Skills and savoir-faire: might anti-intellectualism suffice?

Publication Name

Inquiry (United Kingdom)


An increasingly popular objection to anti-intellectualism about know-how is that there are clear cases where an agent having the dispositional ability to φ does not suffice for her knowing how to φ. Recently, Adam Carter has argued that anti-intellectualism can only rise to meet this sufficiency objection if it imposes additional constraints on know-how. He develops a revisionary anti-intellectualism, on which knowing how to φ not only entails that the agent possesses a reliable ability to φ, but also that she is equipped with certain kind of intellectual grasp of the method by which she is able to reliably φ. This paper argues that Carter's revisionary know-how does not constitute an improvement over the more standard version of anti-intellectualism. Moreover, it is argued that Carter's additional demands concede too much to the intellectualist, and, as a result, commit his revised anti-intellectualism to familiar problems facing the intellectualist account of know-how. In other words, his attempts to respond to the sufficiency objection constitutes a dangerous compromise to the intellectualist. The paper finishes with a final analysis that suggests, in the end, there are still reasons to prefer standard anti-intellectualism over intellectualism.

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