Imagination and action

Authored by: Neil Van Leeuwen

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415739481
eBook ISBN: 9781315657905
Adobe ISBN: 9781317329459


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Philosophy and common sense both distinguish actions from mere happenings. Having an apple fall on your head is a mere happening. Jumping over a crack in the sidewalk is an action. We also distinguish actions – properly so-called – from mere behaviors, which are not mere happenings but also don’t rise to the level of actions. Reflexively scrunching your face when you see a disgusting picture involves emotion and information-processing, so it is more than a mere happening. But it unfolds automatically and often without awareness, making it less than action. Actions form a proper subset of behaviors, which form a proper subset of happenings.

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