Knowledge-how, understanding-why, and epistemic luck: an experimental study


Authors
Duncan Pritchard
University of Edinburgh
J. Adam Carter
Glasgow University
Joshua Shepherd
Carleton University
Abstract
Reductive intellectualists about knowledge-how hold, contra Ryle, that knowing how to do something is just a kind of propositional knowledge. In a similar vein, traditional reductivists about understanding-why insist, in accordance with a tradition beginning with Aristotle, that the epistemic standing one attains when one understands why something is so is itself just a kind of propositional knowledge—viz., propositional knowledge of causes. A point that has been granted on both sides of these debates is that if these reductive proposals are right, then knowledge-how and understandingwhy should be susceptible to the same extent as knowledge-that is to being undermined by epistemic luck. This paper reports experimental results that test these luck-based predictions. Interestingly, these results suggest a striking positive correlation between self-reported philosophical expertise and attributions of knowledge-how, understanding-why and knowledge-that which run contrary to reductive proposals. We contextualize these results by showing how they align very well with a particular kind of overarching non-reductive proposal, one that two of the authors have defended elsewhere according to which knowledge-how and understanding-why, but not knowledge-that, essentially involve cognitive achievement. We conclude by situating the interpretive narrative advanced within contemporary discussions about the role of expertise in philosophical judgment.
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-018-0429-9
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References found in this work BETA

Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (3):247-279.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 145 (3):455-464.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.

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Citations of this work BETA

Knowing How.Yuri Cath - 2019 - Analysis:1-17.

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