Attempt, Success and Action Generation: A Logical Study of Intentional Action

  • Daniel Vanderveken
Part of the Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science book series (LEUS, volume 2)


Contemporary philosophers have broadly studied intentional actions that agents attempt to perform in the world. However, logicians of action have tended to neglect the intentionality proper to human action. I will present here the basic principles and laws of a logic of individual action where intentional actions are primary as in contemporary philosophy of action. In my view, any action that an agent performs unintentionally could in principle have been attempted. Moreover any unintentional action of an agent is an effect of intentional actions of that agent. So my logic of action contains a theory of attempt and of action generation. As Belnap pointed out, action, branching time and historic modalities are logically related. There is the liberty of voluntary action. I will then work out a logic of action that is compatible with indeterminism.

Propositions with the same truth conditions are not the contents of the same attitudes of human agents. For that reason I will exploit the resources of a non classical modal and temporal predicative propositional logic capable of distinguishing the contents of intentional actions which are different. My primary purpose is enrich the logic of agency so as to adequately characterize attempts, intentional actions and the different kinds of action generation.


Truth Condition Intentional Action Atomic Proposition Historic Modality Elementary Proposition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Vanderveken
    • 1
  1. 1.Université du QuébecTrois-Rivières

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