Acta Analytica

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 145–161

Basic Knowledge and Easy Understanding

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12136-011-0139-8

Cite this article as:
Becker, K. Acta Anal (2012) 27: 145. doi:10.1007/s12136-011-0139-8

Abstract

Reliabilism is a theory that countenances basic knowledge, that is, knowledge from a reliable source, without requiring that the agent knows the source is reliable. Critics (especially Cohen 2002) have argued that such theories generate all-too-easy, intuitively implausible cases of higher-order knowledge based on inference from basic knowledge. For present purposes, the criticism might be recast as claiming that reliabilism implausibly generates cases of understanding from brute, basic knowledge. I argue that the easy knowledge (or easy understanding) criticism rests on an implicit mischaracterization of the notion of a reliable process. Properly understood, reliable processes do not permit the transition from basic knowledge to understanding based on inference.

Keywords

Basic knowledgeEasy knowledgeEpistemic closureHigher-order knowledgeReliabilism

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy MSC 03 21401 University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueNew Mexico