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Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and Agency

New York: Cambridge University Press (1999)

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  1. The Shared Perception of Social Contexts and Its Conditions for Possibility.Alessio Lo Giudice - 2009 - Ratio Juris 22 (3):395-415.
    Pragmatist reinterpretations of both deliberative‐communicative theory and legal positivism point out the mentalist fallacy entailed by these prevalent models. I argue that pragmatist approaches imply analogous erroneous beliefs since they presuppose as given the shared perception of social contexts. Therefore they take for granted the shared interpretation of social problems and shared selection of common goals. Hence I advance the necessity of inquiring into the possibility conditions for a shared perception of social contexts. This would entail the organization of institutional (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility for Distant Collective Harms.David Zoller - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):995-1010.
    While it is well recognized that many everyday consumer behaviors, such as purchases of sweatshop goods, come at a cost to the global poor, it has proven difficult to argue that even knowing, repeat contributors are somehow morally complicit in those outcomes. Some recent approaches contend that marginal contributions to distant harms are consequences that consumers straightforwardly should have born in mind, which would make consumers seem reckless or negligent. Critics reasonably reply that the bad luck that my innocent purchase (...)
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  • On the principle of intention agglomeration.Jing Zhu - 2010 - Synthese 175 (1):89 - 99.
    In this article, I first elaborate and refine the Principle of Intention Agglomeration (PIA), which was introduced by Michael Bratman as “a natural constraint on intention”. According to the PIA, the intentions of a rational agent should be agglomerative. The proposed refinement of the PIA is not only in accordance with the spirit of Bratman’s planning theory of intention as well as consistency constraints for intentions rooted in the theory, but also reveals some deep rationales of practical rationality regarding resource-limited (...)
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  • Intentions are mental states.Jing Zhu & Andrei A. Buckareff - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (2):235 – 242.
    Richard Scheer has recently argued against what he calls the 'mental state' theory of intentions. He argues that versions of this theory fail to account for various characteristics of intention. In this essay we reply to Scheer's criticisms and argue that intentions are mental states.
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  • Rethinking Relational Autonomy.Andrea C. Westlund - 2009 - Hypatia 24 (4):26-49.
    John Christman has argued that constitutively relational accounts of autonomy, as defended by some feminist theorists, are problematically perfectionist about the human good. I argue that autonomy is constitutively relational, but not in a way that implies perfectionism: autonomy depends on a dialogical disposition to hold oneself answerable to external, critical perspectives on one's action-guiding commitments. This type of relationality carries no substantive value commitments, yet it does answer to core feminist concerns about autonomy.
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  • Deference as a normative power.Andrea C. Westlund - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (3):455-474.
    Much of the literature on practical authority concerns the authority of the state over its subjects—authority to which we are, as G. E. M. Anscombe says, subject “willy nilly”. Yet many of our “willy” (or voluntary) relationships also seem to involve the exercise of practical authority, and this species of authority is in some ways even more puzzling than authority willy nilly. In this paper I argue that voluntary authority relies on a form of voluntary obligation that is akin (in (...)
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  • Emotions, Actions and Inclinations to Act.Christiana Werner - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (6):2571-2588.
    Emotional responses to fiction are part of our experience with art and media. Some of these responses (“fictional emotions”) seem to be directed towards fictional entities—entities that we believe do not exist. Some philosophers argue that fictional emotions differ in nature from other emotional responses. (cf. Walton in J Philos 75(1):5–27, 1978, Mimesis as make-believe, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1990, Walton, in: Hjort, Laver (ed.) Emotion and the arts, Oxford University, New York, 1997; Currie in The nature of fiction, Cambridge (...)
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  • Initiating coordination.Paul Weirich - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):790-801.
    How do rational agents coordinate in a single-stage, noncooperative game? Common knowledge of the payoff matrix and of each player's utility maximization among his strategies does not suffice. This paper argues that utility maximization among intentions and then acts generates coordination yielding a payoff-dominant Nash equilibrium. ‡I thank the audience at my paper's presentation at the 2006 PSA meeting for many insightful points. †To contact the author, please write to: Philosophy Department, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; e-mail: [email protected].
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  • Collective acts.Paul Weirich - 2012 - Synthese 187 (1):223-241.
    Groups of people perform acts. For example, a committee passes a resolution, a team wins a game, and an orchestra performs a symphony. These collective acts may be evaluated for rationality. Take a committee’s passing a resolution. This act may be evaluated not only for fairness but also for rationality. Did it take account of all available information? Is the resolution consistent with the committee’s past resolutions? Standards of collective rationality apply to collective acts, that is, acts that groups of (...)
