Know-how, action, and luck

Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1595-1617 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

A good surgeon knows how to perform a surgery; a good architect knows how to design a house. We value their know-how. We ordinarily look for it. What makes it so valuable? A natural response is that know-how is valuable because it explains success. A surgeon’s know-how explains their success at performing a surgery. And an architect’s know-how explains their success at designing houses that stand up. We value know-how because of its special explanatory link to success. But in virtue of what is know-how explanatorily linked to success? This essay provides a novel argument for the thesis that know-how’s special link to success is to be explained at least in part in terms of its being, or involving, a doxastic attitude that is epistemically alike propositional knowledge. It is argued that the role played by know-how in explaining intentional success shows that the epistemic differences between know-how and knowledge, if any, are less than usually thought; and that "revisionary intellectualism", the view that know-how is true belief that might well fall short of knowledge, is not really a stable position. If its explanatory link to success is what makes know-how valuable, an upshot of my argument is that the value of know-how is due, to a considerable extent, to its being, or involving, a kind of propositional knowledge.

Similar books and articles

Aristotle, Success, and Moral Luck.Paul Farwell - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Research 19:37-50.
Aristotle, Success, and Moral Luck.Paul Farwell - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Research 19:37-50.
When Is A Belief True Because Of Luck?Preston Greene - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):465-475.
Virtue Epistemology and Environmental Luck.Masashi Kasaki - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Research 39:285-299.
Knowledge in Action.Ernest Sosa - 2016 - In Bahr Amrei & Seidel Markus (eds.), Ernest Sosa. Targeting His Philosophy. Springer. pp. 1-13.
Purifying Impure Virtue Epistemology.Fernando Broncano-Berrocal - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):385-410.
Virtue, Luck and the Pyrrhonian Problematic.John Greco - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (1):9-34.
You Make Your Own Luck.Rachel McKinnon - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):558-577.
Knowledge and Luck.John Turri, Wesley Buckwalter & Peter Blouw - 2015 - Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 22 (2):378-390.
Bad Luck for the Anti‐Luck Epistemologist.Rodrigo Borges - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (4):463-479.
The Nature of Ability and the Purpose of Knowledge.John Greco - 2007 - Philosophical Issues 17 (1):57–69.
Salience, Imagination, and Moral Luck.Nathan Stout - 2017 - Philosophical Papers 46 (2):297-313.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-04-20

Downloads
498 (#19,703)

6 months
63 (#13,528)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University

Citations of this work

Modal Virtue Epistemology.Bob Beddor & Carlotta Pavese - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (1):61-79.
Know-How and Gradability.Carlotta Pavese - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):345-383.
Knowing How.Yuri Cath - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):487-503.
The Psychological Reality of Practical Representation.Carlotta Pavese - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (5):784-821.

View all 27 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

View all 120 references / Add more references