Non-Observational Knowledge of Action



Intuitively, the knowledge of one’s own intentional actions is different from the knowledge of actions of other sorts, including those of other people and unintentional actions of one’s own. But how are we to understand this phenomenon? Does it pertain to all actions, under every description under which they are known? If so, then how is this possible? If not, then how should we think about cases that are exceptions to this principle? This paper is a critical survey of recent attempts to answer these questions. I consider views under three headings: “special source” views, which hold that the knowledge of one’s intentional actions has a non-perceptual source; “special domain” views, which hold that some but not all aspects of one’s intentional actions are known in this way; and “special character” views, which hold that the knowledge of intentional actions is special not because of where it comes from, but because of some other respect in which it is different in kind from the knowledge of other things.