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Knowing How

Analysis Current Issue 79 (3):487-503 (2019)

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  1. Knowledge-How, Understanding-Why, and Epistemic Luck: An Experimental Study.J. Adam Carter, Duncan Pritchard & Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-34.
    Reductive intellectualists about knowledge-how hold, contra Ryle, that knowing how to do something is just a kind of propositional knowledge. In a similar vein, traditional reductivists about understanding-why insist, in accordance with a tradition beginning with Aristotle, that the epistemic standing one attains when one understands why something is so is itself just a kind of propositional knowledge—viz., propositional knowledge of causes. A point that has been granted on both sides of these debates is that if these reductive proposals are (...)
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  • Knowing How.Yuri Cath - 2019 - Analysis Current Issue 79 (3):487-503.
    An overview of the knowing-how debates over the last ten years.
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  • Modeling Practical Thinking.Matthew Mosdell - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (4):445-464.
    Intellectualists about knowledge how argue that knowing how to do something is knowing the content of a proposition (i.e, a fact). An important component of this view is the idea that propositional knowledge is translated into behavior when it is presented to the mind in a peculiarly practical way. Until recently, however, intellectualists have not said much about what it means for propositional knowledge to be entertained under thought's practical guise. Carlotta Pavese fills this gap in the intellectualist view by (...)
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  • What's the Point of Knowing How?Joshua Habgood‐Coote - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Why is it useful to talk and think about knowledge-how? Using Edward Craig’s discussion of the function of the concepts of knowledge and knowledge-how as a jumping off point, this paper argues that considering this question can offer us new angles on the debate about knowledge-how. We consider two candidate functions for the concept of knowledge-how: pooling capacities, and mutual reliance. Craig makes the case for pooling capacities, which connects knowledge-how to our need to pool practical capacities. I argue that (...)
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  • The Defeasibility of Knowledge-How.J. Adam Carter & Jesús Navarro - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3):662-685.
    Reductive intellectualists (e.g., Stanley & Williamson 2001; Stanley 2011a; 2011b; Brogaard 2008; 2009; 2011) hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. If this thesis is correct, then we should expect the defeasibility conditions for knowledge-how and knowledge-that to be uniform—viz., that the mechanisms of epistemic defeat which undermine propositional knowledge will be equally capable of imperilling knowledge-how. The goal of this paper is twofold: first, against intellectualism, we will show that knowledge-how is in fact resilient to being undermined by (...)
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  • Intellectualizing Know How.Benjamin Elzinga - 2019 - Synthese:1-20.
    Following Gilbert Ryle’s arguments, many philosophers took it for granted that someone knows how to do something just in case they have the ability to do it. Within the last couple decades, new intellectualists have challenged this longstanding anti-intellectualist assumption. Their central contention is that mere abilities aren’t on the same rational, epistemic level as know how. My goal is to intellectualize know how without over-intellectualizing it. Intelligent behavior is characteristically flexible or responsive to novelty, and the distinctive feature of (...)
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  • Knowing-How: Linguistics and Cognitive Science.Jessica Brown - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):220-227.
    Stanley and Williamson have defended the intellectualist thesis that knowing-how is a subspecies of knowing-that by appeal to the syntax and semantics of ascriptions of knowing-how. Critics have objected that this way of defending intellectualism places undue weight on linguistic considerations and fails to give sufficient attention to empirical considerations from the scientific study of the mind. In this paper, I examine and reject Stanley's recent attempt to answer the critics.
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  • The Special Ability View of Knowledge-How.Peter J. Markie - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3191-3209.
    Propositionalism explains the nature of knowledge-how as follows: P: To know how to ϕ is to stand in a special propositional attitude relation to propositions about how to ϕ. To know how to ride a bike is to have the required propositional attitude to propositions about how to do so. Dispositionalism offers an alternative view.D: To know how to ϕ is to stand in a behavioral-dispositional relation, a being-able-to relation, to ϕ-ing. To know how to ride a bike is to (...)
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  • Knowledge-How, Abilities, and Questions.Joshua Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):86-104.
    The debate about the nature of knowledge-how is standardly thought to be divided between intellectualist views, which take knowledge-how to be a kind of propositional knowledge, and anti-intellectualist views, which take knowledge-how to be a kind of ability. In this paper, I explore a compromise position—the interrogative capacity view—which claims that knowing how to do something is a certain kind of ability to generate answers to the question of how to do it. This view combines the intellectualist thesis that knowledge-how (...)
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  • Testimonial Knowledge-How.Andrew Peet - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (4):895-912.
    There is an emerging skepticism about the existence of testimonial knowledge-how :387–404, 2010; Poston in Noûs 50:865–878, 2016; Carter and Pritchard in Philos Phenomenol Res 91:181–199, 2015a). This is unsurprising since a number of influential approaches to knowledge-how struggle to accommodate testimonial knowledge-how. Nonetheless, this scepticism is misguided. This paper establishes that there are cases of easy testimonial knowledge-how. It is structured as follows: first, a case is presented in which an agent acquires knowledge-how simply by accepting a speaker’s testimony. (...)
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  • Skill in Epistemology II: Skill and Know How.Carlotta Pavese - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):650-660.
    The prequel to this paper has discussed the relation between knowledge and skill and introduced the topic of the relationship between skill and know how. This sequel continues the discussion. First, I survey the recent debate on intellectualism about knowing how (§1-3). Then, I tackle the question as to whether intellectualism (and anti-intellectualism) about skill and intellectualism (and anti-intellectualism) about know how fall or stand together (§4-5).
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  • Skill in Epistemology I: Skill and Knowledge.Carlotta Pavese - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):642-649.
    Knowledge and skill are intimately connected. In this essay, I discuss the question of their relationship and of which (if any) is prior to which in the order of explanation. I review some of the answers that have been given thus far in the literature, with a particular focus on the many foundational issues in epistemology that intersect with the philosophy of skill.
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  • A Theory of Practical Meaning.Carlotta Pavese - 2017 - Philosophical Topics 45 (2):65-96.
    This essay is divided into two parts. In the first part (§2), I introduce the idea of practical meaning by looking at a certain kind of procedural systems — the motor system — that play a central role in computational explanations of motor behavior. I argue that in order to give a satisfactory account of the content of the representations computed by motor systems (motor commands), we need to appeal to a distinctively practical kind of meaning. Defending the explanatory relevance (...)
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  • Intellectual Skill and the Rylean Regress.Brian Weatherson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):370-386.
    Intelligent activity requires the use of various intellectual skills. While these skills are connected to knowledge, they should not be identified with knowledge. There are realistic examples where the skills in question come apart from knowledge. That is, there are realistic cases of knowledge without skill, and of skill without knowledge. Whether a person is intelligent depends, in part, on whether they have these skills. Whether a particular action is intelligent depends, in part, on whether it was produced by an (...)
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  • Practical Know‐Wh.Katalin Farkas - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):855-870.
    The central and paradigmatic cases of knowledge discussed in philosophy involve the possession of truth. Is there in addition a distinct type of practical knowledge, which does not aim at the truth? This question is often approached through asking whether states attributed by “know-how” locutions are distinct from states attributed by “know-that”. This paper argues that the question of practical knowledge can be raised not only about some cases of “know-how” attributions, but also about some cases of so-called “know-wh” attributions; (...)
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  • Know-How and Gradability.Carlotta Pavese - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):345-383.
    Orthodoxy has it that knowledge is absolute—that is, it cannot come in degrees. On the other hand, there seems to be strong evidence for the gradability of know-how. Ascriptions of know-how are gradable, as when we say that one knows in part how to do something, or that one knows how to do something better than somebody else. When coupled with absolutism, the gradability of ascriptions of know-how can be used to mount a powerful argument against intellectualism about know-how—the view (...)
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  • Know-How, Action, and Luck.Carlotta Pavese - forthcoming - Synthese.
    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 (...)
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  • Knowing How.Jason Stanley & Timothy Williamson - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (8):411-444.
    Many philosophers believe that there is a fundamental distinction between knowing that something is the case and knowing how to do something. According to Gilbert Ryle, to whom the insight is credited, knowledge-how is an ability, which is in turn a complex of dispositions. Knowledge-that, on the other hand, is not an ability, or anything similar. Rather, knowledge-that is a relation between a thinker and a true proposition.
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  • Knowledge in Action.John Gibbons - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):579-600.
