The main claim of this essay is that knowledge is no more valuable than lasting true belief. This claim is surprising. Doesn't knowledge have a unique and special value? If the main claim is correct and if, as it seems, knowledge is not lasting true belief, then knowledge does not have a unique value: in whatever way knowledge is valuable, lasting true belief is just as valuable. However, this result does not show that knowledge is worthless, nor (...) does it undermine our knowledge gathering practices. There is, rather, a positive philosophical payoff: skepticism about knowledge is defused. Assuming one can have lasting true belief, then even if one cannot have knowledge, one can have something just as valuable. . (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to state a version of epistemic expressivism regarding knowledge, and to suggest how this expressivism about knowledge explains the value of knowledge. The paper considers how an account of the value of knowledge based on expressivism about knowledge responds to the Meno Problem, the Swamping Problem, and a variety of other questions that pertains to the value of knowledge, and the role of knowledge in (...) our cognitive ecology. (shrink)
Epistemology has for a long time focused on the concept of knowledge and tried to answer questions such as whether knowledge is possible and how much of it there is. Missing from this inquiry, however, is a discussion on the value of knowledge. In The Pursuit of Knowledge and the Value of Understanding Jonathan Kvanvig argues that epistemology properly conceived cannot ignore the question of the value of knowledge. He also questions one (...) of the most fundamental assumptions in epistemology, namely that knowledge is always more valuable than the value of its subparts. Taking Platos' Meno as a starting point of his discussion, Kvanvig tackles the different arguments about the value of knowledge and comes to the conclusion that knowledge is less valuable than generally assumed. Clearly written and well argued, the book will appeal to students and professionals in epistemology. (shrink)
The value problem -- Unpacking the value problem -- The swamping problem -- fundamental and non-fundamental epistemic goods -- The relevance of epistemic value monism -- Responding to the swamping problem I : the practical response -- Responding to the swamping problem II : the monistic response -- Responding to the swamping problem III : the pluralist response -- Robust virtue epistemology -- Knowledge and achievement -- Interlude : is robust virtue epistemology a reductive theory of (...)knowledge? -- Achievement without achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Contra virtue epistemology -- Two master intuitions about knowledge -- Anti-luck virtue epistemology -- Interlude : is anti-luck virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Diagnosing the structure of knowledge -- Back to the value problem -- The final value of achievements -- Understanding -- Understanding and epistemic luck -- Understanding and cognitive achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Two potential implications of the distinctive value of understanding thesis -- The traditional analytical project and the central tension -- Knowledge, evidence, and reasons -- Concepts versus phenomena -- The way ahead -- Perceptual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perpetual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perceptual knowledge and justified belief -- Closure and doxastic responsibility -- Knowledge from indicators -- Recognitional abilities again -- Detached standing knowledge -- Back to knowledge from indicators -- Taking stock -- Why knowledge matters -- Approaching the epistemology of testimony -- Telling and informing -- Acquiring true beliefs and acquiring knowledge through being told -- Access to facts about knowledge -- The modest route -- Fool's knowledge -- The distinctive value of knowledge -- Fool's justification -- Arguing from illusion -- The regress of justifications -- Transparency and knowledge -- Transparency and entitlement -- On trying to do without transparency -- Transparency and luminosity -- Non-sensible knowledge -- Self-knowledge -- Non-sensible knowledge of action -- The two dimensions -- The distinctive value of knowledge of action -- Non-observational knowledge -- Practical knowledge and intention -- Practical knowledge and direction of fit. (shrink)
This paper defends the epistemological doctrine of fallibilism from recent objections. In “The Myth of Knowledge” Laurence BonJour argues that we should reject fallibilism for two main reasons: first, there is no adequate way to specify what level of justification is required for fallible knowledge; second, we cannot explain why any level of justification that is less than fully conclusive should have the significance that makes knowledge valuable. I will reply to these challenges in a way that (...) allows me to make progress on a number of important issues in contemporary epistemology: epistemic value, the functional roles of knowledge attributions, experimental epistemology, skepticism, the Gettier problem, and the lottery paradox. My argument is motivated by appealing to various insights derived from the method of ‘practical explication’, particularly the idea that a central purpose of the concept of knowledge is to flag reliable informants. My conclusion is that various practical and theoretical considerations derived from the method of practical explication support the fallibilist conception of knowledge. (shrink)
