Interpreting Anscombe’s Intention §32FF

Journal of Philosophical Research 34:157-176 (2009)
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G. E. M. Anscombe’s view that agents know what they are doing “without observation” has been met with skepticism and the charge of confusion and falsehood. Simultaneously, some commentators think that Anscombe has captured an important truth about the first-personal character of an agent’s awareness of her actions. This paper attempts an explanation and vindication of Anscombe’s view. The key to the vindication lies in focusing on the role of practical knowledge in an agent’s knowledge of her actions. Few commentators, with the exception of Moran (2004) and Hursthouse (2000), have gotten the emphasis right. The key to a proper interpretation of Anscombe’s views is to explain her claims within the context of her teleological theory of action. The result is a theory ofintentional action that makes self-knowledge of one’s own actions the norm

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Anne Newstead
Swinburne University of Technology


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