The four main essays in this volume investigate new sectors of the theory of decision, preference, act-characteristics, and action analysis. Herbert A. Simon applies tools developed in the theory of decision-making to the logic of action, and thereby develops a novel concept of heuristic power. Adapting ideas from utility and decision theory, Nicholas Rescher proposes a logic of preference by which conflicting theories proposed by G. H. von Wright, R. M. Chisholm, and others can be systematized. Donald Davidson discusses difficulties in specifying the structure of action sentences to elucidate how their meaning depends on that structure. G. H. von Wright devises a method for describing each “state of the world” that results from an action, in a revision of his own earlier work. Additionally, a study of the logic of norms by Alan Ross Anderson is presented as an appendix, along with an appendix by Rescher outlining the aspects of action.
Nicholas Rescher is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh and co-chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, the Leibniz Society of North America, the Charles S. Peirce Society, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the Metaphysical Society of America. Rescher is the author or editor of more than one hundred books, including Ignorance (On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge), Philosophical Inquiries: An Introduction to Problems of Philosophy, and A Journey through Philosophy in 101 Anecdotes.