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The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding

Cambridge University Press (2003)

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  1. Pursuit and Inquisitive Reasons.Will Fleisher - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94:17-30.
    Sometimes inquirers may rationally pursue a theory even when the available evidence does not favor that theory over others. Features of a theory that favor pursuing it are known as considerations of promise or pursuitworthiness. Examples of such reasons include that a theory is testable, that it has a useful associated analogy, and that it suggests new research and experiments. These reasons need not be evidence in favor of the theory. This raises the question: what kinds of reasons are provided (...)
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  • Davidson’s Phenomenological Argument Against the Cognitive Claims of Metaphor.Richmond Kwesi - 2019 - Axiomathes 30:1-24.
    In this paper, I take a critical look at the Davidsonian argument that metaphorical sentences do not express propositions because of the phenomenological experience—seeing one thing as another thing—involved in understanding them as metaphors. According to Davidson, seeing-as is not seeing-that. This verdict is aimed at dislodging metaphor from the position of being assessed with the semantic notions of propositions, meaning, and truth. I will argue that the phenomenological or perceptual experience associated with metaphors does not determine the propositional contentfulness (...)
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  • The Mirage of Motivation Reason Internalism.Saleh Afroogh - 2022 - Journal of Value Inquiry 56:1-19.
    What is it for an agent to have a reason to do a certain action? Does this mean that she would desire to do the action under specified conditions, or that there is some external consideration, which she ought to follow? The former affective (i.e., desire-based) theory is ascribed to Humeans, whereas the latter cognitive theory is adopted by Kantians. The debate between the two views has seemingly ended up in a theoretical standoff, and most of the theorists of practical (...)
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  • On Stanley’s Intellectualism.J. Adam Carter - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):749-762.
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  • Better Understanding Through Falsehood.Benjamin T. Rancourt - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (3):382-405.
    Can understanding be based on false beliefs? I argue that it can. I first argue that the best way to understand the question is that it is whether one can increase one's degree of understanding by adopting an overall less accurate body of beliefs. I identify three sufficient conditions for one body of beliefs to be more accurate than another. Next, I appeal to two widely used methods of comparing degrees of understanding. With these methods, I show that understanding can (...)
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  • How Are Models and Explanations Related?Yasha Rohwer & Collin Rice - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1127-1148.
    Within the modeling literature, there is often an implicit assumption about the relationship between a given model and a scientific explanation. The goal of this article is to provide a unified framework with which to analyze the myriad relationships between a model and an explanation. Our framework distinguishes two fundamental kinds of relationships. The first is metaphysical, where the model is identified as an explanation or as a partial explanation. The second is epistemological, where the model produces understanding that is (...)
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  • Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation.Collin C. Rice - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):81-102.
    This paper analyzes two ways idealized biological models produce factive scientific understanding. I then argue that models can provide factive scientific understanding of a phenomenon without providing an accurate representation of the features of their real-world target system. My analysis of these cases also suggests that the debate over scientific realism needs to investigate the factive scientific understanding produced by scientists’ use of idealized models rather than the accuracy of scientific models themselves.
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  • Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    Are there such things as moral truths? How do we know what we should do? And does it matter? Constructivism states that moral truths are neither invented nor discovered, but rather are constructed by rational agents in order to solve practical problems. While constructivism has become the focus of many philosophical debates in normative ethics, meta-ethics and action theory, its importance is still to be fully appreciated. These new essays written by leading scholars define and assess this new approach in (...)
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  • Desire That Amounts to Knowledge.Allan Hazlett - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (1):56-73.
    I argue that desire sometimes amounts to knowledge, in the same sense that belief sometimes amounts to knowledge. The argument rests on two assumptions: that goodness is the correctness condition for desire and that knowledge is apt mental representation. Desire that amounts to knowledge—or ‘conative knowledge’—is illustrated by cases in which someone knows the goodness of something despite not believing that it is good.
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  • Dimensions of Objectual Understanding.Christoph Baumberger & Georg Brun - 2017 - In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 165-189.
    In science and philosophy, a relatively demanding notion of understanding is of central interest: an epistemic subject understands a subject matter by means of a theory. This notion can be explicated in a way which resembles JTB analyses of knowledge. The explication requires that the theory answers to the facts, that the subject grasps the theory, that she is committed to the theory and that the theory is justified for her. In this paper, we focus on the justification condition and (...)
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  • Cognitive Bias, Scepticism and Understanding.J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard - 2017 - In Stephen R. Grimm, Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives From Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. pp. 272-292.
