Synthese

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 345–361 | Cite as

Why we don’t deserve credit for everything we know

Original Paper

Abstract

A view of knowledge—what I call the Deserving Credit View of Knowledge(DCVK)—found in much of the recent epistemological literature, particularly among so-called virtue epistemologists, centres around the thesis that knowledge is something for which a subject deserves credit. Indeed, this is said to be the central difference between those true beliefs that qualify as knowledge and those that are true merely by luck—the former, unlike the latter, are achievements of the subject and are thereby creditable to her. Moreover, it is often further noted that deserving credit is what explains the additional value that knowledge has over merely lucky true belief. In this paper, I argue that the general conception of knowledge found in the DCVK is fundamentally incorrect. In particular, I show that deserving credit cannot be what distinguishes knowledge from merely lucky true belief since knowledge is not something for which a subject always deserves credit.

Keywords

Knowledge Luck Credit 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adler J.E. (1994). Testimony, trust, knowing. The Journal of Philosophy 91:264–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adler J.E. (2002). Belief’s own ethics. MIT, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  3. Audi R. (1997). The place of testimony in the fabric of knowledge and justification. American Philosophical Quarterly 34:405–422Google Scholar
  4. Audi R. (1998). Epistemology: A contemporary introduction to the theory of knowledge. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Audi, R. (Forthcoming). Testimony, credulity, and veracity. In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  6. Austin J.L. (1979). Other minds. Philosophical papers (3rd Edn). Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. BonJour L. (1985). The structure of empirical knowledge. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  8. Burge T. (1993). Content preservation. The Philosophical Review 102:457–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burge T. (1997). Interlocution, perception, and memory. Philosophical Studies 86:21–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chisholm R.M. (1977). Theory of knowledge (2nd Edn). Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.JGoogle Scholar
  11. Coady C.A.J. (1992). Testimony: A philosophical study. Clarendo Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Coady C.A.J. (1994). Testimony, observation and autonomous knowledge. In: Matilal B.K., Chakrabarti A. (eds) Knowing from words. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 225–250Google Scholar
  13. Dummett M. (1994). Testimony and memory. In: Matilal B.K., Chakrabarti A. (eds) Knowing from words. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 251–272Google Scholar
  14. Evans G. (1982). The varieties of reference. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Faulkner P. (2000). The social character of testimonial knowledge. The Journal of Philosophy 97:581–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Faulkner P. (2002). On the rationality of our response to testimony. Synthese 131:353–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Foley R. (1994). Egoism in epistemology. In: Schmitt F. (eds) Socializing epistemology: The social dimensions of knowledge. Roman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD, pp. 53–73Google Scholar
  18. Fricker E. (1987). The epistemology of testimony. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 61:57–83Google Scholar
  19. Fricker E. (1994). Against gullibility. In: Matilal B.K., Chakrabarti A. (eds) Knowing from words. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 125–161Google Scholar
  20. Fricker E. (1995). Telling and trusting: reductionism and anti-reductionism in the Epistemology of Testimony. Mind 104:393–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fricker E. (2002). Trusting others in the sciences: A Priori or empirical warrant?. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 33:373–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fricker, E. (Forthcoming a). Knowledge from trust in testimony is second-hand knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.Google Scholar
  23. Fricker, E. (Forthcoming b). Testimony and epistemic autonomy. In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gettier E. (1963). Is justified true belief knowledge?. Analysis 23:121–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goldberg, S. C. (Forthcoming). Reductionism and the distinctiveness of testimonial knowledge. In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The Epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Goldman A.I. (1999). Knowledge in a social world. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  27. Graham, P. J. (Forthcoming). Liberal fundamentalism and its rivals. In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  28. Greco J. (2000). Two kinds of intellectual virtue. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60:179–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Greco J. (2003). Knowledge as credit for true belief. In: DePaul M., Zagzebski L. (eds) Intellectual virtue: Perspectives from ethics and epistemology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 111–134Google Scholar
  30. Hardwig J. (1985). Epistemic dependence. The Journal of Philosophy 82:335–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hardwig J. (1991). The role of trust in knowledge. The Journal of Philosophy 88:693–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hume D. (1967). An enquiry concerning human understanding. In: Selby-Bigge L.A. (eds) Hume’s enquiries. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  33. Insole C.J. (2000). Seeing off the local threat to irreducible knowledge by testimony. The Philosophical Quarterly 50:44–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lackey J. (1999). Testimonial knowledge and transmission. The Philosophical Quarterly 49:471–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lackey J. (2003). A minimal expression of non-reductionism in the epistemology of testimony. Noûs 37:706–732Google Scholar
