Département de philosophie

Knowledge, Action, and Factive Mental States

Philosophy Department of the University of Geneva

SNF

2016-2019

 

Project leader: Fabrice Teroni

foreseen postdoc: Arturs Logins

1. Summary
The present project draws light on the significant but understudied tensions between a prominent approach in contemporary epistemology and the orthodoxy in philosophy of action and philosophy of emotions. The results of our envisioned investigation are expected to lead to surprising conclusions: either we will have to reject some traditional views in epistemology (along with a recently prominent account of knowledge) or we will have to give up some of the orthodox assumptions concerning the place of knowledge in explanation of action and of emotions.

According to a prominent and simple view in contemporary epistemology, knowledge is a genus of specific mental states that can only be held towards truth. More specifically, the claim is that knowledge is the most general factive mental state. Few contemporary epistemologists would wholeheartedly accept the simple account of knowledge (for instance, because they think that more illuminating accounts of knowledge are available). Yet, most epistemologists would agree that the simple account has noteworthy qualities. For one thing, it has the merit of being immune to problems that more complex accounts of knowledge meet. Furthermore, it is simple and unified, which is ceteris paribus good reason to prefer it to more complex accounts. Finally, the simple view about knowledge respects the traditional and intuitively plausible assumption that if one sees, hears, remembers etc. that p, then one knows that p.

What is surprising, though, is that despite fitting well with some traditional assumptions in epistemology, the simple account of knowledge fits poorly with the orthodoxy of neighbouring fields. In particular, it seems to be hardly compatible with the mainstream views in philosophy of action and philosophy of emotions. More specifically, it seems to be incompatible with a traditional combination of views in philosophy of action according to which (i.) genuine mental states are not dispensible in causal explanation of action and (ii.) knowledge is dispensible in explanation of action. It also seems to be incompatible with the orthodoxy in philosophy of emotions, according to which factive emotions (for example, regret and embarrassment), do not qualify as knowledge.

What is more, while the simple view of knowledge fits well with the orthodoxy in epistemology, recent attacks on the orthodoxy in epistemology might change the overall dialectical situation. Recently, there have been a number of arguments challenging the view that paradigmatic factive mental states, e.g. propositional perception and propositional memory, are states of knowing. If these arguments are successful, then the simple view falls, along with the present state orthodoxy.

This project aims to explore these theoretical tensions in a systematic way. The results will be important in one way or another. Either we will manage to show that the simple account holds, and (a) that the orthodoxy in epistemology of perception and memory can be maintained, but (b) that some traditional views in philosophy of action and philosophy of emotions have to be reconsidered in order to avoid overall inconsistency. Or we will have to conclude that the simple view fails and that, while (c) the orthodoxy about action explanation and philosophy of emotions stands unchallenged, (d) it is unclear whether the orthodoxy about perception and memory can be maintained.

2 Research plan
2.1 Current state of research in the field
The present project comes in response to the following situation within recent epistemology and related fields. One of the central aims (if not the central aim) of epistemology is to explain what is knowledge. The orthodoxy in epistemology (at least since the beginning of the 20th century) relies on the idea that a substantial account of knowledge can be given - e.g. we can explain what is knowledge in terms of
some analysis or explanation by appeal to more basic notions. According to a promising but heterodox view that has gained some traction in contemporary epistemology, knowledge is the most general factive mental state (Williamson 2000: 39, 2011, Nagel 2013). Let us call this view the Modest Account of Knowledge (MAK). The account is modest in the sense that it does not specify individually necessary and jointly sufficient non-trivial, non-circular conditions for knowing. (MAK) doesn’t aim at giving a substantial, in-depth analysis or explanation of knowledge. Yet (MAK) still manages to say something positive about knowledge (and in this sense it can be called “an account of knowledge”). It says that knowledge is a factive mental state and that it is the most general factive mental state. To say that knowledge is a factive mental state is to say that it is a stative propositional attitude that one can only have towards truths (cf. Williamson 2000: 34).[1] That knowledge is factive means that if S knows that p, then p (for example, if Robert knows that it is raining outside, then it is raining outside). Belief (that p) is a stative propositional attitude that is not factive, since one can have it towards false propositions. To say that knowledge is the most general factive mental state is to say that one has it in any situation in which one has any factive stative attitude at all. Oft-cited examples of specific factive attitudes include seeing that p and remembering that p.

The Modest Account of Knowledge is impressive in its simplicity as well as in its potential theoretical utility. In a sense, and contrary to what it states, it is a very ambitious account.[2] For it not only claims to provide an account of knowledge that would end decades (if not centuries) of unsuccessful and increasingly complex attempts to elucidate knowledge,[3] it also promises to reduce epistemology to a branch of philosophy of mind and hence to provide us with a more unified perspective on the human mind.[4]

Now, given a wider theoretical context (MAK) has two intriguing consequences. On the one hand, (MAK) combines well with some traditional assumptions about propositional perception and propositional memory, i.e. that states like seeing that p, and remembering that p are ways of knowing (cf. Grice 1941, Russell 1948, Ryle 1949, Moore 1953, 1959, Ayer 1956, Malcolm 1963, Chisholm 1989, Dretske 1969, 1983, Unger 1972, Audi 1998, Huemer 1999, Peacocke 2005, Cassam 2007, Stroud 2009). These traditional views, have recently been attacked, however (cf. McDowell in Smith 2002, Turri 2010, Bernecker 2010, and Pritchard 2011, 2012). Denying that propositional perception and memory entails knowledge is incompatible with (MAK). Hence, if (MAK) is true, the recent attacks on propositional seeing/remembering entailing knowledge have to be misguided. On the other hand (MAK) doesn’t combine well with the orthodoxy in philosophy of action and philosophy of emotions. According to the orthodoxy in philosophy of action (or philosophy of mind broadly conceived), knowledge cannot be a genuine mental state given its allegedly derivative role in causal explanation of action. According to the orthodoxy in philosophy of emotions, emotions cannot be states of knowing, and yet there are factive emotions. These two general consequences of (MAK) are intriguing, since they show that a successful defence of (MAK) would constitute a defence of orthodoxy in epistemology of perception and memory, while defying the orthodoxy in philosophy of action and philosophy of emotions. Inversely, if (MAK) is fails, the orthodoxy in philosophy of perception and memory might not survive the recent attacks, while the orthodoxy in philosophy of action and emotions would remain unchallenged.

