Alienation or regress: on the non-inferential character of agential knowledge

Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1757-1768 (2020)
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A central debate in philosophy of action concerns whether agential knowledge, the knowledge agents characteristically have of their own actions, is inferential. While inferentialists like Sarah Paul hold that it is inferential, others like Lucy O’Brien and Kieran Setiya argue that it is not. In this paper, I offer a novel argument for the view that agential knowledge is non-inferential, by posing a dilemma for inferentialists: on the first horn, inferentialism is committed to holding that agents have only alienated knowledge of their own actions; on the second horn, inferentialism is caught in a vicious regress. Neither option is attractive, so inferentialism should be rejected.

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Juan S. Piñeros Glasscock
Georgia State University


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