  36. Lackey, J. (Forthcoming a). Testimony and the infant/child objection. Philosophical Studies.Google Scholar
  37. Lackey, J. (Forthcoming b). Learning from words. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.Google Scholar
  38. Lackey, J. (Forthcoming c). It takes two to tango: beyond reductionism and non-reductionism in the epistemology of testimony. In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Lehrer, K. (Forthcoming). Testimony and trustworthiness. In J. Lackey, & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  40. Lipton P. (1998). The epistemology of testimony. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 29:1–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lyons J. (1997). Testimony, induction and folk psychology. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75:163–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McDowell J. (1994). Knowledge by hearsay. In: Matilal B.K., Chakrabarti A. (eds) Knowing from words. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 195–224Google Scholar
  43. Millgram E. (1997). Practical induction. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  44. Neta R., Rohrbaugh G. (2004). Luminosity and the safety of knowledge. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85:396–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Owens D. (2000). Reason without freedom: The problem of epistemic normativity. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  46. Plantinga A. (1993). Warrant and proper function. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  47. Pritchard D. (2005). Epistemic luck. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  48. Reed, B. (2005). The long road to skepticism. manuscript.Google Scholar
  49. Reid, T. (1993). The works of Thomas Reid, Sir William Hamilton (Ed.), Charlottesville, VA: Publishing.Google Scholar
  50. Reynolds S.L. (2002). Testimony, knowledge, and epistemic goals. Philosophical Studies 110:139–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Riggs W.D. (2002). Reliability and the value of knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64:79–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Root M. (2001). Hume on the virtues of testimony. American Philosophical Quarterly 38:19–35Google Scholar
  53. Ross A. (1986). Why do we believe what we are told?. Ratio 28:69–88Google Scholar
  54. Rysiew P. (2002). Testimony, simulation, and the limits of inductivism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78:269–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schmitt F.F. (1999). Social epistemology. In: Greco J., Sosa E. (eds) The Blackwell guide to epistemology. Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 354–382Google Scholar
  56. Schmitt, F. F. (Forthcoming). Testimonial justification and transindividual reason: In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Shope R. (1983). The analysis of knowing. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  58. Sosa E. (1991). Knowledge in perspective: Selected essays in epistemology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  59. Sosa E. (2003). The place of truth in epistemology. In: DePaul M., Zagzebski L. (eds) Intellectual virtue: perspectives from ethics and epistemology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 155–179Google Scholar
  60. Sosa, E. (Forthcoming). Knowledge: instrumental and testimonial. In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Stevenson L. (1993). Why believe what people say?. Synthese 94:429–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Strawson P.F. (1994). Knowing from words. In: Matilal B.K., Chakrabarti A. (eds) Knowing from words. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 23–27Google Scholar
  63. Van Cleve, J. (Forthcoming). Reid on the credit of human testimony. In J. Lackey & E. Sosa (Eds.), The epistemology of testimony. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Webb M.O. (1993). Why I know about as much as you: A reply to Hardwig. The Journal of Philosophy 90:260–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Weiner M. (2003). Accepting testimony. The Philosophical Quarterly 53:256–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Welbourne M. (1979). The transmission of knowledge. The Philosophical Quarterly 29:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Welbourne M. (1981). The community of knowledge. The Philosophical Quarterly 31:302–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Welbourne M. (1986). The community of knowledge. Aberdeen University Press, AberdeenGoogle Scholar
  69. Welbourne M. (1994) Testimony, knowledge and belief. In: Matilal B.K., Chakrabarti A. (eds) Knowing from words. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 297–313Google Scholar
  70. Williamson T. (1996) Knowing and asserting. The Philosophical Review 105:489–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Williamson T. (2000) Knowledge and its limits. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  72. Zagzebski L. (1996) Virtues of the mind: An inquiry into the nature of virtue and the ethical foundations of knowledge. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  73. Zagzebski L. (1999). What is knowledge?. In: Greco J., Sosa E. (eds) The Blackwell guide to epistemology. Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 92–116Google Scholar
  74. Zagzebski L. (2003). Intellectual motivation and the good of truth. In: DePaul M., Zagzebski L. (eds) Intellectual virtue: perspectives from ethics and epistemology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 135–154Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

Personalised recommendations