Fachschaft Philosophie

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Prof. Moss' Public Lecture: “Knowledge-that is knowledge-of”

Wednesday, July 27th, 6–8 p.m. (c.t.), Room M210, LMU main building


Contemporary epistemology takes as its focus propositional knowledge, knowledge-that. It occasionally considers other kinds of knowledge - knowledge-how and knowledge-of - but treats these as of secondary importance, or even argues that they reduce to knowledge-that. I show that Aristotle offers us a very different model. The basic notion of knowledge is knowledge-of: objectual knowledge, i.e. familiarity or good acquaintance with an object (roughly, kennen by contrast with wissen). As for knowledge-that, it is a species of objectual knowledge: to know that something is the case, just like to know a person or a place, is to be well-acquainted with some part or feature of reality. I show how this account explains puzzles in Aristotle’s epistemology. I also argue that it is worth taking seriously in its own right: not only can it account for our intuitions about knowledge-that, but it also does a good job of accounting for the value of knowledge - vindicating Aristotle’s famous claim that “all humans by nature desire to know”.