Abstract: Knowledge requires more than mere true belief, and we also tend to think it is more valuable. I explain the added value that knowledge contributes if its extra ingredient beyond true belief is tracking . I show that the tracking conditions are the unique conditions on knowledge that achieve for those who fulfill them a strict Nash Equilibrium and an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy in what I call the True Belief Game. The added value of (...) these properties, intuitively, includes preparedness and an expectation of survival advantage. On this view knowledge is valuable not because knowledge persists but because it makes the bearer more likely to maintain an appropriate belief state—possibly nonbelief—through time and changing circumstances. When Socrates concluded that knowledge of the road to Larissa was no more valuable than true belief for the purpose of getting to Larissa, he did not take into account that one might want to be prepared for a possible meeting with a misleading sophist along the way, or for the possibility of road work. (shrink)
Abstract: We challenge a line of thinking at the fore of recent work on epistemic value: the line (suggested by Kvanvig  and others) that if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of mere true belief, then we have good reason to doubt its theoretical importance in epistemology. We offer a value-driven argument for the theoretical importance of knowledge—one that stands even if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by (...) the value of true belief. Specifically, we contend that even if knowledge itself has no special epistemic value, its relationship to other items of value—cognitive abilities—gives ample reason to locate the concept at the very core of epistemology. (shrink)
Debates about scientific (though rarely about otherforms of) knowledge, research policies or academic trainingoften involve a controversy about whether scientificknowledge possesses just “instrumental” value or also “intrinsic” value. Questioning this common simpleopposition, I scrutinize the issues involved in terms of agreater variety of structural types of values attributableto (scientific) knowledge. (Intermittently, I address thepuzzling habit of attributing “intrinsic” value to quitedifferent things, e.g. also to nature, in environmentalethics.) After some remarks on relevant broader philosophicaldebates about (...) scientific knowledge, I pave a path throughthe (terminological) thicket of structural types of values. Our initial simple opposition is shown to conflate thedistinctions intrinsic/extrinsic and instrumental (or justuseful)/final. Next, I consider the value(s) of knowledgeand knowing in general and their possible value components(like the values of truth and justifiedness). After havingdiscussed the types of value of everyday knowledge,especially its functional and constitutive value (notionsintroduced earlier), I argue that these can or should alsobe attributed to scientific knowledge, thus departing fromboth objectivist and sociological views of science. One could say that I offer a certain defense of theintrinsic value of scientific knowing (and the inherentvalue of scientific knowledge) and some importantdifferentiations of its “instrumental values”. I alsocaution (in relation with my puzzle) against drawing hastymoral conclusions. (shrink)
This paper reviews and augments important work in philosophy of education on intrinsic aims for education, of knowledge, of knowledge of values, and of rationality. A contemporary conception of knowledge as ``rationality's `data-base''' is proposed and an in-depth section on the intrinsic value of rationality is incorporated.
In light of the growth in the conduct of international clinical research in developing populations, this paper seeks to explore what is owed to developing world communities who host international clinical research. Although existing paradigms for assigning and assessing benefits to host communities offer valuable insight, I criticize their failure to distinguish between those benefits which can justify the conduct of research in a developing world setting and those which cannot. I argue that the justification for human subjects research is (...) fundamentally grounded in the social value of knowledge, and that this value is context-dependent in a manner which should inform our ethical evaluation of the conduct of research in specific settings. I propose a new framework for the assessment of research benefits assigned to developing world host communities, a natural implication of which is to limit the types of research projects which may permissibly be conducted in developing world settings. (shrink)
Virtue reliabilism appears to have a major advantage over generic reliabilism: only the former has the resources to explain the intuition that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. I argue that this appearance is illusory. It is sustained only by the misguided assumption that a principled distinction can be drawn between those belief-forming methods that are grounded in the agent’s intellectual virtues, and those that are not. A further problem for virtue reliabilism is that of explaining why (...)knowledge is more valuable than mere justified true belief. I argue that virtue reliabilism lacks the resources to explain this value difference. I conclude by considering what it would take for a theory to explain the extra value of knowledge over mere justified true belief. (shrink)
Reflection on the issues surrounding the value of knowledge and other cognitive states of interest to epistemologists can be traced to the conversation between Socrates and Meno in Plato’s dialogue named after the latter. The context of discussion concerns the hiring of a guide to get one to Larissa, and the proposal on the table is that one would want a guide who knows the way. Socrates sees a problem, however, for it is not clear why a guide (...) with merely true opinion will not be just as good. (shrink)
