Extending knowledge-how

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This paper examines what it takes for a state of knowledge-how to be extended (i.e. partly constituted by entities external to the organism) within an anti-intellectualist approach to knowledge-how. I begin by examining an account of extended knowledge-how developed by Carter, J. Adam, and Boleslaw Czarnecki. 2016 [“Extended Knowledge-How.” Erkenntnis 81 (2): 259–273], and argue that it fails to properly distinguish between cognitive outsourcing and extended knowing-how. I then introduce a solution to this problem which rests on the distribution of tasks between agent and non-biological entity. On closer inspection, I show that this solution is ultimately unsatisfactory, though its failure is instructive as it illuminates the important role played by an agent’s skilled interaction with an external entity. Drawing on key anti-intellectualist ideas, as well as on insight from cognitive psychology, I propose an account according to which what ultimately matters for extending knowledge-how is whether a hybrid ability is self-regulated. In closing, I illuminate the practical value of extended knowledge-how vis-à-vis cognitive outsourcing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical Explorations
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Ability
  • Anti-intellectualism
  • Cognitive outsourcing
  • Extended knowledge-how
  • Self-regulation
  • Tasks


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