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Springs of Action: Understanding Intentional Behavior

Oxford University Press (1992)

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  1. Shared Agency and Contralateral Commitments.Abraham Sesshu Roth - 2004 - Philosophical Review 113 (3):359-410.
    My concern here is to motivate some theses in the philosophy of mind concerning the interpersonal character of intentions. I will do so by investigating aspects of shared agency. The main point will be that when acting together with others one must be able to act directly on the intention of another or others in a way that is relevantly similar to the manner in which an agent acts on his or her own intentions. What exactly this means will become (...)
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  • Explaining Action.Kieran Setiya - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):339-393.
    Argues that, in acting for a reason, one takes that reason to explain one's action, not to justify it: reasons for acting need not be seen "under the guise of the good". The argument turns on the need to explain the place of "practical knowledge" - knowing what one is doing - in intentional action. A revised and expanded version of this material appears in Part One of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007).
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  • Frankfurt-Style Counterexamples and Begging the Question.Stewart Goetz - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):83-105.
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  • Decisions, Intentions, and Free Will.Alfred R. Mele - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):146-162.
    I will argue that close attention to deciding casts doubt on the simple view and the single phenomena view of intentional action. That is my thesis. My aim is much broader—to improve our understanding of deciding and of the bearing of the phenomenon of deciding on free will and moral responsibility.
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  • A Conditional Theory of Trying.David-Hillel Ruben - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):271-287.
    What I shall do in this paper is to propose an analysis of ‘Agent P tries to A’ in terms of a subjunctive conditional, that avoids some of the problems that beset most alternative accounts of trying, which I call ‘referential views’. They are so-named because on these alternative accounts, ‘P tries to A’ entails that there is a trying to A by P, and therefore the expression ‘P’s trying to A’ can occur in the subject of a sentence and (...)
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  • Meaningful Human Control Over Smart Home Systems: A Value Sensitive Design Approach.Steven Umbrello - 2020 - Humana.Mente Journal of Philosophical Studies 13 (37):40-65.
    The last decade has witnessed the mass distribution and adoption of smart home systems and devices powered by artificial intelligence systems ranging from household appliances like fridges and toasters to more background systems such as air and water quality controllers. The pervasiveness of these sociotechnical systems makes analyzing their ethical implications necessary during the design phases of these devices to ensure not only sociotechnical resilience, but to design them for human values in mind and thus preserve meaningful human control over (...)
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  • Thinking by Doing: Rylean Regress and the Metaphysics of Action.Markos Valaris - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3395-3412.
    Discussions of Ryle’s regress argument against the “intellectualist legend” have largely focused on whether it is effective against a certain view about knowledge how, namely, the view that knowledge how is a species of propositional knowledge. This is understandable, as this is how Ryle himself framed the issue. Nevertheless, this focus has tended to obscure some different concerns which are no less pressing—either for Ryle or for us today. More specifically, I argue that a version of Ryle’s regress confronts any (...)
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  • The Folk Concepts of Intention and Intentional Action: A Cross-Cultural Study.Joshua Knobe & Arudra Burra - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):113-132.
    Recent studies point to a surprising divergence between people's use of the concept of _intention_ and their use of the concept of _acting intentionally_. It seems that people's application of the concept of intention is determined by their beliefs about the agent's psychological states whereas their use of the concept of acting intentionally is determined at least in part by their beliefs about the moral status of the behavior itself (i.e., by their beliefs about whether the behavior is morally good (...)
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  • Good Old Supervenience: Mental Causation on the Cheap.Nick Zangwill - 1996 - Synthese 106 (1):67-101.
    I defend the view that strong psychophysical superveniences is necessary and sufficient to explain the causal efficacy of mental properties. I employ factual and counterfactual conditionals as defeasible criteria of causal efficacy. And I also deal with certain problems arising from disjunctive and conjunctive properties.
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  • The Primacy of the Mental in the Explanation of Human Action.Andrei A. Buckareff & Jing Zhu - 2009 - Disputatio 3 (26):1 - 16.
    The mentalistic orthodoxy about reason-explanations of action in the philosophy of mind has recently come under renewed attack. Julia Tanney is among those who have critiqued mentalism. The alternative account of the folk practice of giving reason-explanations of actions she has provided affords features of an agent’s external environment a privileged role in explaining the intentional behaviour of agents. The authors defend the mentalistic orthodoxy from Tanney’s criticisms, arguing that Tanney fails to provide a philosophically satisfying or psychologically realistic account (...)