It is a widely accepted doctrine in epistemology that knowledge has greater value than mere true belief. But although epistemologists regularly pay homage to this doctrine, evidence for it is shaky. Is it based on evidence that ordinary people on the street make evaluative comparisons of knowledge and true belief, and consistently rate the former ahead of the latter? Do they reveal such a preference by some sort of persistent choice behavior? Neither of these scenarios is observed. (...) Rather, epistemologists come to this conclusion because they have some sort of conception or theory of what knowledge is, and they find reasons why people should rate knowledge, so understood, ahead of mere true belief. But what if these epistemological theories are wrong? Then the assumption that knowledge is more valuable than true belief might be in trouble. We don’t wish to take a firm position against the thesis that knowledge is more valuable than true belief. But we begin this paper by arguing that there is one sense of ‘know’ under which the thesis cannot be right. In particular, there seems to be a sense of ‘know’ in which it means, simply, ‘believe truly.’ If this is correct, then knowledge—in this weak sense of the term—cannot be more valuable than true belief. What evidence is there for a weak sense of ‘knowledge’ in which it is equivalent to ‘true belief’? Knowledge seems to contrast with ignorance. Not only do knowledge and ignorance contrast with one another but they seem to exhaust the alternatives, at least for a specified person and fact. Given a true proposition p, Diane either knows p or is ignorant of it. The same point can be expressed using rough synonyms of ‘know.’ Diane is either aware of (the fact that) p or is ignorant of it. She is either cognizant of p or ignorant of it. She either possesses the information that p or she is uninformed (ignorant) of it. To illustrate these suggestions, consider a case discussed by John Hawthorne (2002). If I ask you how many people in the room know that Vienna is the capital of Austria, you will tally up the number of people in the room who possess the information that Vienna is the capital of Austria.. (shrink)
The value problem for knowledge is the problem of explaining why knowledge is cognitively more valuable than mere true belief. If an account of the nature of knowledge is unable to solve the value problemfor knowledge, this provides a pro tanto reason to reject that account. Recent literature argues that process reliabilism is unable to solve the value problem because it succumbs to an objection known as theswamping objection. Virtue reliabilism (i.e., agent reliabilism), (...) on the other hand, is able to solve the value problem because it can avoid the swamping objection. I argue that virtue reliabilism escapes theswamping objection only by employing what I call an entailment strategy. Furthermore, since an entailment strategy is open to the process reliabilist (in two different forms), I argue that the process reliabilist is also able to escape the swamping objection and thereby solve the value problem for knowledge. (shrink)
Goldman and Olsson ( 2009 ) have responded to the common charge that reliabilist theories of knowledge are incapable of accounting for the valueknowledge has beyond mere true belief. We examine their “conditional probability solution” in detail, and show that it does not succeed. The conditional probability relation is too weak to support instrumental value, and the specific relation they describe is inessential to the value of knowledge. At best, they have described conditions (...) in which knowledge indicates that additional epistemic value is likely to be forthcoming in the future. We also argue that their motive analogy breaks down. The problem, we conclude, is that being produced by a reliable process is not sufficient for a belief to be justified. (shrink)
After sketching my own solution to the Value of Knowledge Problem, which argues for a deontological understanding of justification and understands the value of knowing interesting propositions by the value we place on believing as we ought to believe, I discuss Alvin Goldman's and Erik Olsson's recent attempts to explain the value of knowledge within the framework of their reliabilist epistemology.
Gettiered beliefs are those whose agents are subject to the kind of epistemologically significant luck illustrated by Gettier Cases. Provided that knowledge requires ungettiered belief, we can learn something about knowledge by figuring out how luck blocks it in Gettier Cases. After criticizing the most promising of the going approaches to gettiered belief—the Risk of False Belief Approach—, I explain and defend a new approach: the Risk of Misleading Dispositions Approach.Roughly, this view says that a belief is gettiered (...) just in case its unfortunate subject has at best just luckily avoided being disposed by his belief’s actual grounds to believe a wide class of falsehoods about his environment. I then show how this approach undercuts an influential recent argument that knowledge has no more value than certain subsets of its components. (shrink)
The questions concerning the value of knowledge and truth range from complete skepticism about such value to more discriminating concerns about the precise nature of the value in question and the comparative judgment that one of the two is more valuable than the other.
One alleged advantage of credit theories of knowledge is that they are capable of explaining why knowledge is essentially more valuable than mere true belief. I argue that credit theories in fact provide grounds for denying this claim and therefore are incapable of overcoming the ‘value problem’ in epistemology. Much of the discussion revolves around the question of whether true belief is always epistemically valuable. I also consider to what extent, if any, my main argument should worry (...) credit theorists. (shrink)
Alan Millar's paper (2011) involves two parts, which I address in order, first taking up the issues concerning the goal of inquiry, and then the issues surrounding the appeal to reflective knowledge. I argue that the upshot of the considerations Millar raises count in favour of a more important role in value-driven epistemology for the notion of understanding and for the notion of epistemic justification, rather than for the notions of knowledge and reflective knowledge.
