Book Chapter

Abilities, Competences, and Fallibility



Millar A (2016) Abilities, Competences, and Fallibility. In: Vargas M (ed.) Performance Epistemology: Foundations and Applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 62-82.〈=en&

Perceptual knowledge is the outcome of the exercise of perceptual-recognitional abilities. An account of those abilities is set in the context of an account of abilities in general. A success thesis is expounded according to which an ability is exercised only if the agent does what the ability is an ability to do. There is discussion of the connection between having an ability and being reliably successful. It is argued that hard performances (e.g., throwing a dart into the 25-ring) present no obstacle to the success thesis because the underlying abilities are success-rate abilities that comply with that thesis. The emerging picture is applied to perceptual-recognitional abilities, which turn out not to be success-rate abilities. The treatment of fallibility is contrasted with that in recent remarks of John McDowell. The treatment of abilities is contrasted with Ernest Sosa’s recent thinking on competences.

Abilities; competences; fallibility; perceptual-recognitional abilities; perceptual knowledge.

Publication date31/12/2016
PublisherOxford University Press
Publisher URL…942?cc=gb〈=en&
Place of publicationOxford

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Professor Alan Millar

Professor Alan Millar

Emeritus Professor, Philosophy