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Negative Actions

Negative Actions

Events, Absences, and the Metaphysics of Agency

by Jonathan Payton
Publication Date: 30/04/2021
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"Negative actions (intentional omissions, refrainments, etc.) seem to be genuine actions. The standard metaphysical theories of action are event-based: they treat actions as events of a special kind. But it seems that many (and perhaps all) negative actions are, not events, but absences thereof. In this book, I provide a comprehensive treatment of this problem and its solution. I trace the appearance that negative actions are mere absences to the widely-assumed view that negative action sentences (sentences which describe an agent as omitting, refraining, etc.) are negative existentials, reporting the non-occurrence of an event of a certain kind. I argue, on the contrary, that such sentences report the occurrence of an event, not the absence of one. Moreover, I show how these events can be identified with ordinary, positive events of the sort we should already have in our ontology. In developing these views, I provide a comprehensive picture of the metaphysics of negative actions, the nature of our thought and talk about them, and their place in a theory of action and agency"--
Publication Date:
Cambridge University Press
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):

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