Synchronous events in by-sentences
Theoria 18(3) : 351-357 (2003)
It has been suggested in the literature about actions than one can honour the philosophical intuition liying behind Davidson's argument for the Anscombe Thesis (the claim that by-sentences --sentences used to report actions of the general form: 'A X-ed by V-ing'--involve two descriptions of the same action) without accepting the argument's conclusion. The suggestion in question is to interpret by-sentenees as referring to two synchronous but different actions of the same agent. I argue that this suggestion, together with two plausible semantic principles about the naming of events and a reasonable metaphysical principle about the constitution of events, leads to certain ontological commitments which are hardly acceptable. My conclusion is then that in order to deny the Anscombe Thesis what must be done is to show that Davidson's intuition is wrong.