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Attributing KnowledgeWhat It Means to Know Something$
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Jody Azzouni

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197508817

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197508817.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

Knowledge Attributions to Minimal Epistemic Agents

Knowledge Attributions to Minimal Epistemic Agents

(p.45) 1 Knowledge Attributions to Minimal Epistemic Agents
Attributing Knowledge

Jody Azzouni

Oxford University Press

Widespread usage data for “know,” “learn,” “see,” “remember,” and other epistemic words are given. Such words are routinely and literally applied to animals ranging from sophisticated elephants and orcas to insects like ants and honeybees to nonconscious mechanisms like driverless cars, drones, and thermostats. Further, “S knows p” places no constraints on the agent S vis-à-vis the concepts exhibited in p: Rover need not have the concept of “cat” to know that a cat is trapped above him in a tree. How this data shows that a knowing agent need not know much, need not be self-conscious of what she knows, and need not be conscious or capable of metacognition is described. The modularity of agential knowledge is characterized: two agents may have the same sensory evidence for p, and yet one can know p while the other doesn’t because of other aspects of their methods for establishing p.

Keywords:   cognitive ethology, driverless cars, drones, elephants, Hume, learning, metacognition, orcas, propositional attitudes, Roomba

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