American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (1):25-46 (2017)

Authors
John Turri
University of Waterloo
Wesley Buckwalter
George Mason University
Abstract
Centuries ago, Descartes and Locke initiated a foundational debate in epistemology over the relationship between knowledge, on the one hand, and practical factors, on the other. Descartes claimed that knowledge and practice are fundamentally separate. Locke claimed that knowledge and practice are fundamentally united. After a period of dormancy, their disagreement has reignited on the contemporary scene. Latter-day Lockeans claim that knowledge itself is essentially connected to, and perhaps even constituted by, practical factors such as how much is at stake, how important the situation is, or how one should act. Latter-day Cartesians claim, by contrast, that knowledge is entirely constituted by truth-related factors such as truth, belief, and evidence. Each side has supported its case with claims about patterns in ordinary behavior and knowledge judgments. Lockeans argue that these patterns are best explained by positing a fundamental and direct link between knowledge and practical factors. Cartesians argue that the patterns can be equally well explained by positing an indirect link, entirely mediated by the traditional factors of truth, belief, and evidence, thereby rendering the Lockean hypothesis unnecessary. We argue that Cartesians are right about some practical factors, in particular stakes and how important a situation is, which have, at best, a modest indirect relationship to knowledge. However, Lockeans are right about actionability: whether a person should pursue a course of action is unquestionably very powerfully and directly connected to knowledge.
Keywords knowledge  action  pragmatics  stakes  belief  mental states
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Theory of Knowledge.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic Contextualism: An Idle Hypothesis.John Turri - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):141-156.
Intuition Fail: Philosophical Activity and the Limits of Expertise.Wesley Buckwalter - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):378-410.
Truth‐Sensitivity and Folk Epistemology.Mikkel Gerken - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):3-25.

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