Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Wyman
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Knowing how versus Knowing that

Post by Wyman »

Gingko posted the following essay on another thread: http://philrsss.anu.edu.au/people-defau ... h/ABKH.pdf
I often use the distinction between knowing how and knowing that in my thinking. For instance, on another thread, I maintained that living morally involves knowing 'how' to live, rather than buying into a system of propositional knowledge.

Does knowing how translate into, or reduce to, or imply, knowing that? Or is the converse true, or neither?

My intuition is that knowing how is primary and knowing that (propositional knowledge) somehow reduces to a description of knowing how.

In the context of the 'Mary's room' scenerio, Mary has a huge set of (ahem) true propositions about perceiving the color red. But she is locked in a room consisting of only black and white (or she is color blind, I forget which). The question is, given that she knows every true proposition about perceiving red, is she still missing something, having never actually experienced red?

'Perceiving' can be thought of as an ability, an activity, a 'knowing how.' We could say that Mary does not know how to 'recognize' the color red, for instance. Does this distinction between two types of knowledge hold up under scrutiny, or does every instance of 'knowing how' reduce to a set of 'knowing that' propositions?

This dichotomy seems to me similar, and perhaps reducible to, the distinction between 'know that' and 'knowing what it's like to be a bat' from Nagel.
Last edited by Wyman on Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

Post by Lev Muishkin »

Wyman wrote:Gingko posted the following essay on another thread: http://philrsss.anu.edu.au/people-defau ... h/ABKH.pdf.

I often use the distinction between knowing how and knowing that in my thinking. For instance, on another thread, I maintained that living morally involves knowing 'how' to live, rather than buying into a system of propositional knowledge.

Does knowing how translate into, or reduce to, or imply, knowing that? Or is the converse true, or neither?

My intuition is that knowing how is primary and knowing that (propositional knowledge) somehow reduces to a description of knowing how.

In the context of the 'Mary's room' scenerio, Mary has a huge set of (ahem) true propositions about perceiving the color red. But she is locked in a room consisting of only black and white (or she is color blind, I forget which). The question is, given that she knows every true proposition about perceiving red, is she still missing something, having never actually experienced red?

'Perceiving' can be thought of as an ability, an activity, a 'knowing how.' We could say that Mary does not know how to 'recognize' the color red, for instance. Does this distinction between two types of knowledge hold up under scrutiny, or does every instance of 'knowing how' reduce to a set of 'knowing that' propositions?

This dichotomy seems to me similar, and perhaps reducible to, the distinction between 'know that' and 'knowing what it's like to be a bat' from Nagel.
What Mary misses is the experience of "red" never having seen it. In the example she is not colour blind, but simply in a monochrome environment.
The point of the thought experiment is that one day she opens the door and sees red for the first time.
What is significant is that although she has a bunch of non-experiential knowledge about red, she does not even know which colour is red and which is blue. There is nothing in her knowledge that can help her.
Paradoxically she has always known how to see red. So your example does not fit exactly.

The conclusion in the experiment is the idea of qualia, which are items of perceptual information, not given by learned knowledge at ALL!

In real life situations "knowing that" can lead to "knowing how," by practice. Colour is innate knowing how, knowledge about it comes after.
Wyman
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

Post by Wyman »

Lev Muishkin wrote:
Wyman wrote:Gingko posted the following essay on another thread: http://philrsss.anu.edu.au/people-defau ... h/ABKH.pdf.

I often use the distinction between knowing how and knowing that in my thinking. For instance, on another thread, I maintained that living morally involves knowing 'how' to live, rather than buying into a system of propositional knowledge.

Does knowing how translate into, or reduce to, or imply, knowing that? Or is the converse true, or neither?

My intuition is that knowing how is primary and knowing that (propositional knowledge) somehow reduces to a description of knowing how.

In the context of the 'Mary's room' scenerio, Mary has a huge set of (ahem) true propositions about perceiving the color red. But she is locked in a room consisting of only black and white (or she is color blind, I forget which). The question is, given that she knows every true proposition about perceiving red, is she still missing something, having never actually experienced red?

