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Benjamin Lennertz

Abstract

Speakers typically use the sentence “I will go to the store” to simultaneously express an intention to go to the store and a belief that they will go to the store. This is consonant with two popular theses about intentions: first, intending to j implies believing that one will j; second, intending to j commits one to j-ing. In this paper, I argue that at least one of these theses is false. I do so by exploring what speakers express when they utter a sentence with a slightly different form, like “I will probably go to the store” in a typical situation. After laying down a framework for thinking about this sort of communication, I explore some different things speakers might express with this sentence in different situations. Most importantly, I argue that in some typical situations speakers express either ordinary intentions but not beliefs or partial intentions that don’t commit them to performing the intended action. Either way, at least one of the popular theses is false.

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