Philosophical Explorations 24 (3):340-358 (2021)

Kirk Ludwig
Indiana University, Bloomington
This paper argues for a deflationary account of trying on which ‘x tried to ϕ’ abbreviates ‘x did something with the intention of ϕ-ing’, where ‘did something’ is treated as a schematic verb. On this account, tryings are not a distinctive sort of episode present in some or all cases of acting. ‘x tried to ϕ’ simply relates some doing of x’s to a further aim x had, which may or may not have been achieved. Consequently, the analysis of ‘x tried to ϕ’ adds nothing to our basic understanding of the nature of action or agency. The account handles examples of naked trying, trying without acting – for example, trying but failing to move when paralyzed – by construing ‘did something’ as a schematic verb for a broader class of purposive events than actions, subsuming inter alia the formation of intentions-in-action. It gives a technical sense to ‘doing with the intention of ϕ-ing’ so that it includes any doing that can be construed as for the purpose of executing the intention of ϕ-ing. This subsumes as a limiting case the formation of an intention-in-action to ϕ, which is for the purpose of executing that very intention.
Keywords Trying  Naked Trying
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2021.1957202
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.

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Are Actions Bodily Movements?Michael Smith - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (3):394-407.

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