Action individuation: a normative functionalist approach

Philosophical Explorations 14 (1):99-116 (2011)


How or in virtue of what does any one particular action differ from another? Available views on the issue of action individuation tend to emphasize the descriptive features of actions, such as where and when they occur, or what they cause or are caused by. I contend instead that actions are individuated by their normative features, such as what licenses them and what they license in turn. In this essay, deploying a suggestion from Sellars and Brandom, I argue specifically that actions are individuated by their normative function or role.

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Chauncey Maher
Dickinson College

References found in this work

Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.

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Citations of this work

De Se Content and Action Generalisation.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2017 - Philosophical Papers 46 (2):315-344.

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