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A Gate-Based Account of Intentions



In this paper, I propose a reductive account of intentions which I call a gate-based reductive account. In contrast with other reductive accounts, however, the reductive basis of this account is not limited to desires, beliefs and judgments. I suggest that an intention is a complex state in which a predominant desire toward a plan is not inhibited by a gate mechanism whose function is to assess the comparison of our desires given the stakes at hand. To vindicate this account, I rely on several considerations: the similarity between epistemic feelings and the feeling of being decided that tells us that we have an intention, the necessity of postulating a gate mechanism to explain our hesitating behavior, and the tight link that exists between the realization of our actions and our desires. In agreement with non-reductivists, I nevertheless acknowledge that intentions encompass plans, although I emphasize that the planning capacity must also be dependent on our motivational life and the general evaluative mechanisms that explains our emotions.

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