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  1. Constraint satisfaction, agency and meaning generation as an evolutionary framework for a constructive biosemiotic (2019 update).Christophe Menant - manuscript
    Biosemiotics deal with the study of signs and meanings in living entities. Constructivism considers human knowledge as internally constructed by sense making rather than passively reflecting a pre-existing reality. Consequently, a constructivist perspective on biosemiotics leads to look at an internal active construction of meaning in living entities from basic life to humans. That subject is addressed with an existing tool: the Meaning Generator System (MGS) which is a system submitted to an internal constraint related to the nature of the (...)
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  2. Double Effect Donation or Bodily Respect? A "Third Way" Response to Camosy and Vukov.Anthony McCarthy & Helen Watt - forthcoming - Linacre Quarterly:1-17.
    Is it possible to donate unpaired vital organs, foreseeing but not intending one’s own death? We argue that this is indeed psychologically possible, and thus far agree with Charles Camosy and Joseph Vukov in their recent paper on “double effect donation.” Where we disagree with these authors is that we see double-effect donation not as a morally praiseworthy act akin to mar- tyrdom but as a morally impermissible act that necessarily disrespects human bodily integrity. Respect for bodily integrity goes beyond (...)
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  3. Luck, fate, and fortune: the tychic properties.Marcus William Hunt - 2024 - Philosophical Explorations:1-17.
    The paper offers an account of luck, fate, and fortune. It begins by showing that extant accounts of luck are deficient because they do not identify the genus of which luck is a species. That genus of properties, the tychic, alert an agent to occasions on which the external world cooperates with or frustrates their goal-achievement. An agent’s sphere of competence is the set of goals that it is possible for them to reliably achieve. Luck concerns occasions on which there (...)
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  4. The ‘Natural Unintelligibility’ of Normative Powers.Jed Lewinsohn - 2024 - Jurisprudence 15 (1):5-34.
    This paper offers an original argument for a Humean thesis about promising that generalises to the domain of normative powers. The Humean ‘natural unintelligibility’ thesis – prominently endorsed by Rawls, Hart, and Anscombe, and roundly rejected or forgotten by contemporary writers (conventionalists and non – conventionalists alike) – holds that a rational, suitably informed agent cannot so much as make a promise (much less a morally-binding promise) without exploiting conventional norms that confer promissory significance on act types (e.g., signing on (...)
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  5. What’s inside is all that counts? The contours of everyday thinking about self-control.Juan Pablo Bermúdez, Samuel Murray, Louis Chartrand & Sergio Barbosa - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (1):33-55.
    Does self-control require willpower? The question cuts to the heart of a debate about whether self-control is identical with some psychological process internal to the agents or not. Noticeably absent from these debates is systematic evidence about the folk-psychological category of self-control. Here, we present the results of two behavioral studies (N = 296) that indicate the structure of everyday use of the concept. In Study 1, participants rated the degree to which different strategies to respond to motivational conflict exemplify (...)
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  6. Unavoidable actions.Justin A. Capes - 2023 - Philosophical Explorations 27 (1):57-73.
    ABSTRACT It’s often assumed, especially in discussions of free will and moral responsibility, that unavoidable actions are possible. In recent years, however, several philosophers have questioned that assumption. Their views are considered here, and the possibility of unavoidable actions is defended and then applied to issues in action theory and in the literature on moral responsibility.
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  7. Bringing self-control into the future.Samuel Murray - 2023 - In Samuel Murray & Paul Henne (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Action. Bloomsbury. pp. 51-72.
    The standard story about self-control states that self-control is limited, aversive, and that the function of self-control is to resist impulses or temptation. Several cases are provided that challenge this standard story. An alternative, future-oriented account of self-control is defended, where the function of self-control is to manage interference that arises from overlapping information processing pathways. This provides a computationally tractable account of self-control rooted in one’s being vigilant. Self-control manifests the maintenance dimension of vigilance. This not only provides an (...)
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  8. Acts and Morals.Ori Simchen - 2023 - Metaphysics 6 (1):45-59.
