The Individuation of Action
Goldman (Alvin)
Source: Journal of Philosophy 68.21, Nov. 1971, pp. 761-774
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Philosophers Index Abstract

    Three principal difficulties for the anscombe-davidson pattern of act-individuation1 are raised: the by-relation problem, the problem of causes and effects and the problem of time. In light of such difficulties, the units of action must be sliced more thinly. I suggest that an act-token be viewed as the exemplifying of an act-type by a person at a time; act-tokens are identical just in case they are tokens of the same type performed by the same person at the same time. I show how one approach to the logical form of action sentences is congenial to this analysis, and the ontological consequences of the analysis are explored. The notion of an act-tree is introduced, first, to account for the unity one senses among acts which are counted as distinct, and second, to capture the natural ordering that holds among such acts.

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