Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Friedrich Schlegel, George Boole and Donald Davidson

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5 ideas

20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / a. Nature of intentions
We explain an intention by giving an account of acting with an intention [Davidson, by Stout,R]
     Full Idea: The early Davidson championed the approach that we explain the idea of having an intention by providing an account of what it is to act with an intention.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Action, Reasons and Causes [1963]) by Rowland Stout - Action 7 'Conclusion'
     A reaction: This eliminates the distinction between a prior intention, and the intention that maintains a process such as speech. It sounds almost behaviourist.
An intending is a judgement that the action is desirable [Davidson]
     Full Idea: We can identify an intentional action ...with an all-out conditional judgement that the action is desirable. ...In the case of pure intending, I now suggest that the intention simply is an all-out judgement.
     From: Donald Davidson (Intending [1978], p.99), quoted by Rowland Stout - Action 8 'Davidson's'
     A reaction: 'Pure' intending seems to be what Stout calls 'prior' intending, which is clearer. This still strikes me as obviously false. I judge that it is desirable that I make a cup of coffee, but secretly I'm hoping someone else will make it for me.
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / b. Types of intention
We can keep Davidson's account of intentions in action, by further explaining prior intentions [Davidson, by Stout,R]
     Full Idea: Davidson's original account of intentions might still stand if we could accept that prior intentions are different in kind from intentions with which one acts.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Problems in the Explanation of Action [1987]) by Rowland Stout - Action 8 'Davidson's'
     A reaction: Davidson says prior intention is all-out judgement of desirability. Prior intentions are more deliberate, with the other intentions as a presumed background to action. Compare Sartre's dual account of the self.
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / c. Reducing intentions
Davidson gave up reductive accounts of intention, and said it was a primitive [Davidson, by Wilson/Schpall]
     Full Idea: Later Davidson dropped his reductive treatment of intentions (in terms of 'pro-attitudes' and other beliefs), and accepted that intentions are irreducible, and distinct from pro-attitudes.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Intending [1978]) by Wilson,G/Schpall,S - Action 2
     A reaction: Only a philosopher would say that intentions cannot be reduced to something else. Since I have a very physicalist view of the mind, I incline to reduce them to powers and dispositions of physical matter.
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / d. Weakness of will
The causally strongest reason may not be the reason the actor judges to be best [Davidson]
     Full Idea: I defend my causal view of action by arguing that a reason that is causally strongest need not be a reason deemed by the actor to provide the strongest (best) grounds for acting.
     From: Donald Davidson (Intro to 'Essays on Actions and Events' [1980], p.xii)
     A reaction: If I smoke a cigarette against my better judgement, it is not clear to me how the desire to smoke it, which overcomes my judgement not to smoke it, counts as the causally strongest 'reason'. We seem to have two different senses of 'reason' here.