    Smith shoots Jones intentionally but kills Jones unintentionally. How can a single act be both intentional and unintentional? Fine's theory of embodiment construes the compatibility of intentional shooting with unintentional killing through a pluralist framework of qua objects that distinguishes the act qua being a shooting from the act qua being a killing as two distinct qua objects. I compare this pluralist account with a more traditional monist take on qua modification according to which there is only one item there, (...)
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  9. Gregory of Nyssa on the Individuation of Actions and Events.Beau Branson - 2022 - In James Siemens & Joshua Matthan Brown (eds.), Eastern Christian Approaches to Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 123-148.
    Beau Branson rounds out the previous two chapters, by exploring the doctrine of inseparable operations ad extra in the writings of St Gregory of Nyssa. This doctrine says that all the activities of the three hypostases of the Trinity, at least insofar as they relate to things outside of (“ad extra”) the Trinity, are not only qualitatively identical but numerically identical. Importantly, Branson focuses his attention on Gregory’s theory of action and the individuation of events that emerges from his theological (...)
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  10. A Teleofunctionalist Solution to the Problem of Deviant Causal Chains of Actions.Jakob Roloff - 2022 - Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy (3-4):247-261.
    Donald Davidson’s causal theory of actions states that actions must be rationalized and caused by a belief-desire-pair. One problem of such a causal theory are cases of deviant causal chains. In these cases, the rationalized action is not caused in the right way but via a deviant causal chain. It therefore intuitively seems to be no action while all conditions of the causal theory are met. I argue that the problem of deviant causal chains can be solved by adding a (...)
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  11. Intelligent action guidance and the use of mixed representational formats.Joshua Shepherd - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 17):4143-4162.
    My topic is the intelligent guidance of action. In this paper I offer an empirically grounded case for four ideas: that [a] cognitive processes of practical reasoning play a key role in the intelligent guidance of action, [b] these processes could not do so without significant enabling work done by both perception and the motor system, [c] the work done by perceptual and motor systems can be characterized as the generation of information specialized for action guidance, which in turn suggests (...)
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  12. Seumas Miller on Knowing-How and Joint Abilities.Yuri Cath - 2020 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9:14-21.
    A critical discussion of Seumas Miller's view on knowing-how and joint abilities.
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  13. Agency as a Two-Way Power: A Defence.Helen Steward - 2020 - The Monist 103 (3):342-355.
    This paper presents a dilemma which it has been alleged by Kim Frost must be faced by any defender of the notion of a two-way power and offers a solution to the dilemma which is distinct from Frost’s own. The dilemma is as follows: assuming that powers are to be individuated by what they are powers to do or undergo, then either there is a unified description of the manifestation-type which individuates the power, or there is not. If there is, (...)
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  14. Meditation and the Scope of Mental Action.Michael Brent & Candace Upton - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):52-71.
    While philosophers of mind have devoted abundant time and attention to questions of content and consciousness, philosophical questions about the nature and scope of mental action have been relatively neglected. Galen Strawson’s account of mental action, arguably the most well-known extant account, holds that cognitive mental action consists in triggering the delivery of content to one’s field of consciousness. However, Strawson fails to recognize several distinct types of mental action that might not reduce to triggering content delivery. In this paper, (...)
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  15. Intelligibility and the Guise of the Good.Paul Boswell - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):1-31.
    According to the Guise of the Good, an agent only does for a reason what she sees as good. One of the main motivations for the view is its apparent ability to explain why action for a reason must be intelligible to its agent, for on this view, an action is intelligible just in case it seems good. This motivation has come under criticism in recent years. Most notably, Kieran Setiya has argued that merely seeing one’s action as good does (...)
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  16. Practical Knowledge as Knowledge of a Normative Judgment.Eric Marcus - 2018 - Manuscrito (4):319-347.
