Action as a form of temporal unity: on Anscombe’s Intention

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5):609-629 (2015)
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The aim of this paper is to display an alternative to the familiar decompositional approach in action theory, one that resists the demand for an explanation of action in non-agential terms, while not simply treating the notion of intentional agency as an unexplained primitive. On this Anscombean alternative, action is not a worldly event with certain psychological causes, but a distinctive form of material process, one that is not simply caused by an exercise of reason but is itself a productive exercise of reason. I argue that to comprehend the proposed alternative requires an account of the temporality of events in general. An event does not simply have a position in time, but is itself temporally structured. With the inner temporality of events in view, the Anscombean conception of action as a specifically self-conscious form of temporal unity is made available for critical reflection



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Douglas Lavin
University College London

Citations of this work

I, myself, move.Lucy O'Brien - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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