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  • On the Normativity of Intentions.Bruno Verbeek - 2014 - Topoi 33 (1):87-101.
    Suppose you intend now to φ at some future time t. However, when t has come you do not φ. Something has gone wrong. This failing is not just a causal but also a normative failing. This raises the question how to characterize this failing. I discuss three alternative views. On the first view, the fact that you do not execute your intention to φ is blameworthy only if the balance of reasons pointed to φ-ing. The fact that you intended (...)
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  • Evolving resolve.Walter Veit & David Spurrett - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44.
    The broad spectrum revolution brought greater dependence on skill and knowledge, and more demanding, often social, choices. We adopt Sterelny's account of how cooperative foraging paid the costs associated with longer dependency, and transformed the problem of skill learning. Scaffolded learning can facilitate cognitive control including suppression, whereas scaffolded exchange and trade, including inter-temporal exchange, can help develop resolve.
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  • Existential choices: to what degree is who we are a matter of choice?Somogy Varga - 2011 - Continental Philosophy Review 44 (1):65-79.
    On the one hand, it is commonly agreed that we make choices in which we are guided by a core of personal commitments, wishes, feelings, etc. that we take to express who we are. On the other, it is commonly agreed that some of these ‘existential’ choices constitute who we are. When confronting these two matters, the question of agency inevitably arises: Whether and in what sense can we choose ourselves? The paper will argue for a new perspective on existential (...)
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  • First–Person Plural Legislature: Political Reflexivity and Representation.Bert Van Roermund - 2003 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (3):235 – 250.
    In the Social Contract Rousseau gives what could be called a philosophical rule of recognition for law in Modernity: a law is law if and only if 'the whole people rules over the whole people'. Thus, he defines self-legislation as, at bottom, collective intentional action. I will first map out the speech act structure [LEX] underlying self-legislation on this account. In particular, I argue for a first person plural counterpart of the reflexive structure inherent to intentions generally: the notion of (...)
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  • Avatars of the Collective: A Realist Theory of Collective Subjectivities.Frédéric Vandenberghe - 2007 - Sociological Theory 25 (4):295-324.
    Let it be a network of voices... A network of voices that not only speak, but also struggle and resist for humanity.
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  • We-intentions revisited.Raimo Tuomela - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (3):327 - 369.
    This paper gives an up-to-date account of we-intentions and responds to some critics of the author’s earlier work on the topic in question. While the main lines of the new account are basically the same as before, the present account considerably adds to the earlier work. For one thing, it shows how we-intentions and joint intentions can arise in terms of the so-called Bulletin Board View of joint intention acquisition, which relies heavily on some underlying mutually accepted conceptual and situational (...)
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  • Joint intention, we-mode and I-mode.Raimo Tuomela - 2006 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):35–58.
    The central topic of this paper is to study joint intention to perform a joint action or to bring about a certain state. Here are some examples of such joint action: You and I share the plan to carry a heavy table jointly upstairs and realize this plan, we sing a duet together, we clean up our backyard together, and I cash a check by acting jointly with you, a bank teller, and finally we together elect a new president for (...)
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  • Making our ends meet: shared intention, goal adoption and the third-person perspective.Luca Tummolini - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (1):75-98.
    Mind reading (i.e. the ability to infer the mental state of another agent) is taken to be the main cognitive ability required to share an intention and to collaborate. In this paper, I argue that another cognitive ability is also necessary to collaborate: representing others’ and ones’ own goals from a third-person perspective (other-centred or allocentric representation of goals). I argue that allocentric mind reading enables the cognitive ability of goal adoption, i.e. having the goal that another agent’s achieve p (...)
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  • Group as a Distributed Subject of Knowledge: Between Radicalism and Triviality.Barbara Trybulec - 2017 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 8 (1):183-207.
    In the paper, I distinguish the bottom-up strategy and the intentional stance strategy of analyzing group intentional states, and show that the thesis of distributed group subject of knowledge could be accommodated by either of them. Moreover, I argue that when combined with virtue reliabilism the thesis satisfactorily explains the phenomenon of group knowledge. To justify my argument, in the second part of the paper, I distinguish two accounts of justification pointing to conditions of group knowledge. The first, which I (...)
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  • We-Narratives and the Stability and Depth of Shared Agency.Deborah Tollefsen & Shaun Gallagher - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (2):95-110.
