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Action and its Explanation$
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David-Hillel Ruben

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198235880

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198235880.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

The Cambridge Theory of Action

The Cambridge Theory of Action

(p.5) 1 The Cambridge Theory of Action
Action and its Explanation

Ruben David-Hillel

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of the identity conditions for actions: what must be true for action a 1 = action a 2. It contrasts austere and prolific theories of action individuation. Austere theories tend to find multiplicity in descriptions but uniqueness in the action to which multiple descriptions may refer. Prolific theories find multiplicity in the actions themselves. Through the introduction of the ‘puzzle of posthumous predication’, the chapter makes use of Peter Geach's idea of Cambridge changes, in contrast to real ones. Using the parallel idea of a Cambridge action, it states and defends a variant of prolific theory, dubbed ‘the Cambridge theory of action individuation’.

Keywords:   philosophy of action, identity conditions, austere theory, prolific theory, action individuation, Cambridge theory, Peter Geach

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