Second‐Order Knowledge

Adrian Haddock

in The Nature and Value of Knowledge

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199586264
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723360 | DOI:
Second‐Order Knowledge

Show Summary Details


This chapter argues that the regress of justifications can be satisfactorily avoided by seeing the second-order knowledge of the justification involved in visual knowledge as knowledge of a transparent fact, which constitutes an entitlement, but not a justification to the belief this second-order knowledge involves. The disjunctive conception of visual experience is employed to shed light on the idea of a transparent fact. This account can seem to be vulnerable to two powerful arguments: first, Williamson's argument against luminosity; and secondly, a version of McKinsey's argument against the idea of non-empirical knowledge of ‘broad’ mental states. It is suggested that the first argument does not affect the present account, and that the second argument can be avoided with the help of a distinction between the entitlements to, and the presuppositions of, the beliefs which knowledge involves. The upshot is an account of the second-order knowledge which visual knowledge involves as non-empirical knowledge, and hence as a species of privileged self-knowledge.

Keywords: anti-luminosity; disjunctive conception; McKinsey problem; non-empirical knowledge; second-order knowledge; self-knowledge; transparent fact; Williamson

Chapter.  10358 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.