Acta Analytica

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 145–161 | Cite as

Basic Knowledge and Easy Understanding

Article

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 knowledge Easy knowledge Epistemic closure Higher-order knowledge Reliabilism 

References

  1. Becker, K. MS. “Reliabilism and Higher-Order Knowledge: A Solution to the Easy Knowledge Problem.”Google Scholar
  2. Bonjour, L. (1978). Can Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation? American Philosophical Quarterly, 15, 1–14.Google Scholar
  3. Burge, T. (2010). Origins of Objectivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, S. (2002). Basic Knowledge and the Problem of Easy Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 65(2), 309–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Comesaña, J. (2006). A Well-Founded Solution to the Generality Problem. Philosophical Studies, 129, 27–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dretske, F. (1970). Epistemic Operators. Journal of Philosophy, 67, 1007–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Feldman, R. (1985). Reliability and Justification. The Monist, 68, 159–174.Google Scholar
  8. Fumerton, R. (1995). Metaepistemology and Skepticism (Lanham. Rowman and Littlefield): MD.Google Scholar
  9. Goldman, A. (1976). Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge. Journal of Philosophy, 73(20), 771–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldman, A. (1979). “What Is Justified Belief?” in G. Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  11. Goldman, A. (1986). Epistemology and Cognition (Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  12. Greco, J. (2000). Putting Skeptics in the Place. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kvanvig, J. (2003). The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Markie, P. (2005). Easy Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 70, 406–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McGinn, C. 1984. “The Concept of Knowledge,” in P. French, T. Uehling, Jr., and H. Wettstein, eds. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9, Causation and Causal Theories, 529-54.Google Scholar
  16. Nozick, R. (1981). Philosophical Explanations (Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  17. Plantinga, A. (1993). Warrant: The Current Debate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Schaffer, J. (2007). Closure, Contrast, and Answer. Philosophical Studies, 133, 233–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sosa, E. (2007). A Virtue Epistemology: Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge, vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Stroud, B. (1984). The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Vogel, J. (2000). Reliabilism Leveled. Journal of Philosophy, 97(11), 602–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations