What does it mean to know how to do something? This book develops a comprehensive account of know-how, a crucial epistemic goal for all who care about getting things right, not only with respect to the facts, but also with respect to practice. It proposes a novel interpretation of the seminal work of Gilbert Ryle, according to which know-how is a competence, a complex ability to do well in an activity in virtue of guidance by an understanding (...) of what it takes to do so. This idea is developed into a full-fledged account, Rylean responsibilism, which understands know-how in terms of the normative guidance and responsible control of one's acts. Within the complex current debate about know-how, this view occupies a middle ground position between the intellectualist claim that know-how just is propositional or objectual knowledge and the anti-intellectualist claim that know-how just is ability. In genuine know-how, practical ability and guiding intellect are both necessary, but essentially intertwined. (shrink)
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 that know-how is a species of propositional knowledge. This essay defends intellectualism from the argument of gradability. It is argued that the gradability of ascriptions of know-how should be discounted as a rather superficial linguistic phenomenon, one that can be explained in a way compatible with the absoluteness of the state reported. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
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.
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 (...) ‘factual’ knowledge) and, on the other, as the knowledge (or state) which is ascribed in the ‘knowing how’ construction (sometimes called ‘practical’ knowledge). This idea, which might be said to be Ryle's most lasting philosophical legacy, has, in some vague form, remained part of conventional wisdom in philosophy since he put it forward. My purpose here is fairly accurately described as ‘raising questions’, since both the criticisms of the received view (as I interpret it), and the positive alternative suggestions to be advanced, are, to some extent, tentative and exploratory. The aim is to assemble a broad range of evidence for the conclusion that we need to replace the standard account, to query especially what Ryle suggested as evidence for it, and to explore what seems to me to be the indicated replacement for it. (shrink)
Chapter 1: Ryle on Knowing How Chapter 2: Knowledge-wh Chapter 3: PRO and the Representation of First-Person Thought Chapter 4: Ways of Thinking Chapter 5: Knowledge How Chapter 6: Ascribing Knowledge How Chapter 7: The Cognitive Science of Practical Knowledge Chapter 8: Knowledge Justified Preface A fact, as I shall use the term, is a true proposition. A proposition is the sort of thing that is capable of being believed or asserted. A proposition is also something that is characteristically the (...) kind of thing that is true or false; that snow is white is a true proposition, that Barack Obama is President of the United States as I am writing these words is another. Facts in this sense are not only among the things we believe and assert; they are also the kinds of things we know. The thesis of this book is that knowing how to do something is the same as knowing a fact. It follows that learning how to do something is learning a fact. For example, when you learned how to swim, what happened is that you learned some facts about swimming. Knowledge of these facts is what gave you knowledge of how to swim. Something similar occurred with every other activity that you now know how to do, such as riding a bicycle or cooking a meal. You know how to perform activities solely in virtue of your knowledge of facts about those activities. (shrink)
We begin with a puzzle: why do some know-how attributions entail ability attributions while others do not? After rejecting the tempting response that know-how attributions are ambiguous, we argue that a satisfactory answer to the puzzle must acknowledge the connection between know-how and concept possession (specifically, reasonable conceptual mastery, or understanding). This connection appears at first to be grounded solely in the cognitive nature of certain activities. However, we show that, contra anti-intellectualists, the connection between know-how (...) and concept possession can be generalized via reflection on the cognitive nature of intentional action and the potential of certain misunderstandings to undermine know-how even when the corresponding abilities and associated propositional knowledge are in place. Such considerations make explicit the intimate relation between know-how and understanding, motivating a general intellectualist analysis of the former in terms of the latter. (shrink)
When two agents engage in a joint action, such as rowing together, they exercise joint know-how. But what is the relationship between the joint know-how of the two agents and the know-how each agent possesses individually? I construct an “active mutual enablement” account of this relationship, according to which joint know-how arises when each agent knows how to predict, monitor, and make failure-averting adjustments in response to the behaviour of the other agent, while actively enabling the (...) other to make such adjustments. I defend the AME account from three objections, and I then use this account as the platform for an examination of the reducibility of joint know-how to joint propositional knowledge. A summative account of joint propositional knowledge is incompatible with the reduction of joint know-how to joint propositional knowledge, whereas a distributive account is not. I close by highlighting some open questions the AME account brings into view concerning the evolutionary origin and scaling up of joint know-how. (shrink)
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.
