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The Things We Do and Why We Do Them
 
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The Things We Do and Why We Do Them
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
13 Dec 2011
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£61.00
|Hardback In Stock
  
9780230522121
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

The Things We Do and Why We Do Them argues against the common assumption that there is one thing called 'action' which all reason-giving explanations of action are geared towards. Sandis explains why all theories concerned with identifying the nature of our 'real' reasons for action fail from the outset. This pluralistic approach reveals how numerous seemingly intractable debates arise because their participants all share a number of mistaken views that conflate distinct relata. We are subsequently presented with a novel understanding of the complex interrelations between human nature, motivation, reasons, action, explanation, and agency. This intradisciplinary book will appeal to anyone interested in the philosophy of action, moral and motivational psychology, and the philosophy of social science.


Description

The Things We Do and Why We Do Them argues against the common assumption that there is one thing called 'action' which all reason-giving explanations of action are geared towards. Sandis explains why all theories concerned with identifying the nature of our 'real' reasons for action fail from the outset. This pluralistic approach reveals how numerous seemingly intractable debates arise because their participants all share a number of mistaken views that conflate distinct relata. We are subsequently presented with a novel understanding of the complex interrelations between human nature, motivation, reasons, action, explanation, and agency. This intradisciplinary book will appeal to anyone interested in the philosophy of action, moral and motivational psychology, and the philosophy of social science.


Reviews

'Challenging and thought-provoking.' — Les Reid Philosophy Now

'Everybody who is interested in or works on action theory ought to read it with great care. ,,Sandis clearly has a remarkable grasp of how action explanations and notions related to action explanations are employed within a wide variety of fields…I found Sandis' book to be both stimulating and useful…I recommend The Things We Do and Why We Do Them to both people engaged in empirical research on human behavior, and to action theorists trying to develop a better and more adequate theoretical account of human action.' - Carsten Fogh Nielsen, Metapsychology

'The book covers an impressive amount of interdisciplinary work...fresh...tightly argued...I value Sandis' constructive ideas and wish for further applications of his general approach...A really engaging book, which amply repays close reading'. - Anthony Hatzymoisis, Metascience

'Sandis' dense, rich and subtle book succeeds in highlighting the complexity of human action and the corresponding diversity of its explanations...The book provides an important counterweight to the-ories claiming to reveal the "true" nature of human action and a helpful corrective to some of the most entrenched debates in the philosophy of action.' - Kristina Musholt, London School of Economics, Times Higher Education
 
'Constantine Sandis argues that contemporary philosophy of action is riddled with conflations. These include the conflation of an agent's behaviour and her actions with the movings of her body; the reasons for which an agent acts with the reasons why her actions occur; and what an agent is doing with her doing of it. Sandis's rich and penetrating book not only demonstrates how these various conflations undermine the conclusions philosophers argue for, but also provides philosophers of action with a much-needed road map for going forward. The Things We Do And Why We Do Them is a must read.' - Michael Smith, Princeton University, USA

'In this subtle book most of the leading contributors to the philosophy of action – and those who study behaviour more generally - will find themselves chastised for committing one or more of the twenty conflations that are listed at the front. Constantine Sandis suggests that most of the entrenched debates in this area are really results of these conflations.'- Jonathan Dancy, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
 
'Overall...a valuable contribution to the philosophy of action.' -Markus Schlosser, University of Groningen, Philosophy in Review



Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Analytic Table of Contents
20 Conflating Views to Avoid
The Objectives of Action Explanation
Conflation in Action
What Makes An Explanation Proper?
The Operation of Reasons
Nested Explanations
The Structure of Agential Explanation
Spheres of Explanation
Appendix I - The Ontology of Action
Appendix II - Thought and Motive in Historiography
Bibliography
Index 


Authors

CONSTANTINE SANDIS Reader in Philosophy at Oxford Brookes University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. He has published numerous articles and edited three books on action and its explanation.