Case study evidence for an irreducible form of knowing how to: An argument against a reductive epistemology

Philosophia 37 (2):341-360 (2009)
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Over recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in arguments favouring intellectualism—the view that Ryle’s epistemic distinction is invalid because knowing how is in fact nothing but a species of knowing that. The aim of this paper is to challenge intellectualism by introducing empirical evidence supporting a form of knowing how that resists such a reduction. In presenting a form of visuomotor pathology known as visual agnosia, I argue that certain actions performed by patient DF can be distinguished from a mere physical ability because they are (1) intentional and (2) knowledge-based; yet these actions fail to satisfy the criteria for propositional knowledge. It is therefore my contention that there exists a form of intentional action that not only constitutes a genuine claim to knowledge but, in being irreducible to knowing that, resists the intellectualist argument for exhaustive epistemic reduction.



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Garry Young
University of Melbourne

References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.

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