The recent literature in epistemology contains a number of objections to (MAK) and, in particular, objections to specific arguments in favour of (MAK). Magnus and Cohen 2002, Leite 2005, and Fricker 2009 are perhaps the most well-known of these.[5] However, there is still a lacuna in assessing the relevance of (MAK) - true or false - to the wider theoretical picture. To our knowledge, the only two attempts to assess the overall plausibility of (MAK) are Kraft 2011 and McGlynn 2014.[6]

This project has two main aims. The first is to provide "big picture" and to focus on what should be accepted in epistemology and related fields depending on whether (MAK) is true or false. The second is to assess more specifically the account of knowledge as the most general factive mental state. The focus on specific debates is therefore motivated by the attempt to provide a consistent overall theoretical
picture of the place and role of knowledge not merely in epistemology but also in related fields.

The following three sub-sections present in more details three key aspects of the present state of the debates in philosophy of perception, memory, action, and emotions.

2.1.1 Seeing, Remembering, and Knowing
The present project grows in part out of recent debates about propositional seeing (i.e. seeing that p) and propositional memory (remembering that p). The orthodox view in epistemology endorses the following schemata concerning perception and memory:

Propositional Perception-Knowledge Entailment schema (PPKE) If S perceives[7] that p, then S knows that p.

Propositional Memory-Knowledge Entailment schema (PMKE) If S remembers that p, then S knows that p.

Intuitively, (PPKE) is highly plausible given ordinary language use and common sense judgements. Consider for instance the following assertion: "I see that there is a dog in front of me, but I don’t know that there is a dog in front of me". Intuitively, this sounds odd. The simplest and presumably the most plausible explanation of this oddity seems to be that the assertion is absurd. And the best explanation of its absurdity is that one cannot assert it consistently, because propositional perception entails knowing, e.g. seeing that there is a dog entails knowing that there is a dog. This kind of considerations, as well as more theoretically-driven ones, have been argued by mainstream epistemologists to provide strong evidence in favour of (PPKE). A non-exhaustive list of (contemporary) proponents of (PPKE) includes Russell 1948, Moore 1953, Chisholm 1989, Dretske 1969, Williamson 2000, Peacocke 2005, Cassam 2007, and Stroud 2009.

Similar considerations about ordinary language use support a parallel claim about memory, (PMKE). Intuitively, if one remembers that one has to buy milk, then one knows that one has to buy milk (of course, in a number of situations one might fail to know that one has to buy milk, because, for instance, one has forgotten that one has to buy milk). A non-exhaustive list of philosophers who have endorsed (PMKE) includes Grice 1941, Ryle 1949, Ayer 1956, Moore 1959, Malcolm 1963, Unger 1972, Dretske 1983, Audi 1998, Huemer 1999, and Williamson 2000.[8]

Recently, however, these two schemata have faced criticism. Some arguments have been proposed in favour of the claim that it is possible to perceive that p without knowing that p – most notably in McDowell in Smith 2002, Turri 2010, Pritchard 2011, 2012. Similarly, it has been claimed that it is possible to remember that p and yet not to know that p (Bernecker 2010). In a nutshell, the recent opponents of (PPKE) and (PMKE) rely on cases that allegedly show that (i) one can perceive or remember that p without believing that p, but one cannot know that p without believing that p; (ii) one can perceive or remember that p in the presence of undefeated defeaters against p (e.g. one has some apparently plausible information against p) but one cannot know that p in the presence of such defeaters; (iii) one can perceive or remember that p in cases of environmental luck (e.g. the so-called fake-barn scenarios), while one cannot know that p in cases of environmental luck (see below for a detailed presentation of these arguments).

Now, it should not only be clear that (PPKE) and (PMKE) cannot be maintained if these criticisms are correct, but that the same is true of the Modest Account of Knowledge. In other words, in the light of these criticisms the orthodoxy in epistemology of memory and perception (PPKE and PMKE) and (MAK) either holds or falls together. Indeed, if these objections are successful, then knowledge is not the most general factive mental state. For if we endorse the reasonable claim that propositional perception and propositional memory are factive (i.e., they can be held only towards truths), then we have to conclude that there are factive mental states that are not species of knowledge (cf. Turri 2010) – which is to deny (MAK).

It has to be observed, however, that the denial of (PPKE) and (PMKE) has some more general consequences. First, it stands in tension with an independently plausible claim about perception and memory. According to this claim, any plausible view of perception and memory must be in a position to explain how perception and memory can be sources of knowledge.[9] In a similar vein, a number of epistemologists hold that it is not possible to understand perception (or memory) without reference to the concept of knowledge (see, for instance, Strawson 1992, Cassam 2007: 38, and Ranalli 2014 for an overview). However, the denial of (PPKE) and (PMKE) implies that there is no need to always refer to knowledge to explain perception and memory, since allegedly, in some situations, propositional perception and propositional memory are not cases of knowledge. In order to explain them, we might need to make appeal to distinct concepts, perhaps the concept of an “attempt to know”, of “being in a position to know”, or suchlike. At any rate, the simple view that perception and memory are sources of knowledge, because they always are instances of knowledge, seems to be incompatible with the denial of (PPKE) and (PMKE). Such a view clashes with tradition in both philosophy of perception and memory and in epistemology. Second, abandoning (PPKE) and (PMKE) makes it more difficult to provide a positive case against scepticism (see Cassam 2007, Stroud 2009). One way of replying to sceptical worries is to put forward the simple claim that we can perceive or remember that the external world is such and such. If perception and memory are not ways of knowing, this answer would not help avoid sceptical conclusions and hence any potential reply to sceptical worries should rely on different strategies (cf. Ranalli 2014 and further references therein).

While some replies have recently been made to the specific arguments against (PPKE) and (PMKE) (for instance, Adams 2011, French 2012, Moon 2013, Ranalli 2014), a full-scale assessment of the viability of (PPKE) and (PMKE), in the light of recent counter-examples, is still lacking. In particular, relatively little investigating has been made into the fundamental theoretical assumptions on which opponents of (PPKE) and (PMKE) rely.

