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basic action

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of action Some actions are done by performing other actions. In some sense, the latter actions cause the former actions. If I am driving a car, the action of driving a car is accomplished by such things as turning the steering wheel, depressing the accelerator or brake, and checking the road and the mirror. These actions in turn are accomplished by moving my hands, feet, and eyes. The chain of actions that are responsible for other actions must terminate in actions that are not accomplished by performing other actions. Danto calls these actions basic actions and calls actions performed by means of other actions non-basic actions. In many cases it is unclear how to identify basic actions. Discussion concerning the nature of basic actions has been a central focus of action theory. “B is a basic action of a if and only if (i) B is an action and (ii) whenever a performed B, there is no other action A performed by a such that B is caused by A.” A. C. Danto, “What We Can Do,” Journal of Philosophy 60 ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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