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DOING WITHOUT ACTION TYPES

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2020

HEIN DUIJF
Affiliation:
DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS E-mail: h.w.a.duijf@vu.nl
JAN BROERSEN
Affiliation:
DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES UTRECHT UNIVERSITY UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS E-mail: j.m.broersen@uu.nl E-mail: a.kuncova@uu.nl E-mail: a.i.ramirezabarca@uu.nl
ALEXANDRA KUNCOVÁ
Affiliation:
DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES UTRECHT UNIVERSITY UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS E-mail: j.m.broersen@uu.nl E-mail: a.kuncova@uu.nl E-mail: a.i.ramirezabarca@uu.nl
ALDO IVÁN RAMÍREZ ABARCA
Affiliation:
DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES UTRECHT UNIVERSITY UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS E-mail: j.m.broersen@uu.nl E-mail: a.kuncova@uu.nl E-mail: a.i.ramirezabarca@uu.nl

Abstract

This paper explores the analysis of ability, where ability is to be understood in the epistemic sense—in contrast to what might be called a causal sense. There are plenty of cases where an agent is able to perform an action that guarantees a given result even though she does not know which of her actions guarantees that result. Such an agent possesses the causal ability but lacks the epistemic ability. The standard analysis of such epistemic abilities relies on the notion of action types—as opposed to action tokens—and then posits that an agent has the epistemic ability to do something if and only if there is an action type available to her that she knows guarantees it. We show that these action types are not needed: we present a formalism without action types that can simulate analyzes of epistemic ability that rely on action types. Our formalism is a standard epistemic extension of the theory of “seeing to it that”, which arose from a modal tradition in the logic of action.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Association for Symbolic Logic, 2020

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