Intention and teleology

Mind 107 (426):381-401 (1995)
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Abstract

An agent's intentional doings are often taken to be those for which a certain sort of teleological explanation is available: they are the ones that can be fitted into sequences of the form 'agent A-s in order to B, B-s in order to C, and so on'. It is natural to think that such teleological orderings are produced entirely by the agent's own (perhaps idealized) practical reasoning, and that they thus reveal the intentions with which the agent acts: he A-s with the intention of thereby B-ing, B-s with the intention of thereby C-ing, and so on. This in turn suggests that if an agent X-s 'non-basically', he X-s intentionally if and only if he does something else with the intention of thereby X-ing. But what an agent intentionally does can also depend upon how his doings fit into 'autonomous teleologies' - teleologies having their origins outside of his will. If an agent intentionally A-s as part of his job, he might thereby intentionally A-s, where A-ing consists in operating a machine, he might thereby intentionally B not because his intention in A-ing is to B, but because A-ing is for the sake of B-ing in the machine's teleology.

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Matthew Hanser
University of California at Santa Barbara

Citations of this work

Basic Action and Practical Knowledge.Will Small - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
Explaining action.Kieran Setiya - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):339-393.
Towards an Aristotelian Theory of Care.Steven Steyl - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame Australia

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