2.1.2 Action and Knowledge
Another starting point for this research is a tension that has arisen between (MAK) and some widely-shared assumptions about the role of mental states in explanation of action. According to one such orthodox assumption, if X is a genuine mental state, then entities of type X should play an important role in causal explanations of action (cf. Noonan 1993: 283-308, Williamson 2000: 7, Reed 2005). In other words, we should obey the following principle: do not postulate the existence of a (type of a) mental state if its alleged role in action explanation can always be played by a mental state of a distinct type.[10] If postulating a mental state X is uneconomical with respect to the explanation of action, then X is not a genuine mental state (cf. Nagel 2013).

The above assumption puts additional pressure on (MAK), since according to the orthodox view in the philosophy of action (and mind), knowledge can be dispensed with in causal explanations of action. The idea is that reference to knowledge to explain action can always be replaced without explanatory loss by reference to belief. Many have taken for granted that the basic pair of mental states in explanations of action (and of practical reasoning) is belief-desire (Davidson 1963; Dennett 1971; Fodor 1987; see also Nottelmann 2011). This is to say that, according to the orthodox view, the cognitive mental component that figures in (causal) explanation of action is belief rather than knowledge.

Now, if knowledge can be dispensed with in explanations of action, then, in accordance with the above assumption, knowledge cannot be a genuine mental state, let alone the most general factive mental state. This kind of objection seems to rely on a thought nicely put forward by Noonan in the following passage:

For, as already said, if a subset of (so-called) psychological states is demonstrated to be redundant in the psychological explanation of action, this is surely reason to regard them as not, properly speaking, psychological states at all (like knowledge, which is best regarded not as psychological state, but as a complex consisting of a psychological state (belief) plus certain external factors - not because its status as knowledge is causally irrelevant in action explanation, but because it does not have to be cited, as such, in the psychological explanation of action at all). (Noonan 1993: 291-292, see also Steglich-Petersen 2005, and Reed 2005 for similar objections.)

One can strike back and insist that knowledge makes a genuine difference to explanations of action that cannot be accounted for within the belief-desire framework (cf. Williamson 2000: 86). However, such a claim might need further theoretical support in order to convince mainstream philosophers of action and epistemologists. Magnus and Cohen 2002, for instance, suggest that Williamson’s cases (Williamson 2000: 86) that purportedly show a need to cite knowledge in explaining action are not convincing after all.

At any rate, further investigation is needed, since this is a notable disagreement that may prove difficult to resolve. It is an essential insight of the present proposal that easing this tension would constitute a substantial philosophical result. Either the research within the present project will demonstrate that (MAK) cannot be maintained, or it will demonstrate that the orthodoxy in the philosophy of action is wrong in denying that knowledge is a fundamental explanans of (the mental aspect of) actions (and practical reasoning). What we say here is that both cannot be true at the same time. Surprisingly enough, this tension has not been yet explored in a substantial way. While some aspects of the role of knowledge in the explanation of action have been acknowledged and discussed (in particular in Williamson 2000, Nagel 2013), it is important for both epistemology and the philosophy of action that this role or absence of role be systematically explored and explained.

2.1.3 Factive Emotions and Knowledge
An additional aim of the present research project is to solve the tension between (MAK) and the orthodoxy in philosophy of emotions. According to the classification of emotions provided by Robert Gordon (Gordon 1969, 1987), emotions that have propositional objects belong to one of two general groups. According to Gordon, whose account is a common reference in the philosophy of emotions, there are what he calls factive emotions and epistemic emotions. Among the factive emotions, Gordon includes those that are referred to by the following expressions when followed by "that p":[11] is amazed, is annoyed, is disappointed, is excited, is grateful, is horrified, is proud, is surprised, is upset, is amused, is ashamed, is disgusted, is furious, is indignant, is resentful, is thankful, regrets, is angry, is delighted, is embarrassed, is glad, is pleased, is sad, is sorry, is unhappy. Among epistemic emotions (which we can call "non-factive emotions") Gordon includes: is afraid, hopes, is worried, fears, is hopeful, is frightened, is terrified (Gordon 1987: 27). According to Gordon, the emotions from the first group require knowledge, whereas the emotions from the second group preclude knowledge.

Not everyone accepts Gordon’s classification, however. In particular, some have doubts about his view that, while factive emotions require knowledge, epistemic emotions preclude it (De Sousa 1987: 109, 138, Wollheim 1999: 103-110, Ben-Ze’ev 2000: 543, n.20). However, it is an intuitive and widely-shared assumption within the philosophy of emotions that, at least for some emotions, the following holds:

Factivity Schema (FS) If S emotes that p, then p.

To take Gordon’s own example, it would be rather odd to say things like: "Yes, and some people are quite upset that there are Martian spaceships circling the Earth"; and "I have a crazy neighbour who is glad that there are Martian spaceships up there" (Gordon 1987: 36). Such assertions are infelicitous, since "no one, crazy or not, is upset or glad that p, unless p" (Gordon 1987: 36). Intuitively, at least some emotions from the Gordon’s list entail the truth of their content (see, however, Ben-Ze’ev 2000: 543, n.20 for a denial of (FS) and for the view that emotions from Gordon’s list imply only mere belief. Comesana and McGrath 2014 offer another denial of (FS)).

Crucially, if (FS) holds with respect to some emotions, then (MAK) implies that these emotions are pieces of knowledge. Emotions, factive or not, are mental states. If knowledge is the most general factive mental state (as (MAK) maintains), then factive emotions are pieces of knowledge. This result constitutes a challenge for (MAK). For, intuitively, factive emotions (like being embarrassed, being upset or being glad) are not pieces of knowledge.

Moreover, it has been recently observed (cf. Hyman 2014) that there seems to be no satisfactory way of interpreting the view that factive emotions are states of knowing. The claim that knowledge isthe most general factive mental state might be understood in three general ways:[12] that knowledge is the determinable of specific states such as seeing that p, or remembering that p, which are determinate with respect to knowledge; that knowledge is a genus, whereas specific factive mental states are species of it; and that specific factive mental states are ways of knowing. Applying these distinctions to the case of factive emotions provides us with the following specific claims. That factive emotions, like regretting that p, or being embarrassed that p, are determinates of knowledge that p; that regretting that p and suchlike are species of the genus knowing that p; and that regretting that p, being upset that p and such like are specific ways of knowing that p. Hyman (Hyman 2014) objects that neither of these claims is satisfactory. Intuitively, factive emotions are neither determinates of knowledge nor species of the genus knowing, nor ways of knowing (see also Mulligan 2010 for more theory-driven considerations against the conclusion that factive emotions are pieces of knowledge).

