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Philosophy of Action - PHI00049H

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Stephen Everson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

In this module, we shall attempt to determine what is involved in talking of agency. How, for instance, are a person's actions related to his or her bodily movements? Are actions physical events or psychological events? How then are actions explained? 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

  • To provide an understanding of the nature of action.
  • To develop students' abilities to apply philosophical tools and techniques in order to advance understanding of intellectual problems.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • To show how the notion of an action is fundamental to the philosophy of mind; to understand the implications of this, and to understand the relation between actions and reasons

Academic and graduate skills

  • Be able to read and critically engage with a wide range of complex and difficult philosophical material.
  • To develop and be able to defend a considered view on complex and difficult material

Module content

The notion of an action is a fundamental one in philosophy of mind as it is in moral philosophy and philosophy of law. In this module, we shall attempt to determine what is involved in talking of agency. How, for instance, are a person's actions related to his or her bodily movements? Are actions physical events or psychological events? How then are actions explained? We can, it seems, explain some’s acting in some way by citing their beliefs and desires but equally we can explain it by citing some non-psychological fact as the reason for which they acted. How do such different styles of explanation cohere? In addressing those questions we shall be concerned to explore what are reasons for action and what it is to act rationally.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on the formative work, to be received 2 weeks after submission

Indicative reading

Jennifer Hornsby, Actions

Jonathan Dancy, Practical Reality

Joseph Raz, Engaging Reason



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.