Knowing How

  • Paul Ziff
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 173)


Having knowledge is sometimes a matter of knowing something about a person, or a place, or knowing a subject and so forth, but it is also sometimes a matter of knowing how to do something. Gilbert Ryle, in The Concept of Mind, made much of a distinction, which, since Ryle’s work, has beome a. commonplace in epistemology, between what is called “knowing how” and “knowing that”. I have no real quarrel with the distinction, but one must deplore the characterization of the distinction, and certainly the label it bears. The word ‘how’ at one time was spelled ‘whow’: it is a pity that it lost that spelling; such a spelling served to indicate that ‘how’ belongs to the group of so-called “wh-words” in English, namely, ‘whether’, ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘why’, ‘when’ and so forth.


Foster Parent Tennis Ball Lactose Malabsorption Intransitive Verb Human Baby 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Ziff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUSA

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