Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 249–262 | Cite as

Act Individuation: An Experimental Approach

Article

Abstract

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.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Eric Amsel, Adam Feltz, Joshua Knobe, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, Sarah Paul, Bill Ramsey, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, as well as audience members at the 2008 MidSouth Philosophy Conference, the 2010 Joint Meeting of the North Carolina Philosophical Society and South Carolina Society for Philosophy, and the 2010 Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology for helpful suggestions and comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I am also grateful for two anonymous referees employed by the Review of Philosophy and Psychology who were instrumental in helping improve the quality of this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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