Why Intentions?

Ratio 31 (S1):51-64 (2016)
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Abstract

There is an influential conception of intentional agency in terms of just beliefs and desires. And there is an equally influential conception that adds intentions as separate ingredients. It remains disputed whether adding intentions is really necessary, and what difference that addition exactly makes. I argue that adding intentions is required, but only because and insofar as it makes room for a distinctively practical kind of reasoning. I critically consider Bratman's main considerations in support of adding intentions, viz., conduct-control, inertia, and input for practical reasoning, and argue that a desire-belief theorist can easily accommodate those. I then reconsider all three Bratmanian considerations in order to establish a more fundamental difference in terms of a robust notion of practical reasoning. Such a difference can be found if we place Bratman's considerations in the light of Sebastian Rödl's idea of a measure or order of practical reasoning.

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Author's Profile

Jesse M. Mulder
Utrecht University

Citations of this work

Intention.Kieran Setiya - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Representation in action.Alec Hinshelwood - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?Donald Davidson - 1969 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Moral concepts. London,: Oxford University Press.

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