'Perceiving' can be thought of as an ability, an activity, a 'knowing how.' We could say that Mary does not know how to 'recognize' the color red, for instance. Does this distinction between two types of knowledge hold up under scrutiny, or does every instance of 'knowing how' reduce to a set of 'knowing that' propositions?

This dichotomy seems to me similar, and perhaps reducible to, the distinction between 'know that' and 'knowing what it's like to be a bat' from Nagel.
What Mary misses is the experience of "red" never having seen it. In the example she is not colour blind, but simply in a monochrome environment.
The point of the thought experiment is that one day she opens the door and sees red for the first time.
What is significant is that although she has a bunch of non-experiential knowledge about red, she does not even know which colour is red and which is blue. There is nothing in her knowledge that can help her.
Paradoxically she has always known how to see red. So your example does not fit exactly.

The conclusion in the experiment is the idea of qualia, which are items of perceptual information, not given by learned knowledge at ALL!

In real life situations "knowing that" can lead to "knowing how," by practice. Colour is innate knowing how, knowledge about it comes after.
What Mary misses is the experience of "red"
The question is, what does 'the experience of red' consist of - is it a knowing. If so, what type.
she has a bunch of non-experiential knowledge about red, she does not even know which colour is red and which is blue. There is nothing in her knowledge that can help her.
What is 'non-experiential knowledge?' What is she uses a spectrometer?
Paradoxically she has always known how to see red.


That doesn't make any sense given what you've said so far. The question is does she know how and is that different from knowing that?
In real life situations "knowing that" can lead to "knowing how," by practice. Colour is innate knowing how, knowledge about it comes after.
We're not using the same terminology, apparently, because this seems to me to be a contradictory statement, two or three times over. 'Knowing that leads to knowing how.' Yet knowing how (regarding color) is innate (But you just said it comes from knowing that). Then you say knowledge of color (innate, knowing how) comes prior to 'knowledge about it,' which I take to mean knowing that-type knowledge. Do we learn in circles?
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

Post by Lev Muishkin »

Wyman wrote:
Lev Muishkin wrote:
Wyman wrote:Gingko posted the following essay on another thread: http://philrsss.anu.edu.au/people-defau ... h/ABKH.pdf.

I often use the distinction between knowing how and knowing that in my thinking. For instance, on another thread, I maintained that living morally involves knowing 'how' to live, rather than buying into a system of propositional knowledge.

Does knowing how translate into, or reduce to, or imply, knowing that? Or is the converse true, or neither?

My intuition is that knowing how is primary and knowing that (propositional knowledge) somehow reduces to a description of knowing how.

In the context of the 'Mary's room' scenerio, Mary has a huge set of (ahem) true propositions about perceiving the color red. But she is locked in a room consisting of only black and white (or she is color blind, I forget which). The question is, given that she knows every true proposition about perceiving red, is she still missing something, having never actually experienced red?

'Perceiving' can be thought of as an ability, an activity, a 'knowing how.' We could say that Mary does not know how to 'recognize' the color red, for instance. Does this distinction between two types of knowledge hold up under scrutiny, or does every instance of 'knowing how' reduce to a set of 'knowing that' propositions?

This dichotomy seems to me similar, and perhaps reducible to, the distinction between 'know that' and 'knowing what it's like to be a bat' from Nagel.
What Mary misses is the experience of "red" never having seen it. In the example she is not colour blind, but simply in a monochrome environment.
The point of the thought experiment is that one day she opens the door and sees red for the first time.
What is significant is that although she has a bunch of non-experiential knowledge about red, she does not even know which colour is red and which is blue. There is nothing in her knowledge that can help her.
Paradoxically she has always known how to see red. So your example does not fit exactly.

The conclusion in the experiment is the idea of qualia, which are items of perceptual information, not given by learned knowledge at ALL!

In real life situations "knowing that" can lead to "knowing how," by practice. Colour is innate knowing how, knowledge about it comes after.
What Mary misses is the experience of "red"
The question is, what does 'the experience of red' consist of - is it a knowing. If so, what type.
she has a bunch of non-experiential knowledge about red, she does not even know which colour is red and which is blue. There is nothing in her knowledge that can help her.
What is 'non-experiential knowledge?' What is she uses a spectrometer?
Paradoxically she has always known how to see red.


