Springs of Action: Understanding Intentional Behavior

New York: Oxford University Press (2002)
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Abstract

Tackling some central problems in the philosophy of action, Mele constructs an explanatory model for intentional behavior, locating the place and significance of such mental phenomena as beliefs, desires, reasons, and intentions in the etiology of intentional action. In the first part, Mele illuminates the connection between desire and action and defends detailed characterizations of irresistible desires and reasons for action. Mele argues for the viability of a causal approach to the explanation of intentional action in terms of psychological states and events, paying special attention to recent worries about the causal relevance of the mental. In Part Two, Mele goes on to develop a subtle and well-defended view that the motivational role of intentions is of a different sort from that of beliefs and desires. Mele's account, based largely on a careful study of the functions of intentions, presents intentions as states irreducible to collections of beliefs and desires which hinge on their executive and representational features. Springs of Action will be of interest not only to philosophers of action, but also to those interested in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and ethics.

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Alfred Mele
Florida State University

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