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  1. Agent-Based Control in a Global-Vision Robotic Soccer Team.John Anderson & Jacky Baltes - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Agents Meet Robots Workshop, 17th Conference of the Canadian Society for the Computational Studies of Intelligence (Ai-04).
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  2. The Backside of Habit: Notes on Embodied Agency and the Functional Opacity of the Medium.Maria Brincker - forthcoming - In Habits: Pragmatist Approaches from Cognitive Neuroscience to Social Science by Caruana F. & Testa I. (Eds.). Cambridge University Press.
    In this chapter what I call the “backside” of habit is explored. I am interested in the philosophical implications of the physical and physiological processes that mediate, and which allow for what comes to appear as almost magic; namely the various sensorimotor associations and integrations that allows us to replay our past experiences, and to in a certain sense perceive potential futures, and to act and bring about anticipated outcomes – without quite knowing how. Thus, the term “backside” is meant (...)
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  3. Action Unified.Yair Levy - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly:pqv056.
    Mental acts are conspicuously absent from philosophical debates over the nature of action. A typical protagonist of a typical scenario is far more likely to raise her arm or open the window than she is to perform a calculation in her head or talk to herself silently. One possible explanation for this omission is that the standard ‘causalist’ account of action, on which acts are analyzed in terms of mental states causing bodily movements, faces difficulties in accommodating some paradigmatic cases (...)
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  4. Can the Mind Wander Intentionally?Samuel Murray & Kristina Krasich - unknown - Mind and Language:1-22.
    Mind wandering is typically operationalized as task-unrelated thought. Some argue for the need to distinguish between unintentional and intentional mind wandering, where an agent voluntarily shifts attention from task-related to task-unrelated thoughts. We reveal an inconsistency between the standard, task-unrelated thought definition of mind wandering and the occurrence of intentional mind wandering (together with plausible assumptions about tasks and intentions). This suggests that either the standard definition of mind wandering should be rejected or that intentional mind wandering is an incoherent (...)
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  5. Skill and Sensitivity to Reasons.Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-13.
    In this paper I explore the relationship between skill and sensitivity to reasons for action. I want to know to what degree we can explain the fact that the skilled agent is very good at performing a cluster of actions within some domain in terms of the fact that the skilled agent has a refined sensitivity to the reasons for action common to the cluster. The picture is a little bit complex. While skill can be partially explained by sensitivity to (...)
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  6. The Shape of Agency: Control, Action, Skill, Knowledge.Joshua Shepherd - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The Shape of Agency offers interlinked explanations of the basic building blocks of agency, as well as its exemplary instances. The first part offers accounts of a collection of related phenomena that have long troubled philosophers of action: control over behaviour, non-deviant causation, and intentional action. These accounts build on earlier work in the causalist tradition, and undermine the claims made by many that causalism cannot offer a satisfying account of non-deviant causation, and therefore fails as an account of intentional (...)
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  7. Events, Processes, and the Time of a Killing.Yair Levy - 2020 - Ratio 33 (3):138-144.
    The paper proposes a novel solution to the problem of the time of a killing (ToK), which persistently besets theories of act-individuation. The solution proposed claims to expose a crucial wrong-headed assumption in the debate, according to which ToK is essentially a problem of locating some event that corresponds to the killing. The alternative proposal put forward here turns on recognizing a separate category of dynamic occurents, viz. processes. The paper does not aim to mount a comprehensive defense of process (...)
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  8. The Place of the Trace: Negligence and Responsibility.Samuel Murray - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (1):39-52.
    One popular theory of moral responsibility locates responsible agency in exercises of control. These control-based theories often appeal to tracing to explain responsibility in cases where some agent is intuitively responsible for bringing about some outcome despite lacking direct control over that outcome’s obtaining. Some question whether control-based theories are committed to utilizing tracing to explain responsibility in certain cases. I argue that reflecting on certain kinds of negligence shows that tracing plays an ineliminable role in any adequate control-based theory (...)
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  9. The World and the Will: On the Problem of Photographic Agency.John Schwenkler - 2020 - Nonsite 32.
    This essay is my contribution to a symposium responding to several papers by Walter Benn Michaels that bring the work of Elizabeth Anscombe to bear on philosophical problems of artistic representation. In it, I take Benn Michaels's side in a dispute with Dominic McIver Lopes over the difference between Anscombe's view of intentional agency and that of Donald Davidson. I also critique Benn Michaels's reading of a difficult passage in section 29 of Anscombe's INTENTION, where she presents the famous case (...)