    The basic approach to understanding shared agency has been to identify individual intentional states that are somehow “shared” by participants and that contribute to guiding and informing the actions of individual participants. But, as Michael Bratman suggests, there is a problem of stability and depth that any theory of shared agency needs to solve. Given that participants in a joint action might form shared intentions for different reasons, what binds them to one another such that they have some reason for (...)
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  • Let’s pretend!: Children and joint action.Deborah Tollefsen - 2005 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (1):75-97.
    According to many, joint intentional action must be understood in terms of joint intentions. Most accounts of joint intention appeal to a set of sophisticated individual intentional states. The author argues that standard accounts of joint intention exclude the possibility of joint action in young children because they presuppose that the participants have a robust theory of mind, something young children lack. But young children do engage in joint action. The author offers a revision of Michael Bratman’s analysis of joint (...)
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  • An argument against the social fact thesis (and some additional preliminary steps towards a new conception of legal positivism).Kevin Toh - 2008 - Law and Philosophy 27 (5):445 - 504.
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  • The Stability of Belief: How Rational Belief Coheres with Probability, by Hannes Leitgeb.Michael G. Titelbaum - 2021 - Mind 130 (519):1006-1017.
    The Stability of Belief: How Rational Belief Coheres with Probability, by LeitgebHannes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xiv + 365.
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  • The Group Knobe Effect revisited: epistemic and doxastic side-effect effects in intuitive judgments concerning group agents.Maciej Tarnowski, Adrian Ziółkowski & Mieszko Tałasiewicz - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-34.
    In this paper, we investigate the effect described in the literature as the Group Knobe Effect, which is an asymmetry in ascription of intentionality of negative and positive side-effects of an action performed by a group agent. We successfully replicate two studies originally conducted by Michael and Szigeti, who observed this effect and provide empirical evidence of the existence of two related effects—Group Epistemic and Doxastic Knobe Effects—which show analogous asymmetry with respect to knowledge and belief ascriptions. We explain how (...)
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  • Joint action without robust theory of mind.Daniel Story - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5009-5026.
    Intuitively, even very young children can act jointly. For instance, a child and her parent can build a simple tower together. According to developmental psychologists, young children develop theory of mind by, among other things, participating in joint actions like this. Yet many leading philosophical accounts of joint action presuppose that participants have a robust theory of mind. In this article, I examine two philosophical accounts of joint action designed to circumvent this presupposition, and then I proffer my own novel (...)
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  • Action: Offshoring Strategies, Creative Governance, and Subnational Island Jurisdictions.Rowland Stout - 2006 - McGill-Queen's University Press.
    By focusing on the idea that agency involves causal sensitivity to reasons, Rowland Stout shows how agency is one of the most useful ways into the philosophy of mind: if one can understand what it is to be a free and rational agent, then one can understand what it is to be a conscious subject of experience. Some of the questions considered include: Is all action intentional action? Is intentional action characterized by its relation with possible justification? Do beliefs motivate (...)
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  • Run for Your Life: The Ethics of Behavioral Tracking in Insurance.Etye Steinberg - 2022 - Journal of Business Ethics 179 (3):665-682.
    In recent years, insurance companies have begun tracking their customers’ behaviors and price premiums accordingly. Based on the Market-Failures Approach as well as the Justice-Failures Approach, I provide an ethical analysis of the use of tracking technologies in the insurance industry. I focus on the use of telematics in car insurance and on the use of fitness tracking in life insurance. The use of tracking has some important benefits to policyholders and insurers alike: it reduces moral hazard and fraud, increases (...)
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  • Reversing 30 years of discussion: why causal decision theorists should one-box.Wolfgang Spohn - 2012 - Synthese 187 (1):95-122.
    The paper will show how one may rationalize one-boxing in Newcomb's problem and drinking the toxin in the Toxin puzzle within the confines of causal decision theory by ascending to so-called reflexive decision models which reflect how actions are caused by decision situations (beliefs, desires, and intentions) represented by ordinary unreflexive decision models.
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  • Playing One’s Part.Thomas H. Smith - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):213-44.
    The consensus in the philosophical literature on joint action is that, sometimes at least, when agents intentionally jointly φ, this is explicable by their intending that they φ, for a period of time prior to their φ-ing. If this be granted, it poses a dilemma. For agents who so intend either severally or jointly intend that they φ. The first option is ruled out by two stipulations that we may consistently make: (i) that at least one of the agents non-akratically (...)
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  • On participation and membership in discursive practices.Kenneth Shockley - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):67-85.
    For a view which grounds norms in the practices of a particular group, determining who is in that group will determine the scope of those norms. Such a view requires an account of what it is to be a member of the group subject to that practice. In this article, the author presents the beginnings of such an account, limiting his inquiry to discursive practices; we might characterize such practices as those which require, as a condition of participation, participants both (...)