The issue of factive emotions has received surprisingly little attention within contemporary philosophy. This is surprising since the issue of factive emotions raises the following more general epistemological puzzle. Factive emotions seem to be relevantly similar to states of propositional perception and propositional memory. On a not far-fetched view, all such states satisfy the knowledge-entailment: if S Xs that p, then S knows that p (however, see the references above for dissenting views). That is, if S propositionally perceives that p, remembers that p, or factively emotes that p, then S knows that p (see Gordon 1987: 59-61). Now, given this entailment, the following intuitively plausible thesis needs a theoretical explanation: while perceiving that p, remembering that p and suchlike are (specific) states of knowing that p, emoting (factively) that p is not a specific state of knowing that p. More specifically, any unificatory approach to factive mental states has to provide some additional explanation of the following: knowledge-entailment holds in both perception/memory and factive emotions, yet only states of perception/memory (and not factive emotions) are states of knowledge. Until now, however, there has been no systematic investigation of this puzzling and important issue.

2.2 Current State of Our Research
2.2.1 Fabrice Teroni
The main applicant for this project is Fabrice Teroni. Fabrice Teroni has been recently appointed Associate Professor at the University of Geneva and received the SNSF professorship for his project "Modes and Content". His main areas of specialization are philosophy of mind (especially emotions and memory) and epistemology. This project grew naturally out of a recently finished SNSF project "Knowledge-based Accounts of Rationality" that has been co-directed by Teroni and Prof. Pascal Engel since 2012. The main aim of that project was to propose a full-blown account of rationality (of action, belief, assertion, and emotion) in terms of knowledge. The approach of the project was inspired by the general knowledge-first program in epistemology, initiated by Timothy Williamson (Williamson 2000). In a nutshell, the knowledge-first approach in epistemology has two parts: the claim that the most we can say about knowledge is that it is the most general factive mental state (and hence cannot be analysed in terms of other notions) and that it can explain other notions such as justified belief, evidence, and rationality. Previous research undertaken by the collaborators within the "Knowledge based accounts of Rationality" project focused in particular on the second claim of the knowledge-first program. The success of that project led Teroni to consider the prospects of the knowledge-first framework more generally. The present project thus proposes an investigation of the first key claim of the knowledge-first approach, i.e. that all that we can positively say about knowledge is that it is the most general factive mental state. The previous research in epistemology and his competence in philosophy of mind and philosophy of emotions puts Teroni in a very good position to undertake such a further systematic work on the Modest Account of Knowledge and its place in a wider theoretical framework.

More specifically, Teroni has provided substantial contribution to the research fields on which the present project focuses. A number of these contributions are highly relevant to the present project. For instance, in Teroni 2005, 2011/2014 and mn, he offers an original philosophical contribution to the debate about memory and its epistemological function. One view that Teroni elaborates in detail concerns the disunity of the epistemology of memory (in particular in Teroni 2005 and 2011/2014). More specifically, this concerns the distinction between episodic and propositional memory and the differences in their standards of rationality. This result is directly relevant to the present project, in particular to module 1, since it might help us better understand the recent challenge against the orthodoxy about propositional memory and propositional perception. Also directly relevant to the present project is Teroni’s work in the philosophy of emotions, including the monograph on emotions that he co-authored with Julien Deonna (Deonna and Teroni 2012a). This publication is already a major reference in the philosophy of emotions. In the book, Teroni and Deonna offer an in-depth introduction to contemporary debates in the philosophy of emotions and elaborate a new and original general account. Other relevant publications on the emotions are Teroni and Deonna 2012b, 2008, and Teroni 2007. More specifically, Teroni 2014 will constitute a valuable basis for better understanding the relation between factive emotions and knowledge that will be studied within module 3 of the present project. In that paper, Teroni suggests how we can think of knowledge as the cognitive basis for (certain) emotions. Moreover, his recent work in philosophy of mind, and more specifically his work in the undergoing project in philosophy of mind ("Modes an Contents") puts him in a privileged position to tackle the issue of the relevance of the action explanation in attributing a type of mental state to a subject.

2.2.2 Arturs Logins
Arturs Logins is the foreseen post-doctoral researcher on the project. In his PhD thesis (written under the direction of Prof. Pascal Engel, University of Geneva), entitled “Evidence, Knowledge, and Justification”, he developed a version of the knowledge-first theory of evidence and justification according to which (i) all evidence is knowledge and all knowledge is evidence (E=K thesis); and (ii) if one’s belief in a proposition is justified then one knows that proposition and it has high probability on one’s evidence. Logins defended his PhD thesis in February 2015 in Geneva.[13] The extensive research that Logins undertook during his PhD puts him in an ideal position to contribute to the present project.

Since June 2015 Logins holds a Swiss National Science Foundation Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship for spending 9 months of research at the Humboldt University in Berlin before spending another 9 months for research at King’s College London. His post-doc project focuses on the Lottery paradox and its relevance for normative reasons, norms of belief, and epistemic justification.

Logins has a book under contract with the French publisher Vrin, on the nature of reasons in general ("Qu’est-ce qu’une raison?"). The book is focused on the reasons for action and reasons for belief. Substantial parts of the manuscript are particularly relevant for the present project. It is more specifically relevant for the part of the present project that deals with the role of knowledge and/or belief in explanation of action. One of the issues that Logins covers in the book concerns theories of explanatory reasons for action in philosophy of action, another the nature of motivating reasons for action (as for instance opposed to causes). It is common, for instance, to take intentional action to be equivalent to an action performed for a reason. Logins’ work on reasons has direct consequences for the planned work on knowledge/belief and explanation of action. Hence, Logins’ recent work during his post-doc fellowship makes him the ideal person to undertake the research within this project. Logins has also published several research articles. The publications that have a direct connection to the present project are: two articles on the propositional account of evidence (Logins 2013, 2015), where he discusses Williamson’s (Williamson 2000) argument for the propositionality of evidence within the context of a knowledge-first approach; and a historically-informed (especially from the perspective of modern philosophy) article on whether evidence matters for justified beliefs and knowledge (Logins 2012a). During 2010–2013, Logins was a doctoral researcher (candoc) within the project "Knowledge, Evidence and Practice", funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (and directed by Prof. Engel). His work within that project resulted in several additional publications. Among these, Logins 2014 presents an objection to a popular account according to which epistemic justification is the norm of action, and Logins 2012b puts forwards new theoretical motivations for the knowledge norm of action. Furthermore, two of Logins’ manuscripts that have received "revise and resubmit" (one from Theoria, another from Pacific Philosophical Quarterly) are directly relevant to the project: one deals with a particularly worrisome objection to the knowledge based view of evidence and justification (e.g. the New Evil Demon problem), another defends the view according to which one’s reasons for belief (evidence) are known facts. This indicates that Logins has the qualifications and experience needed for doing successful research within the present project.

