Full Text


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of mind, philosophy of action, ethics [from Latin agere , to do] Some philosophers draw a distinction between acts and actions and suggest that while an act is the deed that is done, an action is the doing of it. But most believe that this distinction is hard to maintain and take an act as a synonym for an action. Although there are actions in nature, such as the action of a river on its bank, an action is generally defined as what is intentionally done by a human rational agent. Natural action is described as a mere process, happening, or occurrence. Action has been the focus of much discussion in recent philosophy of mind, especially concerning human intention and deliberation . Many theories have been developed to explain what it means to act intentionally and to show how to distinguish actions from other events involving persons. On one standard account, an action is an event by which an agent brings about changes through bodily movement. A rival mental action theory argues that not all actions involve bodily movement and identifies actions with primary mental events in the causal chain between the agent and behavioral events. According to the causal theory of action developed by Davidson , Searle , and Goodman among others, actions are the effects of primary mental events. Other philosophers reject such primary mental events and deny that actions are ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top