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Knowledge in intention

Philosophical Studies 99 (1):21-44 (2000)

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  1. Explaining Action.Kieran Setiya - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):339-393.
    Argues that, in acting for a reason, one takes that reason to explain one's action, not to justify it: reasons for acting need not be seen "under the guise of the good". The argument turns on the need to explain the place of "practical knowledge" - knowing what one is doing - in intentional action. A revised and expanded version of this material appears in Part One of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007).
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  • Practical Knowledge and Error in Action.Christian Kietzmann - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • The Guidance Theory of Action: A Critical Review.Lieke Joske Franci Asma - forthcoming - Topoi:1-8.
    Theories based on Frankfurt’s :157–162, 1978) view of action have recently been developed to account for passive, automatic, and habitual actions. What these theories share is that they aim to distinguish between actions and mere bodily movements without appealing to psychological states as causes. Instead, agents have guidance control over their actions. In this paper I argue that the versions of the theory that have been proposed are problematic. I propose to pay attention to Frankfurt’s other claim instead: that actions (...)
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  • The Phenomenology of Action: A Conceptual Framework.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2008 - Cognition 107 (1):179 - 217.
    After a long period of neglect, the phenomenology of action has recently regained its place in the agenda of philosophers and scientists alike. The recent explosion of interest in the topic highlights its complexity. The purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework allowing for a more precise characterization of the many facets of the phenomenology of agency, of how they are related and of their possible sources. The key assumption guiding this attempt is that the processes through (...)
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  • “I Do What Happens”: The Productive Character of Practical Knowledge.Rory O’Connell - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):670-686.
    Elizabeth Anscombe introduced the notion of “practical knowledge” into contemporary philosophy. Philosophers of action have criticized Anscombe’s negative characterization of such knowledge as “non-observational,” but have recently come to pay more attention to her positive characterization of practical knowledge as “the cause of what it understands.” I argue that two recent Anscombean accounts of practical knowledge, “Formalism” and “Normativism,” each fail to explain the productive character of practical knowledge in a way that secures its status as non-observational. I argue that (...)
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  • Ethics and the Nature of Action.Heine A. Holmen - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Oslo
    The following thesis starts from the question «why be moral?» and adresses an action-theoretic strategy for answering this question in the positive by reference to the constitutive natur of actions. In these debates, the epistemology of action has turned into a central issue. The thesis adresses these debates and develops a novel account of the epistemology: an account that may well turn out to provide a ground for the aforementioned constitutivist strategies.
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  • Action and the Problem of Evil.Heine A. Holmen - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (4):335-351.
    Most contemporary action theorists deny the possible existence of intentionally evil actions or diabolic agency. The reason for this is a normative interpretation of agency that appears to be motivated by action theoretic concerns, where agents are conceived as necessarily acting sub specie bonie or under ‘the guise of the good’. I argue that there is nothing in human agency to motivate this view and that diabolic evil is not at odds with inherent features of our nature.
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  • Knowing What You Are Doing: Action‐Demonstratives in Unreflective Action.Markos Valaris - 2020 - Ratio 33 (2):97-105.
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  • Practical Knowledge and Acting Together.Blomberg Olle - 2018 - In J. Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, Orestis Palermos & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Socially Extended Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 87-111.
    According to one influential philosophical view of human agency, for an agent to perform an action intentionally is essentially for her to manifest a kind of self-knowledge: An agent is intentionally φ-ing if and only if she has a special kind of practical and non-observational knowledge that this is what she is doing. I here argue that this self-knowledge view faces serious problems when extended to account for intentional actions performed by several agents together as a result of a joint (...)
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  • Communicating by Doing Something Else.Alex Davies - 2018 - In Tamara Dobler & John Collins (eds.), The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought, and Perception. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 135-154.
    It's sometimes thought that context-invariant linguistic meaning must be a character (a function from context types to contents) i.e. that linguistic meaning must determine how the content of an expression is fixed in context. This is thought because if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character then communication would not be possible. In this paper, I explain how communication could proceed even if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character.
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  • Perception and Practical Knowledge.John Schwenkler - 2011 - Philosophical Explorations 14 (2):137-152.
