Epistemic Luck

Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK (2005)
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Abstract

One of the key supposed 'platitudes' of contemporary epistemology is the claim that knowledge excludes luck. One can see the attraction of such a claim, in that knowledge is something that one can take credit for - it is an achievement of sorts - and yet luck undermines genuine achievement. The problem, however, is that luck seems to be an all-pervasive feature of our epistemic enterprises, which tempts us to think that either scepticism is true and that we don't know very much, or else that luck is compatible with knowledge after all. In this book, Duncan Pritchard argues that we do not need to choose between these two austere alternatives, since a closer examination of what is involved in the notion of epistemic luck reveals varieties of luck that are compatible with knowledge possession and varieties that aren't. Moreover, Pritchard shows that a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between luck and knowledge can cast light on many of the most central topics in contemporary epistemology. These topics include: the externalism/internalism distinction; virtue epistemology; the problem of scepticism; metaepistemological scepticism; modal epistemology; and the problem of moral luck. All epistemologists will need to come to terms with Pritchard's original and incisive contribution.

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Duncan Pritchard
University of California, Irvine

Citations of this work

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