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Thinking about Action

Hancox, Joshua (2015) Thinking about Action. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The promise of action theory (the study of intentional action) is that it might provide a new way into old disputes about the foundations of ethics, or the mind-body problem, or even first-order moral questions. The difficulty is accounting for the three quite different characteristics of intentional action: the characteristic way practical thought affects the world, the distinctive patterns and norms of means-end reasoning, and a special way of knowing about one's own actions. I explore the idea that we must first understand how agents think about action in order to understand these central features. In particular, I argue that practical thought – intentions and means-end beliefs – represents itself as the cause of its object. In addition to resolving action-theoretic debates, this account fulfills some of the promise of action theory, providing a rigorous foundation for a number of ethical and metaethical positions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairThompson,
Committee MemberSetiya,
Committee MemberMcDowell, Johnjmcdowel@pitt.eduJMCDOWEL
Committee MemberMachamer, Peterpkmach@pitt.eduPKMACH
Committee MemberPaul,
Date: 19 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 March 2015
Approval Date: 19 June 2015
Submission Date: 1 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 126
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy of Action
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2015 15:20
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:26


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