Three Fallicies about Action

John Hyman


Three closely related mistakes have affected philosophical theories of action and the will since the seventeenth century: (1) Confusing the distinction between active and passive and the distinction between voluntary and involuntary; (2) Confusing action and motion, e.g. the action of moving something and the motion of the thing one moves; (3) A one-sided diet of examples, i.e. thinking almost exclusively about movements of parts of the agent’s body. I shall discuss these three mistakes— especially, but not exclusively, in relation to the treatment of these topics in §§611-632 and Part II section 8 of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.


20th century philosophy; metaphysics; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; action; causation; event; intention; will

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