International Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (2):231 – 252 (1998)
|Abstract||J. David Velleman casts foreknowledge of one's own next move as psychologically active. As agents, we form prior intentions about what we will do next. Such prior intentions are licensed self-fulfilling beliefs or directive cognitions. These cognitions differ from ordinary predictions in their psychological relation to the evidence, in that they precede that crucial part of the evidence which consists in the fact that they have been formed. However, once formed, these cognitions are epistemologically unremarkable: they are directly justified by evidence, which saliently includes the fact of their own existence. I argue that Velleman distorts both the epistemology and the etiology of self-knowing agency. Self-knowing agents typically know what they will do next non-evidentially, and yet their knowledge of their own next move is formed in response to their (perspective-relative) epistemic grounds. Velleman's account of self-knowing agency is doubly distortive because it ignores the role of the purely first-person point of view which typically characterizes such agency. In developing an alternative account of self-knowing agency, I argue that the kind of knowledge that we typically have of what we are about to do is like the kind of knowledge we have when we non-evidentially know what our own current, conscious propositional thoughts are. We can non-evidentially know what we think in virtue of having made up our minds what to think. Likewise, we can non-evidentially know what we are about to do in virtue of having settled on what to do next.|
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