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.
Reliabilism without Epistemic Consequentialism.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3):525-555.
Knowledge-First Evidentialism and the Dilemmas of Self-Impact.Paul Silva Jr & Eyal Tal - 2021 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Epistemic Dilemmas: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge.

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References found in this work

Ontological relativity and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1969 - New York: Columbia University Press.
Does conceivability entail possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.

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