    This paper argues that the role of knowledge in the explanation and production of intentional action is as indispensable as the roles of belief and desire. If we are interested in explaining intentional actions rather than intentions or attempts, we need to make reference to more than the agent’s beliefs and desires. It is easy to see how the truth of your beliefs, or perhaps, facts about a setting will be involved in the explanation of an action. If you believe (...)
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  • Knowing How and Knowing That: A Distinction Reconsidered.Paul Snowdon - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (1):1–29.
    The purpose of this paper is to raise some questions about the idea, which was first made prominent by Gilbert Ryle, and has remained associated with him ever since, that there are at least two types of knowledge (or to put it in a slightly different way, two types of states ascribed by knowledge ascriptions) identified, on the one hand, as the knowledge (or state) which is expressed in the ‘knowing that’ construction (sometimes called, for fairly obvious reasons, ‘propositional’ or (...)
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  • Knowing‐How: Problems and Considerations.Ellen Fridland - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):703-727.
    In recent years, a debate concerning the nature of knowing-how has emerged between intellectualists who claim that knowledge-how is reducible to knowledge-that and anti-intellectualists who claim that knowledge-how comprises a unique and irreducible knowledge category. The arguments between these two camps have clustered largely around two issues: intellectualists object to Gilbert Ryle's assertion that knowing-how is a kind of ability, and anti-intellectualists take issue with Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson's positive, intellectualist account of knowing-how. Like most anti-intellectualists, in this paper (...)
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  • Knowing How Without Knowing That.Yuri Cath - 2011 - In John Bengson & Mark Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press. pp. 113.
    In this paper I develop three different arguments against the thesis that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. Knowledge-that is widely thought to be subject to an anti-luck condition, a justified or warranted belief condition, and a belief condition, respectively. The arguments I give suggest that if either of these standard assumptions is correct then knowledge-how is not a kind of knowledge-that. In closing I identify a possible alternative to the standard Rylean and intellectualist accounts of knowledge-how. This alternative view (...)
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  • Motor Skill Depends on Knowledge of Facts.Jason Stanley & John W. Krakauer - 2013 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
  • Practical Knowledge: Knowing How To and Knowing That.David Wiggins - 2012 - Mind 121 (481):97-130.
    Ryle’s account of practical knowing is much controverted. The paper seeks to place present disputations in a larger context and draw attention to the connection between Ryle’s preoccupations and Aristotle’s account of practical reason, practical intelligence, and the way in which human beings enter into the way of being and acting that Aristotle denominates ethos . Considering matters in this framework, the author finds inconclusive the arguments that Stanley and Williamson offer for seeing knowing how to as a special case (...)
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  • Doing Without Believing: Intellectualism, Knowledge-How, and Belief-Attribution.Michael Brownstein & Eliot Michaelson - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9):2815–2836.
    We consider a range of cases—both hypothetical and actual—in which agents apparently know how to \ but fail to believe that the way in which they in fact \ is a way for them to \. These “no-belief” cases present a prima facie problem for Intellectualism about knowledge-how. The problem is this: if knowledge-that entails belief, and if knowing how to \ just is knowing that some w is a way for one to \, then an agent cannot both know (...)
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  • Assessing Professional Know‐How.Christopher Winch - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4):554-572.
    This article considers how professional knowledge should be assessed. It is maintained that the assessment of professional know-how raises distinctive issues from the assessment of know-how more generally. Intellectualist arguments which suggest that someone's giving an account of how to F should suffice for attributing to them knowledge of how to F are set out. The arguments fail to show that there is no necessary distinction between two kinds of know-how, namely the ability to F and knowing that w is (...)
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  • The Generality Problem for Intellectualism.Joshua Habgood‐Coote - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (3):242-262.
    According to Intellectualism knowing how to V is a matter of knowing a suitable proposition about a way of V-ing. In this paper, I consider the question of which ways of acting might figure in the propositions which Intellectualists claim constitute the object of knowledge-how. I argue that Intellectualists face a version of the Generality Problem – familiar from discussions of Reliabilism – since not all ways of V-ing are such that knowledge about them suffices for knowledge-how. I consider various (...)
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  • Knowledge-How and Epistemic Value.J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):799-816.
