About this topic
Summary "Action Theory" as it is used here is the sub-area in the philosophy of action/agency that is concerned chiefly with the foundations of the broader sub-discipline. Central problems include the nature and scope of intentional action and agency, the explanation of action, and our knowledge of our actions. Most of the other problems that fall within the scope of this category at PhilPapers are closely related to such foundational questions.
Key works Perhaps the two most influential works that have shaped the current state of action theory are Anscombe 1957 and Davidson 1963. Davidson's essay is the locus classicus for the causal theory of action and for causalism about reason-explanations of actions. Anscombe's book has been influential among proponents of non-causal theories of action and reason-explanation. For a classic defense of the agent-causal perspective, see Chisholm 1966. And for a volitionist perspective, see McCann 1974. Some collections of essays that may help readers get a sense of the major debates in action theory today include Mele 1997, Aguilar & Buckareff 2010, Aguilar & Buckareff 2009, and D'Oro & Sandis 2013.
Introductions The following are good places to start to for those looking for guides to the current state of the art in action theory. Mele 2005 Mele 1992 Wilson 2008
Related categories
Subcategories:
Moral Responsibility* (2,403 | 403)
See also:

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  1. Action.Fred I. Dretske & Malcolm Knox - 1971 - Philosophical Review 80 (2):251.
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  2. 5. The New Problem of the Imputability of Actions.Robert Greenberg - 2016 - In The Bounds of Freedom: Kant’s Causal Theory of Action. De Gruyter. pp. 61-80.
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  3. 5. Rational Agency.Paul Fairfield - 2000 - In Moral Selfhood in the Liberal Tradition. University of Toronto Press. pp. 184-209.
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  4. Catholic Action and Unemployables.L. O'Hea - 1934 - New Blackfriars 15 (174):606-609.
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  5. The Apostolate of the Laity Through Catholic Action.Victor White - 1934 - New Blackfriars 15 (174):575-582.
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  6. The Action Ofeucomis Undulata, Ait.J. W. C. Gunn - 1922 - Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 10 (1):1-4.
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  7. The Action Ofurginea Burkei.J. W. C. Gunn - 1921 - Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 9 (2):197-204.
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  8. Some Proposals for Action.Luther H. Evans - 1962 - Isis 53 (1):101-105.
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  9. Sincere-Strategy Preference-Based Approval Voting Fully Resists Constructive Control and Broadly Resists Destructive Control.Gábor Erdélyi, Markus Nowak & Jörg Rothe - 2009 - Mathematical Logic Quarterly 55 (4):425-443.
    We study sincere-strategy preference-based approval voting, a system proposed by Brams and Sanver [1] and here adjusted so as to coerce admissibility of the votes, with respect to procedural control. In such control scenarios, an external agent seeks to change the outcome of an election via actions such as adding/deleting/partitioning either candidates or voters. SP-AV combines the voters' preference rankings with their approvals of candidates, where in elections with at least two candidates the voters' approval strategies are adjusted – if (...)
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  10. L'action. Tome II. L'action Humain Et les Conditions de Son Aboutissement. [REVIEW]B. G. - 1938 - Journal of Philosophy 35 (8):222-222.
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  11. 3. Thought and Action.Stuart Hampshire - 2016 - In Bernard Williams (ed.), Essays and Reviews: 1959-2002. Princeton University Press. pp. 8-17.
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  12. Human Thought and Action.Forrest E. Baird - 1992 - Upa.
    A book of readings in Western intellectual history focusing on the role of reason in human action. Contents:^ Plato: Myth of the Cave; Plato: ^IThe Four Virtues; Aristotle: Knowledge of Causes; Aristotle: The Types of Governments; Epicurus: Epicureanism; Epictetus: Stoicism; St. Augustine: The Platonist; St. Augustine: The Nature of Sources of Evil; St. Thomas Aquinas: The Four Laws; St. Thomas Aquinas: The Nature of the Soul; Pico: The Oration on the Dignity of Man; John Calvin: Reason, Sin and Illumination; St. (...)
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  13. A New American Agency. Russell - 1958 - Hibbert Journal 57:1.
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  14. LAWRENCE, R. "Motive and Intention". [REVIEW]O. Hanfling - 1975 - Mind 84:142.
