Is deliberating an epistemic action?

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


In this paper I will argue that our common sensical notion of deliberation is used in two incompatible ways. Deliberation can be understood as an epistemic intentional action. I argue that on that notion of deliberation either extended cognition is implied or deliberating is not cognitive itself but merely catalytic. If one does not want to commit to extended cognition and still wants to insist that deliberation is cognition, then the agency in deliberating is not the agency of intentional action. The first disjunct is justified because of an argument by Yair Levy that shows that there is no functionally relevant difference between intentional epistemic actions inside the head and environment involving epistemic actions. I demonstrate that his argument succeeds and that because of that either epistemic intentional environment involving actions are literally a form of cognition and extended cognition is true or they are not and then epistemic intentional actions in deliberation are no more truly cognitive than their environment involving counterparts. The last disjunct escapes Levy’s argument because it claims that there is a distinct non-intentional form of agency, but it also has some rather counter intuitive consequences not least that on this reading episodes of deliberation contain far less than we ordinarily would assume.
Period7 Mar 2022
Held atColgate University, United States, New York
Degree of RecognitionNational