Action, intention and knowledge
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Campbell, L. (2016). Action, intention and knowledge (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.15919
I deliver an account of ‘practical knowledge’; the knowledge we have of our own intentional actions. Part One introduces the target notion by describing three philosophically interesting features it appears to have (Ch. 1) and dismisses two broad approaches to understanding it – a ‘consciousness-based’ and an ‘inferentialist’ approach (Ch. 2). A third approach is thus motivated: ‘Intentionalist’ accounts of practical knowledge see practical knowledge as somehow constituted by the agent’s intention. Part Two considers and rejects a version of Intentionalism which I call Cognitivist Intentionalism – CI. Cognitivist Intentionalists think of intentions as a kind of belief. Practical knowledge is constituted by intention in whatever way ordinary knowledge is constituted by belief, but it is a special kind of knowledge because its constituting attitude is special. I dismiss two versions of CI, showing them to be internally problematic (Ch. 3). I then argue that intentions are not propositional attitudes (Ch. 4), thus ruling out any version of CI – if intentions were beliefs they would have to be propositional attitudes. Part Three considers the remaining options for Intentionalism. According to Non-Cognitivist Intentionalism - NCI - practical knowledge is constituted by intentions, which are not a kind of belief, just in case they are executed. NCI happily accommodates practical knowledge’s philosophically interesting features. But it is hard to see why executing an intention should constitute knowing, and how a kind of propositional knowledge could be constituted by a non-propositional attitude, which Chapter Four argued intentions to be. Chapter Six develops NCI into the stronger NPI - Non-Propositionalist Intentionalism. In NPI the non-propositional character of intentions is central. Practical knowledge is a kind of propositional knowledge which is constituted by a non-propositional attitude; a kind of knowledge which is not constituted by belief. I explain how this can be.
Practical Knowledge, Knowledge in intention, Anscombe, Intention, Intentional action, Self-Knowledge
This thesis was supported by CHESS and the Faculty of Philosophy.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.15919