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  • Promise as practice reason.Hanoch Sheinman - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (4):287-318.
    To promise someone to do something is to commit oneself to that person to do that thing, but what does that commitment consist of? Some think a promissory commitment is an obligation to do what’s promised, and that while promising practices facilitate the creation of promissory obligations, they are not essential to them. I favor the broadly Humean view in which, when it comes to promises (and so promissory obligations), practices are of the essence. I propose the Practice Reason Account (...)
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  • Explaining action.Kieran Setiya - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):339-393.
    Argues that, in acting for a reason, one takes that reason to explain one's action, not to justify it: reasons for acting need not be seen "under the guise of the good". The argument turns on the need to explain the place of "practical knowledge" - knowing what one is doing - in intentional action. A revised and expanded version of this material appears in Part One of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007).
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  • The Weirdness of the World.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2024 - Princeton University Press.
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  • The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):665-682.
    The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind. . ???aop.label???
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  • Practical rationality is a problem in the philosophy of mind.Timothy Schroeder - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):394-409.
    The philosophy of mind encompasses a familiar set of topics: consciousness, intentionality, mental causation, emotion, whatever topics in psychology happen to capture our interest (concepts, mindreading . . .), and so on. There is a topic deserving of addition to this list, a topic that should be receiving regular attention from philosophers of mind but is not: practical rationality. The philosophy of mind bears directly upon what can be called the ‘meta-theory’ of practical rationality, and meta-theories of rationality likewise impose (...)
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  • If materialism is true, the United States is probably conscious.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1697-1721.
    If you’re a materialist, you probably think that rabbits are conscious. And you ought to think that. After all, rabbits are a lot like us, biologically and neurophysiologically. If you’re a materialist, you probably also think that conscious experience would be present in a wide range of naturally-evolved alien beings behaviorally very similar to us even if they are physiologically very different. And you ought to think that. After all, to deny it seems insupportable Earthly chauvinism. But a materialist who (...)
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  • Can brains in vats think as a team?Hans Bernhard Schmid - 2003 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (3):201-218.
    Abstract The specter of the ?group mind? or ?collective subject? plays a crucial and fateful role in the current debate on collective intentionality. Fear of the group mind is one important reason why philosophers of collective intentionality resort to individualism. It is argued here that this measure taken against the group mind is as unnecessary as it is detrimental to our understanding of what it means to share an intention. A non-individualistic concept of shared intentionality does not necessarily have to (...)
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  • Modeling intentional agency: a neo-Gricean framework.Matti Sarkia - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7003-7030.
    This paper analyzes three contrasting strategies for modeling intentional agency in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind and action, and draws parallels between them and similar strategies of scientific model-construction. Gricean modeling involves identifying primitive building blocks of intentional agency, and building up from such building blocks to prototypically agential behaviors. Analogical modeling is based on picking out an exemplary type of intentional agency, which is used as a model for other agential types. Theoretical modeling involves reasoning about intentional agency in (...)
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  • Collective Actors without Collective Minds: An Inferentialist Approach.Javier González de Prado Salas & Jesús Zamora-Bonilla - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (1):3-25.
    We present an inferentialist account of collective rationality and intentionality, according to which beliefs and other intentional states are understood in terms of the normative statuses attributed to, and undertaken by, the participants of a discursive practice—namely, their discursive or practical commitments and entitlements. Although these statuses are instituted by the performances and attitudes of the agents, they are not identified with any physical or psychological entity, process or relation. Therefore, we argue that inferentialism allows us to talk of collective (...)
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  • Shared intentions and shared responsibility.Brook Jenkins Sadler - 2006 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):115–144.
  • There is no escape from philosophy: Collective intentionality and empirical social science.Antti Saaristo - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):40-66.
    This article examines two empirical research traditions—experimental economics and the social identity approach in social psychology—that may be seen as attempts to falsify and verify the theory of collective intentionality, respectively. The article argues that both approaches fail to settle the issue. However, this is not necessarily due to the alleged immaturity of the social sciences but, possibly, to the philosophical nature of intentionality and intentional action. The article shows how broadly Davidsonian action theory, including Hacking’s notion of the looping (...)
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  • Shared Intentions, Loose Groups and Pooled Knowledge.Olivier Roy & Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2019 - Synthese (5):4523-4541.
