In line with the objectives of the entire CDS, the teaching of philosophy of action aims to provide:
1) A thorough knowledge of the main philosophical orientations around the theme of the action, both in relation to its history and in relation to contemporary discussion, with particular regard to its connection with the issues of identity, intersubjectivity, free will, voluntary/involuntary will and habits.
2) The ability to contextualize, analyze and critically interpret philosophical texts relating to the field of philosophy of action.
3) The lexical and conceptual tools necessary to study the philosophy of action and useful to acquire good exposition skills in written and oral form.
At the end of the course the student will be able to understand the general lines of the philosophy of the action, the related debates and to master some key concepts of this disciplinary area.

teacher profile | teaching materials


Title: Free Will, Intentionality, and Habits of Action.
The course aims to provide conceptual and historical tools around the philosophy of action, privileging the analysis of the relationship between free will, determinism, intentionality, daily life and habits of action. The first module is aimed at providing a synthetic framework of theories on free will and intentionality in correlation with contemporary debate. The second module will focus on the specificity of the habitual actions, on which only recently philosophy, also of analytical area, has resumed to deal, in a close dialogue with psychology, sociology and neuroscience. For this purpose, some doctrines will be examined that provide key elements for reflection on the relationship between action, freedom and habits, including Aristotelian and Pragmatist.

Core Documentation

For Erasmus Students:
D.U. 1:
M. De Caro, Free Will and Free Rides. ACTA PHILOSOPHICA, 2018, pp. 15-25.
D.M. Wegner, Précis of the illusion of conscious will. Behav Brain Sci. 2004 Oct;27(5):pp. 649-59.

D.U. 2:
B. Pollard, “Habitual Actions”, in T. O’Connor, C. Sandis (ed. by), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, pp. 74-81
B. Pollard, “Identification, Psychology, and Habits”, in New Waves in Philosophy of Action, edited by J. Aguilar, A. Buckareff and K. Frankish, 8 New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp. 81–97
A. Noë, Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness. Hill and Wang, 2010 (limited to chap. V).

Reference Bibliography

M. De Caro, Il libero arbitrio. Un'introduzione. Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2004. D.M. Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will, New Edition, Boston, MIT Press, 2017; tr. it. L’illusione della volontà cosciente, Milano, Carbonio Editore, 2020. T. O’Connor, C. Sandis (ed. by), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. J. Dancy, C. Sandis (ed. by), Philosopghy of Action: An Anthology, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. F. Emiliani, La realtà delle piccole cose. Psicologia del quotidiano. Bologna, Il Mulino, 2008. F. Caruana, I. Testa (eds.), Habits: Pragmatist Approaches from Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Social Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Type of delivery of the course

The course includes: • Frontal teaching; • Discussions with students and debates on the topics covered; • At least one seminar related to the topics covered in the course.


Attendance is not mandatory.

Type of evaluation

Verification of learning takes place through an oral test. In relation to the adopted texts, the preparation of a written paper of 2,500 words to be discussed during the examination is required. The paper must be sent to the teacher at least 15 days before the oral test (exam).