Language and Know-How

David Simpson

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I address the assumption that communicative interaction is made possible by knowledge of a language. I argue that this assumption as it is usually expressed depends on an unjustified reification of language, and on an unsatisfactory understanding of ‘knowledge’. I propose instead that communicative interaction is made possible by (Rylean) know-how and by the development of (Davidsonian) passing theories. We then come to see that our focus ought to be, not on propositional knowledge of a language which we internally represent, but on the practical application of know-how in our understanding and interpretation of others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-643
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Knowledge of Language
  • Know-How

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