The role of beliefs in goal dynamics: Prolegomena to a constructive theory of intentions

Synthese 155 (2):237 - 263 (2007)
In this article we strive to provide a detailed and principled analysis of the role of beliefs in goal processing—that is, the cognitive transition that leads from a mere desire to a proper intention. The resulting model of belief-based goal processing has also relevant consequences for the analysis of intentions, and constitutes the necessary core of a constructive theory of intentions, i.e. a framework that not only analyzes what an intention is, but also explains how it becomes what it is. We discuss similarities and differences between our approach and other standard accounts of intention, in particular Bratman’s planning theory. The aim here is to question and refine the conceptual foundations of many theories of intentional action: as a consequence, although our analysis is not formal in itself, it is ultimately meant to have deep consequences for formal models of intentional agency.
Keywords Intentions  Goals  Goal dynamics  Belief change  Intention revision
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DOI 10.2307/27653489
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Michael Bratman (1987/1999). Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason. Center for the Study of Language and Information.

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