    According to one interpretation of Aristotle’s famous thesis, to say that action is the conclusion of practical reasoning is to say that action is itself a judgment about what to do. A central motivation for the thesis is that it suggests a path for understanding the non-observational character of practical knowledge. If actions are judgments, then whatever explains an agent’s knowledge of the relevant judgment can explain her knowledge of the action. I call the approach to action that accepts Aristotle’s (...)
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  17. Robots and us: towards an economics of the ‘Good Life’.C. W. M. Naastepad & Jesse M. Mulder - 2018 - Review of Social Economy:1-33.
    (Expected) adverse effects of the ‘ICT Revolution’ on work and opportunities for individuals to use and develop their capacities give a new impetus to the debate on the societal implications of technology and raise questions regarding the ‘responsibility’ of research and innovation (RRI) and the possibility of achieving ‘inclusive and sustainable society’. However, missing in this debate is an examination of a possible conflict between the quest for ‘inclusive and sustainable society’ and conventional economic principles guiding capital allocation (including the (...)
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  18. The Vague Time of a Killing.Kenneth Silver - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1383-1400.
    The problem of the time of a killing concerns exactly when and where to locate our actions. It is a problem for many of our actions beyond killing, and there are versions of the problem that can be raised no matter where your theory locates actions in particular. To answer the problem, I claim that we should be guided to the referent of ‘the killing’ by examining the definition of ‘to kill.’ Once we have the correct definition, we can see (...)
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  19. Process, Action, and Experience.Rowland Stout (ed.) - 2018 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    Process, Action, and Experience offers a radical new approach to the philosophy of mind and action, taking processes to be the central subject matter. An international team of contributors consider what kinds of things processes are, and explore the progressive nature of action and conscious experience.
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  20. Agent causation as a solution to the problem of action.Michael Brent - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):656-673.
    My primary aim is to defend a nonreductive solution to the problem of action. I argue that when you are performing an overt bodily action, you are playing an irreducible causal role in bringing about, sustaining, and controlling the movements of your body, a causal role best understood as an instance of agent causation. Thus, the solution that I defend employs a notion of agent causation, though emphatically not in defence of an account of free will, as most theories of (...)
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  21. From Plural to Institutional Agency: Collective Action II.Kirk Ludwig - 2017 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Kirk Ludwig presents a philosophical account of institutional action, such as action by corporations and nation states, arguing that it can be understood exhaustively in terms of the agency of individuals and concepts constructed out of materials that are already at play in our understanding of individual action. He thus argues for a strong form of methodological individualism. The book provides a new account of the logical form of grammatically singular group action sentences (e.g. 'Company laid off 10,000 workers'), and (...)
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  22. Time and the Philosophy of Action.Roman Altshuler & Michael J. Sigrist (eds.) - 2016 - New York: Routledge.
    Although scholarship in philosophy of action has grown in recent years, there has been little work explicitly dealing with the role of time in agency, a role with great significance for the study of action. As the articles in this collection demonstrate, virtually every fundamental issue in the philosophy of action involves considerations of time. The four sections of this volume address the metaphysics of action, diachronic practical rationality, the relation between deliberation and action, and the phenomenology of agency, providing (...)
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  23. Action Reconceptualized: Human Agency and its Sources.David K. Chan - 2016 - Lanham: Lexington Books.
    In re-examining the concepts of desire, intention, and trying, David K. Chan brings a fresh approach toward resolving many of the problems that have occupied philosophers of action for almost a century. This book not only presents a complete theory of human agency but also, by developing the conceptual tools needed to do moral philosophy, lays the groundwork for formulating an ethics that is rooted in a clear, intuitive, and coherent moral psychology.
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  24. Non-rational aspects of skilled agency.Yannig Luthra - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2267-2289.
    This paper criticizes two closely connected rationalist views about human agency. The first of these views, rationalism about agential control, claims that the capacities for agential control in normal adult human beings are rational capacities. The second view, rationalism about action, claims that the capacities for agential control in virtue of which the things we do count as our actions are rational capacities. The arguments of the paper focus on aspects of technical skills that control integral details of skillful action, (...)
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  25. A conditional theory of trying.David-Hillel Ruben - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):271-287.
