Intellectualizing know how

Synthese:1-20 (2019)

Authors
Benjamin Elzinga
Georgetown University
Abstract
Following Gilbert Ryle’s arguments, many philosophers took it for granted that someone knows how to do something just in case they have the ability to do it. Within the last couple decades, new intellectualists have challenged this longstanding anti-intellectualist assumption. Their central contention is that mere abilities aren’t on the same rational, epistemic level as know how. My goal is to intellectualize know how without over-intellectualizing it. Intelligent behavior is characteristically flexible or responsive to novelty, and the distinctive feature of creatures who exhibit flexible behavior is their capacity to learn. As it turns out, Ryle already identified a core characteristic of learning shared widely across the animal kingdom from the lowly rat to the top athlete. Taking my cues from Ryle, I argue that know how is successful performance resulting from self-regulated abilities. To regulate an ability is to be disposed to adjust to error and respond to feedback. While regulating sophisticated human abilities often requires propositional knowledge, in many simpler cases it does not. I focus on the navigational know how of rats and honeybees. Although they possess know how, whether they possess propositional knowledge is at best an open question.
Keywords Know how  intellectualism  anti-intellectualism  self-regulation  animal navigation  cognitive map
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Reprint years 2019
DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02160-6
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References found in this work BETA

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Noûs 14 (1):120-124.
Know-How and Gradability.Carlotta Pavese - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):345-383.
Know-How as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Löwenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.

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Citations of this work BETA

Knowing How.Yuri Cath - 2019 - Analysis Current Issue 79 (3):487-503.
Concepts and Action. Know-How and Beyond.David Löwenstein - forthcoming - In Christoph Demmerling & Dirk Schröder (eds.), Concepts in Thought, Action, and Emotion. New Essays. London, Ontario, Kanada:

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