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 creatures who exhibit flexible behavior is their capacity to learn. As it turns out, Ryle already identified a core characteristic of learning shared widely across the animal kingdom from the lowly rat to the top athlete. Taking my cues from Ryle, I argue that know how is successful performance resulting from self-regulated abilities. To regulate an ability is to be disposed to adjust to error and respond to feedback. While regulating sophisticated human abilities often requires propositional knowledge, in many simpler cases it does not. I focus on the navigational know how of rats and honeybees. Although they possess know how, whether they possess propositional knowledge is at best an open question. (shrink)
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 (...) illustrates that even if the arguments given here succeed it might still be reasonable to hold that knowing how to do something is a matter of standing in an intentional relation to a proposition other than the knowledge-that relation. (shrink)
Knowledge how to do things is a pervasive and central element of everyday life. Yet it raises many difficult questions that must be answered by philosophers and cognitive scientists aspiring to understand human cognition and agency. What is the connection between knowing how and knowing that? Is knowledge how simply a type of ability or disposition to act? Is there an irreducibly practical form of knowledge? What is the role of the intellect in intelligent action? This volume contains fifteen state (...) of the art essays by leading figures in philosophy and linguistics that amplify and sharpen the debate between "intellectualists" and "anti-intellectualists" about mind and action, highlighting the conceptual, empirical, and linguistic issues that motivate and sustain the conflict. The essays also explore various ways in which this debate informs central areas of ethics, philosophy of action, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Knowing How covers a broad range of topics dealing with tacit and procedural knowledge, the psychology of skill, expertise, intelligence and intelligent action, the nature of ability, the syntax and semantics of embedded questions, the mind-body problem, phenomenal character, epistemic injustice, moral knowledge, the epistemology of logic, linguistic competence, the connection between knowledge and understanding, and the relation between theory and practice. This is the book on knowing how--an invaluable resource for philosophers, linguists, psychologists, and others concerned with knowledge, mind, and action. (shrink)
My topic in this paper is the nature of faith. Much of the discussion concerning the nature of faith proceeds by focussing on the relationship between faith and belief. In this paper, I explore a different approach. I suggest that we approach the question of what faith involves by focussing on the relationship between faith and action. When we have faith, we generally manifest it in how we act; we perform acts of faith: we share our secrets, rely on other’s (...) judgment, refrain from going through our partner’s emails, let our children prepare for an important exam without our interference. Religious faith, too is manifested in acts of faith: attending worship, singing the liturgy, fasting, embarking on a pilgrimage. I argue that approaching faith by way of acts of faith, reveals that faith is a complex mental state whose elements go beyond doxastic states towards particular propositions. It also involves conative states and – perhaps more surprisingly – know how. This has consequences for the epistemology of faith: the role of testimony and experts, the importance of practices, and what we should make of Pascal’s advice for how to acquire faith. (shrink)
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.
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 (...) I will raise objections to Stanley and Williamson's account of knowing-how and also defend the claim that ability is necessary for knowing-how attributions. Unlike most discussions of knowing-how, however, I will return to more Rylean considerations in order to illustrate that any intellectualist account of knowing-how, not simply Stanley and Williamson's preferred variety, will fail because it will be unable to account for fundamental differences in the knowledge required to instantiate an ability and the knowledge involved in propositional thought. (shrink)
How can science be brought to connect with experience? This book addresses two of the most challenging problems facing contemporary neurobiology and cognitive science. Firstly, understanding how we unconsciously execute habitual actions as a result of neurological and cognitive processes that are not formal actions of conscious judgment but part of a habitual nexus of systematic self-organization. Secondly, attempting to create an ethics adequate to our present awareness that there is no such thing as a transcendental self, a stable subject (...) or soul. The author combines researches in cognitive science and phenomenology with two representatives of what he calls the 'wisdom traditions': Confucianism and Buddhist epistemology. (shrink)
Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson's influential article "Knowing How" argues that knowledge-how is a species of knowledge-that. One objection to their view is that knowledge-how is significantly different than knowledge-that because Gettier cases afflict the latter but not the former. Stanley and Williamson argue that this objection fails. Their response, however, is not adequate. Moreover, I sketch a plausible argument that knowledge-how is not susceptible to Gettier cases. This suggests a significant distinction between knowledge-that and knowledge-how.
