Knowledge-how : linguistic and philosophical considerations
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This thesis concerns the nature of knowledge-how, in particular the question of how we ought to combine philosophical and linguistic considerations to understand what it is to know how to do something. Part 1 concerns the significance of linguistic evidence. In chapter 1, I consider the range of linguistic arguments that have been used in favour of the Intellectualist claim that knowledge-how is a species of propositional knowledge. Chapter 2 considers the idea that sentences of the form ‘S knows how to V’ involve a free relative complement, and the relation between this claim and the Objectualist claim that knowledge-how is a kind of objectual knowledge. Chapter 3 argues that Intellectualism about knowledge-how faces a problem of generality in accounting for the kinds of propositions that are known in knowledge-how, which is analogous to the generality problem for Reliabilism. Part 2 turns to philosophical considerations, offering an extended inquiry into the point of thinking and talking about knowledge-how. Chapter 4 considers why we should want to work with a concept of knowledge, isolating two hypotheses: i) that thinking and talking about knowledge-how helps us to pool skills, and ii) that thinking and talking about knowledge-how helps us to engage in responsible practices of co-operation. Chapter 5 criticises the former hypothesis by arguing against the suggestion that there is a knowledge-how norm on teaching. Chapter 6 offers an indirect argument for the latter hypothesis, arguing for a knowledge-how norm on intending. Part 3, which consists of chapter 7, offers a positive account of knowledge-how which takes into account both philosophical and linguistic considerations. According to what I will call the Interrogative Capacity view, knowing how to do something consists in a certain kind of ability to answer the question of how to do it.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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