Knowledge-how: Interrogatives and Free Relatives

Episteme 15 (2):183-201 (2018)
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Abstract

It has been widely accepted since Stanley and Williamson (2001) that the only linguistically acceptable semantic treatments for sentences of the form ‘S knows how to V’ involve treating the wh-complement ‘how to V’ as an interrogative phrase, denoting a set of propositions. Recently a number of authors have suggested that the ‘how to V’ phrase denotes not a proposition, but an object. This view points toward a prima facie plausible non-propositional semantics for knowledge-how, which treats ‘how to V’ as a free relative noun phrase. In this paper I argue that the free relative semantics is implausible. I show that linguistic phenomena which seem to support a free relative semantics can be explained by the supporter of an interrogative semantics, and demonstrate that standard linguistic tests strongly suggest that ‘how to V’ has an interrogative reading, and no free relative reading.

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Joshua Habgood-Coote
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

Know-how as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Lowenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
Skill in epistemology II: Skill and know how.Carlotta Pavese - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):650-660.
Knowledge How.Jeremy Fantl - 2012 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Knowing How.Jason Stanley & Timothy Willlamson - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (8):411-444.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1950 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):328-332.
A causal theory of knowing.Alvin I. Goldman - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (12):357-372.

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