Erkenntnis 85 (3):589-608 (2020)

Thomas Hurka
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
This paper examines what it takes to be the intrinsic human goods of knowledge and achievement and argues that they are at many points parallel. Both are compounds, and of parallel elements: belief, justification, and truth in the one case, and intentional pursuit, competence, and success in the other. Each involves a Moorean organic unity, so its full presence or value requires a connection between its elements: an outside-in connection, where what makes a belief true helps explain why it’s justified, for knowledge, and an inside-out connection, where what makes a pursuit competent helps explain its success, for achievement. The features that determine the degrees of value of instances of the two goods, or make some truths more worth knowing and some goals more worth achieving, are also similar, turning in both cases largely on two forms of generality. And more specific goods that follow from valuing generality, such as integrated understanding and complex, difficult achievement, mirror each other structurally. Taken together, these many parallels suggest that knowledge and achievement may both instantiate a more abstract value of rational connection to reality. With or without that deeper unification, the parallels strengthen the claims of both to be genuine goods.
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-020-00245-0
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On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.

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