Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


To be acquainted with something (in the philosophical sense of “acquainted” discussed here) is to be directly aware of it. The idea that we are acquainted with certain things we experience has been discussed throughout the history of Western Philosophy, but in the early 20th century it gained especially focused attention among analytic philosophers who drew their inspiration from Bertrand Russell's work on acquaintance. Since then, many philosophers—particularly those working on self‐knowledge or perception—have used the notion of acquaintance to explain various facts about human experience and knowledge. In this paper, I offer an overview of this work, with particular focus on the resurgent literature on acquaintance in contemporary analytic philosophy. After more fully explaining what acquaintance is (or is supposed to be), I describe some reasons for thinking that we are indeed acquainted with certain things we experience, and then I survey some of the facts about experience and knowledge that acquaintance may help explain.

Similar books and articles

The Recent Renaissance of Acquaintance.Thomas Raleigh - 2019 - In Thomas Raleigh & Jonathan Knowles (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
Russell on Acquaintance.R. M. Sainsbury - 1986 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture Series 20:219-244.
Acquaintance and possible worlds.Jennifer Vaughan Taylor - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):393-400.
We are acquainted with ourselves.Matt Duncan - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2531-2549.
Properties in sight and in thought.Ivan V. Ivanov - 2019 - Synthese 198 (8):7049-7071.
Russell on Acquaintance.R. M. Sainsbury - 1986 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture Series 20:219-244.
"On Denoting" and the Principle of Acquaintance.Russell Wahl - 2007 - Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 27 (1).
Acquaintance and Fallible Non-Inferential Justification.Chris Tucker - 2016 - In Michael Bergmann & Brett Coppenger (eds.), Intellectual Assurance: Essays on Traditional Epistemic Internalism. Oxford University Press. pp. 43-60.
Acquaintance: New Essays.Jonathan Knowles & Thomas Raleigh (eds.) - 2019 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Consciousness is Acquaintance and Acquaintance is Consciousness.Joseph Levine - forthcoming - In Thomas Raleigh (ed.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
Acquaintance with Universals.P. Forrest - 2017 - Metaphysica 18 (1):1-13.
Memory as acquaintance with the past: some Lessons from Russell, 1912-1914.Paulo Faria - 2010 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 51 (121):149-172.


Added to PP

652 (#17,946)

6 months
213 (#4,612)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Matt Duncan
Rhode Island College

References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2005 - MIT Press.
A Materialist Theory of the Mind.D. M. Armstrong - 1968 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Ted Honderich.
The structure of empirical knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

View all 260 references / Add more references