Rethinking Knowledge-that and Knowledge-how: Performance, Information and Feedback

Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai - Philosophia 65 (3):73-98 (2020)
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Abstract

This work approaches the distinction between knowledge-how and knowledge-that in terms of two complementary concepts: performance and information. In order to do so, I formulate Ryle’s argument of infinite regress in terms of performance in order to show that Stanley and Williamson’s counterargument has no real object: both reject the view that the exercise of knowledge-that necessarily requires the previous consideration of propositions. Next, using the concept of feedback, I argue that Stanley and Williamson’s positive account of knowledge-how in terms of knowledge-that corresponds to the output of the comparison between an intention of action and the perceived outcome of performance. Then, I expound other theories of mind and cognition in which feedback and prediction play a fundamental role in order to explain other ways in which information intervenes in performance—i.e., information is construed as knowledge-that available at subject level that guides performance. Finally, I present some reflections on the impact of the concept of knowledge-how, and possible routes to continue our enquiry on the nature of knowledge.

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