    In recent work, Mark Alfano and Jennifer Saul have put forward a similar kind of provocative sceptical challenge. Both appeal to recent literature in empirical psychology to show that our judgments across a wide range of cases are riddled with unreliable cognitive heuristics and biases. Likewise, they both conclude that we know a lot less than we have hitherto supposed, at least on standard conceptions of what knowledge involves. It is argued that even if one grants the empirical claims that (...)
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  • "Understanding and Transparency".Stephen R. Grimm - 2016 - In Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives From Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
    I explore the extent to which the epistemic state of understanding is transparent to the one who understands. Against several contemporary epistemologists, I argue that it is not transparent in the way that many have claimed, drawing on results from developmental psychology, animal cognition, and other fields.
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  • The Epistemology of Understanding. A Contextualist Approach.Marcus Bachmann - 2020 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):75-98.
    This paper aims to provide a unifying approach to the analysis of understanding coherencies (interrogative understanding, e.g. understanding why something is the case) and understanding subject matters (objectual understanding) by highlighting the contextualist nature of understanding. Inspired by the relevant alternatives contextualism about knowledge, I will argue that understanding (in the above mentioned sense) inherently has context-sensitive features and that a theory of understanding that highlights those features can incorporate our intuitions towards understanding as well as consolidate the different accounts (...)
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  • Inference to the Best Explanation and van Fraassen’s Contextual Theory of Explanation: Reply to Park.Yunus Prasetya - 2021 - Axiomathes 32 (2):355-365.
    Seungbae Park argues that Bas van Fraassen’s rejection of inference to the best explanation (IBE) is problematic for his contextual theory of explanation because van Fraassen uses IBE to support the contextual theory. This paper provides a defense of van Fraassen’s views from Park’s objections. I point out three weaknesses of Park’s objection against van Fraassen. First, van Fraassen may be perfectly content to accept the implications that Park claims to follow from his views. Second, even if van Fraassen rejects (...)
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  • The value of truth: introduction to the topical collection.Luca Moretti, Peter Hartl & Akos Gyarmathy - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1):1453-1460.
  • Meaning, Evidence, and Objectivity.Olivia Sultanescu - 2021 - In Syraya Chin-Mu Yang & Robert H. Myers (eds.), Donald Davidson on Action, Mind and Value. pp. 171-184.
    This chapter addresses the question of what, according to the conception of meaning offered by Donald Davidson, makes expressions meaningful. It addresses this question by reflecting on Kathrin Glüer’s recent response to it. It argues that Glüer misconstrues both the evidence for meaning that the radical interpreter must rely on and the way in which the principle of charity must be deployed. The articulation of the correct construal of the evidence and the principle reveals the thoroughly non-reductionist aspect of Davidson’s (...)
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  • Towards Social Accounts of Testimonial Asymmetries.Allan Hazlett - 2017 - Noûs 51 (1):49–73.
    there seems to be some kind of asymmetry, at least in some cases, between moral testimony and non-moral testimony, between aesthetic testimony and non-aesthetic testimony, and between religious testimony and non-religious testimony. In these domains, at least in some cases, we object to deference, and for this reason expect people to form their beliefs on non-testimonial grounds, in a way that we do not object to deference in paradigm cases of testimonial knowledge. Our philosophical puzzle is therefore: what explains these (...)
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  • Attunement: On the Cognitive Virtues of Attention.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - In Social Virtue Epistemology.
    I motivate three claims: Firstly, attentional traits can be cognitive virtues and vices. Secondly, groups and collectives can possess attentional virtues and vices. Thirdly, attention has epistemic, moral, social, and political importance. An epistemology of attention is needed to better understand our social-epistemic landscape, including media, social media, search engines, political polarisation, and the aims of protest. I apply attentional normativity to undermine recent arguments for moral encroachment and to illuminate a distinctive epistemic value of occupying particular social positions. A (...)
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  • Intellectual Virtues and the Epistemic Value of Truth.Duncan Pritchard - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5515-5528.
    The idea that truth is the fundamental epistemic good is explained and defended. It is argued that this proposal has been prematurely rejected on grounds that are both independently problematic and which also turn on an implausible way of understanding the proposal. A more compelling account of what it means for truth to be the fundamental epistemic good is then developed, one that treats the intellectual virtues, and thereby virtuous inquiry, as the primary theoretical notion.
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  • Reliabilism, Stability, and the Value of Knowledge.Erik J. Olsson - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (4):343 - 355.
