J. David Velleman casts foreknowledge of one's own next move as psychologically active. As agents, we form prior intentions about what we will do next. Such prior intentions are licensed self-fulfilling beliefs or directive cognitions. These cognitions differ from ordinary predictions in their psychological relation to the evidence, in that they precede that crucial part of the evidence which consists in the fact that they have been formed. However, once formed, these cognitions are epistemologically unremarkable: they are directly justified by (...) evidence, which saliently includes the fact of their own existence. I argue that Velleman distorts both the epistemology and the etiology of self-knowing agency. Self-knowing agents typically know what they will do next non-evidentially, and yet their knowledge of their own next move is formed in response to their (perspective-relative) epistemic grounds. Velleman's account of self-knowing agency is doubly distortive because it ignores the role of the purely first-person point of view which typically characterizes such agency. In developing an alternative account of self-knowing agency, I argue that the kind of knowledge that we typically have of what we are about to do is like the kind of knowledge we have when we non-evidentially know what our own current, conscious propositional thoughts are. We can non-evidentially know what we think in virtue of having made up our minds what to think. Likewise, we can non-evidentially know what we are about to do in virtue of having settled on what to do next. (shrink)
Values are inescapable. They pervade and shape our psychology, our agency and our lives as reflective and self-knowing subjects. This book explores the crucial ways in which values figure within reflection and thereby shape our theoretical and practical lives, against the backdrop of an expressivist moral psychology that is sensitive to the vicissitudes of valuing.
In Chapter V of his book Res Cogitans — “On What One Knows” — Zeno Vendler attempts to maintain the thesis that the objects of knowledge and belief are incompatible, i.e., that the immediate object of believing is a picture of reality and “the immediate object of knowing is not a picture of reality but reality itself”. We shall argue that he fails in this attempt because his “incompatibilism” depends on the view that the that-clauses which are the basic verb (...) objects of know and believe are of a type which reflect a distinction between the subjective and objective dimensions of the mental world; and it is exactly this which he does not establish;and question the philosophical significance of the wh-nominal.In Chapter IV — “Propositions” — Vendler tries to draw a distinction between “the subjective and objective dimensions of the mental world”. The subjective dimension corresponds to the world of propositions. (shrink)
In Toward a Pragmatist Sociology, Robert Dunn explores the relationship between the ideas of philosopher and educator John Dewey and those of sociologist C. Wright Mills in order to provide a philosophical and theoretical foundation for the development of a critical and public sociology. Dunn recovers an intellectual and conceptual framework for transforming sociology into a more substantive, comprehensive, and socially useful discipline. Toward a Pragmatist Sociology argues that Dewey and Mills shared a common vision of a relevant, critical, public (...) sociology dedicated to the solution of societal problems. Dunn investigates the past and present state of the discipline, critiquing its dominant tendencies, and offering historical examples of alternatives to conventional sociological approaches. By stressing the similar intellectual and moral visions of both men, Toward a Pragmatist Sociology provides an original treatment of two important American thinkers whose work offers a conception and model of a sociology with a sense of moral and political purpose and public relevance. It should liberate future sociologists and others to regard the discipline as not only a science but an intellectual, moral, and political enterprise. (shrink)
Identifying Consumption illustrates how an individual’s buying habits are shaped by the dynamics of the consumer marketplace—and thus how consumption and identity inform each other. Robert Dunn brings together the various theories of spending and develops a mode of analysis concentrating on the individual subjectivity of consumption. By doing so, he addresses how we spend and its relationship with status and lifestyle. Dunn provides a comprehensive guide to the study of modern consumer behavior before summarizing and critiquing the major theories (...) of consumption. At this juncture, he proposes a method of analysis that focuses on the significance of status and lifestyle in social relations that can help explain how the consumer marketplace is shaped. He concludes by raising issues about different ways of consuming and the relationship between consumption and identity. (shrink)
Significant to Dunn's critique of poststructuralist and postmodern theories is his application of George Herbert Mead as a means of theorizing identity and difference. The focus on postmodernity, rather than postmodernism grounds his analysis of identity and difference both materially and socially.
There are, apparently, two inherited stories of intentional action. On the motivational story, intentional agents are pursuers of goals. On the evaluative story, intentional agents are pursuers of value. In a spirit of unification, we might try to supplement the motivational story with the evaluative one – or even collapse the former into the latter. The problem with such moves is that they cannot accomodate certain pathologies of agency. Thus, they convert apparently perverse agents – like Satan and self‐haters – (...) into closet lovers of the good. I argue that pathological agents like Satan and self‐haters are not lovers of the good. They are just lovers of success in action. We can make sense of such agents as practical reasoners because the cares that constitute us as practical reasoners are plural. (shrink)