G. E. M. Anscombe (—) of psychology. Her work on action, found mostly in her short book Intention, was a step in the direction of such a philosophy. Philosophical perplexity about intention begins with its appearance in three guises: intention for the future, as when I intend to complete this. Anscombe’s Intention () is one of the classics of 20th century .. Philosophy and Ethics by G.E.M. Anscombe (St. Andrews Studies in.

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Along with such matters g.e.m.ansvombe detail, two problems of principle can be raised against the present approach. But do I really act as I intended if I try and fail?

Intention by G.E.M. Anscombe

By this, of course, she means that it would be a bad idea to try to do so. There is rational pressure to conform to it, in general, but this pressure can be outweighed, as when it makes sense to intend both A and Bdespite their manifest inconsistency, hoping to achieve just one. One of her main contributions to ethics is the introduction of the word consequentialism as a label for these theories, along with an account of their alleged shortcomings.

Of course, this criticism was not restricted to Utilitarianism. Causation Like Wittgenstein, Anscombe was concerned about the culture around her. If we assume that every intentional action is done for a reason, and that this reason can be cast in teleological form, we can identify doing A intentionally with doing A in order to do something else. Given her thoughts on the notion of moral obligation, after all, we might surely ask who else might prohibit it?

The prospect of articulating a complete and plausible account of the human good along these lines is dim.

Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe

But then my intentions are not jointly consistent with my beliefs. The fact that Lewis rewrote that chapter, and rewrote it so that it now has those qualities [to address Anscombe’s objections], shows his honesty and seriousness. The temptation to think like a consequentialist in such cases is rather strong. I am impressed by the style and clarity.


Anscombe herself uses the example of someone who is sawing a plank.

The article has clearly had an intenntion on the development of virtue ethics. But what, then, distinguishes intentional actions from other kinds of events?

Intention — G. E. M. Anscombe | Harvard University Press

But Anscombe, in this book, declines to step fully into the moral questions but only to point at them from the standpoint of the concept of intentional behavior. After graduating from Oxford, Anscombe was awarded a research fellowship for postgraduate study at Newnham College, Cambridgefrom to Pamela Hieronymi – – Synthese 3: Failure to appreciate this grammatical feature, she holds, is what leads into the metaphysical mire of Descartes, Hume, and others who have speculated about the identity of the self.

The reason for Boyle is that the foreseen consequences—though definitely factored into deliberation—are not factored in the right way to count as voluntarily chosen.

Critics may object to the necessity of these conditions. She was also known for her willingness to face fierce public controversy in the name of her Catholic faith. But consequentialism sidesteps that need, just as it ducks the free-will responsibility question, and the warm-glow problem, and the meta-ethical status of moral language Considerations of symmetry imply that I also intended to do B.

Anscombe did not avoid controversy. This is important, too, in accounting for differences between speculative, or theoretical, knowledge and reasoning and practical knowledge and reasoning. They are taken up again in section 5.

Faith in a Hard Ground: Intending as Doing 2.

In none of these cases can we say, without contrivance, what action I am now on the way to performing. I feel the need to reread this. Retrieved 10 November Some are convinced that the problem is hopeless Anscombepp. Proceedings of the British Academy. She is a moral absolutist.


On the other hand, she is doing something. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It would suggest that she knew the task would not be easy and was perhaps pushing the chalk harder than normal in order to try to get the chalk to stick to it. MMP, 41 But, by and large, MMP was read against a backdrop in which a religious basis for ethics had been discredited. Customers who bought this item also bought.

Ethics, Religion and Politics: I would like to thank an editor for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for his or her extremely helpful comments on earlier drafts. That Truman could have chosen a different course of action – for instance, to drop the bombs on an isolated island in order to demonstrate force without victims, or to negotiate with the Japanese, evidence of whose willingness to do so existed at the time – strengthens her case against Truman.

If forming an intention is, among other things, coming to believe that one is doing Aor that one is going to do Awhat entitles us to form such beliefs? This fall was caused by a thought of suicide, perhaps even by an intention to commit suicide, but it was an accident still, caused by a shock rather than carried out deliberately. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. This, then, would be a case of terror bombing, and of outright murder.

This is not to say that all talk of obligation and the rest should be dropped. If intending is being on the way to intentional action, it is no surprise that its proper object—what one is on the way to doing—is not a mere proposition or state of affairs, but something one might do.