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  • Epistemic Teleology and the Separateness of Propositions.Selim Berker - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (3):337-393.
    When it comes to epistemic normativity, should we take the good to be prior to the right? That is, should we ground facts about what we ought and ought not believe on a given occasion in facts about the value of being in certain cognitive states (such as, for example, the value of having true beliefs)? The overwhelming answer among contemporary epistemologists is “Yes, we should.” This essay argues to the contrary. Just as taking the good to be prior to (...)
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  • Transcendental Idealism Without Tears.Nicholas Stang - 2017 - In Tyron Goldschmidt (ed.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 82-103.
    This essay is an attempt to explain Kantian transcendental idealism to contemporary metaphysicians and make clear its relevance to contemporary debates in what is now called ‘meta-metaphysics.’ It is not primarily an exegetical essay, but an attempt to translate some Kantian ideas into a contemporary idiom.
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • Intellectual Virtue and its Role in Epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1).
    An overview is presented of what I take to be the role of the intellectual virtues within the epistemological enterprise. Traditionally, the theory of knowledge has been thought to be central to the epistemological project, but since, as I explain, the intellectual virtues aren’t required for knowledge, this might suggest that they have only a marginal role to play in epistemological debates. I argue against this suggestion by showing how the intellectual virtues are in fact crucial to several core epistemological (...)
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  • Know-How as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Lowenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
    What does it mean to know how to do something? This book develops a comprehensive account of know-how, a crucial epistemic goal for all who care about getting things right, not only with respect to the facts, but also with respect to practice. It proposes a novel interpretation of the seminal work of Gilbert Ryle, according to which know-how is a competence, a complex ability to do well in an activity in virtue of guidance by an understanding of what it (...)
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  • A Kierkegaardian Anti-Luck Epistemology.Tim Black - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (1):85-97.
    We can address the issue of epistemic luck, the possibility that the world interferes with the activity of believing so as to keep that activity from achieving its aim, by rethinking the aim of that activity. So, if we give up truth, for example, as the aim of belief, and if we embrace a different aim—the aim of believing as my ideal self would have me believe—we can eliminate the possibility of luck and leave the world no room to interfere (...)
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  • Varieties of Epistemic Risk.Duncan Pritchard - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (1):9-23.
    My interest is in how shifting from an anti-luck epistemology to an anti-risk epistemology can enable us to make sense of some important epistemic phenomena. After rehearsing the more general arguments for preferring anti-risk epistemology over its anti-luck cousin, I argue that a further advantage of this transition lies in how it puts us in a better position to understand certain trade-offs with regard to epistemic risk. In particular, there can be ways of forming beliefs that are epistemically low risk (...)
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  • Process Reliabilism and the Value Problem.Christoph Jäger - 2011 - Theoria 77 (3):201-213.
    Alvin Goldman and Erik Olsson have recently proposed a novel solution to the value problem in epistemology, i.e., to the question of how to account for the apparent surplus value of knowledge over mere true belief. Their “conditional probability solution” maintains that even simple process reliabilism can account for the added value of knowledge, since forming true beliefs in a reliable way raises the objective probability that the subject will have more true belief of a similar kind in the future. (...)
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  • Curiosity Was Framed.Dennis Whitcomb - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):664-687.
    This paper explores the nature of curiosity from an epistemological point of view. First it motivates this exploration by explaining why epistemologists do and should care about what curiosity is. Then it surveys the relevant literature and develops a particular approach.
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  • When Does Falsehood Preclude Knowledge?Neil Feit & Andrew Cullison - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (3):283-304.
    Falsehood can preclude knowledge in many ways. A false proposition cannot be known. A false ground can prevent knowledge of a truth, or so we argue, but not every false ground deprives its subject of knowledge. A falsehood that is not a ground for belief can also prevent knowledge of a truth. This paper provides a systematic account of just when falsehood precludes knowledge, and hence when it does not. We present the paper as an approach to the Gettier problem (...)
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  • How to Understand the Extended Mind.Sven Bernecker - 2014 - Philosophical Issues 24 (1):1-23.
    Given how epistemologists conceive of understanding, to what degree do we understand the hypothesis of extended mind? If the extended mind debate is a substantive dispute, then we have only superficial understanding of the extended mind hypothesis. And if we have deep understanding of the extended mind hypothesis, then the debate over this hypothesis is nothing but a verbal dispute.
