, Volume 84, Issue 4, pp 895–912 | Cite as

Testimonial Knowledge-How

  • Andrew PeetEmail author


There is an emerging skepticism about the existence of testimonial knowledge-how (Hawley in Stud Hist Philos Sci Part A 41(4):387–404, 2010; Poston in Noûs 50(4):865–878, 2016; Carter and Pritchard in Philos Phenomenol Res 91(1):181–199, 2015a) (Hawley does not commit to the impossibility of testimonial knowledge-how. However, she questions whether apparent cases of testimonial knowledge-how will be genuinely testimonial). This is unsurprising since a number of influential approaches to knowledge-how struggle to accommodate testimonial knowledge-how. Nonetheless, this scepticism is misguided. This paper establishes that there are cases of easy testimonial knowledge-how. It is structured as follows: first, a case is presented in which an agent acquires knowledge-how simply by accepting a speaker’s testimony. Second, it is argued that this knowledge-how is genuinely testimonial. Next, Poston’s (2016) arguments against easy testimonial knowledge-how are considered and rejected. The implications of the argument differ for intellectualists and anti-intellectualists about knowledge-how. The intellectualist must reject widespread assumptions about the communicative preconditions for the acquisition of testimonial knowledge. The anti-intellectualist must find a way of accommodating the dependence of knowledge-how on speaker reliability. It is not clear how this can be done.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

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