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Side Effects and the Structure of Deliberation

by Grant Rozeboom

There is a puzzle about the very possibility of foreseen but unintended side effects, and solving this puzzle requires us to revise our basic picture of the structure of practical deliberation. The puzzle is that, while it seems that we can rationally foresee, but not intend, bringing about foreseen side effects, it also seems that we rationally must decide to bring about foreseen side effects and that we intend to do whatever we decide to do. I propose solving this puzzle by rejecting the idea that we intend to do whatever we decide to do. My solution involves taking account of the underappreciated role that qualified intentions play in deliberation. I also argue that this solution fares better than those that instead reject the idea that we rationally must decide to bring about foreseen side effects, for these solutions are committed to rejecting the even more compelling idea that decisions rationally serve as the conclusions of practical deliberation.

ISSN 1559-3061
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