‘Our’ Practical Knowledge

Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 33:21-26 (2008)
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When I am asked “What are you doing?”, I answer e.g. “I am making coffee”. Anscombe called the knowledge that this kind of answer involves “practical knowledge”. Practical knowledge is knowledge not involving observation and inference. In this presentation I would like to apply this concept to the collectiveaction of many persons. Given that we are playing soccer if someone comes here and asks “What are you doing now?”, we can answer immediately “We are playing soccer”. I would like to claim that the above answer “We are playing soccer” is ‘our’ knowledge of ‘our’ intentional action and the subject of this intention is ‘we’ and there is a collective intention and the subject of knowledge of this intentional action is also ‘we’ and this is collective knowledge, i.e. common knowledge. We anticipate the following objection against this claim: Who utters “We are playing soccer” is an individual and who answers is not “we” but an individual person and she is describing “our” action. I reply to this objection. Furthermore I consider the background knowledge of ‘our’ practical knowledge and try to extend the concept of ‘practical knowledge’.



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Yukio Irie
Osaka University

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