Understanding, knowledge, and the meno requirement Wayne D. Riggs

Jonathan Kvanvig's book, The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding (Kvanvig, 2003), is a wonderful example of doing epistemology in a style that Kvanvig himself has termed "value−driven epistemology." On this approach, one takes questions about epistemic value to be central to theoretical concerns, including the concern to provide an adequate account of knowledge. This approach yields the demand that theories of knowledge must provide, not just an adequate account of the nature of knowledge, but also an account of the value of knowledge. Given the near−universal assumption that knowledge has a special kind of value, this demand seems reasonable, though surprisingly hard to satisfy. Another consequence of this approach to doing epistemology is that certain assumptions about epistemic value, like what sorts of things have it and what sorts of things don't, and where such value comes from, become much more salient to the epistemic enterprise. In his book, Kvanvig challenges the assumption that knowledge has some unique store of epistemic value. And he investigates the matter by asking questions about what the bearers of epistemic value are and where they get it. He concludes, of course, that knowledge as we have come to conceive it in 21st century epistemology has no such special value.
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