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  • Agency as Difference-Making: Causal Foundations of Moral Responsibility.Johannes Himmelreich - 2015 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science
    We are responsible for some things but not for others. In this thesis, I investigate what it takes for an entity to be responsible for something. This question has two components: agents and actions. I argue for a permissive view about agents. Entities such as groups or artificially intelligent systems may be agents in the sense required for responsibility. With respect to actions, I argue for a causal view. The relation in virtue of which agents are responsible for actions is (...)
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  • Attributions as Behavior Explanations: Toward a New Theory.Bertram Malle - manuscript
    Attribution theory has played a major role in social-psychological research. Unfortunately, the term attribution is ambiguous. According to one meaning, forming an attribution is making a dispositional (trait) inference from behavior; according to another meaning, forming an attribution is giving an explanation (especially of behavior). The focus of this paper is on the latter phenomenon of behavior explanations. In particular, I discuss a new theory of explanation that provides an alternative to classic attribution theory as it dominates the textbooks and (...)
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  • Motivierende Gründe: Aktuelle Probleme und Kontroversen.Jean Moritz Müller - 2019 - Information Philosophie 2019 (4):16-28.
    Dieser Forschungsbericht gibt einen Überblick über die aktuelle Debatte über motivierende Gründe in der Handlungs- und Erkenntnistheorie. Folgende drei Fragen werden schwerpunktmäßig behandelt: a) Was für eine Art von Entität sind motivierende Gründe? b) Welche Beziehung besteht zwischen einer Handlung oder Einstellung und ihren motivierenden Gründen? c) Welche kognitiven Bedingungen gelten für die Zuschreibung motivierender Gründe?
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  • The Volitive and the Executive Function of Intentions.Christoph Lumer - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (3):511-527.
    Many philosophers of action, including Bratman and Mele, conceive intentions functionally, as executive states: intentions are mental states that represent an action and tend to cause this action. In the philosophical tradition (e.g. for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Leibniz, Kant) another function of intentions, which may be called “volitive”, played a much more prominent role: intentions are mental states that represent what kind of actions we want and prefer to be realised and thus, in a possibly rational way, synthesise our motivational, (...)
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  • The Phenomenology of Action: A Conceptual Framework.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2008 - Cognition 107 (1):179 - 217.
    After a long period of neglect, the phenomenology of action has recently regained its place in the agenda of philosophers and scientists alike. The recent explosion of interest in the topic highlights its complexity. The purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework allowing for a more precise characterization of the many facets of the phenomenology of agency, of how they are related and of their possible sources. The key assumption guiding this attempt is that the processes through (...)
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  • Know-How, Action, and Luck.Carlotta Pavese - forthcoming - Synthese.
    A good surgeon knows how to perform a surgery; a good architect knows how to design a house. We value their know-how. We ordinarily look for it. What makes it so valuable? A natural response is that know-how is valuable because it explains success. A surgeon’s know-how explains their success at performing a surgery. And an architect’s know-how explains their success at designing houses that stand up. We value know-how because of its special explanatory link to success. But in virtue (...)
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  • Mind-Wandering is Unguided Attention: Accounting for the “Purposeful” Wanderer.Zachary Irving - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):547-571.
    Although mind-wandering occupies up to half of our waking thoughts, it is seldom discussed in philosophy. My paper brings these neglected thoughts into focus. I propose that mind-wandering is unguided attention. Guidance in my sense concerns how attention is monitored and regulated as it unfolds over time. Roughly speaking, someone’s attention is guided if she would feel pulled back, were she distracted from her current focus. Because our wandering thoughts drift unchecked from topic to topic, they are unguided. One motivation (...)
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  • Dualist and Agent-Causal Theories.Timothy O'Connor - 2001 - In Robert H. Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    I Introduction This essay will canvass recent philosophical accounts of human agency that deploy a notion of 'self' (or 'agent') causation. Some of these accounts try to explicate this notion, whereas others only hint at its nature by way of contrast with the causality exhibited by impersonal physical systems. In these latter theories, the authors' main argumentative burden is that the apparent fundamental differences between personal and impersonal causal activity strongly suggest mind-body dualism. I begin by noting two distinct, yet (...)
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  • Farewell to the Luck (and Mind) Argument.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):199-230.
    In this paper I seek to defend libertarianism about free will and moral responsibility against two well-known arguments: the luck argument and the Mind argument. Both of these arguments purport to show that indeterminism is incompatible with the degree of control necessary for free will and moral responsibility. I begin the discussion by elaborating these arguments, clarifying important features of my preferred version of libertarianism—features that will be central to an adequate response to the arguments—and showing why a strategy of (...)
