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Conscious Intentions

Conscious Intentions

Chapter:
(p.85) 5 Conscious Intentions
Source:
Action, Ethics, and Responsibility
Author(s):
Alfred R. Mele
Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262014731.003.0005

This chapter discusses the nature of intentions and how it is discussed in a variety of fields, including neuroscience, philosophy, law, and several branches of psychology. It should be noted that the term is not understood in the same way in all fields; the chapter will focus on an account of intentions similar to that held by neuroscience, specifically the concept of occurrent intentions as commanding attitudes toward plans. A number of psychologists assume that intentions are conscious in nature—that an intention appears in one’s consciousness preceding an action. Several questions arise from this assumption, and these questions are addressed here. The chapter argues that plans, including simple representations of prospective “basic” actions and complex strategies for achieving remote goals, constitute the representational content of intentions.

Keywords:   intentions, neuroscience, philosophy, law, psychology, occurrent intentions, plans, representational content

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