Chapter

Other locutions: Knowing how to. The Inquirer and the Apprentice. ‘Knows how to’ compared with ‘can’—and with ‘knows that’

Edward Craig

in Knowledge and the State of Nature

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238799
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597237 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198238797.003.0017
 Other locutions: Knowing how to. The Inquirer and the Apprentice. ‘Knows how to’ compared with ‘can’—and with ‘knows that’

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‘Knows how to’ (‘knows’ in the capacity sense) appears synonymous with ‘can’, and yet ‘can’ does not primarily tell us about someone's capacity as an informant, suggesting that the practical explication cannot provide an account of ‘knows how to’. Three responses are considered: (1) the capacity sense exists only in some languages and therefore poses no problem; (2) there is no irreducible capacity sense; (3) the capacity sense is connected to the informational sense by the natural connection between agency and information. (3) is favoured, on the grounds that the needs of the inquirer and the apprentice, one who seeks an instructor from whom he may learn how, overlap in central cases. Craig concludes that the practical explication successfully explains both senses of ‘know’ in a unitary fashion.

Keywords: apprentice; capacity; instructor; knowledge; knowledge how

Chapter.  5664 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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