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  • Race and Evaluation of Philosophical Skill: A Virtue Theoretical Explanation of Why People of Color Are So Absent From Philosophy.Eric Bayruns Garcia - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
    Some, if not most, philosophy program admissions committee members assume that they can determine that one applicant will likely manifest a higher degree of philosophical skill than another applicant on the basis of differences between their materials. I challenge this assumption by explaining how applicants’ materials in significant measure reflect the racially unjust environment in which they manifest their philosophical skill. I explain how applicants’ racial-group membership in similar measure determines what these materials consist in.
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  • Understanding What It's Like To Be (Dis)Privileged.Nicholas Wiltsher - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Can a person privileged in some respect understand what it is like to be disprivileged in that respect? Some say yes; some say no. I argue that both positions are correct, because ‘understand what it is like to be disprivileged’ is ambiguous. Sometimes, it means grasp of the character of particular experiences of disprivileged people. Privileged people can achieve this. Sometimes, it means grasp of the general character shared by experiences of disprivileged people. Privileged people cannot achieve this. However, there (...)
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  • Knowledge, Truth, and Bullshit: Reflections on Frankfurt.Erik J. Olsson - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):94-110.
  • Why We Should Prefer Knowledge.Steven L. Reynolds - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):79-93.
    This paper discusses Plato’s question from the Meno : Why should we prefer knowledge that p over mere true belief that p? I find I just do prefer knowledge, and not for any further benefit that I am aware of in the particular case. But I should have that preference, because given our practice of approving of testimony only if uttered with knowledge, I could fail to prefer knowledge, when other things seem to me to be equal, only by having (...)
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  • The Lottery Paradox and Our Epistemic Goal.Igor Douven - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):204-225.
    Many have the intuition that the right response to the Lottery Paradox is to deny that one can justifiably believe of even a single lottery ticket that it will lose. The paper shows that from any theory of justification that solves the paradox in accordance with this intuition, a theory not of that kind can be derived that also solves the paradox but is more conducive to our epistemic goal than the former. It is argued that currently there is no (...)
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  • The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Survival.Sherrilyn Roush - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (3):255-278.
    Abstract: Knowledge requires more than mere true belief, and we also tend to think it is more valuable. I explain the added value that knowledge contributes if its extra ingredient beyond true belief is tracking . I show that the tracking conditions are the unique conditions on knowledge that achieve for those who fulfill them a strict Nash Equilibrium and an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy in what I call the True Belief Game. The added value of these properties, intuitively, includes preparedness (...)
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  • No Understanding Without Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
    Scientific understanding, this paper argues, can be analyzed entirely in terms of a mental act of “grasping” and a notion of explanation. To understand why a phenomenon occurs is to grasp a correct explanation of the phenomenon. To understand a scientific theory is to be able to construct, or at least to grasp, a range of potential explanations in which that theory accounts for other phenomena. There is no route to scientific understanding, then, that does not go by way of (...)
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  • A New Solution to the Safety Dilemma.Dario Mortini - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-17.
    Despite the substantial appeal of the safety condition, Kelp has raised a difficult challenge for safety-theoretic accounts of knowledge. By combining Gettier-style fake barn cases with epistemic Frankfurt cases, he concludes that no formulation of safety can be strong enough to predict ignorance in the former and weak enough to accommodate knowledge in the latter. In this note, my contribution is two-fold. Firstly, I take up Kelp’s challenge and I show that, once properly understood, safety successfully rises to it. Secondly, (...)
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  • Visual Information and Scientific Understanding.Nicola Mößner - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (2):167-179.
    Without doubt, there is a widespread usage of visualisations in science. However, what exactly the _epistemic status_ of these visual representations in science may be remains an open question. In the following, I will argue that at least some scientific visualisations are indispensible for our cognitive processes. My thesis will be that, with regard to the activity of _learning_, visual representations are of relevance in the sense of contributing to the aim of _scientific_ _understanding_. Taking into account that understanding can (...)
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  • Hegel's Essentialism. Natural Kinds and the Metaphysics of Explanation in Hegel's Theory of ‘the Concept’.Franz Knappik - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (4):760-787.
    Several recent interpretations see Hegel's theory of the Concept as a form of conceptual realism, according to which finite reality is articulated by objectively existing concepts. More precisely, this theory has been interpreted as a version of natural kind essentialism, and it has been proposed that its function is to account for the possibility of genuine explanations. This suggests a promising way to reconstruct the argument that Hegel's theory of objective concepts is based on—an argument that shows that the possibility (...)
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  • Moral Testimony Pessimism and the Uncertain Value of Authenticity.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):261-284.
