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  • Cited by 6
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2021
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Book description

Negative actions, like intentional omissions or refrainments, seem to be genuine actions. The standard metaphysical theories of action are event-based: they treat actions as events of a special kind. However, it seems that many (and perhaps all) negative actions are not events, but absences thereof. This is the first book-length treatment of the problem of negative action. It surveys the recent literature, and shows how the problem is rooted in interconnected issues in metaphysics, the philosophy of action, and the philosophy of language. In particular, it connects competing views of the ontology of negative actions to competing views of the semantics of 'negative action sentences', and develops unique ontological and semantic theories to solve the problem. It provides a comprehensive picture of the nature of negative actions, our thought and talk about them, and their place in a theory of action.


‘This book is a fascinating discussion of the problem of negative actions and the related problem of negative action sentences. It develops an original and sophisticated neo-Davidsonian approach, one according to which negative actions are events that ensure that the agent doesn't perform an action of the omitted kind. It will be of interest to a broad audience encompassing philosophers of action, metaphysicians, and philosophers of language.'

Carolina Sartorio - University of Arizona

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