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  • Écueils des Théories de la Rationalité.J. Nicolas Kaufmann - 1999 - Dialogue 38 (4):801-826.
    Un grand nombre de problèmes dont traite aujourd'hui la théorie de la décision reposent sur des problématiques qui appartiennent à des approches philosophiques, méthodologiques et théoriques fort différentes et dont l'auteur de Choix rationnel et vie publique déplore à juste titre l'absence d'unité intrinsèqueEn effet, les racines de la théorie contemporaine du choix rationnel ont des ramifications dans trois traditions philosophiques qui ont été maintenues sans entretenir de contacts: théories philosophiques de l'action d'Aristote à Hume, à Kant et à la (...)
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  • La dynamique des intentions.Élisabeth Pacherie - 2003 - Dialogue 42 (3):447-.
    I argue that in order to solve the main difficulties confronted by the classical versions of the causal theory of action, it is necessary no just to make room for intentions, considered as irreducible to complexes of beliefs and desires, but also to distinguish among several types of intentions. I present a three-tiered theory of intentions that distinguishes among future-directed intentions, present-directed intentions and motor intentions. I characterize each kind of intention in terms of its functions, its type of content, (...)
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  • Explaining Synchronic Self-Control.Jing Zhu - 2005 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):475-492.
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  • Is Conscious Will an Illusion?Jing Zhu - 2004 - Disputatio 1 (16):58-70.
    In this essay I critically examine Daniel Wegner’s account of conscious will as an illusion developed in his book The Illusion of Conscious Will. I show that there are unwarranted leaps in his argument, which considerably decrease the empirical plausibility and theoretical adequacy of his account. Moreover, some features essential to our experience of willing, which are related to our general understanding of free will, moral responsibility and human agency, are largely left out in Wegner’s account of conscious will. This (...)
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  • Hobartian Voluntarism and Epistemic Deontologism.Andrei Buckareff - 2006 - Disputatio 2 (21):1 - 17.
    Mark Heller has recently offered a proposal in defense of a fairly strong version of doxastic voluntarism. Heller looks to the compatibilist theory of free will proposed by R.E. Hobart in the first half of the twentieth century for an account of doxastic control. Heller’s defense of Hobartian Voluntarism is motivated by an appeal to epistemic deontologism. In this paper I argue that Heller’s defense of a version of strong or direct doxastic voluntarism ultimately fails. I finally argue that the (...)
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  • Is Conscious Will an Illusion?Jing Zhu - 2004 - Disputatio 1 (16):59 - 70.
    In this essay I critically examine Daniel Wegner’s account of conscious will as an illusion developed in his book The Illusion of Conscious Will. I show that there are unwarranted leaps in his argument, which considerably decrease the empirical plausibility and theoretical adequacy of his account. Moreover, some features essential to our experience of willing, which are related to our general understanding of free will, moral responsibility and human agency, are largely left out in Wegner’s account of conscious will. This (...)
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  • Free Will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    “Free Will” is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. Which sort is the free will sort is what all the fuss is about. (And what a fuss it has been: philosophers have debated this question for over two millenia, and just about every major philosopher has had something to say about it.) Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very (...)
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  • Intention and Weakness of Will.Richard Holton - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (5):241.
    Philosophical orthodoxy identifies weakness of will with akrasia: the weak willed person is someone who intentionally acts against their better judgement. It is argued that this is a mistake. Weakness of will consists in a quite different failing, namely an over-ready revision of one's intentions. Building on the work of Bratman, an account of such over-ready revision is given. A number of examples are then adduced showing how weakness of will, so understood, differs from akrasia.
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  • Agent-Causal Theories.Timothy O'Connor - 2011 - In Robert Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will: Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 309-328.
    This essay will canvass recent philosophical discussion of accounts of human (free) agency that deploy a notion of agent causation . Historically, many accounts have only hinted at the nature of agent causation by way of contrast with the causality exhibited by impersonal physical systems. Likewise, the numerous criticisms of agent causal theories have tended to be highly general, often amounting to no more that the bare assertion that the idea of agent causation is obscure or mysterious. But in the (...)
