Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

Actional Knowledge: We discover “what we know” in “what we can do”.


Not all “knowledge” that we “use” in our actions can necessarily be translated back into propositions or theories. In fact, Wittgenstein argues that as we give accounts of what we do and how we act, in the end we are left not with propositions but with actions. In other words, we possess knowledge of the world through our actions. But this “knowledge” is more tacit, nondiscursive, silent. Therefore we may say that, in some sense, we find out what we know through what we can do and how we act.