That doesn't make any sense given what you've said so far. The question is does she know how and is that different from knowing that?
In real life situations "knowing that" can lead to "knowing how," by practice. Colour is innate knowing how, knowledge about it comes after.
We're not using the same terminology, apparently, because this seems to me to be a contradictory statement, two or three times over. 'Knowing that leads to knowing how.' Yet knowing how (regarding color) is innate (But you just said it comes from knowing that). Then you say knowledge of color (innate, knowing how) comes prior to 'knowledge about it,' which I take to mean knowing that-type knowledge. Do we learn in circles?
Maybe you should start by acquainting yourself with the original experiment. I think Stanford has a good page on it.
Nothing I have said is contradictory.
We all know how to see, red when we are born we just don't know what to call it. Such is the case when Mary emerges from the monochrome world into the real world.
Someone hands her a coloured cup. Amazingly the she something she has never seen before; colour. Trouble she does not know what colour it is. In this case her body knows how to see colour, not which colour THAT is.

For other things in life. I can know THAT my car needs a new battery to fix it. Learning HOW comes later when I figure out which spanner I need and how to pop the hood.
Wyman
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

Post by Wyman »

I read the Stanford entry and I found an excerpt which is, as far as I can tell, close to my interpretation of the problem:
4.3 No Propositional Knowledge 1: the Ability Hypothesis
Two different versions of the No Propositional Knowledge-View have been proposed. According to the Ability Hypothesis (most prominently defended in Lewis 1983, 1988 and in Nemirow 1980, 1990, 2007), Mary does not acquire any new propositional knowledge after release (no knowledge about something that is the case, no factual knowledge), but only a bundle of abilities (like the ability to imagine, remember and recognize colors or color experiences). According to the Acquaintance Hypothesis proposed by Conee (1994), Mary's new knowledge after release is what he calls “acquaintance knowledge” which is neither propositional knowledge nor identical to a bundle of abilities.

Lewis and Nemirow presuppose that Mary's epistemic progress after release consists in the acquisition of knowing what it is like (e.g. to have an experience of blue) and they both claim that knowing what it is like is to have certain practical abilities. According to Nemirow “knowing what an experience is like is the same as knowing how to imagine having the experience” (Nemirow 1990, 495). According to Lewis,

…knowing what it is like is the possession of abilities: abilities to recognize, abilities to imagine, abilities to predict one's behavior by imaginative experiments. (Lewis 1983, 131).
A few years later he writes:

The Ability Hypothesis says that knowing what an experience is like just is the possession of these abilities to remember, imagine, and recognize. … It isn't knowing-that. It's knowing-how. (Lewis 1990, 516)
You seem to be saying that we are born with these abilities, I am saying that they are learned and are of a different kind of knowledge than propositional knowledge. And my OP asks 'What is the relationship between these two types of knowledge?'

(Btw, you only know that your car needs a battery if you know how to diagnose engine problems.)
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Wyman wrote:I read the Stanford entry and I found an excerpt which is, as far as I can tell, close to my interpretation of the problem:
4.3 No Propositional Knowledge 1: the Ability Hypothesis
Two different versions of the No Propositional Knowledge-View have been proposed. According to the Ability Hypothesis (most prominently defended in Lewis 1983, 1988 and in Nemirow 1980, 1990, 2007), Mary does not acquire any new propositional knowledge after release (no knowledge about something that is the case, no factual knowledge), but only a bundle of abilities (like the ability to imagine, remember and recognize colors or color experiences). According to the Acquaintance Hypothesis proposed by Conee (1994), Mary's new knowledge after release is what he calls “acquaintance knowledge” which is neither propositional knowledge nor identical to a bundle of abilities.

