Practical Knowledge without Luminosity

Mind 131 (523):917-934 (2021)
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According to a rich tradition in philosophy of action, intentional action requires practical knowledge: someone who acts intentionally knows what they are doing while they are doing it. PiƱeros Glasscock argues that an anti-luminosity argument, of the sort developed in Williamson, can be readily adapted to provide a reductio of an epistemic condition on intentional action. This paper undertakes a rescue mission on behalf of an epistemic condition on intentional action. We formulate and defend a version of an epistemic condition that is free from any luminosity commitments. While this version of an epistemic condition escapes reductio, it comes with substantive commitments of its own. In particular, we will see that it forces us to deny the existence of any essentially intentional actions. We go on to argue that this consequence should be embraced. On the resulting picture, intentional action is not luminous. But it still entails practical knowledge.

Author Profiles

Bob Beddor
National University of Singapore
Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University


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