MoL-2016-28: Knowing How To Do Semantics

MoL-2016-28: Sequeira, Nigel (2016) Knowing How To Do Semantics. [Report]

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Abstract

Stanley and Williamson’s 2001 article "Knowing How" introduced a new way of thinking about an old question in epistemology. Their unique perspective is developed in full detail by Stanley in his 2011 book "Know How". The question they address, "What is knowledge-how?", can be uncontroversially traced to Gilbert Ryle’s "The Concept of Mind". I am interested in the particular account of knowledge-how that emerges from Stanley’s work – I will focus on his theory over the less detailed and quite similar sketch co-authored with Williamson – because it is at the interface of philosophy and semantics. In the larger space consisting of all accounts of knowledge-how, I will show that Stanley’s account suggests further investigation of knowledge-how along interesting and potentially fruitful directions. The broadest reading of this thesis would use this example to gain a better understanding of how semantics relates to philosophy in general practice. With respect to this reading, the nature of such a relation depends on and determines how each discipline is understood. As I will discuss, traditional metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology still feature prominently in Stanley’s theory. What is distinctively semantic about his approach is that it is primarily motivated by semantic rather than traditional philosophical concerns. I will make some speculative remarks with respect to the relationship between linguistic theory and philosophy at the end of this thesis. Most of what follows is not this general, however. It focuses quite specifically on the methodology of Stanley’s theory of knowledge-how, and is therefore perhaps well read as a case study.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2016-28
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2016
Subjects: Language
Philosophy
Depositing User: Dr Marco Vervoort
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2017 17:16
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2017 17:16
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/1531

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