Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 1, pp 29–56

Competence to know


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-014-0325-9

Cite this article as:
Miracchi, L. Philos Stud (2015) 172: 29. doi:10.1007/s11098-014-0325-9


I argue against traditional virtue epistemology on which knowledge is a success due to a competence to believe truly, by revealing an in-principle problem with the traditional virtue epistemologist’s explanation of Gettier cases. The argument eliminates one of the last plausible explanation of Gettier cases, and so of knowledge, in terms of non-factive mental states and non-mental conditions. I then I develop and defend a different kind of virtue epistemology, on which knowledge is an exercise of a competence to know. I show how the account, while circular, is not viciously so. It explains both how knowledge is a mental state, as well as the relationship between knowledge and justification, including justified false beliefs and Gettier cases. Moreover, although direct virtue epistemology is compatible with many views on the nature of belief, it can explain how knowledge might be metaphysically more fundamental than belief as well.


Knowledge Virtue epistemology Knowledge-first epistemology Gettier cases Dispositions Competence 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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