The British Wittgenstein Society has sponsored one 3-year bursary to a UK or international student wishing to pursue PhD research at the University of Hertfordshire on a topic relating to Wittgenstein's philosophy. It is hoped further bursaries may be available.Congratulations to Britt Harrison, recipient of the first BWS bursary, on the completion of her PhD!Britt was awarded her PhD by the University of Hertfordshire in April 2013. The BWS cannot presently offer a new Bursary. Updates will be posted on this page and in the Newsletter.
King's College, in the 1940sUniversity of Hertfordshire
Having successfully completed my PhD, I welcome this opportunity to publicly thank Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, the British Wittgenstein Society and Shell for the BWS Bursary which made my studies possible.
My doctoral thesis The Epistemology of Know-How can be found atuhra.herts.ac.uk/handle/2299/10433. Its abstract is as follows:There is an as yet unacknowledged and incomparable contribution to the philosophical debates about know-how to be found in the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein. It is sourced in his investigations into knowledge and certainty in On Certainty, though it is not limited to these late passages. Understanding the ramifications of this putative contribution (even if one does not agree with it) highlights the extent to which (i) there is now a new range of issues pertaining to know-how which no future philosophical consideration of the topic can ignore, except on pain of failing to engage comprehensively with the subject; (ii) the topic of know-how has been inappropriately marginalised by naturalized epistemology, and may well be as central to epistemology as the propositional knowledge which currently dominates epistemology’s attention; and (iii) any engagement with these potential Wittgensteinian contributions will need to be conducted in tandem with a reflection on the meta-philosophy of epistemology, since their potential impact extends to epistemology’s main methodology, i.e., naturalized reflective equilibrium. These three conclusions, together with a diagnosis of where and why all the current intellectualist accounts of know-how are either internally inconsistent, or irreconcilably flawed on their own terms, provide the motivation and the opportunity for a New Epistemology of Know-How. These conclusions established, I offer one possible Wittgensteinian-orientated version of the New Epistemology of Know-How, providing the first example of a non-naturalised philosophical approach to the topic since Gilbert Ryle.More informally, my thesis engages with the current accounts of know-how, challenging Jason Stanley’s view that know-how is just another a kind of propositional knowledge, and John Bengson & Marc Moffett’s equally reductive claim that know-how is a form of objectual knowledge. I then attempt to undermine these intellectualist and naturalized approaches to epistemology using challenges from Wittgenstein; a task not dissimilar to turning a large tanker at sea. Using Wittgensteinian resources and insights I question the presumption that the epistemologist’s task is to provide a theory of knowledge and/or know-how, and that this theory’s purpose is to explain some kind of pre-theoretically assumed ‘standing epistemic (mind/brain) state’. The thesis culminates in the assembling of a multiplicity of reminders about what it is to know how to do things. I believe that whatever value my work may have comes from identifying the invisible constraints that limit current epistemological practice, and which risk crippling not only what epistemology is and can be, but our appreciation of what philosophy itself might be. For I take philosophising to be an activity; something one can learn how to do, something one may come to know how to do. As such the epistemology of know-how is no marginal topic on the periphery of contemporary epistemologists’ preoccupation with propositional knowledge, but is crucial to any understanding of ourselves as philosophers.