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Philosophy of Action: An Anthology

Jonathan Dancy (Editor), Constantine Sandis (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-60451-9 February 2015 Wiley-Blackwell 424 Pages


The Philosophy of Action: An Anthology is an authoritative collection of key work by top scholars, arranged thematically and accompanied by expert introductions written by the editors. This unique collection brings together a selection of the most influential essays from the 1960s to the present day.

  • An invaluable collection that brings together a selection of the most important classic and contemporary articles in philosophy of action, from the 1960’s to the present day
  • No other broad-ranging and detailed coverage of this kind currently exists in the field
  • Each themed section opens with a synoptic introduction and includes a comprehensive further reading list to guide students
  • Includes sections on action and agency, willing and trying, intention and intentional action, acting for a reason, the explanation of action, and free agency and responsibility
  • Written and organised in a style that allows it to be used as a primary teaching resource in its own right

Preface x

Source Acknowledgments xi

1 Philosophical Investigations §§611–628 1
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Part I Action and Agency 3

Introduction to Part I 5

2 Agency 10
Donald Davidson

3 Shooting, Killing and Dying 21
Jonathan Bennett

4 The Problem of Action 26
Harry G. Frankfurt

5 Agents and their Actions 33
Maria Alvarez and John Hyman

6 Agency and Actions 48
Jennifer Hornsby

Part II Willing and Trying 63

Introduction to Part II 65

7 Acting, Willing, Desiring 69
H. A. Prichard

8 The Will 76
Gilbert Ryle

9 Acting and Trying to Act 83
Jennifer Hornsby

10 Action and Volition 91
E. J. Lowe

Part III Intention and Intentional Action 101

Introduction to Part III 103

11 Intention §§1–9 107
G. E. M. Anscombe

12 Knowing What I Am Doing 113
Keith S. Donnellan

13 Intending 119
Donald Davidson

14 Two Faces of Intention 130
Michael Bratman

15 Acting As One Intends 145
John McDowell

16 Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language 158
Joshua Knobe

17 The Toxin Puzzle 161
Gregory S. Kavka

18 The Ontology of Social Agency 164
Frederick Stoutland

Part IV Acting for a Reason 177

Introduction to Part IV 179

19 Actions, Reasons, and Causes 183
Donald Davidson

20 How to Act for a Good Reason 193
Jonathan Dancy

21 Acting for a Reason 206
Christine Korsgaard

22 Arational Actions 222
Rosalind Hursthouse

23 Agency, Reason, and the Good 230
Joseph Raz

24 Skepticism About Weakness of Will 245
Gary Watson

Part V The Explanation of Action 257

Introduction to Part V 259

25 Explanation in Science and in History §§1–3 263
Carl G. Hempel

26 The Rationale of Actions 270
William Dray

27 Explanation in Science and in History §§4–7 280
Carl G. Hempel

28 The Explanatory Role of Being Rational 289
Michael Smith

29 The Conceivability of Mechanism 303
Norman Malcolm

30 Action, Causality, and Teleological Explanation 315
Arthur W. Collins

31 Psychological vs. Biological Explanations of Behavior 333
Fred Dretske

Part VI Free Agency and Responsibility 341

Introduction to Part VI 343

32 Human Freedom and the Self 347
Roderick Chisholm

33 Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility 353
Harry G. Frankfurt

34 Responsibility, Control, and Omissions 360
John Martin Fischer

35 The Impossibility of Ultimate Responsibility? 373
Galen Strawson

36 Moral Responsibility and the Concept of Agency 382
Helen Steward

37 Free Will and Science 393
Alfred R. Mele