How we know what we intend

Philosophical Studies 161 (2):327-346 (2012)
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Abstract

How do we know what our intentions are? It is argued that work on self-knowledge has tended to neglect the attitude of intention, and that an epistemological account is needed that is attuned to the specific features of that state. Richard Moran’s Authorship view, on which we can acquire self-knowledge by making up our minds, offers a promising insight for such an account: we do not normally discover what we intend through introspection. However, his formulation of the Authorship view, developed primarily with the attitude of belief in mind, is found wanting when applied to intention. An alternative account is proposed for knowledge of one’s own intentions that gives a central role to the mental act of deciding what to do. It is argued that we can come to know what we intend by making a decision about what to do and self-ascribing the content of that decision as our intended action.

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Author's Profile

Sarah Paul
New York University, Abu Dhabi

Citations of this work

Self-Knowledge.Brie Gertler - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Believing in Others.Sarah K. Paul & Jennifer M. Morton - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (1):75-95.
"How to Think Several Thoughts at Once: Content Plurality in Mental Action".Antonia Peacocke - 2023 - In Michael Brent & Lisa Miracchi Titus (eds.), Mental Action and the Conscious Mind. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 31-60.
Embedded mental action in self-attribution of belief.Antonia Peacocke - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):353-377.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Consciousness and Experience.William G. Lycan - 1996 - Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

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