2Two Kinds of Actions: Immediate or with Reasoning

Of things, some are in our power, and others not.


In this chapter, we will first ask ourselves the question of the object of the action and we will then see that there are in fact two ways of acting: the reflexive or encoded action which does not require any prior reasoning, and the reflected decision followed by actions. We will also see that there is an intermediate state in which the choice is exercised without the mobilization of a reasoning.

2.1. To depend on us or to not depend on us

Action depends on us, because it would not make sense to try to act on what we cannot change. This raises the question of what we can change. It is clear that we are not going to change the course of the planets, but what about the climate or the behavior of others? Decision-making specialists therefore distinguish between acts, i.e. what is within the power of the decision-maker2, and everything else, which are called “events”. The latter are the acts of “nature”, a very general term used to designate nature of course, as well as all the possible reactions of animals and other humans. We do not command events! Let us also beware of believing that the reactions of others are under control; this is an illusion that leads to serious misfortune (see section 3.2). In many cases, it is better to consider the actions of others as events.

The decision can be thought of as a game in which the decision-maker plays and nature plays; then, ...

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