Life and Action: Elementary Structures of Practice and Practical Thought / Edition 1

Life and Action: Elementary Structures of Practice and Practical Thought / Edition 1

by Michael Thompson
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Life and Action: Elementary Structures of Practice and Practical Thought / Edition 1

Any sound practical philosophy must be clear on practical concepts—concepts, in particular, of life, action, and practice. This clarity is Michael Thompson’s aim in his ambitious work. In Thompson’s view, failure to comprehend the structures of thought and judgment expressed in these concepts has disfigured modern moral philosophy, rendering it incapable of addressing the larger questions that should be its focus.

In three investigations, Thompson considers life, action, and practice successively, attempting to exhibit these interrelated concepts as pure categories of thought, and to show how a proper exposition of them must be Aristotelian in character. He contends that the pure character of these categories, and the Aristotelian forms of reflection necessary to grasp them, are systematically obscured by modern theoretical philosophy, which thus blocks the way to the renewal of practical philosophy. His work recovers the possibility, within the tradition of analytic philosophy, of hazarding powerful generalities, and of focusing on the larger issues—like “life”—that have the power to revive philosophy.

As an attempt to relocate crucial concepts from moral philosophy and the theory of action into what might be called the metaphysics of life, this original work promises to reconfigure a whole sector of philosophy. It is a work that any student of contemporary philosophy must grapple with.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674016705
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 06/15/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction     1
The Representation of Life
Introductory     25
Can Life Be Given a Real Definition?     33
The Representation of the Living Individual     49
The Representation of the Life-Form Itself     63
Naive Action Theory
Introductory     85
Types of Practical Explanation     97
Naive Explanation of Action     106
Action and Time     120
Practical Generality
Two Tendencies in Practical Philosophy     149
Practices and Dispositions as Sources of the Goodness of Individual Actions     167
Practice and Disposition as Sources of Individual Action     192
Acknowledgments     213
Index     215

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