, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 203-231

The Concept of Intentional Action: A Case Study in the Uses of Folk Psychology

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Abstract

It is widely believed that the primary function of folk psychology lies in the prediction, explanation and control of behavior. A question arises, however, as to whether folk psychology has also been shaped in fundamental ways by the various other roles it plays in people’s lives. Here I approach that question by considering one particular aspect of folk psychology – the distinction between intentional and unintentional behaviors. The aim is to determine whether this distinction is best understood as a tool used in prediction, explanation and control or whether it has been shaped in fundamental ways by some other aspect of its use.