Chapter

Understanding

Duncan Pritchard

in The Nature and Value of Knowledge

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199586264
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723360 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586264.003.0004
Understanding

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This chapter offers a new account of the nature of achievements, which can avoid the problems facing the old account put forward by robust virtue epistemology. It argues that achievements, so construed, are plausible candidates for final value. The relevance of this point for the value of understanding is then explored. A certain core kind of understanding is put forward for consideration, and it is argued that this form of understanding is factive. Interestingly, while this form of understanding is incompatible with ‘Gettier-style’ epistemic luck, it is (unlike knowledge) compatible with environmental epistemic luck. More generally, it is argued that understanding and knowledge come apart, and come apart precisely because understanding, unlike knowledge, is a form of cognitive achvievement, and hence is finally valuable. Some potential implications of the final value of understanding are explored concerning the problem of radical scepticism and the goal of inquiry.

Keywords: achievements; epistemic luck; epistemic value; final value; inquiry; knowledge; scepticism; understanding; virtue epistemology

Chapter.  10627 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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