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Encyclopedia > Philosophy of action

Philosophy of action is chiefly concerned with human action, intending to distinguish between activity and passivity, voluntary, intentional, culpable and involuntary actions, and related question. The term philosophy derives from a combination of the Greek words philos meaning love and sophia meaning wisdom. ... A primary concern of the theory of action in philosophy is to demarcate actions from other doings. ...


The field is often defined by the quote of Ludwig Wittgenstein: "What is left over if I subtract the fact that my arm goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?" Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), pictured here in 1930, made influential contributions to logic and the philosophy of language, critically examining the task of conventional philosophy and its relation to the nature of language. ...


The problems of analytical philosophy of action include:

  • What are the temporal limits of an action? For instance, can an action end before its result occurs?
  • Is an action the same as some bodily movement? Does one movement under different descriptions constitute different actions?
  • Is an action the same as some event? Does one event under different descriptions constitute different actions?
  • How are actions to be explained or rationalized? Must there be a causal link between the explanation and the action (as suggested by Donald Davidson)? In what way are the agent's intentions involved?

There are many kinds of events. ... Donald Davidson (March 6, 1917 – August 30, 2003) was an American philosopher and the Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. ...

See also

David Hume David Hume (April 26, 1711 (May 7th by the Gregorian reckoning of his time, his birthday is celebrated by the International Humanist and Ethical Union on May 7th)– August 25, 1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian and, with Adam Smith and Thomas Reid among others, one of... Praxeology is the science of human action. ... Donald Davidson (March 6, 1917 – August 30, 2003) was an American philosopher and the Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. ... Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (March 18, 1919 – January 5, 2001) (known as Elizabeth Anscombe, published as G. E. M. Anscombe) was a British philosopher and theologian and a pupil of Ludwig Wittgenstein (See also: Analytic philosophy, Wittgensteinian). ...

References

  • Philosophy of Action conference announcement: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lawf0081/rip/
  • Philosophy of Action syllabus: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~velleman/542/
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Action, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/action/
  • Mele, Alfred (ed.): The Philosophy of Action, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997

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