Anscombe and Davidson on Practical Knowledge. A Reply to Hunter
David Hunter has recently argued (in this journal) that Donald Davidson and Elizabeth Anscombe were in basic agreement about practical knowledge. In this reply, it is my contention that Hunter’s fascinating claim may not be satisfactorily warranted. To throw light on why, a more careful consideration of the role of the notion of practical knowledge in Anscombe’s approach to intentional action is undertaken. The result indicates a possible need to distinguish between what is called ‘practical knowledge’ and ‘(non-observational) knowledge of what one is doing’, and shows that Hunter’s claim concerning the closeness of Anscombe to Davidson only has plausibility for knowledge of what one is doing. Contrary to an interesting suggestion by Hunter, the paper argues that it is hard to see how Davidson’s position can benefit substantially from making use of the notion of knowledge of what one is doing.
———, 1996. ‘Practical Inference.’ Reprinted in Virtues and Reasons: Philippa Foot and Moral Theory, edited by R. Hursthouse, G. Lawrence and W. Quinn, pp. 1–24. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Davidson, Donald, 1980. Essays on Actions and Events. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Haddock, Adrian, 2011. ‘The Knowledge That a Man Has of His Intentional Actions.’ In Essays on Anscombe’s Intention, edited by Anton Ford, Jennifer Hornsby and Frederick Stoutland, pp. 147–69. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hunter, David, 2015. ‘Davidson on Practical Knowledge.’ Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 3.9: 1–19.
Hursthouse, Rosalind, 1991. ‘Arational Actions.’ The Journal of Philosophy 88: 57–68.
Peacocke, Christopher, 2014. The Mirror of the World: Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schwenkler, John, 2015. ‘Understanding Practical Knowledge.’ Philosophers’ Imprint 15: 1–32.
The Public Knowledge Project recommends the use of the Creative Commons license. The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy requires authors to agree to a Creative Commons Attribution /Non-commercial license. Authors who publish with the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC license.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.