Proximal Intentions, Non-executed Proximal Intentions and Change of Intentions

Ariel Furstenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the conceptual and empirical possibility of non-executed, non-conscious proximal intentions, i.e., non-conscious proximal intentions to act that do not turn into a final act, but perhaps are vetoed or overcome by an alternative action. It constructs a conceptual framework in which such cases are justifiably considered 'proximal intentions'. This is achieved by combining Alfred Mele's notion of non-conscious proximal intentions together with the notion of trying or striving taken from Brian O'Shaughnessy's model of action. With this framework in hand we analyze empirical electroencephalography (EEG) findings regarding 'change of intention' scenarios. Prior to EEG development (and other brain imaging techniques), one would never consider non-executed, non-conscious proximal intentions a case of intention at all. However, with technological and interpretable development of EEG, a whole group of so called 'intentions' appears, and the main aim of the paper is to justify this expanded usage.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This project was made possible through the support of a Grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. I wish to thank my scientific collaborators Haim Sompolinsky and Leon Deouell; and thanks to Avishai Margalit for fruitful discussions.


  • Action
  • Consciousness
  • EEG
  • Intentions


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