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The First Person, Action and Perception

The last decade witnessed a resurgence of interest in Anscombe’s Intention, yet its central claim about the agent’s knowledge—that the agent has non-observational knowledge of what happens—remains as puzzling as ever. To solve the puzzle we need an account of practical knowledge, which makes explicit the precise sense in which knowledge of actions is first-personal. We propose that in order to give such an account we must also put under the spotlight our knowledge of our own perceptions and uncover the sense in which perceptions are first-personal. Drawing on Prof Eilan’s work on perception and Dr Özaltun’s work on action, the project aims to give an original account of the first-person perspective both in perception and action that is consistent with actions being part of the natural world, and perceptions revealing that world to us. This account will enable us to see not only how it is possible that an agent has non-observational knowledge of what happens, but also why exactly this knowledge is essential for her to be acting intentionally.

The project is funded by a Newton Mobility grant awarded to Eylem Ozaltun, Koc University, Istanbul (who is visiting the WMA until the end of May), and Naomi Eilan.

Those interested in this research are encouraged to contact Dr Özaltun:

Eylem Özaltun
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
Koç University
Sariyer, Istanbul-Turkey
Phone: +90 212 338 1116
e-mail: eozaltun@ku.edu.tr