Acta Analytica 35 (2):229-252 (2020)

David Botting
De La Salle University (PhD)
In recent years, there has been a “value turn” in epistemology. We intuitively think of knowledge as having a value, a value that mere true belief does not have, and it has been held to be a condition of adequacy on theories of knowledge that they be able to explain why. Unfortunately, for most theories their explanations suffer from the “swamping problem” because what has to be added to turn true belief into knowledge has value only instrumentally to truth; for example, we take being justified to be valuable, but only because being justified is our way of trying to believe what is true and only what is true, and it follows from this that for a belief already granted as true, no extra value is added by the fact that it is justified as well. So, the task is to solve the value problem while avoiding the swamping problem. I will argue that, in fact, the value turn leaves epistemological theorizing much as it was. My reasoning goes briefly as follows: on the usual interpretation of the value problem, the demand it places on theories of knowledge is internally incoherent and hence implausible as a condition of their adequacy. It is a condition of adequacy nonetheless that the theory avoid the swamping problem if we really do have the intuition supposed. I will then use a thought-experiment to consider different kinds of knowledge and argue that, with the exception of a priori knowledge, there is no such intuition. With this exception, there is no swamping problem either, and hence theories cannot be ruled inadmissible on the grounds that the knowledge-making features they propose fail to have a non-instrumental value. My conclusion is that it is only whatever has to be added to true a priori belief in order to turn it into knowledge that has to have a non-instrumental value, that is to say, only a priori knowledge that has a value problem. But this problem is easily solved.
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-019-00399-9
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References found in this work BETA

The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.
Epistemic Justification.Richard Swinburne - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
Why Is a Valid Inference a Good Inference?Sinan Dogramaci - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):61-96.

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