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  1. Intentional Mind-Wandering as Intentional Omission: The Surrealist Method.Santiago Arango-Munoz & Juan Pablo Bermúdez - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Mind-wandering seems to be paradigmatically unintentional. However, experimental findings have yielded the paradoxical result that mind-wandering can also be intentional. In this paper, we first present the paradox of intentional mind-wandering and then explain intentional mind-wandering as the intentional omission to control one’s own thoughts. Finally, we present the surrealist method for artistic production to illustrate how intentional omission to control thoughts can be deployed towards creative endeavours.
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  2. What Is the Bearing of Thinking on Doing?Marshall Bierson & John Schwenkler - forthcoming - In Adrian Haddock & Rachael Wiseman (eds.), The Anscombean Mind. Routledge.
    What a person is doing often depends on that person’s thought about what they are doing, or about the wider circumstances of their action. For example, whether my killing is murder or manslaughter depends, in part, on whether I understand that what I am doing is killing you, and on whether I understand that my killing is unjustified. Similarly, if I know that the backpack I am taking is yours, then my taking it may be an act of theft; but (...)
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  3. A Regulative Theory of Basic Intentional Omissions.Philippe A. Lusson - forthcoming - Synthese.
    The folk picture of agency suggests that human beings have basic agency over some of their omissions. For example, someone may follow through on a decision never to support a political party without doing anything in order to make themselves omit. A number of features appear to signal their agency: the omission is not just called intentional, it is also seen as an achievement and explained in terms of the reasons for the decision. Some philosophers have tried to debunk the (...)
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  4. Moral Responsibility for Actions and Omissions: The Asymmetry Thesis Rejected.David Palmer & Yuanyuan Liu - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-13.
    There is an important contemporary debate in moral responsibility about whether the following asymmetry thesis is true: moral responsibility for actions does not require alternative possibilities but moral responsibility for omissions does. In this paper, we do two things. First, we consider and reject a recent argument against the asymmetry thesis, contending that the argument fails because it rests on a false view about the metaphysics of omissions. Second, we develop and defend a new argument against the asymmetry thesis, one (...)
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  5. Two Problems for the Constitution View of Omissions: A Reply to Palmer.Jonathan D. Payton - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-9.
    Palmer defends the ‘Constitution View’ of omissions. According to this view, every omission is constituted by, though not identical to, some positive event. I argue that Palmer’s version of this view can’t do all the work he wants it to do. First, it can’t provide an answer to the ontological question to which he addresses himself: ‘What kind of thing is an omission?’ Second, it doesn’t give us the resources to determine which positive events serve as the ultimate constituters of (...)
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  6. Environmental Racism: A Causal and Historical Account.Ariela Tubert - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
    This paper develops a philosophical account of environmental racism and explains why having such an account is worthwhile. After reviewing some data points and common uses of the term linking environmental racism to the distribution of environmental burdens by race, I argue that environmental racism should be understood as referring to an unequal distribution caused by a history of racism. Environmental racism is thus analyzed in terms of two conditions: first, that environmental burdens and benefits be distributed according to race, (...)
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  7. Semicompatibilism and Moral Responsibility for Actions and Omissions: In Defence of Symmetrical Requirements.Taylor W. Cyr - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):349-363.
    Although convinced by Frankfurt-style cases that moral responsibility does not require the ability to do otherwise, semicompatibilists have not wanted to accept a parallel claim about moral responsibility for omissions, and so they have accepted asymmetrical requirements on moral responsibility for actions and omissions. In previous work, I have presented a challenge to various attempts at defending this asymmetry. My view is that semicompatibilists should give up these defenses and instead adopt symmetrical requirements on moral responsibility for actions and omissions, (...)
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  8. Much Ado About Nothing: The Mental Representation of Omissive Relations.Sangeet Khemlani, Paul Bello, Gordon Briggs, Hillary Harner & Christina Wasylyshyn - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    When the absence of an event causes some outcome, it is an instance of omissive causation. For instance, not eating lunch may cause you to be hungry. Recent psychological proposals concur that the mind represents causal relations, including omissive causal relations, through mental simulation, but they disagree on the form of that simulation. One theory states that people represent omissive causes as force vectors; another states that omissions are representations of contrasting counterfactual simulations; a third argues that people think about (...)
