Intentions in the Light of Goals

Topoi 33 (1):103-116 (2014)
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This paper presents a systematic analysis of the various steps of goal-processing and intention creation, as the final outcome of goal-driven action generation. Intention theory has to be founded on goal theory: intentions require means-end reasoning and planning, conflict resolution, coherence. The process of intention formation and intentional action execution is strictly based on specific sets of beliefs (predictions, evaluations, calculation of costs, responsibility beliefs, competence, etc.). The origin of an intention is not necessarily a “desire” (which is just a kind of goal). Intention is a two-layered goal-structure: the intended action(s) to be executed, and the intended outcome motivating that action—with two distinct kinds of “failure”. This belief-goal perspective also allows to examine two stages/types of intention, and the relations and differences between intention “in agenda” (future directed) and intention under execution (intention in action). I will argue that the will is much more than the intention driving an intentional action. I will also claim that intentions are not there just for motivating and regulating intentional actions (from the motor level to more complex behaviors), but that they play also several other important roles.



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References found in this work

Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Minimal Rationality.Christopher Cherniak - 1986 - MIT Press. Edited by Christopher Cherniak.
Rational choice and the structure of the environment.Herbert A. Simon - 1956 - Psychological Review 63 (2):129-138.

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