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Benjamin T. Rancourt
North Carolina State University
  1.  82
    Better Understanding Through Falsehood.Benjamin T. Rancourt - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (3).
    Can understanding be based on false beliefs? I argue that it can. I first argue that the best way to understand the question is that it is whether one can increase one's degree of understanding by adopting an overall less accurate body of beliefs. I identify three sufficient conditions for one body of beliefs to be more accurate than another. Next, I appeal to two widely used methods of comparing degrees of understanding. With these methods, I show that understanding can (...)
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  2.  48
    Epistemic Relativism and Semantic Blindness.Benjamin T. Rancourt - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):859-876.
    Semantic blindness is the inability to recognize semantic features of terms one can competently use. A theory that implies semantic blindness incurs a burden to explain how one can competently use a term without realizing how the term works. An argument advanced in favor of epistemic relativism is that its main competitors, contextualism and subject-sensitive invariantism, imply that speakers suffer from semantic blindness regarding ‘knows’ while relativism has no such implication. However, there is evidence that relativism also implies semantic blindness (...)
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  3.  62
    Egoism or the Problem of Evil: A Dilemma for Sceptical Theism.Benjamin T. Rancourt - 2013 - Religious Studies 49 (3):313-325.
    Sceptical theists undermine the argument from evil by claiming that our ability to distinguish between justified and unjustified evil is weak enough that we must take seriously the possibility that all evil is justified. However, I argue that this claim leads to a dilemma: either our judgements regarding unjustified evil are reliable enough that the problem of evil remains a problem, or our judgements regarding unjustified evil are so unreliable that it would be misguided to use them in our decision-making. (...)
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  4.  19
    Understanding and Its Role in Inquiry.Benjamin T. Rancourt - unknown
    In this dissertation, I argue that understanding possesses unique epistemic value. I propose and defend a novel account of understanding that I call the management account of understanding, which is the view that an agent A understands a subject matter S just in case A has the ability to extract the relevant information and exploit it with the relevant cognitive capacities to answer questions in S. Since inquiry is the process of raising and answering questions, I argue that without understanding, (...)
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