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  • Causal After All : A Model of Mental Causation for Dualists.Bram Vaassen - 2019 - Dissertation, Umeå University
    In this dissertation, I develop and defend a model of causation that allows for dualist mental causation in worlds where the physical domain is physically complete. In Part I, I present the dualist ontology that will be assumed throughout the thesis and identify two challenges for models of mental causation within such an ontology: the exclusion worry and the common cause worry. I also argue that a proper response to these challenges requires a thoroughly lightweight account of causation, i.e. an (...)
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  • Causalism and Intentional Omission.Joshua Shepherd - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):15-26.
    It is natural to think that at root, agents are beings that act. Agents do more than this, however – agents omit to act. Sometimes agents do so intentionally. How should we understand intentional omission? Recent accounts of intentional omission have given causation a central theoretical role. The move is well-motivated. If some form of causalism about intentional omission can successfully exploit similarities between action and omission, it might inherit the broad support causalism about intentional action enjoys. In this paper (...)
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  • Intentional Omissions.Randolph Clarke - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):158-177.
    It is argued that intentionally omitting requires having an intention with relevant content. And the intention must play a causal role with respect to one’s subsequent thought and conduct. Even if omissions cannot be caused, an account of intentional omission must be causal. There is a causal role for one’s reasons as well when one intentionally omits to do something.
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  • New Essays on the Metaphysics of Moral Responsibility.Joseph Keim Campbell - 2008 - The Journal of Ethics 12 (3-4):193 - 201.
    This is the introduction to a volume of new essays in the metaphysics of moral responsibility by John Martin Fischer, Carl Ginet, Ishtiyaque Haji, Alfred R. Mele, Derk Pereboom, Paul Russell, and Peter van Inwagen. I provide some background for the essays, cover the main debates in the metaphysics of moral responsibility, and emphasize some of the authors' contributions to this area of philosophy.
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  • Luck and Free Will.Alfred R. Mele - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):543-557.
    This essay sketches a problem about luck for typical incompatibilist views of free will posed in Alfred Mele, Free Will and Luck , and examines recent reactions to that problem. Reactions featuring appeals to agent causation receive special attention. Because the problem is focused on decision making, the control that agents have over what they decide is a central topic. Other topics discussed include the nature of lucky action and differences between directly and indirectly free actions.
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  • If Anyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist, Then Everyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1101-1131.
    Nearly all defences of the agent-causal theory of free will portray the theory as a distinctively libertarian one — a theory that only libertarians have reason to accept. According to what I call ‘the standard argument for the agent-causal theory of free will’, the reason to embrace agent-causal libertarianism is that libertarians can solve the problem of enhanced control only if they furnish agents with the agent-causal power. In this way it is assumed that there is only reason to accept (...)
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  • Actor-Observer Asymmetries in Explanations of Behavior: New Answers to an Old Question.Bertram F. Malle, Joshua Knobe & S. Nelson - 2007 - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 9 (4):491-514.
    A long series of studies in social psychology have shown that the explanations people give for their own behaviors are fundamentally different from the explanations they give for the behaviors of others. Still, a great deal of uncertainty remains about precisely what sorts of differences one finds here. We offer a new approach to addressing the problem. Specifically, we distinguish between two levels of representation ─ the level of linguistic structure (which consists of the actual series of words used in (...)
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  • Qual a motivação para se defender uma teoria causal da memória?César Schirmer Dos Santos - 2018 - In Juliano Santos do Carmo & Rogério F. Saucedo Corrêa (eds.), Linguagem e cognição. Pelotas: NEPFil. pp. 63-89.
    Este texto tem como objetivo apresentar a principal motivação filosófica para se defender uma teoria causal da memória, que é explicar como pode um evento que se deu no passado estar relacionado a uma experiência mnêmica que se dá no presente. Para tanto, iniciaremos apresentando a noção de memória de maneira informal e geral, para depois apresentar elementos mais detalhados. Finalizamos apresentando uma teoria causal da memória que se beneficia da noção de veritação (truthmaking).
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  • Basic Deviance Reconsidered.Markus E. Schlosser - 2007 - Analysis 67 (3):186–194.
    Most contemporary philosophers of action agree on the following claims. Firstly, the possibility of deviant or wayward causal chains poses a serious problem for the standard-causal theory of action. Secondly, we can distinguish between different kinds of deviant causal chains in the theory of action. In particular, we can distinguish between cases of basic and cases of consequential deviance. Thirdly, the problem of consequential deviance admits of a fairly straightforward solution, whereas the possibility of basic deviance constitutes a separate and (...)
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  • Intentions and Self-Referential Content.Tomis Kapitan - 1995 - Philosophical Papers 24 (3):151-166.
