Knowledge and Final Value

Duncan Pritchard

in The Nature and Value of Knowledge

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199586264
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723360 | DOI:
Knowledge and Final Value

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This chapter describes two forms of virtue epistemology: modest and robust. The latter is uniquely able to make a plausible case for the thesis that knowledge is a cognitive form of achievement. Since achievements are, arguably, finally valuable, robust virtue epistemology thus seems uniquely able to offer a defence of the thesis that knowledge is finally valuable, and thereby resolve the various forms of the value of problem for knowledge. Unfortunately, the view faces some fatal problems. In particular, it is shown that there are cases of knowledge — such as testimonial knowledge that is gained via trust — which do not constitute achievements. There are also cases of cognitive achievement — such as the cognitive achievement on display in the barn facade case — which do not constitute knowledge because of the presence of environmental epistemic luck. In light of the failure of robust virtue epistemology to deal with the value problem(s) for knowledge, it is argued that knowledge is not finally valuable.

Keywords: achievements; epistemic luck; epistemic value; knowledge; final value; virtue epistemology

Chapter.  11124 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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