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Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System

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What is the difference between a wink and a blink? The answer is important not only to philosophers of mind, for significant moral and legal consequences rest on the distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior. However, "action theory" -- the branch of philosophy that has traditionally articulated the boundaries between action and non-action, and between volunta What is the difference between a wink and a blink? The answer is important not only to philosophers of mind, for significant moral and legal consequences rest on the distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior. However, "action theory" -- the branch of philosophy that has traditionally articulated the boundaries between action and non-action, and between voluntary and involuntary behavior -- has been unable to account for the difference. Alicia Juarrero argues that a mistaken, 350-year-old model of cause and explanation -- one that takes all causes to be of the push-pull, efficient cause sort, and all explanation to be prooflike -- underlies contemporary theories of action. Juarrero then proposes a new framework for conceptualizing causes based on complex adaptive systems. Thinking of causes as dynamical constraints makes bottom-up and top-down causal relations, including those involving intentional causes, suddenly tractable. A different logic for explaining actions -- as historical narrative, not inference -- follows if one adopts this novel approach to long-standing questions of action and responsibility.


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What is the difference between a wink and a blink? The answer is important not only to philosophers of mind, for significant moral and legal consequences rest on the distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior. However, "action theory" -- the branch of philosophy that has traditionally articulated the boundaries between action and non-action, and between volunta What is the difference between a wink and a blink? The answer is important not only to philosophers of mind, for significant moral and legal consequences rest on the distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior. However, "action theory" -- the branch of philosophy that has traditionally articulated the boundaries between action and non-action, and between voluntary and involuntary behavior -- has been unable to account for the difference. Alicia Juarrero argues that a mistaken, 350-year-old model of cause and explanation -- one that takes all causes to be of the push-pull, efficient cause sort, and all explanation to be prooflike -- underlies contemporary theories of action. Juarrero then proposes a new framework for conceptualizing causes based on complex adaptive systems. Thinking of causes as dynamical constraints makes bottom-up and top-down causal relations, including those involving intentional causes, suddenly tractable. A different logic for explaining actions -- as historical narrative, not inference -- follows if one adopts this novel approach to long-standing questions of action and responsibility.

45 review for Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System

  1. 4 out of 5

    Thiago Varella

    This is a great book with some really important message about the way we interpret causality. It might be hard to read, though, depending on your background. It was hard for me because I don't have a lot of background in philosophy. This is a great book with some really important message about the way we interpret causality. It might be hard to read, though, depending on your background. It was hard for me because I don't have a lot of background in philosophy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Starts slow but picks up steam as it goes. A really powerful and predictive theory from 20 years ago that the intervening progress in ML largely supports.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bruno

    Quite hard to read, yet one of the best books on explaining behaviour, cause and complex, adaptive, dynamical systems.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laurence Kirmayer

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

  6. 5 out of 5

    Federico Cayrol

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jabe

  8. 5 out of 5

    Juan Pablo

  9. 5 out of 5

    Asif Ghazanfar

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elton Theander

  11. 5 out of 5

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  12. 5 out of 5

    Perry

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tadd Rosenfeld

  14. 5 out of 5

    Blaine

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

  16. 4 out of 5

    Terri

  17. 5 out of 5

    William Medendorp

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matteo Schiller

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alexi Parizeau

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erik

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Boland

  22. 5 out of 5

    Craig Johnson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Craig

  24. 4 out of 5

    Newsblogger

  25. 5 out of 5

    David

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tony

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Longo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Guillen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Complexified

  30. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sabin

  32. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  33. 5 out of 5

    Peter Poole

  34. 4 out of 5

    2readlist

  35. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jukka Lindström

  37. 4 out of 5

    Akbar

  38. 5 out of 5

    Chris Fisher

  39. 4 out of 5

    Javier

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

  41. 5 out of 5

    Risto Saarelma

  42. 5 out of 5

    LPenting

  43. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo

  44. 4 out of 5

    Mani

  45. 4 out of 5

    Brian Frank

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