    Many philosophers believe that there exist distinctive obstacles to relying on moral testimony. In this paper, I criticize previous attempts to identify these obstacles and offer a new theory. I argue that the problems associated with moral deference can't be explained in terms of the value of moral understanding, nor in terms of aretaic considerations related to subjective integration. Instead, our uneasiness with moral testimony is best explained by our attachment to an ideal of authenticity that places special demands on (...)
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  • Lucky Achievement: Virtue Epistemology on the Value of Knowledge.Tsung‐Hsing Ho - 2018 - Ratio 31 (3):303-311.
    Virtue epistemology argues that knowledge is more valuable than Gettierized belief because knowledge is an achievement, but Gettierized belief is not. The key premise in the achievement argument is that achievement is apt (successful because competent) and Gettierized belief is inapt (successful because lucky). I first argue that the intuition behind the achievement argument is based wrongly on the fact that ‘being successful because lucky’ implicates ‘being not competent enough’. I then offer an argument from moral luck to argue that (...)
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  • Detecting Epistemic Vice in Higher Education Policy: Epistemic Insensibility in the Seven Solutions and the REF.Heather Battaly - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (2):263-280.
    This article argues that the Seven Solutions in the US, and the Research Excellence Framework in the UK, manifest the vice of epistemic insensibility. Section I provides an overview of Aristotle's analysis of moral vice in people. Section II applies Aristotle's analysis to epistemic vice, developing an account of epistemic insensibility. In so doing, it contributes a new epistemic vice to the field of virtue epistemology. Section III argues that the (US) Seven Breakthrough Solutions and, to a lesser extent, the (...)
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  • Damming the Swamping Problem, Reliably.Jared Bates - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (1):103-116.
    The swamping problem is the problem of explaining why reliabilist knowledge (reliable true belief) has greater value than mere true belief. Swamping problem advocates see the lack of a solution to the swamping problem (i.e., the lack of a value-difference between reliabilist knowledge and mere true belief) as grounds for rejecting reliabilism. My aims here are (i) to specify clear requirements for a solution to the swamping problem that are as congenial to reliabilism's critics as possible, (ii) to clear away (...)
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  • Is Epistemic Expressivism Dialectically Incoherent?Klemens Kappel - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (1):49-69.
    Epistemic expressivism is the view that epistemic appraisals are basically non-factual valuations. In this paper I consider recent objections pressed by Terrence Cuneo, Michael Lynch and Jonathan Kvanvig to the effect that whatever the problems of expressivism in general, epistemic expressivism faces certain fatal objections due to the fact that the view is applied to the epistemic domain. The most important of these objections state, roughly, that because of the very content of the doctrine, epistemic expressivism cannot be coherently asserted (...)
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  • Does Belief (Only) Aim at the Truth?Daniel Whiting - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (2):279-300.
    It is common to hear talk of the aim of belief and to find philosophers appealing to that aim for numerous explanatory purposes. What belief 's aim explains depends, of course, on what that aim is. Many hold that it is somehow related to truth, but there are various ways in which one might specify belief 's aim using the notion of truth. In this article, by considering whether they can account for belief 's standard of correctness and the epistemic (...)
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  • Cleaning Up, and Moving Past, Simple Swamping.Timothy Perrine - 2021 - Theoria 87 (6):1548-1561.
    Many philosophers believe that true belief is of epistemic value, but that knowledge is of even more epistemic value. Some claim that this surplus value is instrumentally valuable to the value of true belief. I call the conjunction of these claims the Instrumentalist’s Conjunction. The so-called “Swamping Problem” is meant to show that Instrumentalist’s Conjunction is inconsistent. Crudely put, the problem is that if knowledge only has surplus value to the value of true belief, and a belief is true because (...)
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  • The Rejection of Epistemic Consequentialism.Selim Berker - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):363-387.
    A quasi-sequel to "Epistemic Teleology and the Separateness of Propositions." Covers some of the same ground, but also extends the basic argument in an important way.
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  • Appreciation as an Epistemic Emotion.Dong An - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-16.
    In this paper, I develop an account of appreciation. I argue that appreciation is an epistemic emotion in which the subject grasps the object in an affective way. The “grasping” and “feeling” components implies that in appreciation, we make sense of the object by having cognitive control over it, are motivated to maintain the valuable epistemic state of understanding, and experience the “aha” or “eureka” moment. This account offers a unified account of the many types of appreciation, including the aesthetic, (...)
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