Actions and abstractions

Publication Details

Gallagher, S 2020, ‘Actions and Abstractions’, in S Gallagher, Action and Interaction, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 7-24.

Additional Publication Information

Research for Chapter 1 was supported by an Australian Research Council grant


When one sets out to provide an analysis of actions, there are numerous ways to end up with abstractions. I’ll argue that we can avoid some of these abstractions by keeping in mind that actions are de!ned and individuated by their circumstances; they are always situated or contextual. This idea raises some basic questions about the way to think of actions and circumstances, including the concept of basic action, which can also lead to abstractions. I’ll argue that the concept of affordance and a pragmatic concept of situation as relational will help to address these questions.

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