, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 237–263 | Cite as

The role of beliefs in goal dynamics: prolegomena to a constructive theory of intentions

  • Cristiano Castelfranchi
  • Fabio Paglieri
Original Paper


In this article we strive to provide a detailed and principled analysis of the role of beliefs in goal processing—that is, the cognitive transition that leads from a mere desire to a proper intention. The resulting model of belief-based goal processing has also relevant consequences for the analysis of intentions, and constitutes the necessary core of a constructive theory of intentions, i.e. a framework that not only analyzes what an intention is, but also explains how it becomes what it is. We discuss similarities and differences between our approach and other standard accounts of intention, in particular Bratman’s planning theory. The aim here is to question and refine the conceptual foundations of many theories of intentional action: as a consequence, although our analysis is not formal in itself, it is ultimately meant to have deep consequences for formal models of intentional agency.


Intentions Goals Goal dynamics Belief change Intention revision 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della CognizioneConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomaItaly

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