Should we replace knowledge by understanding? — A comment on Elgin and Goodman's reconception of epistemology
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 95 (1):119 - 128 (1993)
Goodman and Elgin have recommended a reconception of philosophy. A central part of their recommendation is to replace knowledge by understanding. According to Elgin, some important internalist and externalist theories of knowledge favor a sort of undesirable cognitive minimalism. Against Elgin I try to show how the challenge of cognitive minimalism can be met. Goodman and Elgin claim that defeat and confusion are built into the concept of knowledge. They demand either its revision or its replacement or its supplement. I show that these are three very different options. While agreeing with the view that there may be good reasons for some revisions and supplements, I strongly disagree with Elgin and Goodman's replacement thesis.
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Robert Nozick (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Harvard University Press.
Alvin I. Goldman (1986). Epistemology and Cognition. Harvard University Press.
Alvin Goldman (1976). Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge. Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.
Alvin I. Goldman (1967). A Causal Theory of Knowing. Journal of Philosophy 64 (12):357-372.
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