Deciding to act

Philosophical Studies 100 (1):81–108 (2000)

Alfred Mele
Florida State University
As this passage from a recent book on the psychology of decision-making indicates, deciding seems to be part of our daily lives. But what is it to decide to do something? It may be true, as some philosophers have claimed, that to decide to A is to perform a mental action of a certain kind – specifically, an action of forming an intention to A. (Henceforth, the verb ‘form’ in this context is to be understood as an action verb.) Even if this is so, we are faced with pressing questions. Do we form all of our intentions? If not, how does forming an intention differ from other ways of acquiring one? Do we ever, in fact, form intentions, or do we rather merely acquire them in something like the way we acquire beliefs or desires? These are some of the questions that will occupy me here. My aim is to clarify the nature of deciding to act and to make a case for the occurrence of genuine acts of intention formation.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1018639622382
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,049
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Agents' Abilities.Alfred R. Mele - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):447–470.
Abilities to Act.Randolph Clarke - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):893-904.
How We Know What We Intend.Sarah K. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):327-346.
Decisions, Intentions, and Free Will.Alfred R. Mele - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):146-162.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

War and Intention.Darrell Cole - 2011 - Journal of Military Ethics 10 (3):174-191.
Taking on Intentions.Chrisoula Andreou - 2009 - Ratio 22 (2):157-169.
Weakness of Will as Intention-Violation.Dylan Dodd - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):45-59.
Shared Agency and Contralateral Commitments.Abraham Sesshu Roth - 2004 - Philosophical Review 113 (3):359-410.
Motivation-Encompassing Attitudes.Christopher G. Framarin - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (2):121 – 130.
We-Intentions Revisited.Raimo Tuomela - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (3):327 - 369.
How We Know What We Intend.Sarah K. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):327-346.


Added to PP index

Total views
85 ( #94,079 of 2,260,641 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #647,012 of 2,260,641 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature