of different voting systems? When is a voting system (...)
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. added 2014-12-10
    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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  36. 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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  37. added 2014-12-07
    C. G. Pulman (2014). Voluntary Interventions. In , Hart on Responsibility. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  38. 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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  39. added 2014-12-02
    Christoph Jäger (2013). Das Konsequenzargument. In Rolf W. Puster (ed.), Klassische Argumentationen der Philosophie. 275-296.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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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  43. 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.
  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. added 2014-11-21
    Adam Morton (2014). Review of Bratman *Acting Together*. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 84.
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  48. added 2014-11-20
    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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  49. 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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  50. added 2014-11-16
    Patrick Todd, Manipulation. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
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