Knowledge as a Non‐Normative Relation

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):190-222 (2018)
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According to a view I’ll call Epistemic Normativism, knowledge is normative in the same sense in which paradigmatically normative properties like justification are normative. This paper argues against EN in two stages and defends a positive non-normativist alternative. After clarifying the target in §1, I consider in §2 some arguments for EN from the premise that knowledge entails justification. I first raise some worries about inferring constitution from entailment. I then rehearse the reasons why some epistemologists reject the Entailment Thesis and argue that a non-normativist picture provides the best explanation of all the intuitions surrounding this thesis, favorable and unfavorable. On this picture, human knowledge is a structured non-normative complex that has as one of its parts a justification-making property, analogous in role to good-making properties like pleasurableness. After giving three arguments against EN in §3 and answering an objection in §4, I turn in §5 to further develop the positive view sketched in §2. In §6, I take stock and conclude.



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Kurt Sylvan
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

An Epistemic Non-Consequentialism.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2020 - The Philosophical Review 129 (1):1-51.
Knowledge-First Theories of Justification.Paul Silva - 2020 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Reliabilism Without Epistemic Consequentialism.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3):525-555.
Crossmodal Basing.Zoe Jenkin - forthcoming - Mind.
Is Evidence Normative?Frank Hofmann - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (2):1-18.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
What is Justified Belief?Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.

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