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  9. Negative Actions: Events, Absences, and the Metaphysics of Agency.Jonathan D. Payton - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
    Three claims are widely held and individually plausible, but jointly inconsistent: (1) Negative actions (intentional omissions, refrainments, etc.) are genuine actions; (2) All actions are events; (3) Some, and perhaps all, negative actions aren't events, but absences thereof (when I omit to raise my arm, no omission-event occurs; what happens is just that no arm-raising occurs). Drawing on resources from metaphysics and the philosophy of language, I argue that (3) is false. Negative actions are events, just as ordinary actions are. (...)
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  10. Omissions: The Constitution View Defended.David Palmer - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (3):739-756.
    Omissions are metaphysically puzzling: Are they something or are they nothing? This paper develops and defends the constitution view of omissions, according to which a correct analysis of a person’s omission has the form “S omitted to X by Y-ing,” where her Y-ing is what constitutes her not-X-ing. The paper explains why the constitution view should be preferred to other views of omissions and defends the view against objections.
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  11. Investigating the Other Side of Agency: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Intentional Omissions.Kaisa Kärki - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Jyväskylä
    This study develops conceptual means in philosophy of agency to better and more systematically address intentional omissions of agents, including those that are about resisting the action not done. I argue that even though philosophy of agency has largely concentrated on the actions of agents, when applying philosophy of action to the social sciences, a full-blown theoretical account of what agents do not do and a non-normative conceptual language of the phenomena in question is needed. Chapter 2 aims to find (...)
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  12. Toimijuuden piilevästä puolesta.Kaisa Kärki - 2019 - Ajatus 75 (1):359-365.
    Tarkoitukselliset tekemättä jättämiset ovat osa toimijuutta siinä missä tarkoitukselliset teotkin. Tarkoitukselliset tekemättä jättämiset ovat kuitenkin piileviä toimijuuden ilmentymiä siinä mielessä, että on vaikea ulkopuolisen tarkkailijan näkökulmasta sanoa, jättääkö joku jotakin tekemättä tarkoituksella vai vahingossa. Teon filosofista lähestymistapaa tarvitaan siksi sen selvittämiseen, mitä tapahtuu, kun ihminen tarkoituksella jättää teon tekemättä. -/- Filosofinen työ pystyy erottelemaan tekemättä jättämisiä toisistaan, etsimään niiden välttämättömiä ja riittäviä ehtoja ja sijoittamaan ne osaksi toimijuutemme kokonaisuutta. Käsitteellinen työ auttaa tekemään piilevistä ilmiöistä todellisia antamalla niille nimen. Ontologinen työ (...)
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  13. Material Contribution, Responsibility, and Liability.Christian Barry - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (6):637-650.
    In her inventive and tightly argued book Defensive Killing, Helen Frowe defends the view that bystanders—those who do not pose threats to others—cannot be liable to being harmed in self-defence or in defence of others. On her account, harming bystanders always infringes their rights against being harmed, since they have not acted in any way to forfeit them. According to Frowe, harming bystanders can be justified only when it constitutes a lesser evil. In this brief essay, I make the case (...)
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  14. I’M Just Sitting Around Doing Nothing: On Exercising Intentional Agency in Omitting to Act.Andrei Buckareff - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4617-4635.
    In some recent work on omissions, it has been argued that the causal theory of action cannot account for how agency is exercised in intentionally omitting to act in the same way it explains how agency is exercised in intentional action. Thus, causalism appears to provide us with an incomplete picture of intentional agency. I argue that causalists should distinguish causalism as a general theory of intentional agency from causalism as a theory of intentional action. Specifically, I argue that, while (...)
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  15. Not Doings as Resistance.Kaisa Kärki - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (4):364-384.
    What does it mean to intentionally not perform an action? Is it possible to not perform an action out of resistant intention? Is there sufficient language for talking about this kind of behavior in the social sciences? In this article, a nonnormative vocabulary of not doings including resistant intentional omissions is developed. Unlike concepts that describe official, overt, and public resistance, James Scott’s everyday resistance and Albert Hirschman’s exit have made it possible to talk about the resistant inactions of agents (...)
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  16. How to Identify Negative Actions with Positive Events.Jonathan D. Payton - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):87-101.
    It is often assumed that, while ordinary actions are events, ‘negative actions’ are absences of events. I claim that a negative action is an ordinary, ‘positive’ event that plays a certain role. I argue that my approach can answer standard objections to the identity of negative actions and positive events.
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  17. Omissions as Events and Actions.Kenneth Silver - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (1):33-48.
