The Asymmetry Between the Practical and the Epistemic: Arguing Against the Control-View
It is widely believed by philosophers that we human beings (unlike other animals) are capable of stepping back from inclinations to act in a certain way and consider whether we should do so. If we judge that there are enough reasons in favour of following our initial inclination, we are definitely motivated, and, if all goes well, we act. This view of human agency naturally leads to the idea that our actions are self-determined, or controlled by ourselves. Some go one step further to the point of saying that we should extend the fundamental aspects of this view of human agency to the epistemic realm. This we call ‘the control-view”. Here we will make a strong case against the control-view. While we have a substantial control over our practical lives, it is very unlikely that this extends to our epistemic lives. Our discussion will proceed in three stages. We will present two asymmetries between our practical and epistemic lives which are followed by a general argument against the control-view.
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