Chapter

Purposes

Richard Swinburne

in The Evolution of the Soul

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198236986
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598593 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198236980.003.0005
Purposes

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Intentional actions consist in agents purposing, that is ‘trying’, to bring about effects (where ‘trying’ carries no implication of difficulty or failure) or allowing some effect to occur. Purposing is an active state of exerting causal influence, and cannot be analysed in terms of passive states such as desires. We have infallible beliefs about our own purposes, but only fallible beliefs about the purposes of others. Purposes have effects, and so epiphenomenalism is false.

Keywords: action; agent causation; Davidson; desire; epiphenomenalism; intentional action; purpose; Searle

Chapter.  8214 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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