2.3 Detailed Research Plan
2.3.1 Module 1: propositional seeing and propositional memory
We saw above that the orthodox view in contemporary epistemology holds that both propositional perception and propositional memory entail knowing (PPKE, PMKE). This orthodox view has been recently challenged. Interestingly, the objections that these claims have faced within the respective debates exhibit structural similarities. Indeed, the objections are based on the same kind of intuitions and underlying assumptions. Hence, a unified treatment of them is not only warranted but required if we want to make significant progress in these debates.

Central objections against (PPKE) and (PMKE) fall within one of the following three groups: objections from the failure of the belief condition, objections from undefeated defeaters, and objections from environmental luck. Our aim is to investigate these and the underlying assumptions on which they rest in the following way.

Failure of belief condition Opponents of (PPKE) and (PMKE) have offered arguments to establish that one can perceive that p or remember that p without believing that p. Since one cannot know that p without believing that p, this shows that one can perceive or remember that p without knowing that p.

Most of these arguments rely on judgments about cases claimed to be intuitive. Among the most vivid cases that have been offered is a situation where, roughly, a subject is presented with what appears to be a case of Müller-Lyer illusion, where two lines of the same length appear to differ in length. The subject takes this to be an illusion, since she is knowledgeable about Müller-Lyer cases. The claim is that the subject doesn’t believe that the lines are of different length. However, unbeknownst to her the drawing that she sees is not the Müller-Lyer illusion and the lines do indeed differ in length. The diagnosis is then that the subject in this situation doesn’t know that the lines differ in length (on the assumption that knowledge that p entails belief that p – if one doesn’t believe, one doesn’t know), and yet she sees that the lines differ (see Turri 2010). If true, this conclusion would, of course, falsify (PPKE). Similar cases have been proposed with respect to memory. One very interesting and classical case is a situation where a subject remembers (it is suggested) that she was kidnapped, but refuses to believe that she was kidnapped (this version of the kidnapping case appears in Bernecker 2010: 88, which builds on Malcolm 1963: 213-214; yet another classical source of this kind of example is Martin and Deutscher 1966: 166-170).

One aim of this module is to offer in-depth investigation of this kind of cases and the underlying assumptions. This will help us assess the respective merits of the assumptions that underlie them and (PPKE) and (PMKE).

More specifically, one reply to arguments based on the above cases consists in introducing a distinction between perceiving or remembering that A and perceiving or remembering a situation in which A. This distinction has already been briefly introduced in Williamson 2000: 38-39. It deserves to be fully developed and applied to the relevant cases. In particular, it needs to be explained in what sense it can be said that, in the Müller-Lyer case above, one sees a situation in which the lines differ in length and yet one doesn’t see that the lines differ in the length (and similarly for the kidnapping case regarding memory). In investigating this distinction we will also consider an apparently related and oft-quoted distinction in the philosophy of perception, that between simple seeing and factual seeing. According to its initial characterization in Dretske 1969, simple seeing concerns seeing things, such as cats, tables, sunsets and so on, while factual seeing concerns seeing that, seeing who, seeing whether, and suchlike (cf. Dretske 1969, 1979: 1-2). The hope is that a careful look at the debate on simple seeing might help us to deal with cases that seem to speak against the belief condition of propositional perception and memory. Moreover, assessing the relations between the Modest Account of Knowledge and the classic but nowadays surprisingly neglected distinction between different types of seeing promises to deliver original and interesting results for a variety of issues both in the philosophy of mind (perception, memory) and in epistemology.

Undefeated defeaters Another kind of objection to (PPKE) and (PMKE) appeals to an alleged intuition concerning the epistemic role of undefeated defeaters (i.e. a kind of unfavourable evidence that speaks against what we know, as for example, when one reads in a (reliable) newspaper that the president was not assassinated, which contradicts what one has learned on the previous day). The general argument runs along the following lines: (1) one should not (in a properly epistemic sense of"should") believe that p if one has undefeated defeaters against p; (2) if one should not believe that p, then one doesn’t know that p; (3) there are situations where one has undefeated defeaters; (4) yet in the same situations one can still see that p, or remember that p; (5) hence there are cases where one sees that p, or remembers that p and yet doesn’t know that p (cf. Turri 2010; Bernecker 2010: 78; Pritchard 2011: 442-443).

A typical case of an undefeated defeater is a situation in which a subject knows that p at a time (say, that the Colosseum was build in AD 80, to take Bernecker’s example, in Bernecker 2010: 78), and at a later time receives misleading counter-evidence against p (his friends present fake evidence that appears to establish that the Colosseum was completed in AD 90, say). According to a common view in epistemology, once a subject receives this kind of defeater against p, he ceases to know that p (the defeat view). The crucial aspect of the argument from undefeated defeaters is that, allegedly, the subject facing a situation where his knowledge is defeated by the presence of undefeated defeaters may still remember or perceive that p (think, for instance, of a situation in which one sees that p and simultaneously receives testimony from a highly reliable source that not-p).

An important aspect of the research to be conducted within this module consists in examining the underlying theoretical assumptions that support the argument from undefeated defeaters. In particular, we will investigate the alleged plausibility of the defeat view. Recently, a new defence of an anti-defeat view has been put forward by Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (especially in Lasonen-Aarnio 2010) and Max Baker-Hytch and Matthew Benton, forthcoming. We will also reconsider the plausibility of the claim that in these cases of undefeated defeaters one might loose knowledge that p and nevertheless see or remember that p. One suggestion would be that if the propositional knowledge is undermined by undefeated defeaters then it is also intuitive to think that at best we can only maintain that subject sees or remembers a situation or an object (e.g. non-propositional perception and memory).

Environmental luck Another argument that attempts to undermine (PPKE) and (PMKE) appeals to the alleged incompatibility of knowledge with a certain sort of luck. In a nutshell, the argument runs as follows: while knowledge is incompatible with environmental luck, propositional perception and propositional memory are compatible with it. Hence, perceiving that p and remembering that p do not entail knowing that p, since in cases of environmental luck one might perceive or remember that p despite failing to know that p.

In a nutshell, cases of environmental luck are those in which a subject happens to be in an environment in which, unbeknownst to her, there is little chance of her getting things right, and yet she is lucky enough to get things right. Perhaps the most famous example of environmental luck is what it is customary to describe as the fake barn scenario. A fake barn scenario is a thought experiment that was introduced by Alvin Goldman (cf. Goldman 1976), where a subject travelling to the countryside is, unbeknownst to him, in an area that is full of fake barns (e.g. mere barn façades). He pulls over, looks at an object that appears to be a barn and forms the belief that there is a barn in front of him. As it happens, by pure luck, he faces the one and only genuine barn in the whole area and, hence, his belief turns out to be true. The received view is that in such a case the subject fails to know that there is a barn in front of him. The alleged failure to know is claimed to trace back to the kind of luck that is present in this case. Yet, one may think that despite the subject’s failing to know that there is a barn in front of him in this situation, he is seeing that there is a barn in front of him (analogue cases can be construed for propositional memory as well). Hence, it is argued, in a fake barn situation one might perceive or remember that p without knowing that p (cf. Turri 2010, Bernecker 2010: 74; see also Ranalli 2014 for detailed discussion).

One aim of this module is to scrutinize this argument. One line of reply might consist in questioning the received view the sorts of intuitions elicited by exposure to fake-barn cases. Traditionally, it has been assumed that the intuitive judgment is that subjects in fake barn cases do not know the relevant propositions. Some recent work in epistemology, however, provides a more nuanced story about our judgments in these cases. More specifically, some have emphasized that our judgments about such cases may vary, depending on how they are framed (cf. Gendler and Hawthorne 2005; see also Baumann 2014 and Littlejohn forthcoming). In short, the idea is that in certain settings (e.g. when the scenario focuses on the aspect of pure luck) our intuitive judgments tend to be that the subject lacks knowledge, whereas in different settings (e.g. when the scenario focuses instead on the properly functioning perceptual system), our intuitive judgments tend to be that the subject knows the relevant proposition. Another way to make this framing effect apparent is to think, for instance, of whether the subject knows that there is a bird sitting on top of the barn (assuming that the bird is indeed sitting on top of the
barn and that the subject sees the bird perfectly). If our answer to this question is "yes", then it is difficult to see how we might maintain that the subject doesn’t know that there is a barn in front of him. Now, to claim that fake-barn cases are ambivalent doesn’t commit one to the more general claim that philosophical thought experiments always are ambivalent, since the presumed ambivalence might be due to the specific scenario. This line of thought, which obviously has important methodological consequences, will be pursued within our work on the challenge raised to (PPKE) and (PMKE) by considerations about environmental luck.

2.3.2 Module 2: Knowledge and Action
We have seen above that, according to a traditional assumption about what justifies calling a state mental, if knowledge is a mental state, then it cannot be dispensed with in causal explanations of action. However, according to a popular contemporary account, (appeals to) knowledge can be dispensed with in causal explanations of action, since belief is allegedly sufficient for such explanations. This stands in
tension with (MAK), which conceives of knowledge as a mental state.

More precisely, a proponent of (MAK) faces the following objection from the alleged overall simplicity of the orthodox view, which has it that action can be explained by reference to belief. Taking belief to be more basic in action-explanation seems to allow us to explain a wider range of cases more economically than is possible if we take knowledge to be more basic. For example, S’s reaching for his phone in his pocket in a situation in which there is a phone (good case) and in a situation in which the phone has just been stolen (bad case) can both be explained by appeal to S’s belief that his phone is in his pocket (cf. Nagel 2013). It appears that taking knowledge as basic in explanation of action doesn’t have this simplicity, for although we can explain the action in good cases, auxiliary hypotheses are needed for explaining the bad ones.

The research that will be conducted within this module will address the tension between (MAK) and the orthodoxy about mental states and explanation of action in a systematic way. We will in particular examine whether there is any viable alternative to the orthodoxy. One recent strategy that we will scrutinize consists in taking both knowledge and action as primitives that cannot be reduced to a mix of further components (see Levy 2013 for a recent defence of non-reductionism about intentional action, see also Lavin 2013 for related arguments). Such an approach may constitute an alternative to the orthodoxy, since it doesn’t presuppose that action can be explained by appeal to the conjunction of its alleged physical and mental components – where the specifically mental component is traditionally thought to consist of a belief-desire pair or an intention. On the contrary, according to the approach under discussion, action can help us to elucidate other notions. Presumably it may help explaining other sorts of non-intentional actions and voluntariness (cf. Levy 2013, Williamson forthcoming). In a nutshell, the idea consists in replacing traditional accounts in the philosophy of action and epistemology with a unified picture wherein the most fundamental and interdependent elements are knowledge and action and all other related notions are explainable by appeal to these. The plausibility of this approach will be assessed.

One pressing worry that this "knowledge-action primitivism" alternative has to address concerns the place of the traditionally central notion of desire within this alternative overall picture. Desire fits poorly within the action-knowledge-first picture of human agency, since intuitively, desire cannot be explained by appeal to action or knowledge or their combination. This issue will be investigated in detail within this module. Presumably, one might try to respond to this challenge by claiming that desire is a sort of belief. If desire is a sort of belief or perception (presumably, the belief or perception that p is good, where p is the content of one’s desire), then desire may fit into the overall action-knowledge-first framework, after all (see Oddie 2005 for the perception view of desire). For, according to it, belief can be explained by appeal to knowledge. The exact spelling out of that explanation, however, remains unclear. Furthermore, the thesis that desire is a sort of belief or perception is highly contentious (cf. Lewis 1988, 1996, see Schroeder 2009 for a recent overview of the debate). Part of the work within this module will consist in assessing the overall plausibility of this line of defence of the knowledge-action
primitivism.

2.3.3 Module 3: Factive Emotions and Knowledge
Module 3 will focus on factive emotions and knowledge – an issue that will be approached from aperspective informed by the wider framework of the philosophy of emotions. One specific aim of this module is to examine and solve the tension between the orthodoxy in philosophy of emotions and the following hypothesis:

(H) Factive emotions (such as regretting that p, being sad that p, being embarrassed that p, etc.) are species of knowing.

Intuitively, undergoing an emotion implies having certain feelings, at least with respect to a wide range of emotions (see Leighton 1985, Pugmire 1998, Deonna and Teroni 2012a). It makes sense to ask what it is like to undergo an emotion. It seems that a specific feeling is distinctive of states of sadness, whereas another specific feeling is distinctive of states of amusement, and so on. In more theoretical terms, types of emotions differ one from another, at last to some extent, in their phenomenology.

Now, if factive emotions are species of knowing (hypothesis (H)), then it is not clear at all how one might explain the specific phenomenology of sadness, regret, embarrassment, and so on. For the mere claim that being sad that p and being embarrassed that p are two distinct species of knowing that p doesn’t say much about why they differ in their phenomenology. A theoretically satisfactory defence of (H) should tell us something more about the distinctive phenomenology of factive mental states. One possible line of reply to this problem consists in claiming that the phenomenology of factive emotions can be explained in terms of accompanying beliefs: further beliefs that one has in addition to knowing that p, when one emotes (factively) that p. According to this line of thought, being embarrassed when a friend gets his hands on pictures of one as a teenager, for example, implies a number of additional beliefs, such as the belief that the friend will thereby find out specific details about one’s childhood, or about one’s family, about how one looked when one was 13, etc. Crucially, according to this line of thought, the difference in the phenomenology of factive emotions can be explained by appeal to different
sets of typical accompanying beliefs of this sort. However, still it is not clear how far a proponent of (H) can take this kind of reply to the challenge from phenomenology. This module will assess the plausibility of this kind of theoretical move in attempt to solve the conflict between (MAK) and the orthodox view that factive emotions have distinct phenomenology.

Another conflict between the orthodoxy in philosophy of emotions and (MAK) arises from considerations about the objects of emotions. According to one common view within the contemporary philosophy of emotions, emotions have both particular objects and formal objects (a contemporary revival of this doctrine, which goes back to medieval thinkers at least, can be found in Kenny 1963). In a situation where Ruth fears a dog that she is facing, the particular object of Ruth’s fear is the concrete dog in front of her, while its formal object is the dog’s dangerousness. The distinction between an emotion’s formal and particular objects helps to show how a number of distinct concrete emotional attitudes of the same type are possible (cf. Deonna and Teroni 2012a: 41). In short, it seems that having a specific formal object is an essential property of any specific emotion (cf. Teroni 2007, De Sousa 2014).

Hence, another issue that we will explore is the following: if (H) holds, how can we make sense of the common distinction between the particular and formal objects of factive emotions? It seems that (H), together with the above assumption that emotions have formal and particular objects, implies that specific states of knowledge have particular and formal objects. However, it is not clear that it makes much sense to consider specific pieces of knowledge as having both formal and particular objects in the relevant sense. In particular, while it may be reasonable to think that the fact that Liverpool FC lost might be the particular object of Nigel’s state of knowing that Liverpool FC lost, it is not easy to see what might be the formal object of Nigel’s knowing that Liverpool FC lost. One specific line of investigation that will be undertaken with respect to this issue consists in reconsidering the particular/formal object distinction as applied specifically to factive emotions. We will also scrutinize the hypothesis that factive emotions might be states of knowledge plus a separate (presumably distinctively affective) component. This later strategy corresponds to what has been called in the literature "add-on theories" of emotions (cf. Goldie 2000, 2002, Deonna and Teroni 2012a). According to an add-on theory, emotions are combinations of belief/knowledge and qualia. If an add-on theory of emotions holds, then one might explain the distinction of particular/formal object of factive emotions by appeal to two distinct factors. More specifically, the belief/knowledge element of an emotion would determine the particular object of the emotion, whereas specific feeling (qualia) would determine its formal object. Notice also that the add-on approach might help a proponent of (H) to deal with the above challenge from the phenomenology of emotions. The work within this module will consist in undertaking the task of assessing the prospects of such an approach. More generally, we hope to be able to determine in a theoretically motivated manner which way the tension between (MAK) and the orthodoxy in philosophy of emotions has to be solved.

2.3.4 A Note on Methodology
The planned research will be undertaken with the classical tools of philosophical theorizing. In particular, these consist in specifying concepts, elaborating on ordinary language use and intuitive judgements, and in applying valid rules of inference (deductive, inductive, abductive) to them in order to reach theoretical conclusions. In addition, we will pay particular attention to recent empirical work on perception, memory, emotions, and the connection between knowledge and action. So, for instance, according to one recent overview of the current state of empirical debates in developmental and comparative psychology (cf. Nagel 2013) empirical studies support the view that knowledge is a mental state. This has been contested recently (cf. Butterfill 2013). Successful elucidation of the current state of empirical research with respect to this and related issues and its importance for philosophical debates will constitute further tools that we intend to apply.

2.4 Schedule and Milestones
The research and planned output will run as follows:

2.4.1 Module 1
Work on module 1 will be spread over three years. The bulk of the work will be accomplished during the second year of the project.

Year 1. Work on module 2 will start during the first year. It will consist of individual original research by members of the project on the topic of propositional perception, propositional memory, and knowledge. In particular, Teroni will undertake original research in philosophy of memory and perception in connection to knowledge. The post-doc, Arturs Logins, will investigate the prospects of the recent objections to the orthodoxy in epistemology about propositional perception and memory.

Year 2. The open research seminar will discuss the topics of module 1. In particular, the members of the project will investigate recent research on perception, memory, and knowledge as well as present work in progress. A major conference on knowing, perceiving, and remembering will be organized during this period with presentations from specialists in epistemology and philosophy of perception and memory. Potential keynote speakers include Sven Bernecker (UC Irvine), Tim Crane (Cambridge), Jennifer Nagel (Toronto), and Timothy Williamson (Oxford). A call for papers will be initiated. The conference is intended to be a landmark event in epistemology.

Teroni will complete an article on a topic of the module. The post-doctoral researcher will complete and submit two articles on perception, memory, and knowledge to high ranking journals in philosophy by the end of the second year.

Year 3. During the third year of the project the proceedings of the conference will be edited and published. Papers will be selected through a peer-review process.

2.4.2 Module 2
Work on Module 2 will be spread over two years.

Year 1. Participants of the project will start research on Module 2 already on the first year. In particular, the relevant literature will be mastered and the first drafts of the relevant manuscripts on the topic of knowledge and action will be edited.