    A conspicuous oversight in recent debates about the vexed problem of the value of knowledge has been the value of knowledge-how. This would not be surprising if knowledge-how were, as Gilbert Ryle [1945, 1949] famously thought, fundamentally different from knowledge-that. However, reductive intellectualists [e.g. Stanley and Williamson 2001; Brogaard 2008, 2009, 2011; Stanley 2011a, 2011b] maintain that knowledge-how just is a kind of knowledge-that. Accordingly, reductive intellectualists must predict that the value problems facing propositional knowledge will equally apply to knowledge-how. (...)
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  • Intellectualism and Testimony.Yuri Cath - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):1-9.
    Knowledge-how often appears to be more difficult to transmit by testimony than knowledge-that and knowledge-wh. Some philosophers have argued that this difference provides us with an important objection to intellectualism—the view that knowledge-how is a species of knowledge-that. This article defends intellectualism against these testimony-based objections.
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  • Knowledge‐How and Epistemic Luck.J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard - 2015 - Noûs 49 (3):440-453.
    Reductive intellectualists hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. For this thesis to hold water, it is obviously important that knowledge-how and knowledge-that have the same epistemic properties. In particular, knowledge-how ought to be compatible with epistemic luck to the same extent as knowledge-that. It is argued, contra reductive intellectualism, that knowledge-how is compatible with a species of epistemic luck which is not compatible with knowledge-that, and thus it is claimed that knowledge-how and knowledge-that come apart.
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  • I-Knowing How and Knowing That: A Distinction Reconsidered.Paul Snowdon - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (1):1-29.
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  • Knowledge-How, True Indexical Belief, and Action.Elia Zardini - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):341-355.
    Intellectualism is the doctrine that knowing how to do something consists in knowing that something is the case. Drawing on contemporary linguistic theories of indirect questions, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson have recently revived intellectualism, proposing to interpret a sentence of the form ‘s knows how to F’ as ascribing to s knowledge of a certain way w of Fing that she can F in w. In order to preserve knowledgehow’s connection to action and thus avoid an overgeneration problem, they (...)
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  • Sporting Knowledge and the Problem of Knowing How.Gunnar Breivik - 2014 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 41 (2):143-162.
    In the Concept of Mind from 1949 Gilbert Ryle distinguished between knowing how and knowing that. What was Ryle’s basic idea and how is the discussion going on in philosophy today? How can sport philosophy use the idea of knowing how? My goal in this paper is first to bring Ryle and the post-Rylean discussion to light and then show how phenomenology can give some input to the discussion. The article focuses especially on the two main interpretations of knowing how, (...)
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  • On Stanley’s Intellectualism.J. Adam Carter - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):749-762.
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  • Consciousness, Context, and Know-How.Charles Wallis - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):123 - 153.
    In this paper I criticize the most significant recent examples of the practical knowledge analysis of knowledge-how in the philosophical literature: David Carr [1979, Mind, 88, 394–409; 1981a, American Philosophical Quarterly, 18, 53–61; 1981b, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 15(1), 87–96] and Stanley & Williamson [2001, Journal of Philosophy, 98(8), 411–444]. I stress the importance of know-how in our contemporary understanding of the mind, and offer the beginnings of a treatment of know-how capable of providing insight in to the use (...)
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  • Ryle on the Explanatory Role of Knowledge How.Will Small - 2017 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (5).
    Contemporary discussions of knowledge how typically focus on the question whether or not knowing how to do ϕ consists in propositional knowledge, and divide the field between intellectualists and anti-intellectualists. This way of framing the issue is said to derive from Gilbert Ryle. I argue that this is a misreading of Ryle, whose primary interest in discussing knowledge how was not epistemological but rather action-theoretical, whose argument against intellectualism has for this reason been misunderstood and underestimated, and whose positive view (...)
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  • Knowing How.Kieran Setiya - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (3pt3):285-307.
    Argues from the possibility of basic intentional action to a non-propositional theory of knowing how. The argument supports a broadly Anscombean conception of the will as a capacity for practical knowledge.
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  • The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Mind 59 (234):237-255.
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  • Knowing How and Knowing That: The Presidential Address.Gilbert Ryle - 1945 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 46:1 - 16.
  • Against Intellectualism.Alva Noë - 2005 - Analysis 65 (4):278-290.
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  • Learning How.Ben Kotzee - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (2):218-232.
