Deciding to act

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

Authors
Alfred Mele
Florida State University
Abstract
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
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1018639622382
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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.

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