    We take ourselves to be able to omit to perform certain actions and to be at times responsible for these omissions. Moreover, omissions seem to have effects and to be manifestations of our agency. So, it is natural to think that omissions must be events. However, very few people writing on this topic have been willing to argue that omissions are events. Such a view is taken to face three significant challenges: (i) omissions are thought to be somehow problematically negative, (...)
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  18. Causal Relevance, Permissible Omissions, and Famine Relief.Chad Vance - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (1):25-47.
    Failures are sometimes, but not always, causally relevant to events. For instance, the failure of the sprinkler was causally relevant to the house fire. However, the failure of the dam upstream to break (thus inundating the house with water) was not. Similarly, failures to prevent harms are sometimes, but not always, morally wrong. For instance, failing to save a nearby drowning child is morally wrong. Yet, you are also in some sense “allowing” someone on another continent to drown right now, (...)
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  19. Omissions and Expectations: A New Approach to the Things We Failed to Do.Pascale Willemsen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1587-1614.
    Imagine you and your friend Pierre agreed on meeting each other at a café, but he does not show up. What is the difference between a friend’s not showing up meeting? and any other person not coming? In some sense, all people who did not come show the same kind of behaviour, but most people would be willing to say that the absence of a friend who you expected to see is different in kind. In this paper, I will spell (...)
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  20. Blameworthiness and Unwitting Omissions.Randolph Clarke - 2017 - In Dana Kay Nelkin and Samuel C. Rickless (ed.), The Ethics and Law of Omissions. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 63-83.
    This paper argues that agents can be directly blameworthy for unwitting omissions. The view developed focuses on the capacities and abilities of agents.
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  21. Moral Responsibility for Actions and Omissions: A New Challenge to the Asymmetry Thesis.Taylor Cyr - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3153-3161.
    This paper presents a new challenge to the thesis that moral responsibility for an omission requires the ability to do the omitted action, whereas moral responsibility for an action does not require the ability to do otherwise than that action. Call this the asymmetry thesis. The challenge arises from the possibility of cases in which an omission is identical to an action. In certain of such cases, the asymmetry thesis leads to a contradiction. The challenge is then extended to recent (...)
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  22. The Logical Form of Negative Action Sentences.Jonathan D. Payton - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6):855-876.
    It is typically assumed that actions are events, but there is a growing consensus that negative actions, like omissions and refrainments, are not events, but absences thereof. If so, then we must either deny the obvious, that we can exercise our agency by omitting and refrainment, or give up on event-based theories of agency. I trace the consensus to the assumption that negative action sentences are negative-existentials, and argue that this is false. The best analysis of negative action sentences treats (...)
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  23. Causation, Norms, and Omissions: A Study of Causal Judgments.Randolph Clarke, Joshua Shepherd, John Stigall, Robyn Repko Waller & Chris Zarpentine - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):279-293.
    Many philosophical theories of causation are egalitarian, rejecting a distinction between causes and mere causal conditions. We sought to determine the extent to which people's causal judgments discriminate, selecting as causes counternormal events—those that violate norms of some kind—while rejecting non-violators. We found significant selectivity of this sort. Moreover, priming that encouraged more egalitarian judgments had little effect on subjects. We also found that omissions are as likely as actions to be judged as causes, and that counternormative selectivity appears to (...)
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  24. Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility.Randolph Clarke - 2014 - 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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  25. Moore and Schaffer on the Ontology of Omissions.David Hommen - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):71-89.
    In this paper, I discuss Michael Moore’s and Jonathan Schaffer’s views on the ontology of omissions in context of their stances on the problem of omissive causation. First, I consider, from a general point of view, the question of the ontology of omissions, and how it relates to the problem of omissive causation. Then I describe Moore’s and Schaffer’s particular views on omissions and how they combine with their stances on the problem of omissive causation. I charge Moore and Schaffer (...)
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  26. Causalism and Intentional Omission.Joshua Shepherd - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):15-26.
    It is natural to think that at root, agents are beings that act. Agents do more than this, however – agents omit to act. Sometimes agents do so intentionally. How should we understand intentional omission? Recent accounts of intentional omission have given causation a central theoretical role. The move is well-motivated. If some form of causalism about intentional omission can successfully exploit similarities between action and omission, it might inherit the broad support causalism about intentional action enjoys. In this paper (...)
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  27. Omissions as Causes – Genuine, Quasi, or Not at All?David Hommen & Dieter Birnbacher - 2013 - In Markus Stepanians & Benedikt Kahmen (eds.), Critical Essays on "Causation and Responsibility". De Gruyter. pp. 133-156.
