Review Of "Life And Action: Elementary Structures Of Practice And Practical Thought" By M. Thompson

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Thompson (Univ. of Pittsburgh) here extends and deepens readers' understanding of practice and practical thought. This work, which is divided into three investigations, illuminatingly integrates many branches of philosophy. "Representation of Life" is organized around such concepts as life, living being, and life-form or species. "Naïve Action Theory" centers on such concepts as action, intention, wanting, and reason for action. The final investigation--"Practical Generality"--is organized around the concepts of practical disposition and social practice. The earlier investigations provide the foundation for the later ones, so that the book has an admirable unity and structure. The Aristotelianism of Thompson's project is marked, but with a contemporary analytical emphasis. Thompson pursues arguments rigorously, though his writing sometimes makes reading tough going. This important book will be extremely useful for graduate students and faculty in philosophy. One may usefully compare (and contrast) it with P. M. S. Hacker's Human Nature: The Categorial Framework (CH, Sep'08, 46-0209), which covers many (and more) of the concepts studied in Thompson's first two investigations. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty/researchers.


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