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When Is Action Intentional? A Problem for Ginet's Acausal Account of Action

Abstract : Carl Ginet has proposed to define action as being intentional if and only if its agent simultaneously has a de re intention to be doing that very action. Ginet does not exactly tell us what makes an attitude like intention de re (or, in his terms, directly referential); rather, he takes the notion of de re attitude for granted. The gist of my paper is to show that the standard picture of direct reference allows for cases in which the conditions in Ginet's definition are met, yet we would not say that the agent intended to act as she did. And the intuitive reason why the action would not count as intentional is that the agent's intentions were not directed at her action “in the right way.” Ironically, it is the problem of deviant causal chains, initially targeted against the causal theory of action, which Ginet's "acausal" theory was precisely designed to avoid, that turns out to be a problem for Ginet's own account – only now, the deviant chain goes from the action to the intention.
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Preprints, Working Papers, ...
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Contributor : Isidora Stojanovic <>
Submitted on : Monday, January 25, 2010 - 4:36:11 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, June 18, 2010 - 1:24:09 AM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00450214, version 1



Isidora Stojanovic. When Is Action Intentional? A Problem for Ginet's Acausal Account of Action. 2003. ⟨ijn_00450214⟩



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