05
Mar
08

Know-how and language

Let’s look in more depth at the relationship between knowledge and language.  Although we have accepted (maybe only tentatively) that beliefs can be expressed as linguistic statements (see (TOCA-8-A)), we have found this compelling largely because the following appear to hold

(T&W-1) When one has a belief, one is related in a certain way (the relation of believing) to a proposition.
(T&W-3) Propositions have structure that parallels the logical structure of the sentences.

Presumably, what we mean when we say that beliefs can be expressed as linguistic statements is that for a belief B, and a proposition related to that belief PB, B can be expressed by the linguistic statement SB only when SB reflects the logical structure of PB (and when the words of SB reflect the proper concepts which constitute PB).

This all makes sense when we are talking about knowledge-that.  But we have already pointed out that know-how does not seem to have the same connection with language as knowledge-that.  In particular, there don’t appear to be sentences that correspond with our “belief-hows.”

Why might this be? If the above reasoning about knowledge-that is correct, then I think the best explanation would be this: knowledge-how is not related to propositions in the same way as knowledge-that.

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