Lewis and Nemirow presuppose that Mary's epistemic progress after release consists in the acquisition of knowing what it is like (e.g. to have an experience of blue) and they both claim that knowing what it is like is to have certain practical abilities. According to Nemirow “knowing what an experience is like is the same as knowing how to imagine having the experience” (Nemirow 1990, 495). According to Lewis,

…knowing what it is like is the possession of abilities: abilities to recognize, abilities to imagine, abilities to predict one's behavior by imaginative experiments. (Lewis 1983, 131).
A few years later he writes:

The Ability Hypothesis says that knowing what an experience is like just is the possession of these abilities to remember, imagine, and recognize. … It isn't knowing-that. It's knowing-how. (Lewis 1990, 516)
You seem to be saying that we are born with these abilities, I am saying that they are learned and are of a different kind of knowledge than propositional knowledge. And my OP asks 'What is the relationship between these two types of knowledge?'

(Btw, you only know that your car needs a battery if you know how to diagnose engine problems.)
Humans are not a tabula rasa.
Kids see the world in colour. The only thing that lack is the names of the colour. It is completely absurd to say that they only see a colour when they learn how to.
Kids also know how to recognise a face. There is a specific areas of the brain innately equipped to do this. They do not know it is a "face", or "visage", whatever, but they bond with a smiling face. This is not learning in the conventional sense.

THe most common use of Mary is the idea of the Qualia. These are direct objects of perceptual knowledge.
Obviously you are after a different answer.
I note that the quote you posted does not use your phrases "knowing how", and "know that". Clearly you have different meanings for these phrases than common sense would suggest.

Obviously I know that I can type, and I know how to type.

Does know how include knowing how I type? - because I don't. Maybe a neurologist can say how I do that without looking; I don't. But that is the sort of "knowing how" to see colour that is important when considering Mary and new borns.

But I'm still puzzled why you think what I said is confusing you.
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HexHammer
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Lev Muishkin wrote:The only thing that lack is the names of the colour. It is completely absurd to say that they only see a colour when they learn how to.
..what Lev said.

It's absurdly stupid to claim otherwise.

Lev do you now understand why I must force some good sense into these halfwits with lash and rod? It's the Plato's Cave all over again.
Ginkgo
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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HexHammer wrote:
Lev Muishkin wrote:The only thing that lack is the names of the colour. It is completely absurd to say that they only see a colour when they learn how to.
..what Lev said.

It's absurdly stupid to claim otherwise.

I don't think Lev has quite got Mary's Room and qualia in the right frame. Qualia are not items of perceptual information. In fact, the qualia argument is trying to establish the opposite. Qualia are understood as being representational in this version of the argument.
Last edited by Ginkgo on Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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HexHammer
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Ginkgo wrote:I don't think Lev has quite got Mary's Room and qualia in the right frame. Qualia are not items of perceptual information. In fact, the qualia argument is trying to establish the opposite. Qualia are understood as being non-representational in this version of the argument.
"qualia" is a carrot on a stick for very stupid and naïve philosophers that doesn't really grasp very basic physics.

Qualia is a HUGE deterrent for any serious business and will avoid people that indulge in such, like the plague!!
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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HexHammer wrote:
Qualia is a HUGE deterrent for any serious business and will avoid people that indulge in such, like the plague!!
"
Except if you apply for a job at "Qualia Radiology", "Qualia Accounting Services ,"Qualia Building Constructions", "Qualia Travel."
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HexHammer
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Ginkgo wrote:
HexHammer wrote:
Qualia is a HUGE deterrent for any serious business and will avoid people that indulge in such, like the plague!!
"
Except if you apply for a job at "Qualia Radiology", "Qualia Accounting Services ,"Qualia Building Constructions", "Qualia Travel."
Those are not the philosophical qualia. Maybe you think Homer Simpsons is a reincarnation of the ancient Greek Homer?
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Ginkgo wrote:
HexHammer wrote:
Lev Muishkin wrote:The only thing that lack is the names of the colour. It is completely absurd to say that they only see a colour when they learn how to.
..what Lev said.

It's absurdly stupid to claim otherwise.

