chapter  4
26 Pages

Being in the background

In Chapter 1 we introduced three thinkers whose accounts of human nature and knowing have a bearing on our understanding of tacit knowledge. Having dealt at length with the debate that has arisen around Ryle’s distinction between knowing that and knowing how, we turn now to considerations that give succour to the idea that in so far as tacit knowledge is associated with the latter it characterizes a distinct mode of being of creatures like ourselves. e key idea was introduced in §“Regress redux” in relation to Heidegger. It is that the “familiarity with the world” that is our “understanding of being” forms what Hubert Dreyfus characterizes as the non-intentional “background” (BB) to both the fundamental intentionality (FI) of the know-how that comprises our ongoing coping practices, and the representational intentionality (RI) of the states characterized by having disengaged refl ectively from our practices and associated with the knowledgethat of what is present-at-hand.