A Naturalistic Perspective on Knowledge How : Grasping Truths in a Practical Way

Philosophies 5 (1):5-0 (2020)
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Abstract

For quite some time, cognitive science has offered philosophy an opportunity to address central problems with an arsenal of relevant theories and empirical data. However, even among those naturalistically inclined, it has been hard to find a universally accepted way to do so. In this article, we offer a case study of how cognitive-science input can elucidate an epistemological issue that has caused extensive debate. We explore Jason Stanley’s idea of the practical grasp of a propositional truth and present naturalistic arguments against his reductive approach to knowledge. We argue that a plausible interpretation of cognitive-science input concerning knowledge—even if one accepts that knowledge how is partly propositional—must involve an element of knowing how to act correctly upon the proposition; and this element of knowing how to act correctly cannot itself be propositional.

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