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

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5):609-629 (2015)
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Abstract

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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Intending, acting, and doing.Luca Ferrero - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup2):13-39.
The Unity of Normative Thought.Jeremy David Fix - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (3):639-658.

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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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