The Structure of Practical Expertise

Philosophia 42 (2):539-554 (2014)
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Anti-intellectualists in epistemology argue for the thesis that knowing-how is not a species of knowing-that, and most of them tend to avoid any use of the notion “knowing-that” in their explanation of intelligent action on pain of inconsistency. Intellectualists tend to disprove anti-intellectualism by showing that the residues of knowing-that remain in the anti-intellectualist explanation of intelligent action. Outside the field of epistemology, some philosophers who try to highlight the nature of their explanation of intelligent action in certain fields, such as ethics, tend to classify themselves as intellectualist simply because they appeal to the notion of knowing-that in their explanation. In a word, the idea of knowing-that is harmful to the anti-intellectualist explanation of intelligent action, whether from an insider or outsider perspective. In this paper, I argue that these tendencies are unjustified because they are based on an unclear conception of anti-intellectualism. I shall use Gilbert Ryle’s anti-intellectualism as a paradigm with which to describe anti-intellectualism and to illustrate why the notion of knowing-that is not harmful to but is, on the contrary, beneficial to the anti-intellectualist explanation of intelligent action. If my explication of Ryle’s anti-intellectualism is correct, then most anti-intellectualists in the literature blindly worry about the notion of knowing-that, most intellectualists fire into the wrong flock, and some philosophers outside epistemology mischaracterize their own position.



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Cheng-hung Tsai
Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Citations of this work

Know-how as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Lowenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
Knowledge-How, Abilities, and Questions.Joshua Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):86-104.
Intellectual Skill and the Rylean Regress.Brian Weatherson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):370-386.
Beyond Intuitive Know-How.Cheng-Hung Tsai - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-14.

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References found in this work

Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Knowing Full Well.Ernest Sosa - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
Knowing How.Jason Stanley & Timothy Willlamson - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (8):411-444.
Knowing How and Knowing That: The Presidential Address.Gilbert Ryle - 1946 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 46:1 - 16.

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