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Omissions as Events and Actions

  • KENNETH SILVER (a1)
Abstract

We take ourselves to be able to omit to perform certain actions and to be at times responsible for these omissions. Moreover, omissions seem to have effects and to be manifestations of our agency. So, it is natural to think that omissions must be events. However, very few people writing on this topic have been willing to argue that omissions are events. Such a view is taken to face three significant challenges: (i) omissions are thought to be somehow problematically negative, (ii) it is unclear where the event of an omission would be located, and (iii) if we accept any omissions as events, it seems like there would be far too much causation involving them. In this paper, I develop a novel view of omissions as events and as actions that provides answers to these challenges.

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I thank Kadri Vihvelin, Sara Bernstein, Gary Watson, Gabriel Uzquiano, John Hawthorne, Carolina Sartorio, and several anonymous referees for comments and/or discussion. I am sure to have omitted mentioning numerous people who helped me as I worked on this project. Unfortunately, on my view, these will be events for which I may be responsible.

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Journal of the American Philosophical Association
  • ISSN: 2053-4477
  • EISSN: 2053-4485
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