Reasoning with Unconditional Intention

Journal of Philosophical Research 42:177-201 (2017)
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Suppose that you intend to go to the theater. Are you therein intending the unconditional proposition that you go to the theater? That would seem to be deeply irrational; after all, you surely do not intend to go if, for instance, in the next instant an earthquake is going to devastate the city. What we intend we do not intend ‘no matter what,’ it is often said. But if so—how can anyone ever rationally intend simply to perform an action of a certain kind? In response to the puzzle, a ‘conditionality’ view of intention has emerged: the contents of everyday intentions are claimed to be fraught with hidden conditional clauses. The paper argues that such claims are radically unmotivated: even unconditional intentions have only limited inferential import and hence contrast sharply with a ‘no matter what’ stance. The point is established by examining relevant patterns of reasoning from unconditional to conditional intentions.

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Jens Gillessen
University of Marburg

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Flat intentions – crazy dispositions?Jens Gillessen - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (1):54-69.

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