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The Origin of Intentions

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In contemporary discussions of the concept of intention, the assumption is made that an intention results from a person's decision, or resolution, or plan, or the like. And the intention persists, generally, until the appropriate action is carried out.

However, intentions cannot be said to have temporal duration, or beginnings, or endings. And it is not necessary for a person who is intending to do something to have made a decision to do it, or a resolution, or anything else. It may be that a person acquires an intention because of the circumstances that he finds himself in. If one sees that a tricycle is in front of his car, he will move it. No decision is necessary, obviously, because running over it would be contrary to common sense. Or one may gradually come to realise that he is obliged to do something and thereupon acquires the intention to do it.

By focusing on one kind of intention, the “desire-belief” theories have failed to realise that intentions originate in various ways, and for various reasons.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-10-01

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