``Critical Notice of Pritchard's E pistemic Luck "
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77:272-281 (2008)
Duncan Pritchard’s book (Epistemic Luck, Oxford University Press, 2005) concerns the interplay between two disturbing kinds of epistemic luck, termed “reflective” and “veritic,” and two types of arguments for skepticism, one based on a closure principle for knowledge and the other on an underdetermination thesis about the quality of our evidence for the everyday propositions we believe. Pritchard defends the view that a safety-based account of knowledge can answer the closure argument and provide an account of how veritic epistemic luck is eliminated. He also argues that reflective epistemic luck cannot be eliminated, and that even though it is the sort of luck with which the underdetermination argument is concerned, the fact that this type of luck cannot be eliminated doesn’t undermine knowledge. Instead, it undermines the assertibility of our knowledge, at least in skeptical contexts. So when the skeptic challenges the idea that we know using the underdetermination principle, we have no legitimate response to offer, and it is this fundamental fact of epistemic life that Pritchard terms our inevitable epistemic angst.
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