[hist-analytic] Omission and Action

steve bayne baynesrb at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 28 18:58:09 EDT 2009

The cross examination case is good because it shows that the condition I mention may be necessary but is not sufficient for omission: The witness refuses to testify, had he testified it would have been an intentional act; but it is not an omission on his part but a refusal, suggesting that refusal and omission might belong to a larger class. 

I didn't omit calling the mayor's office because I never had that intention. This is another interesting case. As if to imply that had I called since it would have had to be intentional to be an omission and inasmuch as I had no such intention I, therefore did not "omit" calling the mayor.

I have a short section devoted to Melden. Melden was far more thought provoking form me than Hampshiire, although other of Hampshire's works I find very good.


--- On Tue, 7/28/09, Ron Barnette <rbarnett at valdosta.edu> wrote:

From: Ron Barnette <rbarnett at valdosta.edu>
Subject: RE: Omission and Action
To: "'steve bayne'" <baynesrb at yahoo.com>, hist-analytic at simplelists.com
Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 5:04 PM



I’m glad to learn that you address
omissions in the book, as they constitute a very special class---one might
argue class of actions---in which something intentional is definitely undertaken….say,
my deliberately remaining steadfast, perfectly still and silent during an
intense cross-examination. My refusal
to answer a question would correctly be construed as something I did intentionally, yet without overt
bodily movement. So are there actions that do not involve bodily movements?
Interesting implications with either ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ no? 

Good work, Steve…Btw, this brought
to mind many discussions on this very topic I had in the late 60’s with
dear Abe Melden who (you know) served faithfully on my dissertation committee. 

Ron Barnette 


hist-analytic-manager at simplelists.com
[mailto:hist-analytic-manager at simplelists.com] On Behalf Of steve bayne

Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 4:47

To: hist-analytic at simplelists.com

Subject: Omission and Action 


  I have a number of things to say about omissions in
  the book. Here are two sentences from that discusson. 


  "We feel the compulsion, at some point, to ask: what must be added to an
  event that never happened in order to make it an omission?  An omission,
  unlike a bodily movement which had it happened would have been just that,
  viz. a bodily movement, is such a nonoccurrence of an event that had it
  occurred would have been
  intentional. Omissions constitute a special class, or category, although
  Anscombe may be right to criticize Davidson on this matter, no one, including
  Anscombe, has presented a satisfactory theory concerning its nature."





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