Knowledge and Awareness

Analysis 75 (4):596-603 (2015)
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This paper takes a critical look at the idea that knowledge involves reflective access to reasons that provide rational support. After distinguishing between different kinds of awareness, I argue that the kind of awareness involved in awareness of reasons is awareness of something general rather than awareness of something that instances some generality. Such awareness involves the exercise of conceptual capacities and just is knowledge. Since such awareness is knowledge, this kind of awareness cannot play any interesting role in a story about how knowledge is acquired. After arguing that reflective access to reasons is not a precondition on acquiring knowledge, I look at one motivation for introducing this kind of access requirement. I argue that the argument for the access requirement rests on a mistaken assumption about the relationship between reasons and responsibility. While the target of this critical discussion is a version of epistemological disjunctivism, the criticism applies mutatis mutandis to many traditional internalist views in epistemology.

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Clayton Littlejohn
Australian Catholic University

References found in this work

Kinds of Reasons: An Essay in the Philosophy of Action.Maria Alvarez - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Epistemological disjunctivism.Duncan Pritchard - 2012 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge First?Aidan McGlynn - 2014 - New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillian.

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