Synthese 198 (11):10289-10312 (2020)

Fernando Rudy-Hiller
National Autonomous University of Mexico
An important recent debate in the philosophy of action has focused on whether there is a persistence requirement on intention and, if there is, what its proper formulation should be. At one extreme, Bratman has defended what I call Strong Persistence, according to which it’s irrational to abandon an intention except for an alternative that is better supported by one’s reasons. At the other extreme, Tenenbaum has argued that there isn’t a persistence requirement on intention at all. In the middle, philosophers like Broome, Ferrero, and Paul have defended persistence requirements with varying degrees of stringency while agreeing that Bratman’s proposed requirement is too strong. In this paper I side with Bratman in defending Strong Persistence. I argue, however, that Bratman’s own argument in favor of it is defective and an easy prey to the multiple objections that have been leveled against it. I thus offer in its place a “first-personally addressed constitutivist argument” whose aim is to show to the minimally reflective agent the kind of commitment involved in deciding and forming an intention in situations of incomparability—which are taken to be the litmus test for persistence requirements—and the persistence rational requirement governing it. Along the way I respond to the objections against Strong Persistence and explain why my argument represents an improvement over Bratman’s.
Keywords intention  persistence requirements  incomparability  rational requirements  diachronic rationality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02719-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,209
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
Willing, Wanting, Waiting.Richard Holton - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.
Intending.Donald Davidson - 1978 - Philosophy of History and Action 11:41-60.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Against Foundationalism About Persistence-Conditions.Dirk Franken - 2018 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):1-26.
Is Remembering to Do a Special Kind of Memory?Thor Grünbaum & Søren Kyllingsbæk - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):385-404.
Basic Logic, K4, and Persistence.Wim Ruitenburg - 1999 - Studia Logica 63 (3):343-352.
Intention, Belief, and Instrumental Rationality.Michael Bratman - 2009 - In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13--36.
Diachronic Incontinence is a Problem in Moral Philosophy.Sarah K. Paul - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):337-355.
Intention, Belief, and Intentional Action.Alfred R. Mele - 1989 - American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (1):19 - 30.
Problems with Persistence.Nicholas Asher - 1994 - Topoi 13 (1):37-49.
Four-Dimensionalist Theories of Persistence.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):671-686.
Indeterminism and Persistence.Thomas Müller - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 49 (1):113-136.
John Buridan's Metaphysics of Persistence.Tyler Huismann - 2016 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (3):373-394.
Reply to Ferrero.Kirk Ludwig - 2015 - Methode: Analytic Perspectives 4 (6):75-87.


Added to PP index

Total views
14 ( #712,681 of 2,455,387 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #303,137 of 2,455,387 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes