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Intention in Action

The Philosophy of G. E. M. Anscombe

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Pathiaraj Rayappan

G. E. M. Anscombe was one of the important philosophers of the twentieth century. Her most famous works are Intention and Modern Moral Philosophy and have given origin to the new branch called Philosophy of Action and have been an impetus for the revival of Virtue Ethics. This book studies G. E. M. Anscombe’s evaluation of moral theories and moral actions based on her findings in Philosophical Psychology. The author argues that a moral evaluation solely from the point of view of intention is insufficient and looks for a way in which this insufficiency can be overcome. Taking inspiration from Martin Rhonheimer, he finds a way to overcome this insufficiency through concepts such as the moral object, the anthropological truth of man and the practical reason, which are other essential elements to be considered in moral evaluation in addition to intention.

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Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Chapter One Intention in Moral Philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 1.1 Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 1.2 St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Chapter Two Anscombe’s Analysis of Intention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 2.1 Expressions of Intention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 2.2 Intentional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 2.3 Intention-with-which . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 2.4 Knowledge of One’s Own Intentional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 2.5 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Chapter Three Evaluation of Moral Actions and Moral Theories Based on Intention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 3.1 War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 3.2 Contraceptive Intercourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 3.3 Contracts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 3.4 Consequentialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 3.5 The Principle of Double Effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 3.6 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 8Chapter Four Discussion of Intention after Anscombe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 4.1 ‘Under A Description’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 4.2 Individuation of Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 4.3 Intention and Action: Relation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 4.4 Knowledge of One’s Own Intentional Action . . . . . . . . . . . . 184 4.5 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 Chapter Five Action and Moral Object . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 5.1 Practical Reasoning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 5.2 Is – Ought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216 5.3 Action Explanation: Aristotle, St. Thomas and Anscombe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 5.4 Beyond Intention: Martin Rhonheimer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242 5.5 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251 General Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261

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