On Planning: Toward a Natural History of Goal Attainment

Philosophical Papers 37 (2):289-317 (2008)
The goal of the essay is to articulate some beginnings for an empirical approach to the study of agency, in the firm conviction that agency is subject to scientific scrutiny, and is not to be abandoned to high-brow aprioristic philosophy. Drawing on insights from decision analysis, game theory, general dynamics, physics and engineering, this essay will examine the diversity of planning phenomena, and in that way take some steps towards assembling rudiments for the budding science, in the process innovating (parts of) a technical vocabulary. The key is focus upon the organization of effort in time. This paper categorizes forms of organization of effort in time, and yields an analysis of both individual agency and coalitions of agents as forms of effort organized in time. Finally, it articulates precise questions pertaining to the natural (evolutionary) history of forms of agency (once upon a time referred to as 'Will') that we now find on the ground
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DOI 10.1080/05568640809485223
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Michael Bratman (1987). Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason. Center for the Study of Language and Information.

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