    Moore is one of the many law theorists who doubt that omissions can operate as factors in the causation of events and that in cases in which potential agents remain passive in spite of an obligation to intervene ascriptions of responsibility are justified exclusively by non-causal factors. The paper argues that this is an uneasy and essentially unstable position. It also shows that Moore himself, in Causation and Responsibility, does not consistently follow his exclusion of a causal role of omission (...)
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  28. Absence of Action.Randolph Clarke - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):361-376.
    Often when one omits to do a certain thing, there's no action that is one's omission; one's omission, it seems, is an absence of any action of some type. This paper advances the view that an absence of an action--and, in general, any absence--is nothing at all: there is nothing that is an absence. Nevertheless, it can result from prior events that one omits to do a certain thing, and there can be results of the fact that one omits to (...)
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  29. What is an Omission?Randolph Clarke - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):127-143.
    This paper examines three views of what an omission or an instance of refraining is. The view advanced is that in many cases, an omission is simply an absence of an action of some type. However, generally one’s not doing a certain thing counts as an omission only if there is some norm, standard, or ideal that calls for one’s doing that thing.
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  30. Praise and Prevention.Matthew Talbert - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (1):47-61.
    I argue that it is possible to prevent (and to be praiseworthy for preventing) an unwelcome outcome that had no chance of occurring. I motivate this position by constructing examples in which it makes sense to explain the non-occurrence of a certain outcome by referring to a particular agent's intentional and willing behavior, and yet the non-occurrence of the outcome in question was ensured by factors external to the agent. I conclude that even if the non-occurrence of an unwelcome outcome (...)
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  31. Omissions, Responsibility, and Symmetry.Randolph Clarke - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3):594-624.
    It is widely held that one can be responsible for doing something that one was unable to avoid doing. This paper focuses primarily on the question of whether one can be responsible for not doing something that one was unable to do. The paper begins with an examination of the account of responsibility for omissions offered by John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza, arguing that in many cases it yields mistaken verdicts. An alternative account is sketched that jibes with and (...)
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  32. Responsibility, Mechanisms, and Capacities.Randolph Clarke - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):161-169.
    Frankfurt-style cases are supposed to show that an agent can be responsible for doing something even though the agent wasn’t able to do otherwise. Neil Levy has argued that the cases fail. Agents in such cases, he says, lack a capacity that they’d have to have in order to be responsible for doing what they do. Here it’s argued that Levy is mistaken. Although it may be that agents in Frankfurt-style cases lack some kind of capability, what they lack isn’t (...)
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  33. Most Ways I Could Move: Bennett's Act/Omission Distinction and the Behaviour Space.Fiona Woollard - 2011 - Mind 120 (477):155-182.
    The distinction between action and omission is of interest in both theoretical and practical philosophy. We use this distinction daily in our descriptions of behaviour and appeal to it in moral judgements. However, the very nature of the act/omission distinction is as yet unclear. Jonathan Bennett’s account of the distinction in terms of positive and negative facts is one of the most promising attempts to give an analysis of the ontological distinction between action and omission. According to Bennett’s account, an (...)
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  34. Causing Human Actions: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action.Jesús H. Aguilar & Andrei A. Buckareff (eds.) - 2010 - Bradford.
    The causal theory of action 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 sources (...)
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  35. Intentional Omissions.Randolph Clarke - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):158-177.
    It is argued that intentionally omitting requires having an intention with relevant content. And the intention must play a causal role with respect to one’s subsequent thought and conduct. Even if omissions cannot be caused, an account of intentional omission must be causal. There is a causal role for one’s reasons as well when one intentionally omits to do something.
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  36. Negative Acts.Stefanov Gheorghe - 2010 - Analele Universitatii Bucuresti - Filosofie (LIX):3-9.
    In this paper I try to use the conceptual framework of the speech act theory to clarify a few points regarding the philosophical debate about the existence of negative acts. For this, I start by looking at some of the most popular candidates to this title: failing, omitting, avoiding and refraining. In the second part of my paper I consider some examples of verbal actions and try to investigate how would the property of 'being negative' apply to them, concluding that (...)
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  37. Killing, Letting Die, and the Case for Mildly Punishing Bad Samaritanism.Ken Levy - 2010 - Georgia Law Review 44:607-695.