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  10. Review of Christian Kietzmann: Handeln aus Gründen als praktisches Schließen, 2019. [REVIEW]Sascha Settegast - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 74 (2):310-313.
  11. 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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  12. From Simple to Composite Agency: On Kirk Ludwig’s From Individual to Plural Agency.Olle Blomberg - 2019 - Journal of Social Ontology 5 (1):101-124.
    According to Kirk Ludwig, only primitive actions are actions in a primary and non-derivative sense of the term ‘action’. Ludwig takes this to imply that the notion of collective action is a façon de parler – useful perhaps, but secondary and derivative. I argue that, on the contrary, collective actions are actions in the primary and non-derivative sense. First, this is because some primitive actions are collective actions. Secondly, individual and collective composites of primitive actions are also actions in the (...)
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  13. Skilled Action.Wayne Christensen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (11).
  14. Knowing How, Basic Actions, and Ways of Doing Things.Kevin Lynch - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):956-977.
    This paper investigates whether we can know how to do basic actions, from the perspective according to which knowing how to do something requires knowledge of a way to do it. A key argument from this perspective against basic know-how is examined and is found to be unsound, involving the false premise that there are no ways of doing basic actions. However, a new argument along similar lines is then developed, which contends that there are no ways of doing basic (...)
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  15. Aristotle's Four Causes of Action.Bryan C. Reece - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):213-227.
    Aristotle’s typical procedure is to identify something's four causes. Intentional action has typically been treated as an exception: most think that Aristotle has the standard causalist account, according to which an intentional action is a bodily movement efficiently caused by an attitude of the appropriate sort. I show that action is not an exception to Aristotle’s typical procedure: he has the resources to specify four causes of action, and thus to articulate a powerful theory of action unlike any other on (...)
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  16. Skilled Action and the Double Life of Intention.Joshua Shepherd - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):286-305.
  17. Basic Action and Practical Knowledge.Will Small - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    It is a commonplace in philosophy of action that there is and must be teleologically basic action: something done on an occasion without doing it by means of doing anything else. It is widely believed that basic actions are exercises of skill. As the source of the need for basic action is the structure of practical reasoning, this yields a conception of skill and practical reasoning as complementary but mutually exclusive. On this view, practical reasoning and complex intentional action depend (...)
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  18. Action Always Involves Attention.Wayne Wu - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):693-703.
    Jennings and Nanay argue against my claim that action entails attention by providing putative counterexamples to the claim that action entails a Many–Many Problem. This reply demonstrates that they have misunderstood the central notion of a pure reflex on which my argument depends. A simplified form of the argument from pure reflex to the Many–Many Problem as a necessary feature of agency is given, and putative counterexamples of action without attention are addressed. Attention is present in every action. In passing, (...)
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  19. Agents in Movement.István Zoltán Zárdai - 2019 - Kagaku Tetsugaku 143:61-83.
    The paper discusses the category of one of the most fundamental expressions of agency, those movements of agents that are actions. There have been three dominant views of action since the 1960s: 1. the Causal Theory of Action, 2. the Tryings/Willings view, and 3. Agent Causation. These views claim that actions are: 1. events of bodily movements which have the right causes; 2. specific types of mental events causing events of bodily movements; 3. instances of the causal relationship between agents (...)
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  20. 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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  21. Why Intentions?Jesse M. Mulder - 2018 - Ratio 31 (S1):51-64.
    There is an influential conception of intentional agency in terms of just beliefs and desires. And there is an equally influential conception that adds intentions as separate ingredients. It remains disputed whether adding intentions is really necessary, and what difference that addition exactly makes. I argue that adding intentions is required, but only because and insofar as it makes room for a distinctively practical kind of reasoning. I critically consider Bratman's main considerations in support of adding intentions, viz., conduct-control, inertia, (...)
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  22. The Metaphysics of Action: Trying, Doing, Causing.David-Hillel Ruben - 2018 - London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    A discussion of three central ideas in action theory; trying to act, doing or acting, one's action causing further consequences.
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  23. 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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  24. Process, Action, and Experience.Rowland Stout (ed.) - 2018 - 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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  25. Does the Rose-Tinted Glasses Effect in Contemporary Physics Prevent Us From Explaining Consciousness?W. Baer - 2017 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (7-8):8-27.
    Anyone wearing rose-tinted glasses might be forgiven if s/he comes to the conclusion that the world out there is rosier than it actually is. With his Fish Story, Sir Arthur Eddington warned us how analogous illusions might have happened in our models of the physical world. His allegory describes how observer characteristics can be inadvertently assigned to the systems being observed. If Eddington's conjecture is applicable, the most fundamental properties of nature will turn out to be the construction rules of (...)
