University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

The Doing and the Deed: Action in Normative Ethics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Action
EditorsAnthony O'Hear
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781108414890
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameRoyal Institute of Philosophy Supplements
PublisherCambridge University Press


This essay is motivated by the thought that the things we do are to be distinguished from our acts of doing them. I defend a particular way of drawing this distinction before proceeding to demonstrate its relevance for normative ethics. Central to my argument is the conviction that certain ongoing debates in ethical theory begin to dissolve once we disambiguate the two concepts of action in question. If this is right, then the study of action should be accorded a far more prominent place within moral philosophy than previously supposed. I end by considering an extension of the above to aesthetic evaluation and, mutatis mutandis, that of our lives in general.


This material has been published in Philosophy of Action edited by Anthony O'Hear. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © 2017 Selection and editorial matter, Anthony O’Hear, individual chapters, the contributors.

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