Practical Senses

Philosophers' Imprint 15 (2015)
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In their theories of know how, proponents of Intellectualism routinely appeal to ‘practical modes of presentation’. But what are practical modes of presentation? And what makes them distinctively practical? In this essay, I develop a Fregean account of practical modes of presentation: I argue that there are such things as practical senses and I give a theory of what they are. One of the challenges facing the proponent of a distinctively Fregean construal of practical modes of presentation is to provide an account of their nature on which they are plausible qua Fregean senses. I take up this challenge, arguing that we find examples of practical senses in the semantic values assigned to programs by operational semantics for programming languages. By looking at a species of practical senses, we will have taken one important step towards legitimizing the genus. In particular, I show that certain features of operational semantic values can be generalized towards a comprehensive theory of practical senses. The upshot is a full-fledged account of what practical senses are, which can be put to use in an explanatory theory of know how



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Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University

Citations of this work

Knowledge-How, Abilities, and Questions.Joshua Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):86-104.
Skill.Jason Stanley & Timothy Williamson - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):713-726.
Knowing How.Yuri Cath - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):487-503.

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