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Speaker Series: Harvey Lederman (Princeton)
"Trying Without Fail" (co-author Ben Holguin)
Abstract: An action is agentially perfect if and only if, if a person tries to perform it, they succeed, and, if a person performs it, they try to. We argue that trying itself is agentially perfect: if a person tries to try to do something, they try to do it; and if a person tries to do something, they try to try to do it. We show how this claim sheds new light both the logical structure of intentional action and the question of whether basic actions are tryings. On the way to these central ideas, we extend important work by Hornsby (1995) and Ludwig (1992), offering new arguments for the claims that a person can try to do something even if they believe it is impossible that they will succeed, that a person can try to do something even if they do not want to succeed, and that a person can try to do something even if they do not intend to succeed.