Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):481-505 (2021)

Ellen Fridland
King's College London
I identify and characterize the kind of personal-level control-structure that is most relevant for skilled action control, namely, what I call, “practical intention”. I differentiate between practical intentions and general intentions not in terms of their function or timing but in terms of their content. I also highlight a distinction between practical intentions and other control mechanisms that are required to explain skilled action. I’ll maintain that all intentions, general and practical, have the function specifying, sustaining, and structuring action but that several functions that have been attributed to proximal intentions are actually implemented by other control mechanisms that are not themselves best identified as intentions. Specifically, I will claim that practical intentions do not initiate, monitor, specify or guide the fine-grained, online, kinematic aspects of action. Finally, I suggest that the way in which practical and general intentions should be differentiated is in terms of their content, where general intentions specify the overall goal, outcome, or end of an action as it is conceived of by the agent at a time, and practical intentions determine the means to that end. I conclude by providing empirical evidence to support this way of characterizing the intentions that “interface” with the mechanisms of motor control. Though this discussion has repercussions for action in general, I will limit my discussion to cases of skill.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s13164-019-00452-x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,089
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Knowing How.Jason Stanley & Timothy Willlamson - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (8):411-444.

View all 43 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Oops! I Did It Again: The Psychology of Everyday Action Slips.Myrto Mylopoulos - 2022 - Topics in Cognitive Science 14 (2):282-294.
The Skill of Self-Control.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6251-6273.
The Modularity of the Motor System.Myrto Mylopoulos - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (3):376-393.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What Are Intentions?Elisabeth Pacherie & Patrick Haggard - 2010 - In L. Nadel & W. Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Conscious Will and Responsibility. A tribute to Benjamin Libet. Oxford University Press. pp. 70--84.
We-Intentions Revisited.Raimo Tuomela - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (3):327 - 369.
The Content of Intentions.Elisabeth Patherie - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (4):400-432.
Taking on Intentions.Chrisoula Andreou - 2009 - Ratio 22 (2):157-169.
We-Intentions and Social Action.Raimo Tuomela & Kaarlo Miller - 1985 - Analyse & Kritik 7 (1):26-43.
La Dynamique des Intentions.Élisabeth Pacherie - 2003 - Dialogue 42 (3):447-480.
Intentions by Default.Alfred R. Mele - 1989 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 70 (2):155-166.
Reasons and Intentions.Bruno Verbeek (ed.) - 2007 - Ashgate.
Intention and Motor Representation in Purposive Action.Stephen Andrew Butterfill & Corrado Sinigaglia - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):119-145.
“Some Remarks On Intention In Action”.John Mcdowell - 2011 - Studies in Social Justice:1-18.
The Volitive and the Executive Function of Intentions.Christoph Lumer - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (3):511-527.


Added to PP index

Total views
46 ( #244,128 of 2,499,012 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #102,106 of 2,499,012 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes