Philosophy:Descriptive knowledge

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Short description: Concept in epistemology

In epistemology, descriptive knowledge (also known as propositional knowledge, knowing-that, declarative knowledge,[1][2] or constative knowledge)[3][4] is knowledge that can be expressed in a declarative sentence or an indicative proposition.[5] "Knowing-that" can be contrasted with "knowing-how" (also known as "procedural knowledge"), which is knowing how to perform some task, including knowing how to perform it skillfully.[1]

It can also be contrasted with "knowing of" (better known as "knowledge by acquaintance"), which is non-propositional knowledge of something which is constituted by familiarity with it or direct awareness of it. By definition, descriptive knowledge is knowledge of particular facts, as potentially expressed by our theories, concepts, principles, schemas, and ideas.[6] The descriptive knowledge that a person possesses constitute their understanding of the world and the way that it works.[6]

The distinction between knowing-how and knowing-that was brought to prominence in epistemology by Gilbert Ryle who used it in his book The Concept of Mind.[7] For Ryle, the former differs in its emphasis and purpose, since it is primarily practical knowledge, whereas the latter focuses on indicative or explanatory knowledge.[8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Burgin, Mark (2016). Theory of Knowledge: Structures and Processes. Kackensack, NJ: World Scientific. pp. 48. ISBN 9789814522670. 
  2. Sadegh-Zadeh, Kazem (2015). Handbook of Analytic Philosophy of Medicine, 2nd edition. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 475. ISBN 9789401795784. 
  3. Carl, Wolfgang (2014). The First-Person Point of View. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 147. ISBN 9783110362855. 
  4. Murphy, Mark; Fleming, Ted (2010). Habermas, Critical Theory and Education. Routledge. pp. 107. ISBN 9781135224301. 
  5. Tokuhama-Espinosa, Tracey (2011). Mind, Brain, and Education Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the New Brain-Based Teaching. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 255. ISBN 9780393706079. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Holyoak, Keith; Morrison, Robert (2005). The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 371. ISBN 0521824176. 
  7. Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson, "Knowing How", Journal of Philosophy, 98(8): 411–444, 2001.
  8. D'Cruz, Heather; Jacobs, Struan; Schoo, Adrian (2016). Knowledge-in-Practice in the Caring Professions: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 19. ISBN 9780754672821. 

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