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Aims, Concept of

At first sight, the concept of aims looks philosophically untroubling. One’s aims are the things one hopes to achieve by one’s efforts. Aims differ from other kinds of intention in that they involve the possibility of falling short. My intention to post a letter on my way to work this morning does not count as an aim because, while it can be frustrated by my forgetfulness or my not having time to make a stop, it cannot (usually) be frustrated by the difficulty of the task in hand, by my having tried but having failed to get the letter into the mailbox. To have an aim, then, is to intend to achieve by one’s efforts something one’s efforts may not be sufficient to achieve.

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