Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 15, 1990

Robert K. Shope
Pages 361-394

A Causal Theory of Intending

Having an intention can be analyzed in terms of certain causal powers possessed by an instance of one’s having a thought of a certain state of affairs, where a certain preference is what causes those powers to be present. A suitable understanding of such a prcference emerges from a discussion of Wayne A. Davis’ analysis of intending. However, Davis’ emphasis on belief and desire rather than on instances of having a thought leads to difficulties for his analysis of intending. After supplementing my own analysis with a sufficient condition of intentional action, I defend my approach by relating it to D.F. Gustafson’s Intention and Agency.