Cover

Table of Contents

Cover

Series page

Title page

Copyright page

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

PREFACE

CHAPTER 1: REASONS FOR ACTION AND PRACTICAL REASONING

The premises of practical reasoning

Practical reasoning and goals

Practical reasoning

CHAPTER 2: AMBIVALENCE AND AUTHENTIC AGENCY

I. Inner conflict and identification

II. Features of a successful account

III. The nature of the self

IV. The coherence theory of autonomous action

V. Complexity and worth

VI. Coping with ambivalence

VII. Conclusion

CHAPTER 3: THE ROAD TO LARISSA

CHAPTER 4: WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF AN INTENTION IN ACTION?

CHAPTER 5: BEING IN THE WORLD

1. Responsibility, control and intentions

2. Engaging with the World

3. Responsibility2 and the Control Principle

4. Responsibility2 and the domain of secure competence

5. The case of omissions

6. The emerging conception of responsibility2

CHAPTER 6: MORAL SCEPTICISM AND AGENCY: KANT AND KORSGAARD

1. Korsgaard on moral scepticism and practical agency

2. Prichardian objections to Korsgaard

3. Kant and moral scepticism: Sections I and II of the ‘Groundwork’

3. Kant and moral scepticism: Section III of the ‘Groundwork’

4. Kant and Korsgaard

CHAPTER 7: SPEECH, ACTION AND UPTAKE

I

II

III

Index

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Ratio Book Series

Each book in the series is devoted to a philosophical topic of particular contemporary interest, and features invited contributions from leading authorities in the chosen field.

Volumes published so far:

Agents and Their Actions, edited by Maximilian de Gaynesford

Philosophy of Literature, edited by Severin Schroeder

Essays on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters, edited by Jussi Suikkanen and John Cottingham

Justice, Equality and Constructivism, edited by Brian Feltham

Wittgenstein and Reason, edited by John Preston

The Meaning of Theism, edited by John Cottingham

Metaphysics in Science, edited by Alice Drewery

The Self?, edited by Galen Strawson

On What We Owe to Each Other, edited by Philip Stratton-Lake

The Philosophy of Body, edited by Mike Proudfoot

Meaning and Representation, edited by Emma Borg

Arguing with Derrida, edited by Simon Glendinning

Normativity, edited by Jonathan Dancy

Title page

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

Maria Alvarez is Senior Lecturer at King’s College London.

Maximilian de Gaynesford is Professor at the University of Reading.

Laura W. Ekstrom is Associate Professor at the College of William and Mary.

John Hyman is Professor at the University of Oxford.

John McDowell is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Piitsburgh.

Joseph Raz is Professor at Columbia University Law School.

Robert Stern is Professor at the University of Sheffield.

PREFACE

Contemporary Philosophy of Action is like Plutarch’s Mediterranean: a well-mixed bowl. It is here that much of the most interesting recent work in metaphysics and epistemology is blended with compelling new material in ethics, logic and the philosophy of mind and language. This collection reflects the phenomenon, which is full of promise for the future. The ingredients are gathered from every major area of philosophy, but they merge in efforts to understand action and agency.

John McDowell extends his path-breaking account of intentionality in Mind and World by exploring the implications for intention in action. Joseph Raz develops his influential views about rational agency with an analysis of responsibility. Laura Ekstrom shows how a self that is capable of acting wholeheartedly depends on structures that combine preferences with convictions. John Hyman deepens his account of the way knowledge works by examining its uses and roles in guiding action. Robert Stern demonstrates how historical debate may elucidate current controversy, comparing Korsgaard with Kant on the nature of agency. Maria Alvarez uses action and agency to understand premises and conclusions, the elements of practical reasoning. The final chapter uses action to distinguish various types of utterance.

John Cottingham has been most generous with help and advice in putting this collection together. My fellow-contributors have been patient and accommodating. I am grateful to them all. The book is dedicated to my daughter Elisabeth, whose agency is as puzzling as anyone’s, but whose actions are a day-long delight.

Maximilian de Gaynesford

April 2011