© 2016

Wanting and Intending

Elements of a Philosophy of Practical Mind


Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 123)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Wanting

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Neil Roughley
      Pages 23-52
    3. Neil Roughley
      Pages 53-79
    4. Neil Roughley
      Pages 117-143
  3. Intending

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 145-145
    2. Neil Roughley
      Pages 217-258
    3. Neil Roughley
      Pages 259-291
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 335-364

About this book


This book aims to answer two simple questions: what is it to want and what is it to intend? Because of the breadth of contexts in which the relevant phenomena are implicated and the wealth of views that have attempted to account for them, providing the answers is not quite so simple. Doing so requires an examination not only of the relevant philosophical theories and our everyday practices, but also of the rich empirical material that has been provided by work in social and developmental psychology.

The investigation is carried out in two parts, dedicated to wanting and intending respectively. Wanting is analysed as optative attitudinising, a basic form of subjective standard-setting at the core of compound states such as 'longings', 'desires', 'projects' and 'whims'. The analysis is developed in the context of a discussion of Moore-paradoxicality and deepened through the examination of rival theories, which include functionalist and hedonistic conceptions as well as the guise-of-the-good view and the pure entailment approach, two views popular in moral psychology.

In the second part of the study, a disjunctive genetic theory of intending is developed, according to which intentions are optative attitudes on which, in one way or another, the mark of deliberation has been conferred. It is this which explains intention's subjection to the requirements of practical rationality. Moreover, unlike wanting, intending turns out to be dependent on normative features of our life form, in particular on practices of holding responsible.

The book will be of particular interest to philosophers and psychologists working on motivation, goals, desire, intention, deliberation, decision and practical rationality.


Question of Motivational Unity Plato and the Tripartite Practical Mind Motivational States Symptoms of Wanting Expressive Explication and the Optative Mode Moore's Paradox and the Idea of Expressive Explication Axiological Conceptions of Wanting Conscious Occurrentism Wanting, Consciousness and Affect Intention, Belief and Commitment Intentional Syndrome Characteristic Causal Features and Rational Requirements Genetic Disjunctive Theory of Intention Intentions Decisional and Nondecisional Intention-Consequential Requirements Anchoring Attributability

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDuisburg-Essen UniversityEssenGermany

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Wanting and Intending
  • Book Subtitle Elements of a Philosophy of Practical Mind
  • Authors Neil Roughley
  • Series Title Philosophical Studies Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title Philosophical Studies Ser.
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-94-017-7385-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-024-1340-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-017-7387-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXIV, 364
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Mind
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This book is a comprehensive and thorough exploration of the concepts of wanting and intending, their co-relations and conceptual and empirical interdependencies. … Roughley’s presentation of the concept of wanting is telling and his novel approach to the concept of intention is worthy of further interest. Thus, the book is essential reading for researchers in the philosophy of action and related disciplines.” (Piotr Tomasz Makowski, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 20, 2017)