I don't think Lev has quite got Mary's Room and qualia in the right frame. Qualia are not items of perceptual information. In fact, the qualia argument is trying to establish the opposite. Qualia are understood as being representational in this version of the argument.
How so?
And what, in relation to colour, does qualia "represent".
Wyman
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Let me see if I can cause HH and Lev to cross the abyss into philosophical doubt.

Suppose qualia are that which are perceived in the perceptual process. In other words, perception is a relation between us and something perceived. You have to be aware of multifarious interpretations of this seemingly simple relation. Let's first say that the relation contains two objects: the brain and photons (limiting ourselves to sight only). In such a model, photons cause' the retina to be stimulated, passing information to an area of the brain, which in turn reacts in such a way as to pass back to the retina further electric impulses, causing us to 'see' something.

The problem here is, it is difficult to describe the 'something' we see as anything but a separate kind of thing from photons and nerves. Also, the 'something' we see cannot be a completely 'accurate' representation of the things that the photons are bouncing off of. This follows from the fact that in reacting to the stimuli affecting it, the brain creates an image based on past experiences, such as memories and conceptualizations. As an illustration of what I am speaking of here, consider the following examples from Stephen Hawking and W.V. Quine:
And so the raw data sent to the brain are like a badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately, the human brain processes that data, combining the input from both eyes, filling in gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighboring locations are similar and interpolating. Moreover, it reads a two-dimensional array of data from the retina and creates from it the impression of three-dimensional space. The brain, in other words, builds a mental picture or model. The brain is so good at model building that if people are fitted with glasses that turn the images in their eyes upside down, their brains, after a time, change the model so that they again see things the right way up. If the glasses are then removed, they see the world upside down for a while, then again adapt. This shows that what one means when one says “I see a chair” is merely that one has used the light scattered by the chair to build a mental image or model of the chair. If the model is upside down, with luck one’s brain will correct it before one tries to sit on the chair.
and Quine (since we were speaking of 'red'):
Hence our readiness to think of color as more subjective than physical shape. But some pull of the same kind occurs even in the case of 'red', insofar as reflections from the environment cause the red object to cast somewhat different tints to different points of view. The objective pull will regiment all the responses still as 'red', by activating myriad corrective cues. These corrective cues are used unconsciously, such is the perfection of our socialization; a painter has even to school himself to set them aside when he tries to reproduce his true retinal intake.
Hence, what appears to us is influenced by, or caused by, both the outside stimulus as well as the interpretive ability of the brain. If we call such a 'something' a quale, then I don't see how the 'Mary' scenario differs at all from the age old philosophical problem of phenomena/noumena or appearance/reality or mind/body (corporeal nature in Descartes' terminology).

So when Lev and HH say that it is absurd to say that we learn to see color, although I might grant you certain limiting cases (such as a flash of blinding light on one side or a mental image on the other), everything we perceive is a mixture of stimuli and interpretation. Think of 'learning' not as a school exercise, but more as adaptation, habituation, conceptualization.

My original post was taking this conceptual framework somewhat for granted and proposing to think of the perceptual model in these terms, and ask what can we 'know' in this model (qualia, or facts about 'real' objects', etc.). I propose that, in the context of qualia, propositional knowledge such as 'x is a red car' comes after knowing how to perceive - i.e. having the ability to process stimuli in a certain manner. I'll stop here (if anyone has read that far) and refer back to my OP.
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HexHammer
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

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Wyman

Thought experiments are not philosophy as it serves no purpose to mental masturbate, it is not "love of wisdom". Specially not when you start out limiting reality for no apparent reason other than to fit your ends.
So it ends up being the usual nonsense and babble we find here on various cozy chat fora please stop it, it's really stooping down philosophy to irrelevance.
Wyman
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Re: Knowing how versus Knowing that

Post by Wyman »

HexHammer wrote:Wyman

Thought experiments are not philosophy as it serves no purpose to mental masturbate, it is not "love of wisdom". Specially not when you start out limiting reality for no apparent reason other than to fit your ends.
So it ends up being the usual nonsense and babble we find here on various cozy chat fora please stop it, it's really stooping down philosophy to irrelevance.

What is 'wisdom' - knowing how or knowing that or neither?
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