Events

Abstract
Broadly understood, events are things that happen—things such as births and deaths, thunder and lightening, explosions, weddings, hiccups and hand-waves, dances, smiles, walks. Whether such things form a genuine metaphysical category is a question that has attracted the sustained interest of philosophers, especially in the second half of the 20th century. But there is little question that human perception, action, language, and thought manifest at least a prima facie commitment to entities of this sort: Pre-linguistic infants appear to be able to discriminate and “count” events. The content of adult perception, especially in the auditory realm, endorses the discrimination and recognition as events of some aspects of the perceived scene. Humans (and arguably other animals) form the intention to plan and execute actions, and to bring about changes in the world. Dedicated linguistic devices (such as verb tenses and aspects, nominalization of some verbs, certain proper names) are tuned to events and event structures, as opposed to entities and structures of other sorts. Thinking about the temporal, causal, and intentional aspects of the world seems to require parsing those aspects in terms of events and their descriptions. It is not clear to what extent such commitments are to be understood as an integrated phenomenon..
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