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Events and the agential perspective

Bacharach, Julian; (2020) Events and the agential perspective. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (Univeristy College London). Green open access

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Abstract

There are systematic and pervasive differences between the ways we think about events in our personal past and future. Roughly speaking, we treat past events as fixed and settled, and future events as open and undetermined. This fact raises questions, first, about the finer structure of this pattern of asymmetry; and, secondly, about its metaphysical status. This thesis aims to address these families of question together, thereby bringing questions in the metaphysics of time into contact with ones in the philosophy of action and decision. The principal aim of the thesis is to articulate a distinctively retrospective perspective that we have on our past actions; and to argue that much of mature practical thinking, in particular the asymmetries of past and future thinking, is structured by this retrospective perspective. This perspective is explained in terms of the special epistemic access we have to particular past events, paradigmatically in episodic memory. This is effectively a novel argument for the familiar idea that actions are events—one based on the structure of practical thought, rather than the logical form of action sentences. An ontology of events motivated in this way has consequences for question in the metaphysics of time. Specifically, I argue that it supports a conception of time as a system of particulars, rather than one on which the tenses are fundamental.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Events and the agential perspective
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
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/10098202
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