Philosophy 71 (278):531-539 (1996)

If one thinks of intentions as entities of some sort, states or dispositions, for example, it should eventually strike him that there are peculiar difficulties with the idea. For example, he will have trouble counting his intentions. In a particular situation, we ask someone, ‘What are you going to do about that? And this?’ And his answer might be, ‘My intention is to pay that, and, as for this, my intention is to ignore it.’ But of course he may have said, ‘My intention is to pay this and ignore that.’ For this reason and, as we will see, others, there is no such thing as a complete list of intentions that a person has. If someone told us, ‘I have just eight intentions at present’, we would think he was joking, even though he intends to do eight things—grade papers, meet a class at nine, and so on. And if we ask; ‘What are you going to do today?’, he may answer that he has a class at nine, office hours at two, and lunch already scheduled. But even though he has more to do today than yesterday, he would hardly tell us, ‘I am afraid I have more intentions today than I did yesterday.’
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100053456
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