Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time and Agency

George Washington University

November, 18-19 2011

Invited Speakers:

● J. David Velleman, New York University
● Lynne Rudder Baker, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
● Shaun Gallagher, University of Central Florida
● John J. Drummond, Fordham University
Actions have a duration, they sometimes follow on intentions directed toward the future and are themselves sometimes directed toward bringing about future events. They may also be caused by past events, or be brought on by motives or reasons. Actions are also individuated from within a temporally extended continuous stream of activity. They are performed by agents, whose selves or practical identities may or may not be unified through psychological continuity, through their standing plans for the future, or through narratives. Agents inhabit a world that is temporally ordered, and that ordering is reflected in action. In seeing themselves as standing under an obligation, agents recognize reasons for future actions, and in judging them responsible for those actions we in turn trace their agency to past decisions on their part.

Whatever perspective one takes on the above issues, it is clear that action and agency cannot be understood apart from time. We are soliciting strong papers in both the analytic and continental traditions. Papers will ideally be written in a manner that will be clear and accessible to scholars from different backgrounds working on the philosophy of action.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

● Causal and teleological theories of action.
● Action individuation within a stream of activity.
● Future-directed intention, intention in action, and the temporality of directions of fit.
● Plans, personal policies, and other diachronic volitional states.
● Diachronic personal identity, practical identity, continuity, and narrative.
● Historical and time-slice views of moral responsibility.
● Temporality, movement and the life world.
● Temporal aspects of free will, determinism, and fatalism.
● Narrative time and the explanation of action.
● Retention and protention in agency.
● Heidegger on conscience, being-toward-death, or the relation between mood and action.
● Ricoeur on birth, life, character, habit, and consent to the involuntary.
● Psychoanalysis on deferred action.
Please send papers or abstracts for a talk of approximately 40 minutes. Ideally, submissions should not be under review for publication. Abstracts should be around 1,500 words, although complete papers (with a brief abstract) will receive priority in consideration. Please include a short CV or author bio (these will be used to interest possible publishers and will not be involved in selection of papers for the conference). Abstracts, papers, bios, and correspondence should be sent to the conference organizers, Michael Sigrist, msigrist@gwu.edu and Roman Altshuler, raltshul@ic.sunysb.edu. Please indicate with your submission whether you would be willing to serve as a commentator.

Deadline for submissions: July 1, 2011

Decisions will be sent out by: August 31

Sponsored by The George Washington University Department of Philosophy

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