Setiya on Practical Knowledge

The moral of these arguments is that we have a kind of knowledge of what we are doing intentionally, and of what we are going to do which is not the conclusion of an inference. It cannot be inferred from bodily movement, since we may not know in relevant, independent detail just how our body is moving — and in the prospective case, it need not be moving at all. It cannot be inferred from facts about our will, since that would make the presence of belief in intentional action contingent, which it is not. Rather, our knowledge of what we are doing, or what we are going to do, is constituted by our will: it is knowledge in intention. […] [F]orming an intention is forming a belief about what one is doing, or what one is going to do, but not by inference from sufficient prior evidence. […] As Grice complained in “Intention and Uncertainty,” it is as though having an intention were “a case of licensed wishful thinking.”

Setiya, K. (2008) “Practical Knowledge.” Ethics 118: p.397. (My underline)

Setting everything else aside, I have trouble understanding the underlined sentence. It is true that inferences are psychological processes that we perform only contingently. But that does not entail that an inference’s presence in an intentional action is contingent as well. So, I am not sure Setiya has presented a proper objection against the view that our practical knowledge is based on an inference from (introspectively available) facts about our will/intention.



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