This book formulates a new approach to philosophy which, instead of simply rejecting postmodern thought, tries to assimilate some of its main features. Paul Crowther identifies conceptual links between value, knowledge, personal identity and civilization, understood as a process of cumulative advance.
My central thesis is that philosophers considering questions of epistemic value ought to devote greater attention to the enduring nature of beliefs. I begin by arguing that a commonly drawn analogy between beliefs and actions is flawed in important respects, and that a better, more fruitful analogue for belief would be desire, or a similarly enduring state of an agent. With this in hand, I argue that treating beliefs as enduring, constitutive states of agents allows us to capture the (...) importance of accessible, justified, and true beliefs to sustaining personal identity, autonomy, self-control, and authenticity. We thus arrive at a significant value to such beliefs through their crucial role in our personal, practical identities. (shrink)
The law views with suspicion statistical evidence, even evidence that is probabilistically on a par with direct, individual evidence that the law is in no way suspicious of. But it has proved remarkably hard to either justify this suspicion, or to debunk it. In this paper, we connect the discussion of statistical evidence to broader epistemological discussions of similar phenomena. We highlight Sensitivity – the requirement that a belief be counterfactually sensitive to the truth in a specific way – as (...) a way of epistemically explaining the legal suspicion towards statistical evidence. Still, we do not think of this as a satisfactory vindication of the reluctance to rely on statistical evidence. Knowledge – and Sensitivity, and indeed epistemology in general – are of little, if any, legal value. Instead, we tell an incentive-based story vindicating the suspicion towards statistical evidence. We conclude by showing that the epistemological story and the incentive-based story are closely and interestingly related, and by offering initial thoughts about the role of statistical evidence in morality. (shrink)
The value problem of knowledge is one of the prominent problems that philosophical accounts of knowledge are expected to solve. According to the creditsolution, a well-known solution to this problem, knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief because the former is creditable to a subject’s cognitive competence. But what is “credit value”? How does it connect to the already existing distinctions between values? The purpose of the present paper is to answer these questions. Its (...) most important conclusion is that credit value is not—contrary to what the upholders of the credit solution have frequently claimed—final value. (shrink)
Starting again of thesis that the value appear to us like value in self, transcendental, and value for somebody, this paper enlarging upon idea that the value is object of knowledge but different of any others objects of the reality. The knowledge of value involve a emotional constituent and other rational constituent. Advancing the judgement of value, the feeling of value is essential for detection and to converted the being of (...) class='Hi'>value into reality of life and culture. This part of value feeling do not put in danger the unity and eternity of value and it is very important for the knowledge and the intercultural communication in the world. (shrink)
The fact that we ought to prefer what is comparatively more likely to be good, I argue, does, contrary to consequentialism, not rest on any evaluative facts. It is, in this sense, a deontological requirement. As such it is the basis of our valuing those things which are in accordance with it. We value acting (and believing) well, i.e. we value acting (and believing) as we ought to act (and to believe). In this way, despite the fact that (...) our interest in justification depends on our interest in truth, we value believing with justification on non-instrumental grounds. A deontological understanding of justification, thus, solves the Value of Knowledge Problem. (shrink)
In Value and Context Alan Thomas articulates and defends the view that human beings do possess moral and political knowledge but it is historically and culturally contextual knowledge in ways that, say, mathematical or chemical knowledge is not. In his exposition of "cognitive contextualism" in ethics and politics he makes wide-ranging use of contemporary work in epistemology, moral philosophy, and political theory.
ABSTRACT: Menothe idea that knowing something is better than merely having a true belief about itswampings Thesis instead, as relying on a confusion between expected value and value proper. The proposed solution relies on an externalist view of rationality, which is presented.
The paper emphasizes the role of knowledge dimensions of an action which could be regarded as rational. Rational action usually results of specific decision — making process including selection, evaluation and acceptance of a preferred alternative. This process should integrate not only various types of knowledge but also the interdisciplinary or interdepartmental knowledge integration. The integration of knowledge may cover various forms, especially integration of knowledge relating to different domains, of different quality, of knowledge (...) connected with different goal-orientations. The paper stresses the role of the hitherto known and recognized alternatives. The integration procedures should also include the integration of various spheres and types of knowledge with accepted and justified systems of values. (shrink)
The paper examines one implication of pluralism, the view that all values are conditional and none are overriding. This implication is that since scientific knowledge is one of the conditional values, there are circumstances in which the pursuit of even the most basic scientific knowledge is legitimately curtailed. These circumstances occur when the pursuit of scientific knowledge conflicts with moral and political values which, in that context, are more important than it. The argument focuses on the case (...) for and against space exploration in search of intelligent extraterrestrial life. The widely held supposition that search for pure scientific knowledge cannot be reasonably curtailed is identified as the fallacy of overriding values. (shrink)
It is argued that the debate regarding radical scepticism needs to be conducted in the light of a value-theoretic methodological constraint. It is further shown that such a methodological constraint raises some uncomfortable problems for the main anti-sceptical proposals in the literature.
