Bolzano on Finding Out Intentions Behind Actions

Arto Siitonen


Bolzano’s large heuristics in the fourth part of his Wissenschaftslehre contains 13
general and 33 special rules. The special rule 28 is meant to help observers and
researchers to trace intentionality in phenomena and to identify the intentions of
given actions. Bolzano’s concept of intention presupposes the concepts of causality
and judgment, and in his view the interpretation of signs presupposes that intentions
are considered. When are we justified to suppose the existence of purposes? To whom
and to which actions to ascribe a purpose, and what the purpose is? Bolzano gives
advices which help one to answer these questions, and he locates possible sources of
mistaken reasoning concerning intentions.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; heuristics

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