Epistemic Luck and Anti-Luck Epistemology in the View of Duncan Pritchard

Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 25 (2):5-32 (2023)
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Abstract

The problem of epistemic luck arises when a person has a true belief that is only true by luck. Before Gettier, it was believed that the element of justification would be sufficient for knowledge; but he showed that it is possible to have a justified true belief that is not an example of knowledge because of the intrusion of luck. Duncan Pritchard has examined epistemic luck in an extensive and detailed manner. He offers a modal account of luck based on two elements: a possible-worlds analysis of counterfactual conditions and a significance condition for the factors that make the truth of the belief lucky. Pritchard argues for the superiority of this account to those that focus on whether the truth of the belief is “accidental” and on whether the believer has sufficient control over the belief. Epistemic luck may be “reflective” or “veritic”. Both undermine knowledge claims, although Pritchard gives the central role to veritic luck in his anti-luck epistemology, which is based on two elements: a safety principle and a condition to ensure that the cognitive faculties of the agent are not impaired. In this article, we will describe, analyze, and subsequently, evaluate the viewpoint of Pritchard. In addition to the critiques offered by others, ambiguities in his counterfactual account of luck and other components of his theory detract from his theory.

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Author Profiles

Zahra Khazaei
University Of Qom
Muhammad Legenhausen
The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute

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