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University of Southern California

1. Johns, Brandon Darryl. The boundaries of the intentional.

Degree: PhD, Philosophy, 2012, University of Southern California

My dissertation explores the nature and extent of intentional action. I begin by arguing for a necessary connection between intentional action and the state of intention. I then argue that this commonsense view—known as the Single Phenomenon View—is inconsistent with two highly influential theories of intention; thus, both theories require modification. My focus then turns to the possibility of negative intentional action. I defend an account of refraining whereby refrainings are conceived as a type of intentional action. Furthermore, my account of refraining leads to a novel argument for the existence of non-intentional action—action that is neither intentional nor unintentional. This argument involves, among other things, developing an account of unintentional action. One important consequence of my dissertation is that all action—intentional, unintentional and non-intentional—issues from the state of intention. Advisors/Committee Members: Yaffe, Gideon (Committee Chair), Watson, Gary L. (Committee Member), Finlay, Stephen (Committee Member), Lyon, Thomas D. (Committee Member).

Subjects/Keywords: action theory; intentional action; unintentional action; non-intentional action; intention; refraining; negative action; philosophy of mind

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APA (6th Edition):

Johns, B. D. (2012). The boundaries of the intentional. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Southern California. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Johns, Brandon Darryl. “The boundaries of the intentional.” 2012. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Southern California. Accessed September 17, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Johns, Brandon Darryl. “The boundaries of the intentional.” 2012. Web. 17 Sep 2019.


Johns BD. The boundaries of the intentional. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2012. [cited 2019 Sep 17]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Johns BD. The boundaries of the intentional. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2012. Available from: