Graduate studies at Western
Philosophia 34 (3):267-285 (2006)
|Abstract||The dominant view of the status of knowledge of language is that it is theoretical or what Gilbert Ryle called knowledge-that. Defenders of this thesis may differ among themselves over the precise nature of the knowledge which underlies language, as for example, Michael Dummett and Noam Chomsky differ over the issue of unconscious knowledge; however, they all agree that acquisition, understanding and use of language require that the speaker have access to a theory of language. In this paper, I argue that this view is mistaken. Knowledge of language is properly seen as practical knowledge, knowledge-how. My target is Michael Dummett’s treatment of theory of meaning in The Seas of Language. If my argument goes through, underlying assumptions about the nature of cognition as computational must be adjusted to allow for other forms of knowledge, which are arguably more basic, and which underlie knowledge-that.|
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