Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Authors' Response
Dienes & Perner: Implicit and explicit knowledge

Deconstructing RTK: How to explicate a theory of implicit knowledge

Josef Perner a1 and Zoltan Dienes a2
a1 Institut für Psychologie, Universität Salzburg, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
a2 Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, Sussex BN1 9QG, England


In this response, we start from first principles, building up our theory to show more precisely what assumptions we do and do not make about the representational nature of implicit and explicit knowledge (in contrast to the target article, where we started our exposition with a description of a fully fledged representational theory of knowledge (RTK). Along the way, we indicate how our analysis does not rely on linguistic representations but it implies that implicit knowledge is causally efficacious; we discuss the relationship between property structure implicitness and conceptual and nonconceptual content; then we consider the factual, fictional, and functional uses of representations and how we go from there to consciousness. Having shown how the basic theory deals with foundational criticisms, we indicate how the theory can elucidate issues that commentators raised in the particular application areas of explicitation, voluntary control, visual perception, memory, development (with discussion on infancy, theory of mind [TOM] and executive control, gestures), and finally models of learning.