Joint know-how

Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3329–3352 (2019)
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When two agents engage in a joint action, such as rowing together, they exercise joint know-how. But what is the relationship between the joint know-how of the two agents and the know-how each agent possesses individually? I construct an “active mutual enablement” account of this relationship, according to which joint know-how arises when each agent knows how to predict, monitor, and make failure-averting adjustments in response to the behaviour of the other agent, while actively enabling the other to make such adjustments. I defend the AME account from three objections, and I then use this account as the platform for an examination of the reducibility of joint know-how to joint propositional knowledge. A summative account of joint propositional knowledge is incompatible with the reduction of joint know-how to joint propositional knowledge, whereas a distributive account is not. I close by highlighting some open questions the AME account brings into view concerning the evolutionary origin and scaling up of joint know-how.

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Jonathan Birch
London School of Economics


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