Buridan's Ass and Reducible Intentions

Authors
Joe Mintoff
University of Newcastle, Australia
Abstract
Unlike Buridan’s ass, most of us have the capacity to deal with situations in which there is more than one maximally preferable option. According to supporters of a prominent conception of intention, making a decision in this type of case involves coming to prefer, or judge preferable, one of the relevant options over the other. The purpose of this paper is to argue that accounts that reduce intentions to preferences or preferability judgments cannot explain how it is possible to rationally form and to reason from such intentions in Buridan cases. Such accounts commit us to rejecting long-standing philosophical commitments to the relation between: judgment and evidence; reconsideration and new information; preference and judgments of preferability; and (in some versions) commit us to attributing overly complex forms of motivation.
Keywords Intentions  Preferences  Buridan's Ass
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_2001_28
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How Can Intentions Make Actions Rational?Joe Mintoff - 2002 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):331 - 354.

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