Synthetic biology can be understood as expanding the abilities and aspirations of genetic engineering. Nonetheless, whereas genetic engineering has been subject to criticism due to its endangering biodiversity, synthetic biology may actually appear to prove advantageous for biodiversity. After all, one might claim, synthesizing novel forms of life increases the numbers of species present in nature and thus ought to be ethically recommended. Two perspectives on how to spell out the conception of intrinsic value of biodiversity are examined in (...) order to assess this line of thought. At the cost of introducing two separate capacities of human knowledge acquisition, the ‘admiration stance’ turns out to reject outright the assumption of a synthetic species' intrinsic value and of an imperative to create novel species. The ‘kinship stance’ by contrast does ascribe value to both synthetic and natural species and organisms. Nonetheless, while from this perspective creating novel species may become an ethical demand under certain conditions, it favours changing organisms by getting in contact with them rather than synthesizing them. It is concluded that neither the admiration nor the kinship stance warrants a supposed general moral obligation to create novel species to increase biodiversity. (shrink)
Alvin Goldman and Erik Olsson have recently proposed a novel solution to the value problem in epistemology, i.e., to the question of how to account for the apparent surplus value of knowledge over mere true belief. Their “conditional probability solution” maintains that even simple process reliabilism can account for the added value of knowledge, since forming true beliefs in a reliable way raises the objective probability that the subject will have more true belief of a (...) similar kind in the future. I argue that this proposal confronts significant internal problems and implicitly invokes higher-level epistemic conditions that run against the spirit of externalism. (shrink)
John Greco claims that knowledge is a kind of achievement. The value achievements have (as such) shows, according to Greco, why knowledge is better than mere true belief. I argue that, for a variety of reasons, it is not always good to know. Furthermore, it is wrong to think that achievements are always good – think of achieving what is bad. Greco is mistaken twice; this leaves the idea that knowledge is a kind of achievement intact.
The Metaphysics of Knowledge presents the thesis that knowledge is an absolutely fundamental relation, with an indispensable role to play in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and philosophy of mind and language. Knowledge has been generally assumed to be a propositional attitude like belief. But Keith Hossack argues that knowledge is not a relation to a content; rather, it a relation to a fact. This point of view allows us to explain many of the concepts of philosophical logic (...) in terms of knowledge. Hossack provides a theory of facts as structured combinations of particulars and universals, and presents a theory of content as the property of a mental act that determines its value for getting knowledge. He also defends a theory of representation in which the conceptual structure of a content is taken to picture the fact it represents. This permits definitions to be given of reference, truth, and necessity in terms of knowledge. Turning to the metaphysics of mind and language, Hossack argues that a conscious state is one that is identical with knowledge of its own occurrence. This allows us to characterize subjectivity, and, by illuminating the "I"-concept, allows us to gain a better understanding of the concept of a person. Language is then explained in terms of knowledge, as a device used by a community of persons for exchanging knowledge by testimony. The Metaphysics of Knowledge concludes that knowledge is too fundamental to be constituted by something else, such as one's functional or physical state; other things may cause knowledge, but do not constitute it. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: We argue that the so-called ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ Value Problems for knowledge are more easily solved than is widely appreciated. Pritchard, for instance, has suggested that only virtue-theoretic accounts have any hopes of adequately addressing these problems. By contrast, we argue that accounts of knowledge that are sensitive to the Gettier problem are able to overcome these challenges. To first approximation, the Primary Value Problem is a problem of understanding how the property of being (...) class='Hi'>knowledge confers more epistemic value on a belief than the property of being true. The Secondary Value is a problem of understanding how, for instance, property of being knowledge confers more epistemic value on a belief than the property of being jointly true and justified. We argue that attending to the fact that beliefs are ongoing states reveals that there is no difficulty in appreciating how knowledge might ordinarily have more epistemic value than mere true belief or mere justified true belief. We also explore in what ways ordinary cases of knowledge might be of distinctive epistemic value. In the end, our proposal resembles the original Platonic suggestion in the Meno that knowledge is valuable because knowledge is somehow tied to the good of truth. (shrink)