Knowledge and abilities: The need for a new understanding of knowing-how [Book Review]

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (1):113-131 (2010)
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Abstract

Stanley and Williamson (The Journal of Philosophy 98(8), 411–444 2001 ) reject the fundamental distinction between what Ryle once called ‘knowing-how’ and ‘knowing-that’. They claim that knowledge-how is just a species of knowledge-that, i.e. propositional knowledge, and try to establish their claim relying on the standard semantic analysis of ‘knowing-how’ sentences. We will undermine their strategy by arguing that ‘knowing-how’ phrases are under-determined such that there is not only one semantic analysis and by critically discussing and refuting the positive account of knowing-how they offer. Furthermore, we argue for an extension of the classical ‘knowing-how’/‘knowing-that’-dichotomy by presenting a new threefold framework: Using some core-examples of the recent debate, we will show that we can analyze knowledge situations that are not captured by the Rylean dichotomy and argue that, therefore, the latter has to be displaced by a more fine-grained theory of knowledge-formats. We will distinguish three different formats of knowledge we can have of our actions, namely (1) propositional, (2) practical, and (3) image-like formats of knowledge. Furthermore, we will briefly analyze the underlying representations of each of these knowledge-formats.

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Albert Newen
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Citations of this work

Know-how as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Löwenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
Anti-intellectualist motor knowledge.Gabriele Ferretti - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10733-10763.
How to ascribe beliefs to animals.Albert Newen & Tobias Starzak - 2022 - Mind and Language 37 (1):3-21.
The metaepistemology of knowing-how.Cheng-Hung Tsai - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (4):541-556.

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