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Episteme

Article Title

Bratman on Intending

Abstract

This article is a response to Michael E. Bratman’s novel thought experiments in “Toxin, Temptation, and the Stability of Intention” and so concerns instrumental rational planning agency. The basic question is: When should an agent alter her intentions? Bratman criticizes two planning strategies, Sophistication and Resolution, which rely on too narrow planning logics: the linking principle and/or the standard view. As an alternative, Bratman introduces the No-Regret principle to meet the demands of rational planning in his more complicated examples. The author notes a problem, though: Bratman is operating under a misleading understanding of intention that violates the condition of belief consistency. Once we borrow the concept of indefeasibility from epistemology, and also introduce the notion of defeaters, we can formulate a new test for intention which deems Bratman’s argument in his Toxin case a failure.

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