Experience is Knowledge

In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind, Vol. 1. Oxford, UK: pp. 106-129 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


It seems like experience plays a positive—even essential—role in generating some knowledge. The problem is, it’s not clear what that role is. To see this, suppose that when your visual system takes in information about the world around you it skips the experience step and just automatically and immediately generates beliefs in you about your surroundings. A lot of philosophers think that, in such a case, you would (or at least could) still know, via perception, about the world around you. But then that raises the question: What epistemic role was the experience playing? How did it contribute to your knowledge of your surroundings? Philosophers have given many different answers to these questions. But, for various reasons, none of them has really stuck. In this paper I offer and defend a different answer to these questions—a solution to the problem—which avoids the pitfalls of other answers. I argue that experience is, all by itself, a kind of knowledge—it’s what Bertrand Russell (1912) calls “knowledge of things”. So I argue that experience helps generate knowledge simply by being knowledge.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Role of Attention in Russell's Theory of Knowledge.Fatema Amijee - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (6):1175-1193.
Dewey and Russell on the Possibility of Immediate Knowledge.Tom Burke - 1998 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 17 (2/3):149-153.
Acquaintance: New Essays.Jonathan Knowles & Thomas Raleigh (eds.) - 2019 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Memory as acquaintance with the past: some Lessons from Russell, 1912-1914.Paulo Faria - 2010 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 51 (121):149-172.
Knowledge by Acquaintance vs. Description.Ali Hasan & Richard Fumerton - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Russellian Acquaintance Revisited.Ian Proops - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):779-811.
The acquaintance principle.Malcolm Budd - 2003 - British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (4):386-392.


Added to PP

406 (#42,317)

6 months
182 (#11,814)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727.
Knowledge-by-Acquaintance First.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
An Acquaintance alternative to Self-Representationalism.Anna Giustina - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (12):3831-3863.

Add more citations

References found in this work

On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
The problems of philosophy.Bertrand Russell - 1912 - New York: Barnes & Noble.
What is Justified Belief?Alvin I. Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.

View all 40 references / Add more references