The Cambridge Theory of Action

Ruben David-Hillel

in Action and its Explanation

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780198235880
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679155 | DOI:
The Cambridge Theory of Action

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This chapter addresses the question of the identity conditions for actions: what must be true for action a1 = action a2. It contrasts austere and prolific theories of action individuation. Austere theories tend to find multiplicity in descriptions but uniqueness in the action to which multiple descriptions may refer. Prolific theories find multiplicity in the actions themselves. Through the introduction of the ‘puzzle of posthumous predication’, the chapter makes use of Peter Geach's idea of Cambridge changes, in contrast to real ones. Using the parallel idea of a Cambridge action, it states and defends a variant of prolific theory, dubbed ‘the Cambridge theory of action individuation’.

Keywords: philosophy of action; identity conditions; austere theory; prolific theory; action individuation; Cambridge theory; Peter Geach

Chapter.  17432 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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