Philippe A. Lusson

Lecturer in Philosophy

New York University in Paris


Peer-reviewed papers

“A regulative theory of basic intentional omissions”, Synthese, (2021, forthcoming)

The folk picture of agency suggests that human beings have basic agency over some of their omissions. For example, someone may follow through on a decision never to support a political party without doing anything in order to make themselves omit. A number of features appear to signal their agency: the omission is not just called intentional, it is also seen as an achievement and explained in terms of the reasons for the decision. Some philosophers have tried to debunk the appearance and argue that agency over omissions always proceeds from agency over actions (on the model of Ulysses ordering his crew to tie him to the mast). Others have tried to uphold the appearance by understanding basic agency over omissions on the model of their theories of action (and most often on the model of causal theories). Against both groups, I argue for a vindication of the appearance in terms of a theory of sui generis basic agency over omissions. Basic intentional omissions are the behavioral outcomes of fluent control by their agents’ intentions. When an intention to omit fluently controls for the right omission, the omission is an intentional achievement performed because of the intention. The intention appropriately regulates the agent’s behavior so as to ensure the intended omission. We can therefore see basic agency over omissions as regulative and distinct from the agency exercised over actions.

“Vicarious actions and the social teleology of actions”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, (forthcoming, as of February 2021)

Actions receive teleological descriptions and reason explanations. In some circumstances, these descriptions and explanations might appeal not just to the agent’s own purposes and reasons, but also to the purposes and reasons of others in her social surroundings. Some actions have a social teleology. I illustrate this phenomenon and I propose a concept of vicarious action to account for it. An agent acts vicariously when she acts in response to the demand of another agent who knew that her demand was likely to succeed. I argue that vicariousness grounds the social teleology of the resulting actions.

Other writings

“Action”, Encyclopédie philosophique, 2017

“Vraiment libres ?”, book review of Peter Van Inwagen, Essai sur le Libre-Arbitre, for a general audience, La Vie des Idées, March 2018



“More structures of agency: Understanding the role of evaluative attitudes”, Workshop “Acton et Libre Arbitre”, Université de Nantes, France, September 23rd, 2019

“The political role of good luck: taxation and good market luck”, 10th Meetings in Ethics and Political Philosophy, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal, June 13th-15th, 2019

“Regulative attitudes and the Knobe effect”, Séminaire “Action, Intention, Rationalité : de l’Individuel au Collectif”, Action research group, Institut Jean Nicod, Paris, April 17th, 2019


“Learning from animal coordination”, Workshop “L'Animalité”, Université de Nantes, France, October 19th-20th, 2018

“Vicarious agency and minimal sociality”, Cork Annual Workshop on the Philosophy of Social Agency (III), University College Cork, Ireland, August 27th-28th, 2018

“A minimal conception of collective actions”, Séminaire “Action, Intention, Rationalité : de l’Individuel au Collectif”, Action research group, Institut Jean Nicod, Paris, May 3rd, 2018


“Vicarious Agency: (Very) minimal sociality”, SIFA midterm conference on individuals and collectives, University of Genova, Italy, December 1st, 2017


“A biased-consciousness psychological mechanism for the role of (negative) intentions in willpower”, Conference on Intentions, distal and proximal, Between perception and action research group, University of Antwerp, Belgium, December 10th, 2014


“The influence of regulative intentions on deliberation”, 7th Congress of the Spanish Society for Analytic Philosophy (SEFA), Madrid, Spain, September 11th, 2013

“The influence of regulative intentions on deliberation”, 2nd IFL Graduate Conference, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, June 17th, 2013


“Collective actions, with and without shared intentions”, Collective Intentionality VIII, University of Manchester, UK, August 31, 2012

“Collective actions, with and without shared intentions”, Congrès international triennal de la SoPha, Ecole Normale Supérieure/Université Paris I, France, May 6, 2012


“Intentional omissions without causation”, 14th Oxford Graduate Conference in Philosophy, Oxford University, UK, November 20, 2010

“Intentional omissions without causation”, 4th Arché/CSMN Graduate Conference in Philosophy, University of Oslo, Norway, November 6, 2010

Professional service

Peer review

for Synthese, Klesis, Theoria (Wiley), the Journal of Social Ontology, the French Encyclopédie philosophique, APhEx, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review


Philosophy of Action, Encyclopédie philosophique

Conference and workshop organization

NYU Philosophy graduate student workshop, 2009-2011

9th NYU-Columbia graduate conference in philosophy, 2009

Academic advisor

New York University in Paris


See here


PhD in philosophy

New York University, Department of Philosophy, 2008-2014
Dissertation: “Ulysses without Ties: Intentional omissions, willpower, and collective Actions”
Dissertation committee: Ned Block (chair), Michael Strevens and David Velleman.
Defense committee: Ned Block, David Chalmers, James Pryor, Michael Strevens and David Velleman.

Elève de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure Ulm

B/L 2004-2008, admission rank: 2nd
ENS degree in philosophy, with a minor in law.

Master in contemporary philosophy

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Master 2 with highest honors, 2007-2008
Thesis: “Les actions négatives”
Under the supervision of Jocelyn Benoist.
Defense committee: Jocelyn Benoist and Joëlle Proust.

Master 1 with highest honors, 2005-2006
Thesis: “Le relation entre l'agent et son action dans la philosophie de Donald Davidson”
Under the supervision of Jocelyn Benoist.


Admitted to the agrégation externe de philosophie, 2007
Rank: 2nd

Bachelor in philosophy

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2004-2005
With highest honors

Hypokhâgne and khâgne

Lycée Henri IV, Paris, 2002-2004
B/L (Humanities and social sciences) preparatory class (undergraduate level)

Awards and fellowships

NYU/Mellon Dissertation fellowship.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Henry M. MacCracken doctoral fellowship

New York University, Graduate School of Arts and Science

Undergraduate scholarships

Elève de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure de la rue d’Ulm, 4-year merit scholarship, 2004-2008

Visiting student scholarship, New York University, 2007