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  26. G.E.M. Anscombe on the Analogical Unity of Intention in Perception and Action.Christopher Frey & Jennifer A. Frey - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (3):202-247.
    Philosophers of action and perception have reached a consensus: the term ‘intentionality’ has significantly different senses in their respective fields. But Anscombe argues that these distinct senses are analogically united in such a way that one cannot understand the concept if one focuses exclusively on its use in one’s preferred philosophical sub-discipline. She highlights three salient points of analogy: (i) intentional objects are given by expressions that employ a “description under which;” (ii) intentional descriptions are typically vague and indeterminate; and (...)
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  27. Halfhearted Action and Control.Shepherd Joshua - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    Some of the things we do intentionally we do halfheartedly. I develop and defend an account of halfheartedness with respect to action on which one is halfhearted with respect to an action A if one’s overall motivation to A is weak. This requires getting clear on what it is to have some level of overall motivation with respect to an action, and on what it means to say one’s overall motivation is weak or strong. After developing this account, I defend (...)
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  28. One Self Per Customer? From Disunified Agency to Disunified Self.David Lumsden & Joseph Ulatowski - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (3):314-335.
    The notion of an agent and the notion of a self are connected, for agency is one role played by the self. Millgram argues for a disunity thesis of agency on the basis of extreme incommensurability across some major life events. We propose a similar negative thesis about the self, that it is composed of relatively independent threads reflecting the different roles and different mind-sets of the person's life. Our understanding of those threads is based on theories of the narrative (...)
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  29. The Divisibility of Basic Actions.Kevin Lynch - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):312-318.
    The notion of basic action has recently come under attack based on the idea that any putative basic action can always be divided into more basic sub-actions. In this paper it is argued that this criticism ignores a key aspect of the idea of basic action, namely, the ‘anything else’ part of the idea that basic actions are not done by doing anything else. This aspect is clarified, and it is argued that doing the sub-actions of which a putative basic (...)
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  30. Halfhearted Action and Control.Joshua Shepherd - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    Some of the things we do intentionally we do halfheartedly. I develop and defend an account of halfheartedness with respect to action on which one is halfhearted with respect to an action A if one’s overall motivation to A is weak. This requires getting clear on what it is to have some level of overall motivation with respect to an action, and on what it means to say one’s overall motivation is weak or strong. After developing this account, I defend (...)
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  31. The Experience of Acting and the Structure of Consciousness.Joshua Shepherd - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (8):422-448.
    I offer an account of the experience of acting that demonstrates how agentive aspects of experience associated with the execution of intentions are richly integrated with perceptual aspects associated with parts of action taking place in the publicly observable world. On the view I elucidate, the experience of acting is often both an engagement with the world and a type of intimate acquaintance with it. In conscious action the agent consciously intervenes in the world and consciously experiences the world she (...)
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  32. Time and the Philosophy of Action.Roman Altshuler & Michael J. Sigrist (eds.) - 2016 - 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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  33. Action Without Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings & Bence Nanay - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):29-36.
    Wayne Wu argues that attention is necessary for action: since action requires a solution to the ‘Many–Many Problem’, and since only attention can solve the Many–Many Problem, attention is necessary for action. We question the first of these two steps and argue that it is based on an oversimplified distinction between actions and reflexes. We argue for a more complex typology of behaviours where one important category is action that does not require a solution to the Many–Many Problem, and so (...)
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  34. Book Reviews: Action Reconceptualized: Human Agency and Its Sources by David Chan, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. [REVIEW]Amir Saemi - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:1-2.
    David K. Chan provides an account of various mental entities that interact with each other to produce human action. Once we have a theory of human action, Chan states, we will be in a better position to examine how to evaluate human actions from a moral perspective. I will address only two sets of claims that I don't find convincing. The first concerns Chan's idea that we need to introduce a new category of non-intentional action (besides intentional and unintentional) to (...)
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  35. Akrasia and the Constitution of Agency.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - In Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Argues that we do not act intentionally ‘under the guise of the good.’ This makes it hard to explain why akrasia is distinctively irrational; but this is no objection, since it is just as hard to explain on the opposing view. Ends with a problem of akrasia for ethical rationalists.
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  36. Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    In this collection, Kieran Setiya explores the place of agency in ethics, arguing for a causal theory of intentional action on which it is understood through the knowledge embodied in our intentions, and against the rationalist project of deriving norms of practical reason from the nature of the will.
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  37. 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 caused by beliefs and desires, that cause further effects in the world in virtue of which they can be described. Those who hold a disjunctive conception of bodily movement think that actions are bodily movements that involve intentions essentially, (...)
