Religion and Theories of Action

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    Abstract

    “Action” is one of those categories that seem simple at first glance but that become more and more difficult and complex the more we try to figure out what exactly we mean by it. If a person’s legs are moving, does this mean that this person moved her legs? And if she indeed moved her legs, was this an intentional action or did it sim-ply happen? And if she indeed performed an intentional action, was the reason for the action conscious to herself or can her intention only be reconstructed from outside? Simple cases such as this one have triggered theoretical thinking in various disciplines, from philosophy to behavioral science, to sociology and psychology. In all these disciplines, there is a tendency to differentiate “action” from “doing something,” “happening,” or “behavior”—differentiations usually made with reference to intentionality , reason , or agency . A certain behavior becomes “action” as soon as the actor is performing an intentional act that can be interpreted in a situational structure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTheory, Religion, Critique: Classical and Contemporary Approaches.
    Subtitle of host publicationClassical and Contemporary Approaches.
    EditorsRichard King
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherColumbia University Press
    Chapter35
    Pages385–391
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Electronic)9780231145428
    ISBN (Print)9780231145435
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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