Gaining Knowledge without Learning

You can come to know something by observation, by testimony, or by working it out in your head. But there’s another way of knowing something that doesn’t involve learning because it doesn’t involve coming to know a pre-existing fact. This way of knowing arises when you do something intentionally.

Puzzle 1: Are Beliefs Voluntary?

Need a distraction from the incessant stream of information and speculation about the Coronavirus? I certainly do. So for my next few blogs, I’m going to describe philosophical puzzles that are either old or new. I won’t help solve them until the next blog, at which point I’ll post links to various solutions. Enjoy!

Music as a Way of Knowing

When people talk about knowledge they usually mean what philosophers call “propositional knowledge”—knowledge of facts that can be articulated in language. But music can provide another kind of knowledge that cannot be expressed in language. It can provide experiential knowledge.

Self Knowledge on Trial

Most people seem think that knowing themselves is a good idea, or at least say that that’s what they think. “Know thyself,” is uttered reverently—as though it’s self-evidently a wonderful goal. I’m going to put self-knowledge on trial, and I’ll say up front that the case for the defence looks pretty thin.

Letting Go of Human Nature

The idea of human nature is riven with controversy. Some scholars—often those in the humanities—argue that there’s no such thing, while others—often those in the social and biological sciences—regard its “denial” as anti-scientific. So is there any point hanging onto this controversial idea?