    What I shall do in this paper is to propose an analysis of ‘Agent P tries to A’ in terms of a subjunctive conditional, that avoids some of the problems that beset most alternative accounts of trying, which I call ‘referential views’. They are so-named because on these alternative accounts, ‘P tries to A’ entails that there is a trying to A by P, and therefore the expression ‘P’s trying to A’ can occur in the subject of a sentence and (...)
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  26. Bodily Movement and Its Significance.Will Small - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (1):183-206.
    I trace the development of one aspect of Fred Stoutland’s thought about action by considering the central role given by contemporary philosophy of action to bodily movement. Those who tell the so-called standard story of action think that actions are bodily movements (arm raisings, leg bendings, etc.) caused by beliefs and desires, that cause further effects in the world (switch flippings, door movements, etc.) in virtue of which they can be described (as flippings of switches, shuttings of doors, etc.). Those (...)
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  27. The Category of Occurrent Continuants.Rowland Stout - 2016 - Mind 125 (497):41-62.
    Arguing first that the best way to understand what a continuant is is as something that primarily has its properties at a time rather than atemporally, the paper then defends the idea that there are occurrent continuants. These are things that were, are, or will be happening—like the ongoing process of someone reading or my writing this paper, for instance. A recently popular philosophical view of process is as something that is referred to with mass nouns and not count nouns. (...)
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  28. Antinomy of Basic Action.Kim Frost - 2015 - In Roman Altshuler Michael J. Sigrist (ed.), Time and the Philosophy of Action. New York: Routledge.
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  29. Unintended Morally Determinative Aspects (UMDAs): Moral Absolutes, Moral Acts and Physical Features in Sexual and Reproductive Ethics.Anthony McCarthy - 2015 - Studia Philosophiae Christianae 51:47-65.
    Catholic sexual ethics proposes a number of exceptionless moral norms. This distinguishes it from theories which deny the possibility of any exceptionless moral norms (e.g. the proportionalist approach proposed in the aftermath of "Humanae Vitae" and condemned in "Veritatis Splendor"). I argue that Catholic teaching on sexual ethics refers to chosen physical structures in such a way as to make ‘new natural law’ theory inherently unstable. I outline a theory of “the moral act” (Veritatis Splendor 78) which emphasises the place (...)
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  30. Time and the Philosophy of Action.Roman Altshuler Michael J. Sigrist (ed.) - 2015 - New York: Routledge.
    Although scholarship in philosophy of action has grown in recent years, there has been little work explicitly dealing with the role of time in agency—a role with great significance for the study of action theory. As the articles in this collection demonstrate, virtually every fundamental issue in the philosophy of action involves considerations of time. The four sections of this volume address the metaphysics of action, diachronic practical rationality, the relation between deliberation and action, and the phenomenology of agency, providing (...)
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  31. Ideomotoryczna teoria działania w ujęciu Williama Jamesa.Adriana Schetz - 2015 - Diametros 43:137-157.
    The paper discusses the view of William James on the contribution of will to our decisions to act. According to James, our voluntary action, which for him is strongly connected with an intention to do something, occurs when the subject of the action knows its sensorimotor effects. An attempt has been made to defend James’ view and rebut popular criticisms aiming to undermine the role of knowledge in voluntary action. The paper also offers to identify a contemporary context for the (...)
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  32. Agency.Markus Schlosser - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    In very general terms, an agent is a being with the capacity to act, and 'agency' denotes the exercise or manifestation of this capacity. The philosophy of action provides us with a standard conception and a standard theory of action. The former construes action in terms of intentionality, the latter explains the intentionality of action in terms of causation by the agent’s mental states and events. From this, we obtain a standard conception and a standard theory of agency. There are (...)
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  33. Acting and Satisficing.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2015 - In George Pavlakos & Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco (eds.), Reasons and Intentions in Law and Practical Agency. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 31-51.
  34. The Instrumental Structure of Actions.Markos Valaris - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258):64-83.
