Agentive experience and knowledge of action

Writing in the wake of Elizabeth Anscombe, many have insisted that an agent’s knowledge of her action as it unfolds is in many senses special. Philosophers have variously emphasized at least five ways, which we might consider desiderata for an Anscombian account of knowledge of action. On such an account, an agent’s knowledge of her action is:

(1) necessary for (or constitutive of) intentional action
(2) in some sense practical (i.e., non-theoretical or non-speculative)
(3) in some sense non-observational
(4) non-inferential
(5) immediate, i.e. not based in prior evidence

Each of these claims is the source of contention in the literature. It would be possible to spend much time divvying strands of argumentation and interpretation. I do not engage much with this kind of task here. Nor do I engage with argumentation surrounding (1), though philosophers interested in (1) will hopefully find much of interest below. My quarry is (2) through (5). I offer interpretations of (2) through (5) on which all come out true. The interpretations depend on an account of the conscious experience of acting, which I also offer.

The talk will be given by Joshua Shepherd, the 18th of November at FW101, 17:00.


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