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Thought in motion: on the possibility of practical reason

Hinshelwood, AJ; (2018) Thought in motion: on the possibility of practical reason. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

All intentional action involves practical thought, for the agent of intentional action represents the kind of action they do in a distinctively practical way: as a model or guide for their actual action. In the first instance, this thesis is about how we should conceive of the relationship between such practical thought and the particular intentional actions for which it is necessary. In this thesis I defend what I call the Identity Account. The account claims that there is a fundamental way of thinking that some kind of action is to-be-done, or is good-to-do, wherein one is and knows oneself to be doing that action-kind. In such cases, practical thoughts are intentional actions: a species of self-conscious change. I argue that other forms of practical thought are less fundamental than intentional action, and must be understood only relative to it. Standing in the way of the Identity Account is a certain conception of what a particular change is, which I call the block view. This entails a separation between practical thought and intentional action, and it puts out of the reach the possibility of the kind of self-conscious changes which the Identity Account says intentional actions are. I marshal a number of arguments against the separation of practical thought from intentional action, but ultimately press that the very possibility of a distinctively practical form of thought requires the truth of the Identity Account. In order to make room for the Identity Account, I elaborate an alternative conception of what a particular change is, which I call the Aristotelian view. By drawing on this, I show how self-conscious change, and so practical thought, is possible.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Thought in motion: on the possibility of practical reason
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Action, agency, self-consciousness, practical knowledge, change, Aristotle.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044637
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