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The University of Southampton

Anscombe on Practical Knowledge and Practical Truth Seminar

16:00 - 18:00
5 March 2019
Room 2115, Building 65, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Alexander Greenberg at .

Event details

Part of the Philosophy Seminar Series 2018/19.

A central idea in Anscombe's philosophy of action is that of practical knowledge, the formally distinctive knowledge a person has of what she is intentionally doing. Anscombe also discusses the notion of 'practical truth', an idea she borrows from Aristotle, which on her interpretation is a kind of truth whose bearer is not thought or language, but action. What is the relationship between practical knowledge and practical truth? What we might call the 'Simple View' of this relationship holds that practical knowledge is knowledge of practical truth. But the Simple View isn't obviously available, since we have practical knowledge of all our intentional actions, whereas an action manifests practical truth in Aristotle's sense only if it is a case of doing or living well. I suggest that distinguish a stronger ethical version and a weaker action-theoretical version of each notion. This allows us to maintain a - complex - version of the Simple View, on which practical knowledge in the strong sense is knowledge of practical truth in the strong sense, and practical knowledge in the weak sense is knowledge of practical truth in the weak sense. Although Anscombe did not make these distinctions explicitly, I argue that they are at least implicit in her discussion.

This series of seminars are sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Speaker information

Lucy Campbell, University of Warwick. Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

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