Let’s take Stephen’s squirrel. On the end of a branch on a tree is an acorn. He walks to the acorn but then shortly before he reaches it, the branch breaks and the squirrel drops down dead (sorry Stephen).
VYAZMA: of the two events, walking to the acorn, and dropping down dead, which one was intentional?
Now let’s assume (I don’t know if this is the case but for the sake of the argument) collecting acorns for winter is an instinct: the squirrel has no idea why he is doing it. Then this would not count as an intentional action. But do you want to say that the squirrel’s walking to the acorn is not an intentional action?
Compare it with a second squirrel: he too sees the acorn, walks to it, but then notices that the branch is making untrustworthy noises. He turns around, then walks to another stronger branch that happens to come close to the same acorn, walks up this branch and takes the acorn. Wasn’t it the intention of both squirrels to get the acorn? Is it not just a valid description of the acorns that they want to get the acorn? And that the first one had the belief that the branch would be strong enough, where the second one had the belief that the branch would break? Is it wrong to say that the first sqirrel could have done otherwise? In the end, there was another possibility to get the acorn, as the second one realised.
VYAZMA: what you do not understand is that explaining the behaviour of squirrels and humans in terms of the simpler elements from which they are build up does not explain them away. The only fact that counts is that the description in terms of intentions, beliefs and wishes is valid. If you explain lightning as ‘just an electrical discharge’ did you then prove that lightning does not exist, or that describing it as ‘lightning’ is invalid? It just means that some other explanations are wrong (e.g. that it is Thor). So explaining the behaviour of us and animals and us in terms of intentions, beliefs and wishes is not wrong: it is just that some other things we associate with actions are wrong: e.g. that we are moved by a soul, are uncaused causes, or that necessarily randomness would be involved to explain ‘could have done otherwise’.
And yes, of course, because, for all practical purposes, the world is determined, and so are the beliefs, wishes and intentions of the squirrels and of us. But having an explanation does not invalidate the higher level description.
But I assume you are determined to ignore my arguments… Do you think that is because you do not like my arguments, or because your neurons just happen to be determined to result in this ignoring?