Unreflective epistemology

Episteme 11 (4):411-422 (2014)
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Virtue epistemological accounts of knowledge claim that knowledge is a species of a broader normative category, to wit of success from ability. Fake Barn cases pose a difficult problem for such accounts. In structurally analogous but non-epistemic cases, the agents attain the relevant success from ability. If knowledge is just another form of success from ability, the pressure is on to treat Fake Barn cases as cases of knowledge. The challenge virtue epistemology faces is to explain the intuitive lack of knowledge in Fake Barn cases, whilst holding on to the core claim that knowledge is success from ability. Ernest Sosa's version of virtue epistemology promises to rise to this challenge. Sosa distinguishes two types of knowledge, animal knowledge and reflective knowledge. He argues that while animal knowledge is present in Fake Barn cases, reflective knowledge is absent and ventures to explain the intuition of ignorance by the absence of reflective knowledge. This paper argues that Sosa's treatment of Fake Barn cases fails as it commits Sosa to a number of highly counterintuitive results elsewhere in epistemology.



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Christoph Kelp
University of Glasgow

References found in this work

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
Discrimination and perceptual knowledge.Alvin I. Goldman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.
Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (3):247-279.

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