ABSTRACTA longstanding tradition in philosophy distinguishes between knowthatand know-how. This traditional “anti-intellectualist” view is soentrenched in folk psychology that it is often invoked in supportof an allegedly equivalent distinction between explicit and implicitmemory, derived from the so-called “standard model of memory.”In the last two decades, the received philosophical view has beenchallenged by an “intellectualist” view of know-how. Surprisingly, defenders of the anti-intellectualist view have turned to the cognitivescience of memory, and to the standard model in particular, todefend their (...) view. Here, I argue that this strategy is a mistake. As it turns out, upon closer scrutiny, the evidence from cognitivepsychology and neuroscience of memory does not support theanti-intellectualist approach, mainly because the standard modelof memory is likely wrong. However, this need not be interpretedas good news for the intellectualist, for it is not clear that theempirical evidence necessarily supp... (shrink)
In this paper I consider the prospects for an epistemic norm which relates knowledge-how to showing in a way that parallels the knowledge norm of assertion. In the first part of the paper I show that this epistemic norm can be motivated by conversational evidence, and that it fits in with a plausible picture of the function of knowledge. In the second part of the paper I present a dilemma for this norm. If we understand showing in a broad sense (...) as a general kind of skill teaching, then the norm faces counterexamples of teachers who know how to teach, but not to do. On the other hand, it we understand showing more narrowly as involving only teaching by doing the relevant activity, then the data which initially supported the norm can be explained away by more general connections between knowledge-how and intentional action. (shrink)
I provide a novel knowledge-first account of justification that avoids the pitfalls of existing accounts while preserving the underlying insight of knowledge-first epistemologies: that knowledge comes first. The view I propose is, roughly, this: justification is grounded in our practical knowledge (know-how) concerning the acquisition of propositional knowledge (knowledge-that). I first refine my thesis in response to immediate objections. In subsequent sections I explain the various ways in which this thesis is theoretically superior to existing knowledge-first accounts of justification. (...) The upshot is a virtue-theoretic, knowledge-first view of justification that is internalist-friendly and able to explain more facts about justification than any other available view. (shrink)
Intellectualists tell us that a person who knows how to do something therein knows a proposition. Along with others, they may say that a person who intends to do something intends a proposition. I argue against them. I do so by way of considering ‘know how ——’ and ‘intend ——’ together. When the two are considered together, a realistic conception of human agency can inform the understanding of some infinitives: the argument need not turn on what semanticists have had (...) to say about ‘the subjects of infinitival clauses’. (shrink)
You know that George W. Bush is the U.S. president, but you know how to ride a bicycle. What's the difference? According to intellectualists, not much: either knowing how to do something is a matter of knowing that something is the case or, at the very least, know-how requires a prior bit of theoretical knowledge. Anti-intellectualists deny this order of priority: either knowing-how and knowing-that are independent or, at the very least, knowing that something is the case (...) requires a prior bit of know-how. Much of the dispute centers on the relationship between knowing how to do something and having an ability to do it. If having an ability is necessary and sufficient for knowing-how, this is thought to provide comfort for anti-intellectualists. This paper traces the place of ability in the know-how/know-that debate from Ryle's seminal statement of anti-intellectualism through Stanley and Williamson's more recent defense of intellectualism. (shrink)
This paper proposes an account of linguistic knowledge in terms of knowing-how, starting from Love's seminal distinction between first-order linguistic activity and second-order (or metalinguistic) practices. Metalinguistic practices are argued to be constitutive of linguistic knowledge. Skilful linguistic behaviour is subject to correction based on criterial support provided through metalinguistic practices. Linguistic know-how is knowing-how to provide and to recognise criterial support for first-order linguistic activity. I conclude that participation in first-order linguistic activity requires a critical reflective attitude, which (...) implies that all first-order linguistic activity has a second-order dimension. -/- . (shrink)
This chapter explores the relationship between knowing-how and skill, as well other success-in-action notions like dispositions and abilities. I offer a new view of knowledge-how which combines elements of both intellectualism and Ryleanism. According to this view, knowing how to perform an action is both a kind of knowing-that (in accord with intellectualism) and a complex multi-track dispositional state (in accord with Ryle’s view of knowing-how). I argue that this new view—what I call practical attitude intellectualism—offers an attractive set of (...) solutions to various puzzles concerning the connections between knowing-how and abilities and skills to perform intentional actions. (shrink)
