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Justifying Intentions: Agency, Rationality and Practical Reason

Olbrich, David; (2021) Justifying Intentions: Agency, Rationality and Practical Reason. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis defends an unusual view within the philosophy of intention: that there are reasons for intention per se and that these reasons are not necessarily co-extensive with, or conceptually derivative on, corresponding reasons for action. The question ‘what to intend?’ is, accordingly, a possible, legitimate and sui generis deliberative question, standing alongside the question ‘what to do?’. The answering of each of these questions normally involves the answering of the other; though there is this intimate relationship, this should not obscure the possibility or rationality of the free formation of intention for a wider variety of reasons than is usually supposed. Objections to this idea are numerous and important: this thesis addresses, in particular, recent comparisons of intention to belief, particularly the idea that intention aims at good action in the same way that belief aims at truth; reflections on the Toxin Puzzle, sometimes thought to support the inadmissibility to practical deliberation of reasons for intention; conceptions of what sort of attitudes are required for means-end reasoning to make sense; and certain conceptions of the nature of intention that imply that it is answerable only to facts about the worthwhileness of the intended action – such as the conception of intention as itself a normative judgment on action, or as a regulator of action. In contrast, this thesis argues that intention is constitutively a state in which agents take a stand on their own activity, whether that happens through appetitively coming to perform an action in the normal way, or else through the kind of self-control the possibility of free formation of intention offers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Justifying Intentions: Agency, Rationality and Practical Reason
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120451
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