Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another book on Knowing How

In addition to Jason Stanley's Know How, there's another, even more recent book on the same topic:  Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind and Action. It's a collection of 15 new papers presumably commissioned by the editors of the volume, which are John Bengson and Marc A. Moffett.

I've only just begun to peruse the bits that are available online.  I don't expect to get to the whole book any time soon.  But it looks like at least some of the contributors are defending Ryle, and in ways not unlike my own.  Still, there are some confused interpretations of Ryle, as well.

For example, on page 65, Paul Snowdon admits, in his criticism of Ryle's "Knowing How and Knowing That" (1946), that Ryle "is very hard to follow."  Snowdon claims that the confusion is Ryle's, and not his own.  He thinks Ryle is confused in his presentation of knowing-that, as if Ryle conflated the state or condition of knowing-that with the act or process of contemplation.  Ryle did no such thing.  Coincidentally, I addressed the passage from Ryle that Snowdon is questioning in my last post.  My analysis shows why Snowdon's view is precisely the wrong interpretation of the passage in question.

I found other curious and questionable assertions coming from Snowdon, but I'll have to consider whether or not it would be worth going through them point by point.  I'll have to read more of the book and then decide which, if any, parts of it I want to critique.  But, as I said, it also looks like there's at least some material here to embrace.  For example, though I only read a few pages of Jennifer Hornsby's essay, and even though I found a few points in it to question, I suspect I agree with a lot of what she has to say.

Alas, I don't have as much time to engage with the literature as I'd like.  Not nearly.  But I'm working on that.