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  15. The Philosophy of Action of Lok. B.G. Tilak's Githarahasya.V. Mangalvedkar - 1919 - Indian Literature Publishers.
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  16. Speech and Action in Heraclitus. On the Theoretical Foundations of Moral Action.Michel Fattal - 2013 - Archiwum Historii Filozofii I Myśli Społecznej 58.
    Doesn’t the originality of Heraclitus reside in elaborating, well before Socrates and Plato, a philosophical and theoretical reflection on the foundations of moral and political action? In what ways does Heraclitus envisage the relations between speech and action? The logos and epos of the philosopher, which are behind the doctrine of the harmony of opposites, don’t they offer a pathway, a stable criterion and norm for individual and collective action?Our contemporaries of the 21th century, conscious of the “crisis of values” (...)
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  17. Order, Action, Victimage.”.Kenneth Burke - 1968 - In Paul Grimley Kuntz (ed.), The Concept of Order. Seattle, Published for Grinnell College by the University of Washington Press. pp. 167--90.
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  18. WhatValues Underlie Our Actions?Graeme MacQueen - 2008 - In Neil Arya & Joanna Santa Barbara (eds.), Peace Through Health: How Health Professionals Can Work for a Less Violent World. Kumarian Press. pp. 1075.
  19. Action, See Interpreting Human Action Age Trends, 64 Harm Versus Intention, 65 Altruism. 430-434 Rescuers, 440-442.Sociomoral Competence Scales & Piaget Egocentrism - 1991 - In William M. Kurtines & Jacob L. Gewirtz (eds.), Handbook of Moral Behavior and Development. L. Erlbaum. pp. 459.
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  20. The Case for “Effector”: Case Roles, Agents, and Agency Revisited.Robert D. Van Valin & David Wilkins - 1996 - In Masayoshi Shibatani & Sandra Thompson (eds.), Grammatical Constructions. Clarendon Press.
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  21. 8 The Sources of Behavior: Toward a Naturalistic, Control Account of Agency.Bernhard Schlink - 2007 - In Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid & G. Lynn Stephens (eds.), Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context. MIT Press. pp. 123.
  22. 8 The Sources of Behavior: Toward a Naturalistic, Control Account of Agency.Mariam Thalos - 2007 - In Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid & G. Lynn Stephens (eds.), Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context. MIT Press. pp. 123--67.
  23. Control of Action and Interaction: Perceiving and Producing Effects in Action and Interaction with Objects1.Liselotte van Leeuwen, Franz Kaufrnann & Daniel Walther - 2000 - In Walter J. Perrig & Alexander Grob (eds.), Control of Human Behavior, Mental Processes, and Consciousness: Essays in Honor of the 60th Birthday of August Flammer. Erlbaum.
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  24. 1 Action by Cases.Krister Segerberg - 1995 - In G. Crocco, Luis Fariñas del Cerro & Andreas Herzig (eds.), Conditionals: From Philosophy to Computer Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 5--241.
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  25. How Not to Naturalize the Theory of Action.Peter Slezak - 1989 - In Computers, Brains and Minds. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 137--166.
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  26. The Mind's Construction: The Ontology of Mind and Mental Action.Matthew Soteriou - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Matthew Soteriou provides an original philosophical account of sensory and cognitive aspects of consciousness. He explores distinctions of temporal character in our mental lives--especially in relation to the exercise of agency--and illuminates the more general issue of the place and role of mental action in the metaphysics of mind.
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  27. The Social Dimension of Action Theory.Raimo Tuomela - 1991 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 3:145-158.
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  28. Les Apories de L'Action. Essai d'Une Épistémologie de l'Action Morale Et Politique, A. Kremer-Marietti.Benoît R. Timmermans - 1997 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 57:453.
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  29. A Call to Action.Gary Sprandel - 1982 - Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 12 (2):12-13.
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  30. Metaphysics of the Difference Between the Theoretical and the Practical: Towards the Responsibility for Our Own Action.V. Suvak - 2003 - Filozofia 58 (3):199-208.
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  31. Action.Richard Taylor & Malcolm Knox - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (80):305.
