Before refraining: Concepts for agency [Book Review]
Erkenntnis 34 (2):137 - 169 (1991)
|Abstract||A structure is described that can serve as a foundation for a semantics for a modal agentive construction such as sees to it that Q ([ stit: Q]). The primitives are Tree,,Instant, Agent, choice. Eleven simple postulates governing this structure are set forth and motivated. Tree and encode a picture of branching time consisting of moments gathered into maximal chains called histories. Instant imposes a time-like ordering. Agent consists of agents, and choice assigns to each agent and each moment in Tree a set of possible choices, where each possible choice is a set of histories. All of these ingredients are referred to in the semantics suggested for [ stit: Q]. The most complex part of the discussion is the motivation for the definition of what it means for a typically non-terminating chain of moments jointly to witness the truth of [ stit: Q] at a moment.The paper begins with an informal account of the Refref conjecture, which says that the only way to refrain from refraining from seeing to something is to see to it. The paper ends with a consideration of an argument of Prior's that in a certain sense contemplation and action are inconsistent.|
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