Enquiry and the Value of Knowledge

Philosophy (forthcoming)

Authors
Barney Walker
University of Warwick
Abstract
In this paper I challenge the orthodox view of the significance of Platonic value problems. According to this view, such problems are among the central questions of epistemology, and answering them is essential for justifying the status of epistemology as a major branch of philosophical enquiry. I challenge this view by identifying an assumption on which Platonic value problems are based – the value assumption – and considering how this assumption might be resisted. After articulating a line of thought that supports the assumption, I highlight one way of undermining it, which is to deny that we desire knowledge and not just (e.g.) true belief because we prefer knowledge to true belief. I then consider an attempt to undermine the value assumption in this way, inspired by Bernard Williams. I contend that Williams's argument fails, but also that seeing why it fails is instructive for future attempts to resist the value assumption.
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Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.
Doxastic Deliberation.Nishi Shah & J. David Velleman - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):497-534.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

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