    According to G.E.M. Anscombe, an agent’s knowledge of his own intentional actions differs from his knowledge of his unintended behaviors as well as the knowledge others can have of what he intentionally does, in being secured “without observation”. I begin by posing a problem for any conception of this theory according to which non-observational knowledge must be independent of sense-perception, and criticize several recent attempts to get around the problem. Having done this, I develop an alternative account of non-observational knowledge (...)
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  • Choosing Your Poison and the Time of a Killing.Auke J. K. Pols - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):719-733.
    The problem of the time of a killing is often cited as providing grounds for rejecting the action identification thesis favoured by Anscombe and Davidson. In this paper I make three claims. First, I claim that this problem is a threat to the action identification thesis because of two assumptions the thesis makes: since the thesis takes actions to be a kind of doings, it has to assume that agents’ doings last as long as their actions and vice versa. Second, (...)
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  • Knowing What I Have Done.Matthias Haase - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (4):195-253.
    The literature on agentive or practical knowledge tends to be focused on knowing what one is doing or what one is going to do. Knowing what one has done and has achieved thereby seems to be another matter. In fact, achievements are often taken to be beyond the ken of practical knowledge. I argue that this is a mistake. The intelligibility of the very idea of practical knowledge depends on the possibility of knowing one's achievements in the same manner. For (...)
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  • Hornsby on the Phenomenology of Speech.Jennifer Hornsby & Jason Stanley - 2005 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1):131–145.
    The central claim is that the semantic knowledge exercised by people when they speak is practical knowledge. The relevant idea of practical knowledge is explicated, applied to the case of speaking, and connected with an idea of agents’ knowledge. Some defence of the claim is provided.
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  • Action.Luca Ferrero - 2009 - In John Shand (ed.), Central Issues of Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 137-151.
    An introductory survey of the contemporary philosophy of action.
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  • What is ‘Mental Action’?Yair Levy - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (6):971-993.
    There has been a resurgence of interest lately within philosophy of mind and action in the category of mental action. Against this background, the present paper aims to question the very possibility, or at least the theoretical significance, of teasing apart mental and bodily acts. After raising some doubts over the viability of various possible ways of drawing the mental act/bodily act distinction, the paper draws some lessons from debates over embodied cognition, which arguably further undermine the credibility of the (...)
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  • Putting Plural Self-Awareness Into Practice: The Phenomenology of Expert Musicianship.Alessandro Salice, Simon Høffding & Shaun Gallagher - 2018 - Topoi:1-13.
    Based on a qualitative study about expert musicianship, this paper distinguishes three ways of interacting by putting them in relation to the sense of agency. Following Pacherie, it highlights that the phenomenology of shared agency undergoes a drastic transformation when musicians establish a sense of we-agency. In particular, the musicians conceive of the performance as one single action towards which they experience an epistemic privileged access. The implications of these results for a theory of collective intentionality are discussed by addressing (...)
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  • Anscombe on Practical Knowledge.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - In Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Argues that, for Anscombe, 'practical knowledge' is only sometimes 'the cause of what it understands.' It is the formal cause when its object is 'formally the description of an executed intention.' Nor is such knowledge confined to the present progressive: we have practical knowledge of the future and the past.
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  • Intending is Believing: A Defense of Strong Cognitivism.Berislav Marušić & John Schwenkler - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):309-340.
    We argue that intentions are beliefs—beliefs that are held in light of, and made rational by, practical reasoning. To intend to do something is neither more nor less than to believe, on the basis of one’s practical reasoning, that one will do it. The identification of the mental state of intention with the mental state of belief is what we call strong cognitivism about intentions. It is a strong form of cognitivism because we identify intentions with beliefs, rather than maintaining (...)
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  • Tensed Belief.Vasilis Tsompanidis - 2011 - Dissertation, University of California Santa Barbara
    Human beings seem to capture time and the temporal properties of events and things in thought by having beliefs usually expressed with statements using tense, or notions such as ‘now’, ‘past’ or ‘future’. Tensed beliefs like these seem indispensable for correct reasoning and timely action. For instance, my belief that my root canal is over seems inexpressible with a statement that does not use tense or a temporal indexical. However, the dominant view on the nature of time is that it (...)
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  • Practical Knowledge and Fallibility – Some Pitfalls.Ulrike Mürbe - 2014 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 28 (1):13-29.
    The following considerations deal with a suggestion on how to conceive of knowledge of one’s own intentional doings as a kind of knowledge that is somehow infallible. The proposal discussed in this paper holds that there is no way to get the content of one’s own practical knowledge claim wrong but that we might err in ascribing practical knowledge to ourselves. The upshot of my argumentation will be the following: if we assert that conjunction, that is, if we adhere to (...)
