Evidence for anti-intellectualism about know-how from a sentence recognition task

Ian Harmon, Zachary Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


An emerging trend in cognitive science is to explore central epistemological questions using psychological methods. Early work in this growing area of research has revealed that epistemologists’ theories of knowledge diverge in various ways from the ways in which ordinary people think of knowledge. Reflecting the practices of epistemology as a whole, the vast majority of these studies have focused on the concept of propositional knowledge, or knowledge-that. Many philosophers, however, have argued that knowing how to do something is importantly different from knowing that something is the case. Hence, in this paper we turn our attention to people’s concept of knowledge-how. We present data from two experiments that employed a sentence recognition task as an implicit measure of conceptual activation. The data from this implicit measure suggest that, contrary to prominent intellectualist theories of know-how, according to which know-how is a species of propositional knowledge, people’s concept of know-how more closely aligns with anti-intellectualism, the view that knowing how to perform some task consists in having the appropriate skills or abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2929-2947
Number of pages19
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Experimental philosophy
  • Know-how
  • Semantic integration
  • Skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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