Disjunctivism about Intending

Yair Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The overwhelmingly predominant view in philosophy sees intending as a mental state, specifically a plan-like state. This paper rejects the predominant view in favor of a starkly opposed novel alternative. After criticizing both the predominant Bratman-esque view of intention, and an alternative view inspired by Michael Thompson, the paper proceeds to set out and defend the idea that acting with an intention to V should be understood disjunctively, as (roughly) either one’s V-ing intentionally or one’s performing some kind of failed intentional V-ing, where the two disjuncts share no common state of intention. Instructive structural parallels to perceptual disjunctivism are pointed out, and the view is shown, unlike its rivals, to successfully extend to capture both prospective and present intention, thereby unifying the three different guises of intention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-180
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Philosophical Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1120/17


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