‘The problem of action is to explicate the contrast between
what an agent does and
what merely happens to him’
(Frankfurt, 1978 p. 157).
Frankfurt, Harry G. ‘The Problem of Action’. American Philosophical Quarterly 15, no. 2 (1978): 157–62.
Davidson, D. (1971). Agency. In Binkley, R., Bronaugh, R., and Marras, A., editors, Agent, Action, and Reason,, pages 3–25. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. Reprinted in Davidson, D. (1980) Essays on Actions and Events. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
In order to predict a person’s next action,
what is the minimum you need to know?
Plausibly this includes what the person believes about actions available to her and their consequences;
and also how desirable the person finds the various consequences.
Belief and desire alone are not sufficient for action.
But beliefs and desires do shape deliberation about what to do.
Deliberation characteristically results in intention.
And intentions control action.
Davidson, D. (1978 ). Intending. In Essays on Actions and Events, pages 83–102. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Bratman, M. E. (1985). Davidson’s theory of intention. In Vermazen, B. and Hintikka, M., editors, Essays on Davidson: Actions and Events, pages 13–26. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Reprinted in Bratman, M. (1999) Faces of Intention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (pp. 209–224).