Donald Davidson has prepared a new edition of his classic 1980 collection
of Essays on Actions and Events, including two additional essays. In this
seminal investigation of the nature of human action, Davidson argues for an
ontology which includes events along with persons and other objects.
Certain events are identified and explained as actions when they are viewed
as caused and rationalized by reasons; these same events, when described in
physical, biological, or physiological terms, may be explained by appeal to
natural laws. The mental and the physical thus constitute irreducibly
discrete ways of explaining and understanding events and their causal
Among the topics discussed are: freedom to act; weakness of the will; the
logical form of talk about actions, intentions, and causality; the logic of
practical reasoning; Hume's theory of the indirect passions; and the nature
and limits of decision theory. The introduction, cross-references, and
appendices emphasize the relations between the essays and explain how
Davidson's views have developed.