Know-how and expressivism are usually regarded as disjoint topics, belonging to distant areas of philosophy. This paper argues that, despite obvious differences, the two debates have important similarities. In particular, semantic and conceptual tools developed by expressivists can be exported to the know-how debate. On the one hand, some of the expressivists' semantic resources can be used to deflect Stanley and Williamson's influential argument for factualism about know-how: the claim that knowing how to do something consists in (...) knowing a fact. On the other, expressivism provides the resources to formulate a nonfactualist account of know-how. On this account, know-how has a kind of nonpropositional content and plays the role of guiding performance of action, rather than recording information from the environment. (shrink)
David Lewis and Laurence Nemirow claim that knowing what an experience is like is knowing-how, not knowing-that. They identify this know-how with the abilities to remember, imagine, and recognize experiences, and Lewis labels their view ‘the Ability Hypothesis’. The Ability Hypothesis has intrinsic interest. But Lewis and Nemirow devised it specifically to block certain anti-physicalist arguments due to Thomas Nagel and Frank Jackson . Does it?
The distinction between knowing how to do something and knowing that something is the case is a piece of common sense. Still, it has been suggested that one of these concepts can be reduced to the other one. Intellectualists like Jason Stanley (2011) try to reduce know-how to propositional knowledge, while practicalists like Stephen Hetherington (2011) try to reduce propositional knowledge to know-how. I argue that both reductionist programs fail because they make the manifestations of the knowledge to (...) be reduced unintelligible. Contrary to both, I suggest that know-how and propositional knowledge are distinct, but conceptually interdependent. (shrink)
In “Knowing How”, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson (2001) propose an intellectualist account of knowledge-how, according to which all knowledge-how is a type of propositional knowledge about ways to act. In this article, I examine this intellectualist account by applying it to the epistemology of language. I argue that (a) Stanley and Williamson mischaracterize the concept of knowledge-how in the epistemology of language, and (b) intellectualism about knowledge of language fails in its explanatory task. One lesson that can be drawn (...) from this case study is that Stanley and Williamson's intellectualism is limited in its explanatory scope and power insofar as it cannot explain the knowledge of language, which is usually conceived as knowledge-how and as non-propositional in character. Their intellectualist claim that all knowledge-how is knowledge-that should be withdrawn. (shrink)
Intellectualism about knowledge-how is the view that practical knowledge is a species of propositional knowledge. I argue that this view is undermined by a difference in properties between knowledge-how and both knowledge-that and knowledge-wh. More specifically, I argue that both knowledge-that and knowledge-wh are easily transmitted via testimony while knowledge-how is not easily transmitted by testimony. This points to a crucial difference in states of knowledge. I also consider Jason Stanley's attempt to subsume knowledge-how under an account of de se (...) knowledge. I argue that there are crucial differences between de se knowledge and knowledge-how. Thus, this paper advances both the discussion of intellectualism and the literature on the nature of de se knowledge. (shrink)
Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson have argued that there is no fundamental distinction between what Gilbert Ryle famously called 'knowing how' and 'knowing that', and that the former can be treated as a special kind of the latter. I will endeavour to show that sentences of the form 'a knows how to F' are ambiguous between a reading in which we ascribe knowledge-that to a and another in which we ascribe something to a which is irreducible to any kind of (...) knowledge-that and can most appropriately be characterized as an ability. The authors' attempt to reduce also the latter reading to an ascription of knowledge-that fails because it rests on an unexplained conception of practical modes of presentation. (shrink)
I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer (...) to essences; and that we can gain knowledge of them. We can know about which properties are, and which properties are not, essential to a given entity. This knowledge of essence offers a route to knowledge of the ways those entities must be or could be. (shrink)
ABSTRACT A version of Meno’s paradox applies to intellectualism about knowledge-how. If one does not know that p, one does not know that w is a way of working out that p. According to intellectualists, the latter such knowledge constitutes knowledge how to work out that p. One thus knows how to work out that p only if one already knows that p. But if this is right, nobody can work anything out.
