The Measure of Knowledge

Noûs 47 (3):577-601 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

What is it to know more? By what metric should the quantity of one's knowledge be measured? I start by examining and arguing against a very natural approach to the measure of knowledge, one on which how much is a matter of how many. I then turn to the quasi-spatial notion of counterfactual distance and show how a model that appeals to distance avoids the problems that plague appeals to cardinality. But such a model faces fatal problems of its own. Reflection on what the distance model gets right and where it goes wrong motivates a third approach, which appeals not to cardinality, nor to counterfactual distance, but to similarity. I close the paper by advocating this model and briefly discussing some of its significance for epistemic normativity. In particular, I argue that the 'trivial truths' objection to the view that truth is the goal of inquiry rests on an unstated, but false, assumption about the measure of knowledge, and suggest that a similarity model preserves truth as the aim of belief in an intuitively satisfying way.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

A measure of knowledge.James R. Simms - 1968 - New York,: Philosophical Library.
Trivial Truths and the Aim of Inquiry.NicK Treanor - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):552-559.
The Proper Work of the Intellect.Nick Treanor - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (1):22-40.
Believing for truth and the model of epistemic guidance.Xintong Wei - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Epistemic value and virtue epistemology.Tsung-Hsing Ho - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Southampton
What Do We Aim At When We Believe?Conor Mchugh - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (3):369-392.
Understanding and Structure.Allan Hazlett - 2017 - In Stephen R. Grimm (ed.), Making Sense of the World: New Essays on the Philosophy of Understanding. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press.
The Russellian Retreat.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):293-320.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-10-21

Downloads
873 (#17,637)

6 months
98 (#50,170)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Nick Treanor
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

Epistemology without guidance.Nick Hughes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):163-196.
IV—Understanding and Knowing.Paulina Sliwa - 2015 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (1pt1):57-74.
The virtue of curiosity.Lewis Ross - 2020 - Episteme 17 (1):105-120.

View all 28 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
On Certainty (ed. Anscombe and von Wright).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1969 - San Francisco: Harper Torchbooks. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe, G. H. von Wright & Mel Bochner.

View all 32 references / Add more references