Knowledge in action

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):579-600 (2001)
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This paper argues that the role of knowledge in the explanation and production of intentional action is as indispensable as the roles of belief and desire. If we are interested in explaining intentional actions rather than intentions or attempts, we need to make reference to more than the agent’s beliefs and desires. It is easy to see how the truth of your beliefs, or perhaps, facts about a setting will be involved in the explanation of an action. If you believe you can stop your car by pressing a pedal, then, if your belief is true, you will stop. If it is false, you will not. By considering cases of unintentional actions, actions involving luck and cases of deviant causal chains, I show why knowledge is required. By looking at the notion of causal relevance, I argue that the connection between knowledge and action is causal and not merely conceptual

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