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Knowledge-how and the problems of masking and finkishness

  • M. Hosein M. A. KhalajEmail author


Ryle, the most prominent proponent of anti-intellectualism, and Stanley and Williamson, the most influential intellectualists, both invoke dispositions to explain the ascription of knowledge-how. It is now well known that conditional analyses of disposition suffer from two types of counterexamples: finkish and masked dispositions. If it is the case that dispositions play a role in the analysis of ascription of knowledge-how, and dispositions can be masked and finkish, then an important question arises: Can knowing-how be masked or finkish too? In response to this question, Hawley claims that (1) unlike dispositions, knowledge-how does not seem liable to finkishness, and (2) knowledge-how can be accounted for in terms of counterfactual success. In this paper both claims will be challenged. I seek to show that Hawley’s account faces two problems: an unjustified asymmetry and a puzzle. I also argue that knowledge-how can, intuitively, be finkish and masked, and therefore the counterfactual analysis of knowing-how suggested by Ryle, Stanley and Hawley fails. What is more, I show that the debate on finkish and masked dispositions can shed a new light on the practical component which is necessary for knowing-how.


Knowledge-how Disposition Masking Finkishness Ability Hawley 



Thanks to S.M.Hassan A. Shirazi, Mahrad Almotahari, Katherine Hawley, Reza Dehghan, Hadi Safai, Mehdi Hatef, Hosein Khodadadi, Mahdie Mirmohammad, Milad Mahjouri, Hamed Karimpour, Moslem, Laleh Ghadakpour, Mahmoud Vahidnia, Ben Young, Ehsan Karbasizade, Mohamad Yarandi, Reza Abdorahmani, Neda Farahani, Omid Karimzadh, Fatemeh Khalaj and Zahra Sarkarpour. Two anonymous reviewers gave me very useful comments which led to several improvements of earlier drafts.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shahid Beheshti UniversityTehranIran

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