Knowledge (Explicit, Implicit and Tacit): Philosophical Aspects

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Explicit knowledge is knowledge that the knower can make explicit by means of a verbal statement; implicit knowledge is knowledge that is not explicit. Chomskyan tacit knowledge of rules can be understood as requiring a particular structure in the content-involving explanations of transitions between internal representations. States of tacit knowledge are different from beliefs and states of explicit knowledge in that their content is at least partly nonconceptual. Several applications of the notion of tacit knowledge in philosophical theory are reviewed. Chomsky's notion of tacit knowledge of the rules of a generative grammar provided the theoretical background for research on artificial grammar learning (AGL). Results and disputes in AGL research are reviewed, with particular reference to requirements on testing for conscious versus unconscious knowledge. No test is guaranteed to meet the requirements but tests can be validated if they are used in the context of psychological theories about qualitative differences between conscious and unconscious processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial grammar learning
  • Compositional semantic theories
  • Concept possession
  • Connectionist networks
  • Conscious and unconscious knowledge
  • Content-involving explanation
  • Explicit storage of information
  • Generative grammar
  • Implicit learning
  • Internal representations
  • Knowledge of rules
  • Mental simulation
  • Nonconceptual content
  • Personal and subpersonal levels
  • Scientific study of consciousness
  • Serial reaction time task

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