    We study shared intentions in what we call “loose groups”. These are groups that lack a codified organizational structure, and where the communication channels between group members are either unreliable or not completely open. We start by formulating two desiderata for shared intentions in such groups. We then argue that no existing account meets these two desiderata, because they assume either too strong or too weak an epistemic condition, that is, a condition on what the group members know and believe (...)
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  • Intentions and interactive transformations of decision problems.Olivier Roy - 2009 - Synthese 169 (2):335 - 349.
    In this paper I study two ways of transforming decision problems on the basis of previously adopted intentions, ruling out incompatible options and imposing a standard of relevance, with a particular focus on situations of strategic interaction. I show that in such situations problems arise which do not appear in the single-agent case, namely that transformation of decision problems can leave the agents with no option compatible with what they intend. I characterize conditions on the agents’ intentions which avoid such (...)
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  • A dynamic-epistemic hybrid logic for intentions and information changes in strategic games.O. Roy - 2009 - Synthese 171 (2):291 - 320.
    In this paper I present a dynamic-epistemic hybrid logic for reasoning about information and intention changes in situations of strategic interaction. I provide a complete axiomatization for this logic, and then use it to study intentions-based transformations of decision problems.
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  • Prediction, Authority, and Entitlement in Shared Activity.Abraham Sesshu Roth - 2013 - Noûs 48 (4):626-652.
    Shared activity is often simply willed into existence by individuals. This poses a problem. Philosophical reflection suggests that shared activity involves a distinctive, interlocking structure of intentions. But it is not obvious how one can form the intention necessary for shared activity without settling what fellow participants will do and thereby compromising their agency and autonomy. One response to this problem suggests that an individual can have the requisite intention if she makes the appropriate predictions about fellow participants. I argue (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Social Groups.Katherine Ritchie - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (5):310-321.
    Social groups, including racial and gender groups and teams and committees, seem to play an important role in our world. This article examines key metaphysical questions regarding groups. I examine answers to the question ‘Do groups exist?’ I argue that worries about puzzles of composition, motivations to accept methodological individualism, and a rejection of Racialism support a negative answer to the question. An affirmative answer is supported by arguments that groups are efficacious, indispensible to our best theories, and accepted given (...)
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  • Quasi-Psychologism about Collective Intention.Matthew Rachar - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):475-488.
    This paper argues that a class of popular views of collective intention, which I call “quasi-psychologism”, faces a problem explaining common intuitions about collective action. Views in this class hold that collective intentions are realized in or constituted by individual, mental, participatory intentions. I argue that this metaphysical commitment entails persistence conditions that are in tension with a purported obligation to notify co-actors before leaving a collective action attested to by participants in experimental research about the interpersonal normativity of collective (...)
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  • Unconscious perception and phenomenal coherence.Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):461-469.
    It is an orthodoxy in cognitive science that perception can occur unconsciously. Recently, Hakwan Lau, Megan Peters and Ian Phillips have argued that this orthodoxy may be mistaken. They argue that many purported cases of unconscious perception fail to rule out low degrees of conscious awareness while others fail to establish genuine perception. This paper presents a case of unconscious perception that avoids these problems. It also advances a general principle of ‘phenomenal coherence’ that can insulate some forms of evidence (...)
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  • The norms of acceptance.Joëlle Proust - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):316-333.
    An area in the theory of action that has received little attention is how mental agency and world-directed agency interact. The purpose of the present contribution is to clarify the rational conditions of such interaction, through an analysis of the central case of acceptance. There are several problems with the literature about acceptance. First, it remains unclear how a context of acceptance is to be construed. Second, the possibility of conjoining, in acceptance, an epistemic component, which is essentially mind-to-world, and (...)
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  • Salience Reasoning.Gerald J. Postema - 2008 - Topoi 27 (1-2):41-55.
    The thesis of this essay is that social conventions of the kind Lewis modeled are generated and maintained by a form of practical reasoning which is essentially common. This thesis is defended indirectly by arguing for an interpretation of the role of salience in Lewis’s account of conventions. The remarkable ability of people to identify salient options and appreciate their practical significance in contexts of social interaction, it is argued, is best explained in terms of their exercise of what I (...)
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  • Melody and Law's Mindfulness of Time.Gerald J. Postema - 2004 - Ratio Juris 17 (2):203-226.
    . A structured awareness of time lies at the core of the law's distinctive normativity. Melody is offered as a rough model of this mindfulness of time, since some important features of this awareness are also present in a hearer's grasp of melody. The model of melody is used, first, to identify some temporal dimensions of intentional action and then to highlight law's mindfulness of time. Its role in the structure of legal thinking, and especially in precedent‐sensitive legal reasoning, is (...)
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