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  32. The Voluntary Action of the Earthly Christ and the Necessity of the Beatific Vision.Thomas Joseph White - 2005 - The Thomist 69 (4):497-534.
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  33. Interpassive Agency: Engaging Actor-Network-Theory's View on the Agency of Objects.Gijs van Oenen - 2011 - Theory and Event 14 (2).
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  34. Action.Elizabeth Telfer - 1969 - Philosophical Books 10 (3):13-15.
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  35. Action.G. N. A. Vesey - 1969 - Philosophical Books 10 (3):1-2.
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  36. Action and Purpose.Alan R. White - 1967 - Philosophical Books 8 (3):23-24.
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  37. Tudorel Andrei Ion Gh. Roşca Andreea Iluzia Iacob.Stelian Stancu - 2008 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 7 (21):20-43.
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  38. Cephalic Organization: Animacy and Agency.Jay Schulkin - 2008 - Contemporary Pragmatism 5 (1):61-77.
    Humans come prepared to recognize two fundamental features of our surroundings: animate objects and agents. This recognition begins early in ontogeny and pervades our ecological and social space. This cognitive capacity reveals an important adaptation and sets the conditions for pervasive shared experiences. One feature of our species and our evolved cephalic substrates is that we are prepared to recognize self-propelled action in others. Our cultural evolution is knotted to an expanding sense of shared experiences.
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  39. Being Human: The Problem of Agency.Don Seeman - 2003 - Common Knowledge 9 (1):167-168.
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  40. A Preliminary Investigation of the Effects of Mental Distraction Upon Muscular Fatigue.D. G. Ryans - 1935 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 18 (1):148.
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  41. The Relation to Being: The Analysts Place of Action.Colette Soler & Mario L. Beira - 2001 - Analysis (Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis) 10:137.
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  42. Ode to Sparklepony-Gamification in Action.Wendi Sierra & Kyle Stedman - forthcoming - Kairos.
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  43. Developing the Incentivized Action View of Institutional Reality.J. P. Smit, Filip8 Buekens & Stan Du Plessis - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8).
    Contemporary discussion concerning institutions focus on, and mostly accept, the Searlean view that institutional objects, i.e. money, borders and the like, exist in virtue of the fact that we collectively represent them as existing. A dissenting note has been sounded by Smit et al. (Econ Philos 27:1–22, 2011), who proposed the incentivized action view of institutional objects. On the incentivized action view, understanding a specific institution is a matter of understanding the specific actions that are associated with the institution and (...)
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  44. Editorial 1 Knowing One's Own Actions George Wilson/Proximal Practical Foresight 3–19 Kevin Falvey/Knowledge in Intention 21–44 Nomy Arpaly/Hamlet and the Utilitarians 45–57. [REVIEW]George Graham, Terence Horgan, Mary Mary & Quite Contrary - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 99 (1):373-374.
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  45. Levels of Personal Agency: Individual Variation in Action Identification.Robin R. Vallacher & Daniel M. Wegner - unknown
    This research examined individual differences in action identification level as measured by the Behavior Identification Form. Action identification theory holds that any action can be identified in many ways, ranging from low-level identities that specify how the action is performed to high-level identities that signify why or with what effect the action performed. People who identify action at a uniformly lower or higher level across many action domains, then, may be characterized in terms of their standing on a broad personality (...)
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  46. Almost Nothing Happening: An Essay on Action and Event.John Mullarkey - unknown
  47. Causality in Action.Kieran Setiya - 2013 - Analysis 73 (3):501-512.
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  48. Disciplined Agency.Alan Singer - 2008 - Clr James Journal 14 (1):151-156.
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  49. Essayson Actions and Events, D. Daviidson - Book Reviev.Jan Woleński - 1990 - Dialectics and Humanism 17 (1):178-179.
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  50. Attempt, Success and Action Generation.Daniel Vanderveken - 2002 - Manuscrito 25 (3):323-356.
    Contemporary philosophers have overall studied intentional actions that agents attempt to perform in the world. However, logicians of action have tended to neglect the intentionality proper to human action. I will present here the basic principles and laws of a logic of action where intentional actions are primary as in contemporary philosophy of action. In my view, any action that an agent performs unintentionally could in principle have been attempted. Moreover any unintentional action of an agent is an effect of (...)
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