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Knowing HowEssays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action$
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John Bengson and Marc A. Moffett

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195389364

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195389364.001.0001

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Ryle's Knowing-How, and Knowing How to Act

Ryle's Knowing-How, and Knowing How to Act

(p.80) 3 Ryle's Knowing-How, and Knowing How to Act
Knowing How

Jennifer Hornsby

Oxford University Press

Ryle's paper ‘Knowing How and Knowing That’ (1945), like chapter 2 of The Concept of Mind (1949), is concerned with how “thinking affects the course of practice,” but the paper treats a more compendious category of practice than the chapter does, and Ryle's arguments are best understood when this is taken into account. I argue that Ryle's central claim in both places was that putting propositional knowledge into practice requires a sort of knowledge that could not itself be propositional. This claim is rejected by those of Ryle's opponents who maintain that propositional knowledge is ascribed whenever someone is said to know how to do something. I argue against their account of ‘know how to.’ And I explain why they might be seen as complicit in a sort of Cartesianism that it was the purpose of The Concept of Mind to trounce.

Keywords:   Ryle, knowledge how, propositional knowledge, Cartesianism, practical knowledge, intelligent action

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