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When it comes to the essence of science, there are a lot of different viewpoints. While certain elements of science are rarely questioned since they are almost universally accepted as truths. Hetherington argues an orthodox in his book “How to Know,” which challenges the method of understanding of conception, which has dominated a larger percentage of knowledge discussions. The practicalism theory, proposed by Hetherington, suggests that the base of propositional knowledge can be entirely reduced to practical knowledge.
The assertion that justification is a true measure underpins Hetherington’s case. It is a nice idea to determine whether the world we live in is comprised of causal stability although we are likely to learn in our world through experience or priori. Roughly, without the causal stability, the idea of justification is valueless since several questions will arise that include: what is justification for, what the value of justification entails and whether tethering of beliefs to the worldly truth-makers is reliable and causally stable (Hetherington, 2001). Therefore, an interesting argument arises attracting a very keen attention to it. However, common sense dictates that the argument fails to support the justification that isn’t required for the knowledge. Most probably, the argument would demonstrate that justification conceptions of instrumentalists are not necessary for knowledge.

Moreover, the author considers non-tethering or non-instrumentalist notions of justification as internalist. He shallowly determines just one instance of internalist justification that entails deontological conception that is a situation whereby the epistemic justification is assumed to be in a position that is not flouting the epistemic obligations and duties (Williams, 2001). The author argues that whether the deontologist situation exists or not, justification will majorly depend on the actions of the believer thus being conducive to their practicalism. The presentation by Herington is unclear concerning his thoughts to the much commitment of the deontologist. However even if there is permission of the concept and whatever the advantages of the justification might present, there exist other internalist justification concepts that don’t concur with Herington’s claims refuting that whether the actions occurs or not the justification will primarily depend on the believer. Therefore, the different internalist notions of justification are associated with matters concerning mental states and the relationships existing between them.

Through an extension sense, a person can believe accurately or can process visual data. However, there is a virtual probability of a lie thus a “knows how” to believe in something or the “knows how” when it comes to matters of processing visual data. Therefore, the case results into the concept of sub-personal processing that does not rely on the practical knowledge. Since the ability to perform a certain function does not know how to do the function, then it suggests that if I can digest food it is not definite that I know it (Williams, 2001).

Knowing might be regarded as a person’s having manifestation of various attributes of an intellectual nature. An intellectual virtue can reflect more of one’s being solicitous and respectful towards the truth. And one’s manifesting such virtues would be a personal achievement. It would reflect well to some extent upon one as an inquirer. In this sense, knowing could be an inherent part of personal development. Knowledge can be applied in many different ways, some of which could well contribute meaningfully to the functioning of our lives. And this might be an essential feature of knowing. Knowing a particular truth could be that truth’s mattering to your life. You would not know it to be true because you care about its being true. For instance: wishful thinking is not knowing. But the importance to your life of that truth might affect what justificatory standard would need to be met if you are to know it to be true. Equally, perhaps part of any knowing’s value is thereby it’s inherently satisfying some personal aims or needs.

Herrington questions whether propositional knowledge is treated by the conventional analytic conception of knowledge as some belief. Through the finer examination of clear cases, there are no cases of knowing existing without the belief in the target proposition. However, knowledge doesn’t consist of members of the epistemic diaspora (Hetherington, 2011). For instance, a person has the ability to know P without acting upon it or recalling it, or without asserting it. Therefore, in the process of identifying linguistic data in practicalism, the author asserts that there exist some oddness when arguing that “one knows that P but is unable to act as if P” or in another instance, “a person knows a P but cannot assert the P”. However, it is wrong that these claimed assertions are odd for the same purpose as if they are asserted. The instances of the oddity in scenarios of cases not asserting one’s knowledge assertions or not acting upon the knowledge assertions is likely to be explained pragmatically. There are cases whereby a person has the ability to know without acting upon or asserting upon the knowledge. In addition, there are no defined scenarios existing whereby a person can have the knowledge without possessing the belief, therefore, supporting the oddness hypothesis that asserts that if a person knows a P but doesn’t believe, it is due to the fact of the conjunction of some claims that are contradictory.

Supposed and presuppositions platitudes in the world of philosophy are justified to be challenged. The insightful book by Hetherington has highly challenged the supposed platitudes. Even if people accept or criticize the aspects of the authors’ alternative proposal, the epistemologist will benefit through engagement of the substantial contributing details to the field.


Hetherington, S. (2001). Good knowledge, bad knowledge: On two dogmas of epistemology. Clarendon Press.

Hetherington, S. (2011). How to know: A practicalist conception of knowledge. John Wiley & Sons.

Williams, M. (2001). Problems of knowledge: A critical introduction to epistemology.

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