Intention (book)

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File:Intention (book).jpg
Author Elizabeth Anscombe
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Intention
Published 1957
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages 106 (2000 edition)
ISBN 978-0674003996

Intention is a 1957 book by the philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe.


Anscombe argues that the concept of intention is central to our understanding of ourselves as rational agents. The intentions with which we act are identified by the reasons we give in answer to questions concerning why we perform actions. Such reasons usually form a hierarchy that constitutes a practical syllogism of which action itself is the conclusion. Hence our actions are a form of active practical knowledge that normally leads to action. Anscombe compares the direction of fit of such knowledge to a shopping list's relation to one's purchases, and contrasts it with the direction of fit characteristic of a list of those purchases made by someone observing one shopping. She contends that the mistake of post-medieval philosophy is to think that all knowledge is of the latter kind.[1]

Scholarly reception

Intention initiated extensive discussion of intentional action and its explanation.[2]



  1. Baldwin 1999. p. 30.
  2. Hacker 1995. p. 37.


  • Baldwin, Thomas R. (1999). Audi, Robert (ed.). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63722-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hacker, Peter (1995). Honderich, Ted (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866132-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>