Pacific APA (2010)

I just got word this past weekend that my submission to the upcoming Pacific APA was accepted. I had already been planning to attend the Eastern APA this year (having received the advice that it is a good idea to see what it is like before one is actually on the job market), and am up in the air about attending the Central (since I grew up outside Chicago and my parents still live there, it is fairly easy and relatively inexpensive for me to make it to that one).

This will be my first time attending an APA meeting as a presenter, so I am pretty excited to be on the program. Here is a brief description of my paper, “Toward a Less Confident Cognitivism”:
Cognitivism about intention is the view that intentions involve beliefs, and the principle motivation for being a Cognitivist about intention is to explain the norms/rational requirements on one’s intentions in terms of the norms/rational requirements on one’s beliefs (by way of the particular beliefs involved in the intentions in question). The dominant variety of Cognitivism involves commitment to the Strong Belief Thesis (i.e. the view that intending to do X involves believing that one will do X). Since, prima facie, one can intend to do something without believing that they will succeed, commitment to the Strong Belief Thesis is a cost for the view. While some argue that this is only an apparent cost, or that the cost is outweighed by the explanatory benefits, my paper argues that it may be possible to avoid this cost while still achieving the same explanatory power. I make my case by appealing to some subtle differences between locutions like so-and-so will do X and locutions like so-and-so is going to do X. Though I think the account I sketch is worth of consideration on its own merits, I also draw out some general lessons from the discussion which equip the Cognitivist with a broader arsenal of resources, regardless of whether my particular proposal is successful.

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