    According to current orthodoxy in the philosophy of action, intentional actions consist in intrinsically mindless bodily movements that stand in causal relations to appropriate mental states. This paper challenges this approach to intentional action, by arguing that there are not enough appropriate mental states around to ‘animate’ all of the bodily movements we intuitively count as intentional actions. In the alternative picture I suggest, the bodily movements that constitute our intentional actions are themselves to be thought of as cognitive events, (...)
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  35. The good, the bad, and the trivial.Chrisoula Andreou - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):209-225.
    Dreadful and dreaded outcomes are sometimes brought about via the accumulation of individually trivial effects. Think about inching toward terrible health or toward an environmental disaster. In some such cases, the outcome is seen as unacceptable but is still gradually realized via an extended sequence of moves each of which is trivial in terms of its impact on the health or environment of those involved. Cases of this sort are not only practically challenging, they are theoretically challenging as well. For, (...)
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  36. Voluntary action and neural causation.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2014 - Cognitive Neuroscience 5 (3-4):217-218.
    I agree with Nachev and Hacker’s general approach. However, their criticism of claims of covert automaticity can be strengthened. I first say a few words on what voluntary action involves and on the consequent limited relevance of brain research for the determination of voluntariness. I then turn to Nachev and Hacker’s discussion of possible covert automaticity and show why the case for it is weaker than they allow.
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  37. Agency and Incompatibilism. [REVIEW]Randolph Clarke - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (3):519-525.
    This paper is part of a symposium discussing Helen Steward's A METAPHYSICS FOR FREEDOM. Steward argues for what she calls Agency Incompatibilism: agency itself is incompatible with determinism. This paper examines what Steward presents as her main argument for Agency Incompatibilism and finds it wanting.
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  38. How I Found My Way to the Written Word Through Visual Art.Laura Donkers - 2014 - Philosophy Study 4 (7):511-519.
    The author’s practice-led research explores “the act of living.” In order to advance this idea, the author has acquired skills in investigation and expressed her thinking through a descriptive and explanatory visual language. The author’s learning journey, while not unique, has not been an ordinary one. Initial academic failure to achieve in the school education system contributes to choosing a life working on the land and harbouring the belief that she is unable to learn academically. Still, the author has gained (...)
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  39. Philosophy of Action.Lilian O'Brien - 2014 - New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
    I am working on a substantially revised second edition of this. It is due to be published by Palgrave in 2024.
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  40. Kausalkräfte und agenskausale libertarische Willensfreiheit.Georg Gasser - 2013 - In Anne Sophie Spann & Daniel Wehinger (eds.), Vermögen und Handlung: Der dispositionale Realismus und unser Selbstverständnis als Handelnde. Münster: Mentis Verlag. pp. 311-335.
    Die intensive Auseinandersetzung mit Dispositionen und Kausalkräften innerhalb der analytischen Ontologie hat wesentlich dazu beigetragen, in der Handlungstheorie offener und ungenierter von den Kausalkräften des Handelnden („agent causal powers“) bzw. der Agenskausalität (AK) zu sprechen. In diesem Beitrag gehe ich auf diese Entwicklung ein, indem ich aktuelle Ansätze agenskausaler libertarischer Willensfreiheit (ALW) diskutiere. Zuerst stelle ich kurz die Konkurrenztheorie von ALW dar, welche libertarische Willensfreiheit im Rahmen ereigniskausaler Ansätze (ELW) zu entfalten versucht. Dann skizziere ich zwei Haupteinwände, welche Vertreter von (...)
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  41. A. Ford, J. Hornsby, and F. Stoutland, eds., Essays on Anscombe’s Intention. [REVIEW]John Schwenkler - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):241-243.
  42. Processes, Continuants, and Individuals.Helen Steward - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):fzt080.
    The paper considers and opposes the view that processes are best thought of as continuants, to be differentiated from events mainly by way of the fact that the latter, but not the former, are entities with temporal parts. The motivation for the investigation, though, is not so much the defeat of what is, in any case, a rather implausible claim, as the vindication of some of the ideas and intuitions that the claim is made in order to defend — and (...)
