Intentions: Philosophical and Empirical Issues

November 29, 2012 - November 30, 2012
Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies

Martino della Battaglia 44

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Call for papers: Topoi conference and special issue

Intentions: Philosophical and Empirical Issues
Rome, Italy, 29-30 November 2012

We are proud to announce that the first Topoi Conference will be held in Rome in November 2012. This will be the first in a series of conferences, to be held every 2 years, sponsored by Topoi: An International Journal of Philosophy ( In analogy with the journal format, each conference will focus on a specific theme (topos), and contributions presented to the conference will later appear in an issue of the journal dedicated to the same topic.

Marcel Brass (Ghent)
Cristiano Castelfranchi (Rome)
Elisabeth Pacherie (Paris)
Corrado Sinigaglia (Milan)

Submissions of unpublished papers are welcome on any topic relevant to the conference theme (see below). Submitted articles should be in English, not exceed 5.000 words in length (including references), and be prepared for blind reviewing. Only original papers (i.e., not published or submitted for publication elsewhere) will be considered, since the authors of accepted contributions will be invited to submit a revised longer version of their papers for a special issue of Topoi, edited by Markus Schlosser (Leiden) and Fabio Paglieri (Rome).

Submission of papers by e-mail to: Fabio Paglieri ([email protected])
Accepted file formats: .doc, .rtf., .odp, .pdf
Deadline for submission (full papers): 31 August 2012

Theorizing about human action has a long history in philosophy, and the nature of intention and intentional action has received a lot of attention in recent analytic philosophy. At the same time, intentional action has become an empirically studied phenomenon in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Many results obtained in these areas have been incorporated within the current philosophical debate, while at the same time scientists have often adopted in their experiments and models philosophical assumptions on the nature of intention and intentional action. As a result, the study of intentions is nowadays a thriving enterprise, where both conceptual and empirical issues are discussed in a dialogue across disciplines.
This conference aims to bring together empirically informed philosophers and philosophically savvy scientists to address a variety of central problems in the study of intention. Possible topics for contributions include (but are not limited to):

  • What is the relevance of recent findings in neuroscience and experimental psychology for our philosophical understanding of intentions and intentional action?
  • What role can philosophical analysis play in the design of experiments and in the interpretation of empirical results?
  • What is the relation between intentions, choices, and other mental states and events (such as desires, goals, plans, beliefs, expectations, emotions, etc.)?
  • Are intentions necessarily conscious? Are they causally efficacious in virtue of being conscious?
  • What, exactly, are motor intentions, proximal intentions, and distal intentions?
  • What are the neural correlates of the different kinds of intentions?
  • What are the mechanisms responsible for intention recognition and action understanding?
  • What is the role of intentions in gaining self-knowledge and self-understanding?
  • What is the nature of group or shared intentions?
  • What role do intentions play in self-control and weakness of the will?
  • Do (or can) other animals or robots have intentions?

The conference will be held at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council of Italy (ISTC-CNR,, Via San Martino della Battaglia 44, Rome, Italy.

The language of the conference is English. Attendance is free and no registration is required. All meals will be provided for the authors of accepted papers, but at the moment no reimbursement for accommodation and travel costs is expected to be available.

The conference is organized by Fabio Paglieri (Rome) and Markus Schlosser (Leiden), and sponsored by Topoi, Springer, and the Goal-Oriented Agents Lab (GOAL, of the ISTC-CNR.

For further information, please contact Fabio Paglieri, [email protected]

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