Lau, Tszyuen and Wang, Yanjing
Philosophical Forum, 47(3-4): 415—423, 2016
Publication year: 2016

Abstract:In this article, we present an attempt to reconcile intellectualism and the anti-intellectualist ability account of knowledge-how by reducing “S knows how to F” to, roughly speaking, “S knows that she has the ability to F demonstrated by a concrete way w.” More precisely, “S has a certain ability” is further formalized as the proposition that S can guarantee a certain goal by a concrete way w of some method under some precondition. Having the knowledge of our own ability, we can plan our future actions accordingly, which would not be possible by merely having the ability without knowing it, and this pinpoints the crucial difference between knowledge-how and ability. Our semi-formal account avoids most of the objections to both intellectualism and the anti-intellectualist ability account and provides a multistage learning process of knowledge-how, which reveals various subtleties.