In this paper, we present a number of problems for intellectualism about knowledge-how, and in particular for the version of the view developed by Stanley & Williamson 2001. Their argument draws on the alleged uniformity of 'know how'-and 'know wh'-ascriptions. We offer a series of considerations to the effect that this assimilation is problematic. Firstly, in contrast to 'know wh'-ascriptions, 'know how'-ascriptions with known negative answers are false. Secondly, knowledge-how obeys closure principles whose counterparts fail for (...) knowledge-wh and knowledge-that. Thirdly, as opposed to knowledge-wh and knowledge-that, knowledge-how is inferentially isolated from further knowledge-that. We close by providing some evidence against the further reduction of knowledge-wh to knowledge-that, which is presupposed by the intellectualist theory under discussion. (shrink)
I examine two explanatory models of choking: the representationalist model and the anti-representationalist model. The representationalist model is based largely on Anderson's ACT model of procedural knowledge and is developed by Masters, Beilock and Carr. The antirepresentationalist model is based on dynamical models of cognition and embodied action and is developed by Dreyfus who employs an antirepresentational view of know-how. I identify the models' similarities and differences. I then suggest that Dreyfus is wrong to believe representational activity requires reflection (...) and attention. I also argue that the representationalist model of choking is preferable, since some embodied actions require appeals to representations, something not available to Dreyfus's anti-representational model. (shrink)
Among contemporary epistemologists and scholars of ancient philosophy, one often hears that transmitting propositional knowledge by testimony is usually easy and straightforward, but transmitting understanding and know-how by testimony is usually difficult or simply impossible. Further provocative conclusions are then sometimes drawn from these claims: for instance, that know-how and understanding are not types of propositional knowledge. In contrast, I argue that transmitting propositional knowledge is sometimes easy and sometimes hard, just as transmitting know how and understanding (...) is sometimes easy and sometimes hard. No general lessons can be drawn about the relationships among propositional knowledge, know how, and understanding by considering the case of testimony alone. (shrink)
A wide variety of skills, abilities and knowledge are used in technological activities such as engineering design. Together, they enable problem solving and artefact creation. Gilbert Ryle’s division of knowledge into knowing how and knowing that is often referred to when discussing this technological knowledge. Ryle’s view has been questioned and criticised by those who claim that there is only one type, for instance, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson who claim that knowing how is really a form of knowing that (...) and Stephen Hetherington who claims that knowing that is knowing how. Neither Ryle himself nor any of his critics have discussed technological knowledge. Exposing both Ryle’s and his critics’ ideas to technological knowledge show that there are strong reasons to keep the knowing how–knowing that dichotomy in technological contexts. The main reasons are that they are justified in different ways, that Stanley’s and Williamson’s ideas have great difficulties to account for learning of technological knowing how through training, and that knowing that is susceptible to Gettier problems, which technological knowing how is not. (shrink)
This paper argues for Propositionalism about knowing-how (also known as Intellectualism). On this view, knowing how to G reduces to propositional knowledge. It argues for this view without relying on contemporary theories of the semantics of interrogatives. It answers various objections.