    In this paper, I consider intellectualist and anti-intellectualist approaches to knowledge-how and propose a third solution: a virtue-based account of knowledge-how. I sketch the advantages of a virtue-based account of knowledge-how and consider whether we should prefer a reliabilist or a responsibilist virtue-account of knowledge-how. I argue that only a responsibilist account will maintain the crucial distinction between knowing how to do something and merely being able to do it. Such an account, I hold, must incorporate ‘learning how to do (...)
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  • Success and Knowledge-How.Katherine Hawley - 2003 - American Philosophical Quarterly 40 (1):19 - 31.
    In this paper, I argue that there is a notion of 'counterfactual success' which stands to knowledge how as true belief stands to propositional knowledge. (I attempt to avoid the question of whether knowledge how is a type of propositional knowledge.).
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  • Self-Regulation and Knowledge How.Elzinga Benjamin - 2018 - Episteme 15 (1):119-140.
    In the 1940s, Gilbert Ryle argued for anti-intellectualism about know how. More recently, new intellectualists have challenged the canonical status of Ryle's arguments, and in the ensuing debate Ryleans appear to be on their back foot. However, contributors on both sides of the debate tend to ignore or misconstrue Ryle's own positive account of know how. In this paper, I develop two aspects of Ryle's positive account that have been overlooked. For Ryle, S knows how to Φ iff (1) S (...)
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  • Methodology and the Nature of Knowing How.Michael Devitt - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (4):205-218.
  • A Dispositional Account of Practical Knowledge.Constantin Jan - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2309-2329.
    Is knowledge-how, or “practical” knowledge, a species of knowledge-that, or “theoretical” knowledge? There is no comfortable position to take in the debate around this question. On the one hand, there are counterexamples against the anti-intellectualist thesis that practical knowledge is best analysed as an ability. They show that having an ability to ϕ is not necessary for knowing how to ϕ. On the other hand, the intellectualist analysis of practical knowledge as a subspecies of theoretical knowledge is threatened by its (...)
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  • Two Conceptions of Mind and Action: Knowledge How and the Philosophical Theory of Intelligence.John Bengson & Marc A. Moffett - 2011 - In John Bengson & Marc Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press. pp. 3-55.
    Perhaps it is a pity that the Theory of Knowledge and the Theory of Conduct have fallen into separate compartments. (It certainly was not so in Socrates’ time, as his interest in the relation between eidos and technê bears witness.) If we studied them together, perhaps we might have a better understanding of both. H.H. Price, Thinking and Representation..
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  • Know-Wh Does Not Reduce to Know That.Katalin Farkas - 2016 - American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2):109-122.
    Know -wh ascriptions are ubiquitous in many languages. One standard analysis of know -wh is this: someone knows-wh just in case she knows that p, where p is an answer to the question included in the wh-clause. Additional conditions have also been proposed, but virtually all analyses assume that propositional knowledge of an answer is at least a necessary condition for knowledge-wh. This paper challenges this assumption, by arguing that there are cases where we have knowledge-wh without knowledge- that of (...)
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  • Knowing How and Epistemic Injustice.Katherine Hawley - 2011 - In John Bengson & Marc A. Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press. pp. 283-99.
    In this chapter I explore how epistemic injustice (as discussed by Miranda Fricker) can arise in connection with knowledge how. I attempt to bypass the question of whether knowledge how is a type of propositional knowledge, and instead focus on some distinctive ways in which knowledge how is sometimes sought, identified or ignored.
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  • Knowledge-How: A Unified Account.Berit Brogaard - 2011 - In J. Bengson & M. Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press. pp. 136-160.
    There are two competing views of knowledge-how: Intellectualism and anti-intellectualism. According to the reductionist varieties of intellectualism defended by Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson (2001) and Berit Brogaard (2007, 2008, 2009), knowledge-how simply reduces to knowledge-that. To a first approximation, s knows how to A iff there is a w such that s knows that w is a way to A. For example, John knows how to ride a bicycle if and only if there is a way w such that (...)
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  • What Mary Did Yesterday: Reflections on Knowledge-Wh.Berit Brogaard - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):439 - 467.
    Reductionists about knowledge-wh hold that "s knows-wh" (e.g. "John knows who stole his car") is reducible to "there is a proposition p such that s knows that p, and p answers the indirect question of the wh-clause." Anti-reductionists hold that "s knows-wh" is reducible to "s knows that p, as the true answer to the indirect question of the wh-clause." I argue that both of these positions are defective. I then offer a new analysis of knowledge-wh as a special kind (...)
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