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Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

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12 December 2005, Logic and Game Reading Group, Special Event, Martin van Hees (University of Groningen, Department of Philosophy)

Speaker: Martin van Hees (University of Groningen, Department of Philosophy)
Title: Intentions, Utility and Rationality
Date: Monday 12 December 2005
Time: 15:00-16:30
Location: P3.27, Euclides Building, Plantage Muidergracht, Amsterdam

My object here is twofold. In the first part I will try to explain why it is important for rational choice theory to incorporate intentions in its framework. In doing so I shall not yet go into the question whether intentions can be defined in terms of strategies, preferences, or beliefs or in any other ingredient of the existing models; I simply introduce intentions as an extra variable and then introduce some conditions that one might impose on them. I argue that the conditions that I use reveal new information about the behaviour of rational individuals and that intentions thus do indeed add something to rational choice theory.

Whereas the first part is somewhat formal, the second part is of a more informal nature. Here I will address the question of how certain intentions are to be defined in terms of specific rational choice models. It is argued that a particular class of intentions, viz. intentions that have autonomous effects, cannot be modelled by standard rational choice theory in a satisfactory way.

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