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Practical Knowledge

by Michael Schmitz


The contribution deals with knowledge of what to do, and how, where, when and why to do it, as it is found in a multitude of rules, procedures, maxims, plans, and other instructions. It is argued that while this knowledge is conceptual and propositional, it is still irreducible to theoretical knowledge of what is the case and why it is the case. It is knowledge of goals, of ends and means, rather than of facts. It is knowledge-to that is irreducibly practical in having world to mind direction of fit and the essential function of guiding as yet uncompleted action. While practical knowledge is fundamentally different from theoretical knowledge in terms of mind-world relations, the practical and theoretical domains are still parallel in terms of justificatory and inferential relations, they are like mirror images of one another. It is shown that if this view of practical knowledge is accepted, convincing Gettier cases for practical knowledge can be constructed. An extensive analysis of these cases demonstrates the usefulness of the notions of practical deduction, abduction, and induction.

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