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Agents and Their Actions (Ratio Special Issues) Paperback – 28 Jul 2011


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From the Back Cover

While theories of action have intrigued philosophers since the time of Aristotle, the field is currently undergoing a surge in innovative philosophical thinking – an inventiveness that is bearing an unprecedented wealth of fresh insights into a topic that touches on almost every area of philosophy. Reflecting this recent flourishing of creativity, Agents and Their Actions presents seven newly commissioned essays by leading international philosophers that highlight the most cutting–edge debates in the philosophy of action. In one essay, philosopher John McDowell extends his path–breaking account of intentionality in Mind and World by exploring the implications for intention in action. In another, Joseph Raz develops his influential views about rational agency with an analysis of responsibility. John Hyman deepens his account of how knowledge works by examining its uses and roles in guiding action. Another essay features Robert Stern, who broadens his appeal to historical debate in elucidating current controversy by comparing Korsgaard with Kant on the nature of agency. Two further essays feature Laura Ekstrom, who explores relations between the self and agency, and Maria Alarez, who uses action to expose the basic elements of practical reasoning. The book′s editor Maximilian de Gaynesford finishes the collection with an examination of the supposed reciprocal nature of agency in the theory of speech acts. Timely and intellectually stimulating, Agents and Their Actions represents an intriguing snapshot of recent philosophical debates while introducing readers to the forceful, lively, and fruitful ideas currently whirling around the nature, variety, and identity of action.

About the Author

Maximilian de Gaynesford is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading. A previous Fellow of Lincoln College Oxford, de Gaynesford is the author of I: The Meaning of the First Person Term (2006), Hilary Putnam (2006), John McDowell (2004), and a number of articles on the philosophy of mind and language, moral philosophy, and aesthetics.

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