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Thu, 13 Dec


Room 246

David Jenkins (Tel Aviv) David Jenkins (Tel Aviv)

Time & Location

13 Dec 2018, 16:00 – 18:00

Room 246, Senate House, London WC1B, UK


A natural view is that we are only capable of epistemic agency—of being active with respect to our beliefs—because we are capable of engaging in activities such as reasoning and inquiry. According to Boyle (2009, 2011), however, this view leaves us standing in too extrinsic a relation to our own beliefs. In particular, he argues, the view fails to capture the way in which our beliefs amount to our present perspective, as well as the way in which we can be held presently accountable for our beliefs. The only solution, Boyle claims, is to have it that believing itself is a kind of exercise of agency. My aim is to show how we can capture Boyle’s datums without accepting his view. We can do so, I suggest, by seeing epistemic agents as at all times being engaged in a kind of “chain-undertaking”—that of maintaining awareness of the world and one’s place in it—much like how we can see parents as at all times such that they are raising children (Ryle 2000). One can qualify as engaged in such undertakings even when no actions of one’s are occurring. One need only be appropriately poised to act.

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