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Essays on Actions and Events$

Donald Davidson

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246270.001.0001

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(p.xiii) Preface to the Second Edition

(p.xiii) Preface to the Second Edition

Essays on Actions and Events
Oxford University Press

THE first fifteen Essays of the first edition are reprinted here, unchanged except for misprints corrected and a very few cosmetic touches. This is not because my views have remained untouched by decades of comment, criticism, fresh thinking, helpful suggestion, and a torrent of new writings by others. But they have attracted their share of attention, so it seems worth preserving the Essays, if for no other reason, as the targets of often accurately and sometimes carefully aimed arrows. I confess I also find in these pages a freshness and naive bravado that it would be hard to recapture now that these topics have been so much more thoroughly worked over.

In any case, it is too late to rewrite these relatively early Essays and I hope it is not necessary, since I have gone on writing on the same or related matters. The two newly appended Essays are relevant examples. So are a number of the Essays in the three new volumes of my collected Essays. There are also seven books or journal issues composed of critical Essays on my work along with my responses. (Some of these items have been added to the bibliography at the end of this edition.)

I do not apologize for my original efforts. Though there is, of course, hardly anything I would not now change, there is much in them that still seems to me right. The emphasis on the logical form of the sentences we use to talk of actions, events, and causality remains an essential tool (among others, of course) for sharpening issues and revealing the confusion or vacuity of false starts.

I am in debt to all who have written about my writings. I have learned from every one of them even in the relatively rare cases where I thought they were basically misguided. My students and colleagues over the years have been valuable and persistent goads and aids. Among those who helped directly with the present edition are Ernie Lepore, Ariela Lazar, and Marcia Cavell. (p.xiv)