The Philosophy of Action
Long before he became President of the NCAA, Myles Brand was first and foremost a philosopher. In 1964, Brand graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Philosophy and then earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester only three years later in 1967. After initially attending college to be a mechanical engineer, Brand discovered a genuine love for arguing about ideas, gravitating towards the analytical side of philosophy and metaphysics.
In his studies, Brand’s main focus was action theory—an area of metaphysics that examines human behavior by analyzing motivation and intention. He believed that the field had stagnated in recent years and hoped to usher in a new era of action theory that incorporated cognitive science and psychological studies.
In Brand’s words:
“Applied philosophy is not a recent innovation. Its practical objective is echoed in a passage by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics: ‘We are inquiring not in order to know what virtue is, but to become good.’ Theoretical inquiry has an essential place in the total enterprise, but the ultimate concern is with the implications for human action” (Action and Responsibility, 1980).
Brand was always concerned about the practical applications of philosophical theory. Alongside his writings, Brand served in administrative roles that afforded him the opportunity to accomplish change for students and faculty alike. He worked in philosophy departments across the country before becoming Provost at The Ohio State University in 1986 and eventually becoming President of the University of Oregon in 1989.
Books by Myles Brand
• The Nature of Human Action, edited by Myles Brand. (Scott-Foresman and Company. Glenview, 1970.) He wrote the annotated bibliography as well as three essays within the publication: “Action and Behavior,” “The Logic of Action,” and “Ability, Possibility and Power.” Purchase Book
• The Nature of Causation, edited by Myles Brand. (University of Illinois Press. Urbana, 1976.)
He wrote one essay within the publication entitled “On Defining ‘Causes.’” Purchase Book
• Action Theory: Proceedings of the Winnipeg Conference, co-edited by Myles Brand and Douglas Walton. (Synthese Library Series. D. Reidel Publishing Co. Dordrecht, 1976.) Brand wrote the introductory essay for the publication. Purchase Book
• Action and Responsibility, co-edited by Myles Brand and Michael Brodie. (Bowling Green Studies in Applied Philosophy. Bowling Green, Ohio, 1980.) Find a Library
• Intending and Acting: Toward a Naturalized Action Theory. (MIT Press/Bradford Books. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1984.) The preface of this book is included in the archive below. Purchase Book
• The Representation of Knowledge and Belief, co-edited by Myles Brand and Robert Harnish. (University of Arizona Press. Tucson, 1986.) Brand wrote the introductory essay for the publication. Purchase Book
“Preface,” Intending and Acting: Toward a Naturalized Action Theory (The MIT Press, 1984)
January 1, 1984
“Remarks by Myles Brand to Statewide Conference on Retention of Minority Students,” given at The Ohio State University
January 11, 1989