Philosophical Studies

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 135–154 | Cite as

In support of anti-intellectualism

  • Victor Kumar


Intellectualist theories attempt to assimilate know how to propositional knowledge and, in so doing, fail to properly explain the close relation know how bears to action. I develop here an anti-intellectualist theory that is warranted, I argue, because it best accounts for the difference between know how and mere “armchair knowledge.” Know how is a mental state characterized by a certain world-to-mind direction of fit (though it is non-motivational) and attendant functional role. It is essential of know how, but not propositional knowledge, that it makes possible performance errors and has the functional role of guiding action. The theory is attractive, in part, because it allows for propositional, non-propositional and perhaps even non-representational varieties of know how.


Know how Propositional knowledge Intellectualism Direction of fit Functional role Performance errors 



Thanks to Richmond Campbell, Terry Horgan, Bruce Hunter, Heather Logue, Duncan MacIntosh, Chris Maloney, Farid Masrour, Adam Morton, Jennifer Nagel, Shaun Nichols, Brendan Ritchie, Mark Timmons, Robert Wilson, Jennifer Woodrow and an anonymous referee at Philosophical Studies for very useful feedback. Earlier versions of the essay were presented to audiences at Dalhousie University, MIT, Arizona State University and The University of Arizona. All of these audiences were generous with helpful questions, comments and criticisms. Work on the essay was supported by a fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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