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  • Act and Intentionality.Benjamin Sheredos - 2016 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego
    Understanding the “intentionality” of mental phenomena is widely regarded as a key problem in philosophy of mind. Franz Brentano (along with his students, especially Edmund Husserl) is widely credited with bringing intentionality to philosophers’ attention. In early treatment by the Brentano school, intentionality is at least nominally understood as executed, brought about, or achieved in mental acts. And in the early 20th century, historians of psychology regarded this “act conception” of intentionality as integral for understanding the phenomenon. Yet the secondary (...)
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  • False Consciousness of Intentional Psychology.Katarzyna Paprzycka - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):271-295.
    According to explanatory individualism, every action must be explained in terms of an agent's desire. According to explanatory nonindividualism, we sometimes act on our desires, but it is also possible for us to act on others' desires without acting on desires of our own. While explanatory nonindividualism has guided the thinking of many social scientists, it is considered to be incoherent by most philosophers of mind who insist that actions must be explained ultimately in terms of some desire of the (...)
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  • Mens Rea Ascription, Expertise and Outcome Effects: Professional Judges Surveyed.Markus Kneer & Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde - 2017 - Cognition 169:139-146.
    A coherent practice of mens rea (‘guilty mind’) ascription in criminal law presupposes a concept of mens rea which is insensitive to the moral valence of an action’s outcome. For instance, an assessment of whether an agent harmed another person intentionally should be unaffected by the severity of harm done. Ascriptions of intentionality made by laypeople, however, are subject to a strong outcome bias. As demonstrated by the Knobe effect, a knowingly incurred negative side effect is standardly judged intentional, whereas (...)
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  • Action.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2012 - In Keith Frankish & William Ramsey (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science. Cambridge University Press. pp. 92--111.
    In recent years, the integration of philosophical with scientific theorizing has started to yield new insights. This chapter surveys some recent philosophical and empirical work on the nature and structure of action, on conscious agency, and on our knowledge of actions.
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  • Representation Without Thought: Confusion, Reference, and Communication.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2015 - Dissertation, CUNY Graduate Center
    I develop and argue for a novel theory of the mental state of identity confusion. I also argue that this mental state can corrupt the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication. Finally, I propose a theory according to which identity confusion should be treated as a the source of a new sort of linguistic performance error, similar to malapropism, slips of the tongue, and so-called intentional obfuscation (inducing false belief by manipulating language in specific ways). -/- Going into (...)
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  • Agent Causation as a Solution to the Problem of Action.Michael Brent - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):656-673.
    My primary aim is to defend a nonreductive solution to the problem of action. I argue that when you are performing an overt bodily action, you are playing an irreducible causal role in bringing about, sustaining, and controlling the movements of your body, a causal role best understood as an instance of agent causation. Thus, the solution that I defend employs a notion of agent causation, though emphatically not in defence of an account of free will, as most theories of (...)
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  • Intention.Sarah K. Paul - 2013 - International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
    A survey of the notion of intention as it relates to debates in the philosophy of action, moral psychology, and ethics.
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  • Hierarchy of Idea-Guided Action and Perception-Guided Movement.Sasha Ondobaka & Harold Bekkering - 2012 - Frontiers in Psychology 3.
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  • Moral Judgment and Volitional Incapacity.Antti Kauppinen - 2010 - In Michael O'Rourke (ed.), Topics in Contemporary Philosophy vol. 7. MIT Press.
    The central question of the branch of metaethics we may call philosophical moral psychology concerns the nature or essence of moral judgment: what is it to think that something is right or wrong, good or bad, obligatory or forbidden? One datum in this inquiry is that sincerely held moral views appear to influence conduct: on the whole, people do not engage in behaviours they genuinely consider base or evil, sometimes even when they would stand to benefit from it personally. Moral (...)
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  • Actions, Thought-Experiments and the 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities'.Maria Alvarez - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):61 – 81.
    In 1969 Harry Frankfurt published his hugely influential paper 'Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility' in which he claimed to present a counterexample to the so-called 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities' ('a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise'). The success of Frankfurt-style cases as counterexamples to the Principle has been much debated since. I present an objection to these cases that, in questioning their conceptual cogency, undercuts many of those debates. Such cases (...)
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  • How Voluntary Are Minimal Actions?Joëlle Proust - unknown
    This book chapter aims at exploring how intentional a piece of behavior should be to count as an action, and how a minimal view on action, not requiring a richly intentional causation, may still qualify such a behavior as voluntary.
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