Paisley Livingston

in Art and Intention

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780199278060
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602269 | DOI:

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Presents a survey of prevalent assumptions about the nature and status of intentions, beginning with minimalist and reductionist views and moving on to accounts of intention as a type of psychological state having a range of characteristic functions. Drawing upon work in philosophical psychology and action theory by such philosophers as Alfred Mele and Michael Bratman, Livingston characterizes intentions in terms of its functions in the lives of temporally situated, deliberating, and striving agents: intentions initiate, guide, and sustain intentional behaviour; they prompt and terminate practical reasoning, and help coordinate an individual agent’s behaviour over time, as well as interaction between agents. With reference to epistemic and ontological worries about mentalism, Livingston also surveys debates over the status of intentionalist psychology more generally, assessing error theory as well as strong and weak realist perspectives. Serious problems with extreme anti-intentionalist arguments and proposals warrant continued reliance upon intentionalist discourse.

Keywords: action theory; eliminativism; intention; intention-in-action; intentionalist psychology; plans

Chapter.  13131 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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