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  • Space and Self-Awareness.John Louis Schwenkler - 2009 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    How should we think about the role of visual spatial awareness in perception and perceptual knowledge? A common view, which finds a characteristic expression in Kant but has an intellectual heritage reaching back farther than that, is that an account of spatial awareness is fundamental to a theory of experience because spatiality is the defining characteristic of “outer sense”, of our perceptual awareness of how things are in the parts of the world that surround us. A natural counterpart to this (...)
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  • Making a Start with the Stit Logic Analysis of Intentional Action.Jan M. Broersen - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 40 (4):499-530.
    This paper studies intentional action in stit logic. The formal logic study of intentional action appears to be new, since most logical studies of intention concern intention as a static mental state. In the formalization we distinguish three modes of acting: the objective level concerning the choices an agent objectively exercises, the subjective level concerning the choices an agent knows or believes to be exercising, and finally, the intentional level concerning the choices an agent intentionally exercises. Several axioms constraining the (...)
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  • Intention as Action Under Development: Why Intention is Not a Mental State.Devlin Russell - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (5):742-761.
    This paper constructs a theory according to which an intention is not a mental state but an action at a certain developmental stage. I model intention on organic life, and thus intention stands to action as tadpole stands to frog. I then argue for this theory by showing how it overcomes three problems: intending while merely preparing, not taking any steps, and the action is impossible. The problems vanish when we see that not all actions are mature. Just as some (...)
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  • Why Cognitivism?Yair Levy - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):223-244.
    Intention Cognitivism – the doctrine that intending to V entails, or even consists in, believing that one will V – is an important position with potentially wide-ranging implications, such as a revisionary understanding of practical reason, and a vindicating explanation of 'Practical Knowledge'. In this paper, I critically examine the standard arguments adduced in support of IC, including arguments from the parity of expression of intention and belief; from the ability to plan around one's intention; and from the explanation provided (...)
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  • Self-Knowledge and Communication.Johannes Roessler - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (2):153-168.
    First-person present-tense self-ascriptions of belief are often used to tell others what one believes. But they are also naturally taken to express the belief they ostensibly report. I argue that this second aspect of self-ascriptions of belief holds the key to making the speaker's knowledge of her belief, and so the authority of her act of telling, intelligible. For a basic way to know one's beliefs is to be aware of what one is doing in expressing them. This account suggests (...)
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  • Intending, Acting, and Doing.Luca Ferrero - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup2):13-39.
    I argue that intending and acting belong to the same genus: intending is a kind of doing continuous in structure with intentional acting. Future-directed intending is not a truly separate phenomenon from either the intending in action or the acting itself. Ultimately, all intentions are in action, or better still, in extended courses of action. I show how the intuitive distinction between intending and acting is based on modeling the two phenomena on the extreme and limiting cases of an otherwise (...)
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  • Actions and Accidents.David Horst - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (3):300-325.
    In acting intentionally, it is no accident that one is doing what one intends to do. In this paper, I ask how to account for this non-accidentality requirement on intentional action. I argue that, for systematic reasons, the currently prevailing view of intentional action – the Causal Theory of Action – is ill-equipped to account for it. I end by proposing an alternative account, according to which an intention is a special kind of cause, one to which it is essential (...)
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  • Knowing the Good and Knowing What One is Doing.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):91-117.
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  • Guidance and Belief.David Hunter - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):63-90.
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  • The Conclusion of Practical Reasoning: The Shadow Between Idea and Act.Sarah K. Paul - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):287-302.
    There is a puzzle about how to understand the conclusion of a successful instance of practical reasoning. Do the considerations adduced in reasoning rationalize the particular doing of an action, as Aristotle is sometimes interpreted as claiming? Or does reasoning conclude in the formation of an attitude – an intention, say – that has an action-type as its content? This paper attempts to clarify what is at stake in that debate and defends the latter view against some of its critics.
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  • Perception and Non-Inferential Knowledge of Action.Thor Grünbaum - 2011 - Philosophical Explorations 14 (2):153 - 167.
