Drafts on Mental Action and Epistemology
Practical Knowledge and Practical Concepts
Anscombe argued that all intentional action involves a form of special non-observational knowledge of what you're doing, which she called "practical knowledge." It's been difficult to vindicate any part of this claim, and even logically weakened versions of it fall prey to counterexamples. In this paper I show how we can vindicate a different version of Anscombe's claim by understanding the role of de re mental reference to ongoing mental action. I argue that you need to have a mental grasp of your ongoing action when you are acting intentionally. This grasp cannot be mediated by the concept used in the intention on which you are acting. Instead, it needs to be a grasp mediated by a practical concept of your action itself. Accepting this much helps us to see how you are entitled, by default, to self-ascribe the action you're performing.
What Settles the Content of Active Imaginings?
In ‘underdetermination cases’ of imagination, the content supplied by your mental image underdetermines the total content of your imaginative episode. What settles the rest of the content? I argue that your generation of a mental image as a means to imagining an F makes it the case that the mental image has greater cognitive significance for you than is given by its own intrinsic properties.
How to Judge Intentionally
You can intentionally judge whether p. Your capacity to do that is crucial to your epistemic responsibility. But many philosophers have denied that you can do that. There are two main sources of resistance. The first has to do with doxastic voluntarism. Some think that a capacity to judge whether p intentionally would involve the illicit capacity to judge that p ‘at will.’ But the former capacity neither involves nor implies the latter. The second source of resistance comes from a lack: nobody has yet explained how the things you can do in thought can constitute a judgment, and an intentional one at that. I bridge this gap by giving such an explanation that makes your agency ineliminable to your judging.
What You Do When You Infer
What is it to make an inference from p to q? It’s not just to judge that p and then judge that q. To infer q from p, you need to judge that q because you judge that p. It has proven difficult to explain what that “because” means. Past attempts to explain that have faced deviance and regress problems. These problems are soluble if we understand inference as a kind of intentional mental action. You can infer q from p (for example) when you execute a complex intention to figure out whether p in order to judge whether q (if p). One token mental action can accomplish all that at once: it can be both a judgment that p and a judgment that q.
Drafts on Aesthetics and Literature
Derain's Colors and the Nature of Depiction
Starting in 1905, the painter André Derain began to use bright, clashing hues contiguously to reflect contrasts in luminance, as at the edges of shadows, or between skyline and sky. Derain’s innovative coloration is unusual in at least three ways. First: hue and luminance do not share first-order similarity structure. Second: hue contrast is not the only dimension that reflects luminance contrast in these works, since brightness contrast plays the same role. Third: in these works, the first-order hue of each color sometimes does, and sometimes does not, reflect the hues of the object(s) depicted. Nonetheless, it is tempting to say that hue contrasts depict luminance contrasts in these contexts. If so, this would challenge several established theories of depiction. These include objective resemblance views, experienced resemblance views, isomorphism views, and views that model pictures on maps. I suggest some general lessons.