The concept of intention is widely thought to involve a confidence condition of some sort, a condition that specifies certain beliefs that one must either have or lack if one intends to do something. Two of the most common formulations of this condition are the following: (i) A intends to X only if A believes that they (probably) will X; and (ii) A intends to X only if A does not believe that they (probably) will not X. A third, much weaker formulation can also be considered: (iii) A intends to X only if A does not believe that it is highly unlikely that they will X. In this article I report on a series of experiments that indicate that ordinary speakers of English do not apply the concepts of intention and belief in accordance with any of the foregoing hypotheses. These experimental results provide empirical evidence against the idea that there is a confidence condition in the concept of intention.
- confidence condition
- experimental philosophy