Can I Only Intend My Own Actions?

In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford studies in agency and responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. (1) 70-94 (2013)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue against the popular philosophical thesis---aka the ‘own action condition’---that an agent can only intend one’s own actions. I argue that the own action condition does not hold for any executive attitude, intentions included. The proper object of intentions is propositional rather than agential (‘I intend that so-and-so be the case’ rather than ‘I intend to do such-and-such’). I show that, although there are some essential de se components in intending, they do not restrict the content of intentions to one’s own actions. I then discuss the special way in which one’s own actions can figure in the content of one’s intentions, which shows that the distinction between intending and acting is less stark than it appears at first. This is a conclusion that many defenders of the own action condition might find appealing but which, I argue, is better supported by rejecting the own action condition.

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Luca Ferrero
University of California, Riverside

Citations of this work

A Question-Sensitive Theory of Intention.Bob Beddor & Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):346-378.
Intention.Kieran Setiya - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Diachronic Structural Rationality.Luca Ferrero - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):311-336.

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References found in this work

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Intentionality.John Searle - 1983 - Philosophy 59 (229):417-418.

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