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  38. Imagination and Action.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2016 - In Amy Kind (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination. Routledge. pp. 286-299.
    Abstract: This entry elucidates causal and constitutive roles that various forms of imagining play in human action. Imagination influences more kinds of action than just pretend play. I distinguish different senses of the terms “imagining” and “imagination”: imagistic imagining, propositional imagining, and constructive imagining. Each variety of imagining makes its own characteristic contributions to action. Imagistic imagining can structure bodily movement. Propositional imagining interacts with desires to motivate pretend play and mimetic expressive action. And constructive imagination generates representations of possibilities (...)
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  39. Beyond Fakers and Fanatics: A Reply to Maarten Boudry and Jerry Coyne.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):1-6.
    Maarten Boudry and Jerry Coyne have written a piece, forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology, called “Disbelief in Belief,” in which they criticize my recent paper “Religious credence is not factual belief” (2014, Cognition 133). Here I respond to their criticisms, the thrust of which is that we shouldn’t distinguish religious credence from factual belief, contrary to what I say. I respond that their picture of religious psychology undermines our ability to distinguish common religious people from fanatics. My response will appear in (...)
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  40. Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):101-26.
    This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By investigating attention, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can characterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way, explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of basic cases of causal deviance in action as (...)
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  41. Intentions and Intentionality.Matteo Bianchin - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche:43-54.
    Michael Thompson recently advanced a “naïve action theory” as an alternative to the “sophisticated” accounts of action displayed by ordinary folk psychology. In what follows I defend the plausibility of intentional psychology and folk psychological explanations. I do this in two ways. First I question that naïve explanations are more naïve than the ones provided by folk psychology and suggest that the latter are phenomenologically prior to the former. Second, I focus on the role of intentionality in deliberation and action (...)
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  42. Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman. [REVIEW]Olle Blomberg - 2015 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (2):377-379.
  43. The Sense of Agency and its Role in Strategic Control for Expert Mountain Bikers.Wayne Christensen, Kath Bicknell, Doris McIlwain & John Sutton - 2015 - Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 2 (3):340-353.
    Much work on the sense of agency has focused either on abnormal cases, such as delusions of control, or on simple action tasks in the laboratory. Few studies address the nature of the sense of agency in complex natural settings, or the effect of skill on the sense of agency. Working from 2 case studies of mountain bike riding, we argue that the sense of agency in high-skill individuals incorporates awareness of multiple causal influences on action outcomes. This allows fine-grained (...)
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  44. Time and the Philosophy of Action.Roman Altshuler Michael J. Sigrist (ed.) - 2015 - 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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  45. Aiming at the Good.Amir Saemi - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):197-219.
    This paper shows how we can plausibly extend the guise of the good thesis in a way that avoids intellectualist challenge, allows animals to be included, and is consistent with the possibility of performing action under the cognition of their badness. The paper also presents some independent arguments for the plausibility of this interpretation of the thesis. To this aim, a teleological conception of practical attitudes as well as a cognitivist account of arational desires is offered.
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  46. Understanding 'Practical Knowledge'.John Schwenkler - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    The concept of practical knowledge is central to G.E.M. Anscombe's argument in Intention, yet its meaning is little understood. There are several reasons for this, including a lack of attention to Anscombe's ancient and medieval sources for the concept, and an emphasis on the more straightforward concept of knowledge "without observation" in the interpretation of Anscombe's position. This paper remedies the situation, first by appealing to the writings of Thomas Aquinas to develop an account of practical knowledge as a distinctive (...)
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  47. Conscious Control Over Action.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (3):320-344.
    The extensive involvement of nonconscious processes in human behaviour has led some to suggest that consciousness is much less important for the control of action than we might think. In this article I push against this trend, developing an understanding of conscious control that is sensitive to our best models of overt action control. Further, I assess the cogency of various zombie challenges—challenges that seek to demote the importance of conscious control for human agency. I argue that though nonconscious contributions (...)
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  48. Deciding as Intentional Action: Control Over Decisions.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):335-351.
    Common-sense folk psychology and mainstream philosophy of action agree about decisions: these are under an agent's direct control, and are thus intentional actions for which agents can be held responsible. I begin this paper by presenting a problem for this view. In short, since the content of the motivational attitudes that drive deliberation and decision remains open-ended until the moment of decision, it is unclear how agents can be thought to exercise control over what they decide at the moment of (...)
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  49. Some Consequences of Thompson’s Life and Action for Social Philosophy.Italo Testa - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche:69-84.
  50. 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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