The Concept of Knowledge

Colin McGinn

in Knowledge and Reality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598012 | DOI:
 The Concept of Knowledge

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In this essay, McGinn argues for a version of reliabilism, contending that a belief counts as knowledge just in case ‘it is produced by a method capable of yielding true beliefs in a range of relevant cases’. This view diverges from other versions of reliabilism, notably Robert Nozick's counter‐factionalist tracking theory, which, McGinn argues, ‘localizes the conditions for knowledge into a relation between the knower and a unique proposition’. Against this local analysis of propositional knowledge, McGinn presents a global reliabilism in which the notion of discrimination is basic. On McGinn's view, global reliability consists in a subject's capacity to distinguish the true from the false within a relevant class of propositions. McGinn concludes by considering the implications of his view for sceptical arguments—in particular, the claim that knowledge is not closed under known logical implication.

Keywords: closure; counter‐factional; discriminative; Dretske; Epistemology; knowledge; Nozick; reliabilism; scepticism; tracking theory

Chapter.  16374 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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