    I present an account of how agents can know what they are doing when they intentionally execute object-oriented actions. When an agent executes an object-oriented intentional action, she uses perception in such a way that it can fulfil a justificatory role for her knowledge of her own action and it can fulfil this justificatory role without being inferentially linked to the cognitive states that it justifies. I argue for this proposal by meeting two challenges: in an agent's knowledge of her (...)
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  • Agential Knowledge, Action and Process.Ben Wolfson - 2012 - Theoria 78 (4):326-357.
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  • Intended and Foreseen Unavoidable Consequences.Devlin Russell - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (4):481-499.
    What is the difference between an intended consequence and a foreseen unavoidable consequence? The answer, I argue, turns on the exercise of knowhow knowledge in the process that led to the consequence. I argue for this using a theory according to which acting intentionally is acting as a reason. I show how this gives us a more promising explanation of the difference than the dominant explanations, according to which acting intentionally is acting for a reason.
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  • The Feeling of Agency Hypothesis: A Critique.Thor Grünbaum - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3313-3337.
    A dominant view in contemporary cognitive neuroscience is that low-level, comparator-based mechanisms of motor control produce a distinctive experience often called the feeling of agency . An opposing view is that comparator-based motor control is largely non-conscious and not associated with any particular type of distinctive phenomenology . In this paper, I critically evaluate the nature of the empirical evidence researchers commonly take to support FoA-hypothesis. The aim of this paper is not only to scrutinize the FoA-hypothesis and data supposed (...)
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  • Motor Intentions and Non‐Observational Knowledge of Action: A Standard Story.Olle Blomberg & Chiara Brozzo - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):137-146.
    According to the standard story given by reductive versions of the Causal Theory of Action, an action is an intrinsically mindless bodily movement that is appropriately caused by an intention. Those who embrace this story typically take this intention to have a coarse-grained content, specifying the action only down to the level of the agent's habits and skills. Markos Valaris argues that, because of this, the standard story cannot make sense of the deep reach of our non-observational knowledge of action. (...)
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  • Thinking, Inner Speech, and Self-Awareness.Johannes Roessler - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (3):541-557.
    This paper has two themes. One is the question of how to understand the relation between inner speech and knowledge of one’s own thoughts. My aim here is to probe and challenge the popular neo-Rylean suggestion that we know our own thoughts by ‘overhearing our own silent monologues’, and to sketch an alternative suggestion, inspired by Ryle’s lesser-known discussion of thinking as a ‘serial operation’. The second theme is the question whether, as Ryle apparently thought, we need two different accounts (...)
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  • The Body in Action.Thor Grunbaum - 2008 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (2):243-261.
    This article is about how to describe an agent’s awareness of her bodily movements when she is aware of executing an action for a reason. Against current orthodoxy, I want to defend the claim that the agent’s experience of moving has an epistemic place in the agent’s awareness of her own intentional action. In “The problem,” I describe why this should be thought to be problematic. In “Motives for denying epistemic role,” I state some of the main motives for denying (...)
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  • Practical Knowledge and Luminosity.Juan S. Piñeros Glasscock - forthcoming - Mind:fzz056.
    Many philosophers hold that if an agent acts intentionally, she must know what she is doing. Although the scholarly consensus for many years was to reject the thesis in light of presumed counterexamples by Davidson , several scholars have recently argued that attention to aspectual distinctions and the practical nature of this knowledge shows that these counterexamples fail. In this paper I defend a new objection against the thesis, one modelled after Williamson’s anti-luminosity argument. Since this argument relies on general (...)
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  • III—The Epistemic Role of Intentions.Johannes Roessler - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (1pt1):41-56.
    According to David Velleman, it is part of the ‘commonsense psychology’ of intentional agency that an agent can know what she will do without relying on evidence, in virtue of intending to do it. My question is how this claim is to be interpreted and defended. I argue that the answer turns on the commonsense conception of calculative practical reasoning, and the link between such reasoning and warranted claims to knowledge. I also consider the implications of this argument for Velleman's (...)
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  • Action as the Conclusion of Practical Reasoning; The Critique of a Rödlian Account.Evgenia Mylonaki - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy (1):30-45.
    In this paper I take up the question of whether and in what sense action might be the conclusion of practical reasoning and argue against the answer provided by Sebastian Rödl's account of practical reasoning. Rödl's account aspires to steer a middle ground between the attitudinal and the neo-Aristotelian accounts of practical reasoning, by proposing that its conclusion is at once a thought and a movement. This account is worth considering for it promises to explain both practical reasoning's practicality and (...)
