Ludwig on Conditional Intentions

Methode 4 (6):61-74 (2015)
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In this paper, I discuss Ludwig's systematic and illuminating account of conditional intentions, with particular reference to my own view (presented in "Conditional Intentions", Noûs, 2009). In contrast to Ludwig, I argue that we should prefer a formal characterization of conditional intentions rather than a more substantial one in terms of reasons for action (although the conditions that qualify an intention bear on the reasonableness and justifiability of the intention). I then defend a partially different taxonomy of the conditions that might qualify an intention and discuss how the difference bears on the application of the rational pressures of intention. I go on to acknowledge that Ludwig is correct on insisting on the centrality of the *epistemic* element in the antecedent of conditional intentions. But I argue that even when a condition has been settled (that is, when the agent has ascertained that it holds), the intention remains genuinely conditional. In my view, conditions that have been settled are not just part of the background of planning: they continue to qualify the content of the intention (although they come to play a different role when settled). I then discuss how the settling of a condition does not interrupt the *continuity* of the content and structure of the intention---in contrast to Ludwig's account, where the conditional intention appears to give rise, when the conditions are taken as settled, to a distinct *unconditional* intention. I close by discussing the serious concern that my way of characterizing conditional intentions threatens to swallow most intentions, given that it is unlikely that we have intentions that do not rest on our accepting the obtaining of relevant conditions.
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First archival date: 2015-11-27
Latest version: 2 (2015-12-03)
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