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Intentional action: controversies, data, and core hypotheses

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Abstract:

This article reviews some recent empirical work on lay judgments about what agents do intentionally and what they intend in various stories and explores its bearing on the philosophical project of providing a conceptual analysis of intentional action. The article is a case study of the potential bearing of empirical studies of a variety of folk concepts on philosophical efforts to analyze those concepts and vice versa. Topics examined include double effect; the influence of moral considerations on judgments about what is done intentionally and about what is intended; the influence of considerations of luck, skill, and causal deviance on judgments about what agents do intentionally; what interesting properties all cases of intentional action might share; and the debate between proponents of, respectively, "the Simple View" of the connection between intentional action and intention and "the Single Phenomenon View" of that connection. A substantial body of literature is devoted to the project of analyzing intentional action [1]. In this article, I explore the bearing on that project of some recent empirical work on lay judgments about what is done intentionally and about what is intended. This article may reasonably be regarded as a case study of the potential bearing of empirical studies of a range of folk concepts on philosophical efforts to analyze those concepts and, likewise, of the potential bearing of attempted philosophical analyses of folk concepts on empirical studies of those concepts.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09515080307770

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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