Knowledge first, stability and value

Synthese:1-22 (forthcoming)

Barney Walker
University of Warwick
What should knowledge first theorists say about the value of knowledge? In this paper I approach this issue by arguing for a single ‘modest knowledge first claim’ about the value of knowledge. This is that the special value of knowledge isn’t merely instrumental value relative to true belief. I show that MKF is inconsistent with the version of the Platonic stability theory that Williamson defends in Knowledge and its Limits. I then argue in favour of MKF by arguing that Williamson’s stability theory fails for reasons that plausibly generalise to any theory of the value of knowledge that is inconsistent with MKF. Crucial to this argument is a putative adequacy condition on philosophical theories of the value of knowledge: that, in order to fully explain the special value of knowledge, a theory must identify respects in which knowledge is more valuable than true belief that give enquirers adequate reason for preferring knowledge to true belief. I conclude by suggesting that this adequacy condition is the source of a more general dilemma for proponents of philosophical theories of the value of knowledge.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02313-7
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and Action.John Hawthorne & Jason Stanley - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):571-590.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
The Norm of Belief.John Gibbons - 2013 - Oxford University Press.

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