Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 249-262

First online:

Act Individuation: An Experimental Approach

  • Joseph UlatowskiAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Wyoming Email author 

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Accounts of act individuation have attempted to capture peoples’ pre-theoretic intuitions. Donald Davidson has argued that a multitude of action descriptions designate only one act, while Alvin Goldman has averred that each action description refers to a distinct act. Following on recent empirical studies, I subject these accounts of act individuation to experimentation. The data indicate that people distinguish between actions differently depending upon the moral valence of the outcomes. Thus, the assumption that a single account of act individuation applies invariantly seems mistaken.