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

References found in this work

Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong.Jerry A. Fodor - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.

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