The Asymmetry Between the Practical and the Epistemic: Arguing Against the Control-View

Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 17 (3):383 (2013)
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It is widely believed by philosophers that we human beings are capable of stepping back from inclinations to act in a certain way and consider whether we should do so. If we judge that there are enough reasons in favour of following our initial inclination, we are definitely motivated, and, if all goes well, we act. This view of human agency naturally leads to the idea that our actions are self-determined, or controlled by ourselves. Some go one step further to the point of saying that we should extend the fundamental aspects of this view of human agency to the epistemic realm. This we call ‘the control-view”. Here we will make a strong case against the control-view. While we have a substantial control over our practical lives, it is very unlikely that this extends to our epistemic lives. Our discussion will proceed in three stages. We will present two asymmetries between our practical and epistemic lives which are followed by a general argument against the control-view.



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Author Profiles

Andre Abath
Federal University of Minas Gerais
Leonardo De Ribeiro
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

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References found in this work

The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Virtue and Reason.John McDowell - 1979 - The Monist 62 (3):331-350.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Behaviorism 15 (1):73-82.

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