An open research seminar every second week of the term on recent debates on action and its explanation and related topics in epistemology and philosophy of action will be organized - recent literature will be discussed and members of the project will present drafts of the articles on the topics of module 2.

Year 2. The original research on the topic of the second module by the two members of the project will be pursued during the second year.

A workshop will be organized, potentially with a focus on knowledge, explanation of action, and belief. Invited speakers might include Maria Alvarez (KCL), Stephen Butterfill (Warwick), Ellen Fridland (KCL), and John Hyman (Oxford).

Teroni will complete and submit an article on the mental state attribution in connection to their functional role. The post-doctoral researcher will complete and submit an article on the topic of knowledge and explanation of action by the end of the second year.

2.4.3 Module 3
Work on module 3 will be spread over two years. The bulk of the work will be accomplished during the third year of the project.

Year 2. Work on module 3 will start during the second year. It will begin with original research by the members of the project into the topic of knowledge and factive emotions.

Year 3. Work on module 3 during the third year will consist in part in an open research seminar on knowledge, factive emotions, and related topics. The organization of the seminar will follow the same pattern as the first two years.

Teroni will complete and submit an article that will be relevant to the study of factive emotions.The post-doctoral researcher will complete and submit an article on the topic of knowledge and factive emotions by the end of the third year.

2.5 Relevance and Impact
Scientific relevance Epistemology. Whatever the ultimate results of our research, they are likely to contribute in a major way to central debates in epistemology. They will certainly open new perspectives for theorizing about perception, memory, emotions and action. In particular, they will enable us to make important advances in one of the most prominent contemporary approaches to knowledge – the Modest Account of Knowledge, within the knowledge-first framework. More concretely, publication of the proceedings of the interdisciplinary conference held during the second year of the project is expected to make a landmark contribution to this neglected area of research relating perception, memory, and knowledge. The three articles on factive mental states of perception and memory are expected to be cutting-edge contributions to the on-going debate within epistemology. Moreover, the articles on factive emotions and knowledge will fill an important gap within the contemporary philosophy of emotions.

Philosophy of mind. This project will be relevant also more broadly for the philosophy of mind. For one thing, if the considered hypotheses are confirmed, they will provide an important reason for reconceptualizing the mental realm. For instance, they will provide new grounds for questioning the allegedly central role of belief and desire in explaining the psychological realm. Concretely, the expected publications on attribution of mental states, knowledge and action should bring the debate forward and settle the agenda for epistemological debate surrounding this field.

Philosophy of action. Similarly, this project will also significantly contribute to debates within the philosophy of action. If the belief-desire model loses its centrality in philosophy of mind, one might also doubt its alleged centrality in explaining action. More specifically, the research article that will result from the work on module 1 will help us better understand the links between knowledge and action. We hope to tackle an issue of fundamental importance at the intersection of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of action. This will, we hope, have great impact on further debates concerning human agency.

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Footnotes

[1] The putative distinction between facts and true propositions can be harmlessly avoided for our purposes.

[2] A better name for this approach might have been The Radical Account of Knowledge. However, for the sake of simplicity we will continue to call it the modest account in what follows, since this is how it is presented in the literature by its main proponents. See, for instance, Williamson 2000: 22-23. Moreover, the generic “knowledge-first” (cf. Williamson 2000) has the disadvantage of being too broad – the knowledge-first program in epistemology includes much more than the specific view that we focus on here.


[3] The 20th century has seen a monumental number of attempts and respective failures to define knowledge (a recent attempt to summarize these can be found in Ichikawa and Steup 2014; see also Shope 1983, Plantinga 1993, and Zagzebski 1994). A peak of interest in defining knowledge followed the publication of Gettier 1963, where counterexamples to the then prevailing analysis of knowledge as justified true belief (e.g., Ayer 1956, Chisholm 1956) were presented. The post-Gettier literature attempted to provide an analysis of knowledge that didn’t face the Gettier counterexamples. That task has revealed itself to be a particularly difficult one. For it seems that post-Gettier attempts to analyse knowledge are either subject to more complex Gettier-style cases, or they involve some sort of vicious circularity (cf. Williamson 2000:30, 2011).

[4] "We can see epistemology as a branch of the philosophy of mind" (Williamson 2000: 41).

[5] Cozzo 2011 and Schroeder, manuscript contain further counter-example based objections to (MAK).

[6] See also Carter, Gordon, and Jarvis (eds.), forthcoming for a recent collection of essays on the more general knowledge first project. Essays by Carter, Gordon, and Jarvis (Carter, Gordon, and Jarvis forthcoming), McGlynn (McGlynn, forthcoming), Smith (Smith, forthcoming), and Williamson (Williamson, forthcoming) of that volume are particularly relevant for the present project.

[7] Sees, hears, etc.

[8] Bernecker 2010: 65-103 contains further references.

[9] For instance, in the opening pages of an introductory book on the philosophy of perception, William Fish states that "[a]nother key feature of perceptual experiences that is not a primary consideration for those studying perception scientifically is that perception is the primary source of our knowledge of the world in which we live. [...] A further consideration for a theory of perception, then, will be how well it can make sense of perception’s role as source of empirical knowledge" (Fish 2010: 2).

[10]The distinction between type/token mental states can be helpful in this context, since it allows to postulate the above principle in a way that is compatible with the idea that the same token mental state might have two types. One might argue that it happens when a subject S knows that p: there is a token state that corresponds to both the type of knowledge and the type of belief (assuming that it is not possible to know that p without believing that p). Thanks to a referee of a previous version of this project for having pointed this out.

[11] According to Gordon, expressions that don’t manifest a "that" clause at a superficial level can nevertheless be syntactically similar to expressions containing a "that p" clause. Hence, according to Gordon "Smith regrets that Dewey was elected", "Smith regrets Dewey’s having been elected", and "Smith regrets the fact that Dewey was elected" are all exactly alike at the "deep" syntactic structural level (cf. Gordon 1987: 39).

[12] All three ways are considered in various places in Williamson 2000, the most important contemporary defence of
(MAK).

[13] The jury was composed of Prof. Jessica Brown (St. Andrews), Prof. Laurent Cesalli (president of the jury, Geneva), Prof. Earl Conee (Rochester), Prof. Igor Douven (Groningen & Paris), and Prof. Timothy Williamson (Oxford). Logins obtained the highest distinction for his PhD thesis ("très honorable, mention obtenue à l’unanimité").