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  • Intention.Kieran Setiya - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Philosophical perplexity about intention begins with its appearance in three guises: intention for the future, as when I intend to complete this entry by the end of the month; the intention with which someone acts, as I am typing with the further intention of writing an introductory sentence; and intentional action, as in the fact that I am typing these words intentionally. As Elizabeth Anscombe wrote in a similar context, ‘it is implausible to say that the word is equivocal as (...)
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  • Seeing What I Am Doing.Thor Grünbaum - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):295-318.
    I argue against the view that an agent’s knowledge of her own current action cannot in any way rely on perception for its justification. Instead, I argue that when it comes to an agent’s knowledge of her own object-oriented intentional action, the agent’s belief about what she is doing is partly justified by her perception of the object of action. I proceed by first proposing an account of such actions according to which the agent’s knowledge is partly justified by her (...)
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  • Putting Plural Self-Awareness Into Practice: The Phenomenology of Expert Musicianship.Alessandro Salice, Simon Høffding & Shaun Gallagher - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):197-209.
    Based on a qualitative study about expert musicianship, this paper distinguishes three ways of interacting by putting them in relation to the sense of agency. Following Pacherie, it highlights that the phenomenology of shared agency undergoes a drastic transformation when musicians establish a sense of we-agency. In particular, the musicians conceive of the performance as one single action towards which they experience an epistemic privileged access. The implications of these results for a theory of collective intentionality are discussed by addressing (...)
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  • Alienated Belief.David Hunter - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (2):221-240.
    This paper argues that it is possible to knowingly believe something while judging that one ought not to believe it and (so) viewing the belief as manifesting a sort of failure. I offer examples showing that such ‘alienated belief’ has several potential sources. I contrast alienated belief with self-deception, incontinent (or akratic) belief and half-belief. I argue that the possibility of alienated belief is compatible with the so-called ‘transparency’ of first-person reflection on belief, and that the descriptive and expressive difficulties (...)
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  • Non‐Observational Knowledge of Action.John Schwenkler - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (10):731-740.
    Intuitively, the knowledge of one’s own intentional actions is different from the knowledge of actions of other sorts, including those of other people and unintentional actions of one's own. But how are we to understand this phenomenon? Does it pertain to all actions, under every description under which they are known? If so, then how is this possible? If not, then how should we think about cases that are exceptions to this principle? This paper is a critical survey of recent (...)
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  • Reconsidering Intentions.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2016 - Noûs:443-472.
    This paper argues that the principles of instrumental rationality apply primarily to extended action through time. Most philosophers assume that rational requirements and principles govern in the first instance momentary mental states, as opposed to governing extended intentional actions directly. In the case of instrumental rationality, the relevant mental states or attitudes would typically be preferences, decisions, or intentions. In fact, even those who recognize the extended nature of our agency still assume that rational requirements apply primarily to mental states (...)
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  • Intention in Criminal Law: The Challenge From Non‐Observational Knowledge.Bebhinn Donnelly‐Lazarov - 2017 - Ratio Juris 30 (4):451-470.
    Intention is at the heart of criminal law. If it is not the mens rea requirement found most often in offences, it is still the standard against which other grades of fault tend relatively to be judged. It has generated much controversy, as the crucial question, “Did the defendant intend X?” is resistant to clear answers. This paper argues that intention-questions are difficult because intention is not the thing law takes it to be: Importantly, contrary to law's assumptions, it is (...)
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  • Action.George Wilson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    If a person's head moves, she may or may not have moved her head, and, if she did move it, she may have actively performed the movement of her head or merely, by doing something else, caused a passive movement. And, if she performed the movement, she might have done so intentionally or not. This short array of contrasts (and others like them) has motivated questions about the nature, variety, and identity of action. Beyond the matter of her moving, when (...)
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  • A Cognitive Account of Agentive Awareness.Myrto Mylopoulos - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (5):545-563.
    Agentive awareness is one's awareness of oneself as presently acting. Dominant accounts in cognitive science consider agentive awareness to be grounded in the states and processes underlying sensorimotor control. In this paper, I raise concerns for this approach and develop an alternative. Broadly, in the approach I defend, one is agentively aware in the virtue of intending to act. I further argue that agentive awareness is not constituted by intentions themselves but rather first-personal thoughts that are formed on the basis (...)
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