Warrant: a First Approximation

Alvin Plantinga

in Warrant and Proper Function

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780195078640
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872213 | DOI:
Warrant: a First Approximation

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In Warrant: The Current Debate, I canvassed contemporary accounts of warrant (that quantity enough of which is what distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief), and found them inadequate. In this chapter, I begin to develop my own account of warrant. After introducing the notions of proper function, a cognitive environment, and a design plan, I arrive at the following first approximation of warrant: a belief B has warrant for an agent S if and only if the relevant segments of S's cognitive design plan (the segments involved in the production of B) are functioning properly in a cognitive environment, sufficiently similar to that for which they were designed, and the modules of the design plan governing the production of B are (1) aimed at truth, and (2) such that there is a high objective probability that a belief formed in accordance with those modules (in that sort of cognitive environment) is true. (I add, moreover, that in these conditions the degree of firmness with which S holds B is proportional to the degree of warrant B has for S).

Keywords: cognitive environment; design plan; knowledge; proper function; warrant

Chapter.  10183 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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