Mental overpopulation and mental action: Protecting intentions from mental birth control

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):49-65 (2007)
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Many philosophers of action afford intentions a central role in theorizing about action and its explanation. Furthermore, current orthodoxy in the philosophy of action has it that intentions play a causal role with respect to the etiology and explanation of action. But action theory is not without its heretics. Some philosophers have challenged the orthodox view. In this paper I examine and critique one such challenge. I consider David-Hillel Ruben's case against the need for intentions to play a causal role in the etiology and explanation of mental actions. Contra Ruben, I defend the orthodox view that intentions play an indispensable causal and explanatory role with respect to mental actions.



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Andrei Buckareff
Marist College

References found in this work

The Works of Agency: On Human Action, Will and Freedom.Hugh McCann - 1998 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Ironic processes of mental control.Daniel M. Wegner - 1994 - Psychological Review 101 (1):34-52.
Practical Reflection.Dudley Knowles - 1990 - Philosophical Quarterly 40 (161):524-527.

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