    For over a century now, American scholars (among others) have been debating the merits of “bad Samaritan” laws — laws punishing people for failing to attempt easy and safe rescues. Unfortunately, the opponents of bad Samaritan laws have mostly prevailed. In the United States, the “no-duty-to-rescue” rule dominates. Only four states have passed bad Samaritan laws, and these laws impose only the most minimal punishment — either sub-$500 fines or short-term imprisonment. -/- This Article argues that every state should criminalize (...)
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  38. A Companion to the Philosophy of Action.Timothy O'Connor & Constantine Sandis (eds.) - 2010 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    A Companion to the Philosophy of Action offers a comprehensive overview of the issues and problems central to the philosophy of action. The first volume to survey the entire field of philosophy of action (the central issues and processes relating to human actions). Brings together specially commissioned chapters from international experts. Discusses a range of ideas and doctrines, including rationality, free will and determinism, virtuous action, criminal responsibility, Attribution Theory, and rational agency in evolutionary perspective. Individual chapters also cover prominent (...)
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  39. Agential Reasons and the Explanation of Human Behaviour.Peter Hacker - 2009 - In Constantine Sandis (ed.), New Essays on the Explanation of Action. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 75--93.
  40. The Four Faces of Omission: Ontology, Terminology, Epistemology, and Ethics.Giovanni Boniolo & Gabriele De Anna - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (3):277 – 293.
    In this paper, the ontological, terminological, epistemological, and ethical aspects of omission are considered in a coherent and balanced framework, based on the idea that there are omissions which are actions and omissions which are non-actions. In particular, we suggest that the approach to causation which best deals with omission is Mackie's INUS conditional proposal. We argue that omissions are determined partly by the ontological conditional structure of reality, and partly by the interests, beliefs, and values of observers. The final (...)
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  41. Agents and Their Actions.Johannes L. Brandl, Marian David & Leopold Stubenberg (eds.) - 2001 - Rodopi.
    IntroductionE.J. LOWE: Event Causation and Agent CausationRalf STOECKER: Agents in ActionGeert KEIL: How Do We Ever Get Up? On the Proximate Causation of Actions and EventsMaria ALVAREZ: Letting Happen, Omissions, and CausationFrederick STOUTLAND: Responsive Action and the Belief-Desire ModelMarco IORIO: How Are Agents Related to Their Actions? The Existentialist ResponseJens KULENKAMPFF: What Oedipus Did When He Married Jocasta or What Ancient Tragedy Tells Us About Agents, Their Actions, and the WorldRüdiger BITTNER: Agents as RulersMonika BETZLER: How Can an Agent Rationally (...)
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  42. Reactive Attitudes, Reactivity, and Omissions. [REVIEW]Alfred R. Mele - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):447-452.
    Regarding a recent book of mine, John Fischer wrote : “I am faced with the difficult task of doing a critical notice of a book, with almost all of which I agree!” I face a similar task here. Fischer and Ravizza’s Responsibility and Control is an excellent book. It develops, in admirable detail, an attractive compatibilist position on moral responsibility in a trio of related spheres—actions, consequences, and omissions—and it presents powerful objections to leading arguments for incompatibilism. Incompatibilists undoubtedly will (...)
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  43. I Intend That We J.Michael Bratman - 1999 - In Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and Agency. Cambridge University Press. pp. 142–161.
  44. Blanks: Signs of Omission.Roy Sorensen - 1999 - American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):309 - 322.
    The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes -- ah, that is where the art resides." -- Artur Schabel..
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  45. Contemporary Action Theory.Ghita Holmström-Hintikka & Raimo Tuomela - 1997
  46. An Essay on Human Action.Carl Ginet & Michael J. Zimmerman - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (1):114.
  47. Ethics and Action Theory on Refraining: A Familiar Refrain in Two Parts. [REVIEW]Patricia G. Smith - 1986 - Journal of Value Inquiry 20 (1):3-17.
    We can see from the analysis set out here that the two accounts that were the focus of consideration are complementary to one another. It has been my contention that a problem like specifying a concept such as ‘refrain’ is highly complex. One part of it is the problem of determining the relation between the action (or event) and the result. Another part of the problem is that of describing the event itself; what kind of an event is it? These (...)
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  48. Is the Distinction Between Positive Actions and Omissions Value-Neutral?Douglas N. Husak - 1985 - Tulane Studies in Philosophy 33:83-92.
  49. Milanich and the Structure of Omissions.Noah M. Lemos - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 47 (2):305 - 312.
  50. Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson.Ernest Lepore & Brian P. McLaughlin (eds.) - 1985 - Blackwell.
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