David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Erkenntnis 72 (3):353 - 364 (2010)
According to Nozick’s tracking theory of knowledge, an agent a knows that p just in case her belief that p is true and also satisfies the two tracking conditionals that had p been false, she would not have believed that p , and had p been true under slightly different circumstances, she would still have believed that p . In this paper I wish to highlight an interesting but generally ignored feature of this theory: namely that it is reminiscent of a dispositional account of knowledge: it invites us to think of knowledge as a manifestation of a cognitive disposition to form true beliefs. Indeed, given a general account of dispositions in terms of subjunctive conditionals, the two tracking conditionals are satisfied just in case the belief in question results from some cognitive disposition to form true beliefs. Recently, such a conditional account of dispositions has, however, been criticised for its vulnerability to so-called ‘masked’, ‘mimicked’ and ‘finkish’ counterexamples. I show how the classical counterexamples to Nozick’s theory divide smoothly into four corresponding categories of counterexamples from epistemic masking, mimicking and finkishness. This provides strong evidence for the thesis that satisfaction of the two tracking conditionals is symptomatic of knowledge and that knowledge is instead constituted by a dispositional capability to form true beliefs. The attempt to capture such a cognitive, dispositional capability in terms of the tracking conditionals, although providing a good approximation in a wide variety of cases, still comes apart from the real thing whenever the epistemic layout is characterised by masking-, mimicking- and finkish mechanisms. In the last part of the paper I explore the prospect of improving the tracking theory in the light of these findings.
|Keywords||Philosophy Logic Ethics Ontology Epistemology Philosophy|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Robert Nozick (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Harvard University Press.
Ernest Sosa (2007/2009). A Virtue Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
Stephen Mumford (1998). Dispositions. Oxford University Press.
David Lewis (1997). Finkish Dispositions. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
Ernest Sosa (1991). Knowledge in Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Gregor Damschen (2009). Dispositional Knowledge-How Versus Propositional Knowledge-That. In Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf & Karsten Stueber (eds.), Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. De Gruyter
Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan (2012). Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. Analysis 72 (2):314-316.
Justin C. Fisher (2013). Dispositions, Conditionals and Auspicious Circumstances. Philosophical Studies 164 (2):443-464.
Fred Adams & Murray Clarke (2005). Resurrecting the Tracking Theories. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):207 – 221.
Hannes Leitgeb (2007). Beliefs in Conditionals Vs. Conditional Beliefs. Topoi 26 (1):115-132.
Alvin I. Goldman (2009). Recursive Tracking Versus Process Reliabilism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):223-230.
Sungho Choi (2008). Dispositional Properties and Counterfactual Conditionals. Mind 117 (468):795-841.
Fred Adams & Murray Clarke (2007). Defending the Tracking Theories of Knowledge. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:3-8.
Ben Bronner (2012). Problems with the Dispositional Tracking Theory of Knowledge. Logos and Episteme 3 (3):505-507.
Added to index2010-01-23
Total downloads81 ( #41,603 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)14 ( #50,975 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?