It has been claimed that the attempt to analyze know-how in terms of propositional knowledge over-intellectualizes the mind. Exploiting the methods of so-called “experimental philosophy”, we show that the charge of over-intellectualization is baseless. Contra neo-Ryleans, who analyze know-how in terms of ability, the concrete-case judgments of ordinary folk are most consistent with the view that there exists a set of correct necessary and sufficient conditions for know-how that does not invoke ability, but rather a certain sort (...) of propositional knowledge. To the extent that one’s considered judgments agree with those of the folk (or to the extent that one is unwilling to contravene widespread judgments), this constitutes a strong prima facie case against neo-Ryleanism. (shrink)
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 of know-how in contemporary cognitive science. Specifically, I claim that Carr’s necessary conditions for know-how fail to capture the distinction he himself draws between ability and knowing-how. Moreover, Carr ties knowing-how to conscious intent, and to an explicit knowledge of procedural rules. I argue that both moves are mistakes, which together render Carr’s theory an inadequate account both of common ascriptions of knowledge-how and of widely accepted ascriptions of knowledge-how within explanations in cognitive science. Finally, I note that Carr’s conditions fail to capture intuitions (heshares) regarding the ascription of know-how to persons lacking ability. I then consider the position advocated by Stanley & Williamson (2001), which seems avoid Carr’s commitments to conscious intent and explicit knowledge while still maintaining that “knowledge-how is simply a species of knowledge-that" (Stanley & Williamson, 2001, p. 411). I argue that Stanley and Williamson’s attempt to frame a reductionist view that avoids consciously occurrent beliefs during exercises of knowledge-how and explicit knowledge of procedural rules is both empirically implausible and explanatorily vacuous. In criticizing these theories I challenge the presuppositions of the most pervasive response to Ryle in the philosophic literature, what might be described as “the received view." I also establish several facts about knowing-how. First, neither conscious intent nor explicit representation (much less conscious representation) of procedural rules are necessary for knowing-how given the theory of cognition current in cognitive science. I argue that the discussed analyses fail to capture the necessary conditions for knowledge-how because know-how requires the instantiation of an ability and of the capacities necessary for exploiting an ability—not conscious awareness of purpose or explicit knowledge of rules. Second, one must understand knowledge-how as task-specific, i.e., as presupposing certain underlying conditions. Conceiving of know-how as task-specific allows one to understand ascriptions of know-how in the absence of ability as counterfactual ascriptions based upon underlying competence. (shrink)
It’s one thing to do the right thing. It’s another to be creditable for doing the right thing. Being creditable for doing the right thing requires that one does the right thing out of a morally laudable motive and that there is a non-accidental fit between those two elements. This paper argues that the two main views of morally creditable action – the Right Making Features View and the Rightness Itself View – fail to capture that non-accidentality constraint: the first (...) because it morally credits agents who make heavy-duty moral mistakes; the second because it fails to generalise and is too conservative – a point which this paper gives renewed defence. The paper then goes on to defend and develop an alternative according to which moral worth is mediated by the agent’s knowing how to respond to the reasons of the type which make acting in that way right. It’s argued that this view avoids the problems for the alternatives, and it’s shown that in order for the view to avoid collapsing into a problematic form of Reliabilism we’ll have to think of states of knowing how as essentially successful in character. (shrink)
I defend Frank Jackson's knowledge argument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more than (...) her acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant . I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities. (shrink)
Since the 1940s, Western epistemology has discussed Gilbert Ryle’s distinction between knowledge-that and knowledge-how. Ryle argued that intelligent actions – manifestations of knowledge-how – are not constituted as intelligent by the guiding intervention of knowledge-that: knowledge-how is not a kind of knowledge-that; we must understand knowledge-how in independent terms. Yet which independent terms are needed? In this chapter, we consider whether an understanding of intelligent action must include talk of knowledge-to. This is the knowledge to do this or that now, (...) not then or in general. Our argument is refined and buttressed by consideration of a text in Chinese philosophy, the Lüshi Chunqiu. This 3rd century BCE text, a compendium on good government, focuses on different types of knowledge that an effective ruler or a capable official should possess. A significant number of those discussions concern examples of knowing-how being manifested in particular situations. The text is explicitly aware of the importance of timeliness and awareness of context in manifesting know-how. Some might say that these are merely manifestations of knowing-how. But we see these examples as revealing characteristics of know-how that Ryle did not anticipate. Might knowing-to be an essential and irreducible aspect of intelligent action? (shrink)
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.
What is the relationship between the linguistic properties of knowledge-how ascriptions and the nature of knowledge-how itself? In this chapter I address this question by examining the linguistic methodology of Stanley and Williamson (2011) and Stanley (2011a, 2011b) who defend the intellectualist view that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. My evaluation of this methodology is mixed. On the one hand, I defend Stanley and Williamson (2011) against critics who argue that the linguistic premises they appeal to—about the syntax and (...) semantics of knowledge-how and knowledge-wh ascriptions—do not establish their desired conclusions about the nature of knowledge-how itself. But, on the other hand, I also criticize the role that linguistic considerations play in Stanley’s (2011a) response to apparent Gettier-style counterexamples to intellectualism. (shrink)
Anti-Intellectualists about know-how , following Ryle, hold that knowing how to do something is simply having the ability to do it. With qualifications, I defend this traditional view. The central motivation is drawn from observations about what is involved in learning to do something. Two sorts of ability are distinguished and the thesis is defended against putative counterexamples.