(2017) Synthese 194 (2).

Knowledge how, ability, and the type-token distinction

Garry Young

pp. 593-607

This paper examines the relationship between knowing how to G and the ability to G, which is typically presented in one of the following ways: (a) knowing how to G entails the ability to G; (b) knowing how to G does not entail the ability to G. In an attempt to reconcile these two putatively opposing positions, I distinguish between type and token actions. It is my contention that S can know how to G in the absence of an ability to (hbox {G}_{mathrm{token}}), where this action is derived from an action-type, but not in the absence of the ability to perform the action-type itself ((hbox {G}_{mathrm{type}})). This refinement is an attempt to reconcile differences between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism (broadly construed) with regard to knowledge how and ability.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-015-0961-4

Full citation:

Young, G. (2017). Knowledge how, ability, and the type-token distinction. Synthese 194 (2), pp. 593-607.

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