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  43. Autism: the micro-movement perspective.Elizabeth B. Torres, Maria Brincker, Robert W. Isenhower, Polina Yanovich, Kimberly Stigler, John I. Nurnberger, Dimitri N. Metaxas & Jorge V. Jose - 2013 - Frontiers Integrated Neuroscience 7 (32).
    The current assessment of behaviors in the inventories to diagnose autism spectrum disorders (ASD) focus on observation and discrete categorizations. Behaviors require movements, yet measurements of physical movements are seldom included. Their inclusion however, could provide an objective characterization of behavior to help unveil interactions between the peripheral and the central nervous systems. Such interactions are critical for the development and maintenance of spontaneous autonomy, self-regulation and voluntary control. At present, current approaches cannot deal with the heterogeneous, dynamic and stochastic (...)
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  44. “Reason and Ethics”.Carla Bagnoli - 2012 - In Maria Cristina Amoretti & Nicla Vassallo (eds.), Reason and Rationality. Ontos Verlag.
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  45. Action, responsibility and the ability to do otherwise.Justin A. Capes - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (1):1-15.
    Here it is argued that in order for something someone “does” to count as a genuine action, the person needn’t have been able to refrain from doing it. If this is right, then two recent defenses of the principle of alternative possibilities, a version of which says that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have refrained from doing it, are unsuccessful.
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  46. Absichtliches Handeln.David Horst - 2012 - Paderborn: Mentis.
    In this book, I offer an account of intentional action. The book has two main parts: in the first part, I discuss and criticize the currently prevailing account of intentional action—the Causal Theory of Action (CTA)—and, in the second part, I offer my alternative account. The CTA proposes essentially two conditions for something that you do to be an intentional action: (1) what you do is represented by your intention (or other mental attitudes), and (2) it is caused by your (...)
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  47. Must There Be Basic Action?Douglas Lavin - 2012 - Noûs 47 (2):273-301.
    The idea of basic action is a fixed point in the contemporary investigation of the nature of action. And while there are arguments aimed at putting the idea in place, it is meant to be closer to a gift of common sense than to a hard-won achievement of philosophical reflection. It first appears at the stage of innocuous description and before the announcement of philosophical positions. And yet, as any decent magician knows, the real work so often gets done in (...)
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  48. Norms and Habits: Brandom on the Sociality of Action.Steven Levine - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):248-272.
    In this paper I argue against Brandom's two-ply theory of action. For Brandom, action is the result of an agent acknowledging a practical commitment and then causally responding to that commitment by acting. Action is social because the content of the commitment upon which one acts is socially conferred in the game of giving and asking for reasons. On my proposal, instead of seeing action as the coupling of a rational capacity to acknowledge commitments and a non-rational capacity to reliably (...)
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  49. Review of 'New Waves in Philosophy of Action' edited by Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff and Keith Frankish. [REVIEW]María G. Navarro - 2012 - Metapsychology Online Reviews 16 (51).
    New Waves in Philosophy, a book collection that stands out for giving a snapshot of research in all areas of philosophy is a successful editorial project addressed by Vincent F. Hendricks and Duncan Pritchard. New Waves in Philosophy of Action is one of its last titles, edited by Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff and Keith Frankish. -/- The book is aimed at the researchers of all fields and readers in general interested in this sub-discipline of philosophy very difficult to (...)
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  50. Objects of Intention: A Hylomorphic Critique of the New Natural Law Theory.Matthew B. O’Brien & Robert C. Koons - 2012 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 86 (4):655-703.
    The “New Natural Law” Theory (NNL) of Germain Grisez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and their collaborators offers a distinctive account of intentional action, which underlies a moral theory that aims to justify many aspects of traditional morality and Catholic doctrine. -/- In fact, we show that the NNL is committed to premises that entail the permissibility of many actions that are irreconcilable with traditional morality and Catholic doctrine, such as elective abortions. These consequences follow principally from two aspects of the (...)
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