- Seminars 2016-2017
- Exponential Self-Organization: Measures and Mechanisms
- When Slower is Faster
- Organized Complexity: is big history a big computation?
- Information: Ultimate Notion Common to Computer Science, Biology, and Human Cognition
- What are the mechanisms of power, and how can we organize ourselves against it?
- The Buffering-Challenging Strategy for Health, Fitness and Life-extension
- Digital Literacy for Humanity in the State of Flux: An Urban Narrative
- Patterns that Connect: Exploring the Concept of Pattern in the Face of Growing Complexity
- Demarcating mathematical understanding and the understanding subject
- Adaptation by Product Hacking
- A Mimetic View on the Firm
- Consequences of the Symbolic-Imaginary for Big History
- Seminars 2015-2016
- Seminars 2014-2015
- Seminars 2013-2014
- Seminars 2012-2013
- Seminars 2011-2012
- Hierarchical organization and self-organization
- McLuhan, Media, Emergence and Complexity Theory
- An approach for actor-based transdisciplinary innovation of socio-economic value-chains
- The Future Internet as a Global Brain: an update of the theory
- Languaging as a second order of joint control process
- Workshop: Worldviews and religiosity
- The origins of the origin: points and cycles as cognitive attractors for ultimate explanations
- The Complexity of Architecture
- Transformation of uncertainty in the therapeutic process
- What is an action?
- The Global Brain Facilitates Human Biological Immortality
- Evaluation of a self-organizing ambient intelligence based traffic system
- Synthetron wisdom of crowds via evolutionary (propagated) consensus in online discussions: experiences and challenges
- A walk in graph databases
- An introduction to Living Labs
- How speech-acts are conquering the world
- 'The Interrelatedness of Many Things': Toward a McLuhanist Philosophy of Technology
- The social dynamics of ontological commitment
- Who needs a worldview ?
- Organizations and Conceptual Paradoxes, Defined by Action Ontology
- Chemical Organizations: Theory and Applications
- Seminars 2010-2011
- Seminars 2009-2010
- Seminars 2008-2009
- Seminars 2007-2008
- Seminars 2006-2007
- Seminars 2004-2005
- Seminars 2005-2006
What is an action?
Submitted by Weaver Silken on Sat, 03/31/2012 - 16:38
What is an action?
Valérie Aucouturier (VUB, CLEA)
The question may seem utterly naïve, since we do talk about actions all the time (pouring some tea, going to the university, etc.), but it may also reveal very tricky when it comes to understanding the specificity of actions against the general course of happenings. Actions are indeed a specific kind of happening in that they involve agency: an agent intervenes in the course of events, she decides to interfere or not with what is going on, following some goal she intends to pursue.
Philosophers (notably Davidson and Anscombe) have argued that we attend to this specificity when we focus on descriptions of what happens that are somehow linked to an agent's reasons to act. If an action is intentional, one can provide reasons for doing it. But there can be various descriptions of what we do, of the same action (moving one's fingers, typing something, doing a clicking noise, writing a paper, etc.). The issue on which I shall concentrate is double: first, what is specific about agency by contrast with other sorts of happenings (and what kind of creature is thus capable of agency); second what is it that makes all the descriptions of the same action descriptions of the same action? We shall see how the causal chain of events are intertwined with people's actions. I will conclude on the idea that this specificity of agency leads to the irreducibility of action explanations (and thus of any kind of explanation appealing to agency) to any lower level of explanation.
About the speaker:
Valérie Aucouturier (F.W.O. Postdoctoral Fellow, Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Study, Free University Brussels – V.U.B.)
I am currently working on the epistemology of human action and psychological explanations. Indeed, philosophers, psychologists and practitioners encounter major theoretical and practical difficulties in trying to build a consistent, non-reductionist, account of their object of study. I try to analyse which epistemological constraints apply to psychology as a 'special' science in order to shed light on new understandings of mental causation that would be appropriate to e.g. what happens in the psychotherapeutic cure.
Slides of the Talk: