Understanding Action

Understanding Action : An Essay on Reasons

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This is an important new book about human motivation, about the reasons people have for their actions. What is distinctively new about it is its focus on how people see or understand their situations, options, and prospects. By taking account of people's understandings (along with their beliefs and desires), Professor Schick is able to expand the current theory of decision and action. The author provides a perspective on the topic by outlining its history. He defends his new theory against criticism, considers its formal structure, and shows at length how it resolves many currently debated problems: the problems of conflict and weakness of will, Allais' problem, Kahneman and Tversky's problems, Newcomb's problem, and others. The book will be of special interest to philosophers, psychologists, and economists.
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Review quote

"Schick's aim is to modify the standard picture of rational choice to make sense of a number of areas where it seems inadequate. The result is an interesting and thought-provoking book, at once rigorously argued, easily read, and deeply thought out." Adam Morton, Economic Journal "Schick has long been a nasterly writer on reasons for action and this essay is crafted with his usual economy and cunning. Its many invitations to further reflection deserve to be taken up. Martin Hollis, Journal of Philosophy "Frederic Schick's Understanding Action is an important book. It significantly enriches one's understanding of intentional action, deliberation, and practical reasoning by incorporating features that have been excluded both from the desire-belief model as it is typically presented and from the usual decision-theoretic...model that has dominated more formal treatments. Its thesis is both carefully presented and richly illustrated, and its implications traced out in rigorous terms. ...[It] provides a bridge between more standard accounts of decision theory and some recent and very important revisionist work (in particular, Kahneman and Tversky's theory of framing effects). ...This book is a must for all who are interested in the logic of deliberation and choice." Edward F. McClennen and Peter Boltuc, Economics and Philosophy
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Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Practical reason; 3. A missing factor; 4. Some applications; 5. Seeing things right; Index.
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