Action, Knowledge, and Will (Paperback)
  • Action, Knowledge, and Will (Paperback)
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Action, Knowledge, and Will (Paperback)

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£19.99
Paperback 272 Pages / Published: 16/02/2017
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What is the difference between the movements in our bodies we cause personally ourselves, such as the movements of our legs or our lips when we walk or speak, and the movements we do not cause personally, such as the contraction of the heart? Is an act that is done under duress done voluntarily, out of choice? Should duress exculpate a defendant completely, or should it merely mitigate the criminality of an act? When we explain an intentional act by stating our reasons for doing it, do we explain it causally or teleologically, or both? Should we care whether our choices are guided by knowledge or mere true belief? In Action, Knowledge, and Will, John Hyman explores these and other central problems in the philosophy of action and the theory of knowledge, and connects these areas of enquiry in a new way. The main premise of the book is that human action has four irreducibly different dimensions, each with its own family of concepts: - a physical dimension, in which the principal concepts are those of agent, power, and causation; - a psychological dimension, with the concepts of desire, aim, and intention; - an ethical dimension, with the concepts of voluntariness and choice; - an intellectual dimension, with the concepts of reason, knowledge, and belief. Studying each of these dimensions of human action separately yields a string of original results, culminating in a new analysis of the relationship between knowledge and rational behaviour, which provides the foundation for a new theory of knowledge itself.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198769316
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 370 g
Dimensions: 234 x 169 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Action, Knowledge, and Will is a splendid book-insightful, original, elegantly written and carefully edited, and a genuine pleasure to read. John Hyman weaves strands of historical, legal, empirical, and conceptual analysis into a series of arguments that are fresh and exciting at every turn. * John Schwenkler, Australasian Journal of Philosophy *
John Hyman is one of the most creative and wide-ranging philosophers working today. * Kieran Setiya, MIT *
With this book, John Hyman has done more for action theory than anyone in the field since Anscombe. His arguments in support of the thesis that human agency is best conceived as the integration of four dimensions presents a new picture that, in time, will change the way everyone thinks about human action. * Dennis Patterson, Jurisprudence *
[T]he most important treatment of action since Anscombe and Davidson ... It takes the traditional question whether we should give a physical, ethical, psychological or intellectual account of human action and stands it on its head. For Hyman argues that the real question is how to distinguish the physical, the ethical, the psychological and the intellectual dimensions of human action, and he thereby changes the landscape in the philosophy of action. * Evgenia Mylonaki, Philosophical Quarterly *
John Hyman brilliantly tackles a problem that has rankled since Plato: what is involved when we voluntarily perform an action? "The will", he argues, has been made too much of a catch-all of the various dimensions of human agency - physical, psychological, ethical and intellectual. Philosophy is all about fine distinctions. Here they are made acutely yet accessibly to give us a new picture of who we are. * Jane O'Grady, The Tablet, Books of the Year *
John Hyman's new book is a masterful blend of the philosophy of action and epistemology. In it he seeks not only to realign the philosophy of action, but to turn epistemology - at least, that part of it that is concerned with the nature of knowledge - into a part of the philosophy of action. ... Hyman's book is an invitation to a radical new research programme in epistemology. I hope that others join him in working it out. * Analysis *
How could knowledge be even better for us than true beliefs that we have good reason to accept? John Hyman answers this question in Action, Knowledge, and Will. It is by no means the only question he answers in this rich, delightful book. He reaches fresh, insightful conclusions about human action and thought by attending to connections between questions usually treated separately. He explains and defends those conclusions sharply and carefully, with admirable regard for what the words involved in the question actually mean. * Barry Stroud, Times Literary Supplement *
[A] vast improvement over the anti-psychologistic accounts of reasons-explanations that have proliferated in recent years. It both allows us to emphasize reasons why as facts that favor actions while allowing us to include an agent's psychological states in genuine reasons-explanations. ... While he challenges many widely endorsed views in contemporary philosophy of action, Hyman does not adopt an unprincipled contrarian stance. Rather, he strikes me as a friendly critic, offering ways to correct mistakes philosophers have made in the past three hundred years. * Andrei A. Buckareff, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *

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