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Technical Warrant and its Relation to Intentional Action


We are often highly confident that we can bring about what we intend, but current theories of intention only partly account for this capacity. The theory of epistemic warrant can serve as a model for a corresponding theory of technical warrant for appropriately confident intention: What permits confidence in an aim to perform a “basic action” under a certain condition is a technical entitlement corresponding to the epistemic entitlement to a perceptual belief. Basic aims, together with beliefs, can then technically justify non-basic aims, not as valuable or desirable things to do, but as ends pursued in virtue of the justifying means.

In light of the theory of technical warrant, knowledge itself provides a model for a theory of intentional actions as technically warranted true aims in the absence of “waywardness”: What has been discussed as “antecedential” waywardness in the context of Causalist theories of action is analogous to veridical hallucination. Similarly, problems of “consequential” and “tertiary” waywardness correspond directly to Gettier problems, in that each is the result of a “gap” between a specific pattern of justificatory reasoning and circumstances in the world. Intentions of lower confidence are analogous to lower-credence epistemic attitudes.

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