Doing without believing: Intellectualism, knowledge-how, and belief-attribution

Synthese 193 (9):2815–2836 (2016)
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Abstract

We consider a range of cases—both hypothetical and actual—in which agents apparently know how to \ but fail to believe that the way in which they in fact \ is a way for them to \. These “no-belief” cases present a prima facie problem for Intellectualism about knowledge-how. The problem is this: if knowledge-that entails belief, and if knowing how to \ just is knowing that some w is a way for one to \, then an agent cannot both know how to \ and fail to believe that w, the way that she \s, is a way for her to \. We discuss a variety of ways in which Intellectualists might respond to this challenge and argue that, ultimately, this debate converges with another, seemingly distinct debate in contemporary epistemology: how to attribute belief in cases of conflict between an agent’s avowals and her behavior. No-belief cases, we argue, reveal how Intellectualism depends on the plausibility of positing something like “implicit beliefs”—which conflict with an agent’s avowed beliefs—in many cases of apparent knowledge-how. While there may be good reason to posit implicit beliefs elsewhere, we suggest that there are at least some grounds for thinking that these reasons fail to carry over to no-belief cases, thus applying new pressure to Intellectualism.

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Author Profiles

Michael Brownstein
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Eliot Michaelson
King's College London

Citations of this work

Knowledge-How, Abilities, and Questions.Joshua Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):86-104.
Knowing How.Yuri Cath - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):487-503.
Know-how as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Löwenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
Know-How and Gradability.Carlotta Pavese - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):345-383.
Know-how, action, and luck.Carlotta Pavese - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1595-1617.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.

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