The Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to the Public Defense of the PhD Dissertation
It's Not the Thought that Counts: An Essay on the Irrelevance of Intentions to the Moral Permissibility of Actions
Supervisor: János Kis
Members of the Defense Committee:
Victor Tadros (University of Warwick)
Simon Rippon (CEU)
Chair: Hanoch Ben-Yami
The dissertation is a defense of the view that intentions with which we act are non-derivatively irrelevant to the moral permissibility of our actions. What we intend might indicate what kind of people we are, or whether and why we should be open to praise or blame, but it is never a reason why we are morally permitted or forbidden to act. The Doctrines of Double and Triple Effect and similar moral principles are rejected. The most prominent arguments in favor of the irrelevance of intentions—those pointing to a category mistake, the impossibility of choosing intentions, or to the oddness of considering them in decision making or of intervening in actions of others due to them—are also shown to be flawed. The conclusion reached is that the strongest evidence for the irrelevance of intentions is negative, based on the failure of case-based, principle-driven, and theoretical justifications to the contrary.