Dretske on knowledge and content

Synthese 86 (March):425-41 (1991)
Olav Gjelsvik
University of Oslo
In this paper I discuss Fred Dretske's account of knowledge critically, and try to bring out how his account of informational content leads to cases of extreme epistemic good luck in his treatment of knowledge. My main interest, however, is to establish that the cases of epistemic luck arise because Dretske's account of knowledge in a fundamental way fails to take into account the role our actual recognitional capacities and powers of discrimination play in perceptually based knowledge. This result is, I believe, new. The paper has three sections. In Section 1 I give a short exposition of Dretske's theory, and make some necessary qualifications about how it is to be understood. In Section 2 I discuss in greater detail how the theory actually works, and provide some examples I think are very troublesome for Dretske. In Section 3 I argue that these cases establish my main claim. I also show that there are cases of epistemic bad luck due to Dretske's account of how information causes belief
Keywords Content  Epistemology  Knowledge  Luck  Dretske, F
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DOI 10.1007/BF00485269
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Epistemic Operators.Fred I. Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
Precis of Knowledge and the Flow of Information.Fred Dretske - 1983 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6 (1):55-90.

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