Knowing What Things Are
An Inquiry-Based Approach
This book provides an account of what is to know what things are, focusing on kinds, both natural (such as water) and social (such as marriage). It brings tools from an area that has received much attention in recent years, the epistemology of inquiry. The knowledge of what things are is to be understood as resulting from successful inquiries directed at questions of the form ‘What is x?’, where x stands for a given kind of thing. The book also addresses knowledge-wh in general (which includes knowledge-who and knowledge-where), as well as the phenomenon of ignorance regarding what things are and our obligations in respect to knowing what things are. It also brings to light new avenues of research for those interested in the relation between the knowledge of what things are and concept possession and amelioration.
‘Knowing What Things Are’ should be of interest to researchers in Epistemology, Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, Social Philosophy and Linguistics.
Part I. Toward the Erotetic View 2. The Knowledge of What Things Are: Possible Views2.1 The Knowledge of What Things are as Simple Propositional Knowledge2.2 The Knowledge of What Things Are as Practical Knowledge2.3 The Knowledge of What Things are as Knowledge by Acquaintance
3. Questions and Answers: Understanding Knowledge-Wh3.1 Knowledge-Wh: The Standard Account3.2. Knowledge-Wh and Inquiry-Based Epistemology3.3 Knowledge-Wh and Context-Sensitivity3.4 Is Knowledge-Wh Context-Sensitive?Concluding Remarks
4. The Erotetic View4.1 Introducing the View4.2 Skepticism and Holism4.3 Water and H2O: The Question of Necessary Identities4.4 The Threat of Excessive Intellectualism 4.5 A Brief Clash of ViewsConcluding Remarks
Part II. Developing the Erotetic View5. The Gradability of the Knowledge of What Things Are5.1 The Phenomenon of GradabilityConcluding Remarks
6. Social Kinds, the Erotetic View and Erotetic Amelioration6.1 The Knowledge of What Social Kinds Are6.2 Amelioration: Conceptual and Erotetic6.3 The Topic Preservation Challenge6.4 The Knowledge of What Strongly Social Kinds Are and Erotetic AmeliorationConcluding Remarks
7. The Knowledge of What Things Are: Ignorance and Obligations7.1 Understanding Ignorance of What Things Are7.2 Culpable Ignorance of What Things Are 7.3 Social Roles and Obligations to Know What Things Are7.4 Associativism and Knowing What Things Are7.5 Distributive Epistemic Injustice and the Knowledge of What Things AreConcluding Remarks
Appendix A. Having Concepts and Knowing What Things Are1. A Psychological View of Concepts2. A Philosophical View of Concepts
Appendix B. Incomplete Understanding of Concepts and the Gradability of the Knowledge of What Things Are
Appendix C. The Knowledge of What Particular Things Are