, Volume 194, Issue 5, pp 1487–1502 | Cite as

Commodious knowledge

  • Christoph KelpEmail author
  • Mona Simion
S.I.: Truth & Epistemic Norms


This paper offers a novel account of the value of knowledge. The account is novel insofar as it advocates a shift in focus from the value of individual items of knowledge to the value of the commodity of knowledge. It is argued that the commodity of knowledge is valuable in at least two ways: (i) in a wide range of areas, knowledge is our way of being in cognitive contact with the world and (ii) for us the good life is a life rich enough in knowledge.


Epistemology Value of knowledge Meno problem 



Thanks to Synthese’s referees for their thoughtful comments on this paper. This work was funded by an OT grant from KU Leuven’s Special Research Fund (BoF).


  1. Goldman, A., & Olsson, E. (2009). Reliabilism and the value of knowledge. In A. Haddock, A. Millar, & D. Pritchard (Eds.), Epistemic value. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Hazlett, A. (2010). The myth of factive verbs. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 80, 497–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hursthouse, R. (2007). Virtue ethics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (July 2007 ed.). Stanford: Stanford University.Google Scholar
  4. Kagan, S. (1998). Rethinking intrinsic value. Journal of Ethics, 2, 277–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Korsgaard, C. (1983). Two distinctions in value. Philosophical Review, 92(2), 169–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kvanvig, J. (2003). The value of knowledge and the pursuit of understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lewis, D. (1996). Elusive knowledge. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 74, 549–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mill, J. S. (1963). Essays on ethics, religion, and society. The collected works of John Stuart Mill (Vol. 10). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  9. Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and persons. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  10. Pelletier, F. J. (2010). Mass terms: A philosophical introduction. In F. J. Pelletier (Ed.), Kinds, things, and stuff. Mass terms and generics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Pritchard, D., Millar, A., & Haddock, A. (2010). The nature and value of knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rabinowicz, W., & Rønnow-Rasmussen, T. (2000). A distinction in value: Intrinsic and for its own sake. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 100, 31–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Radford, C. (1966). Knowledge-by examples. Analysis, 27, 1–11.Google Scholar
  14. Riggs, W. (2009). Understanding, knowledge, and the Meno requirement. In A. Haddock, A. Millar, & D. Pritchard (Eds.), Epistemic value. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Rønnow-Rasmussen, T., & Zimmermann, M. (Eds.). (2005). Recent work on intrinsic value. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Sosa, E. (2003). The place of truth in epistemology. In Michael DePaul & Linda Zagzebski (Eds.), Intellectual virtue: Perspectives from ethics and epistemology. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  17. Treanor, N. (2013). The measure of knowledge. Noûs, 47, 577–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Treanor, N. (2014). Trivial truths and the aim of inquiry. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 89, 552–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zimmermann, M. (2015). Intrinsic vs. extrinsic value. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 ed.). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Analytic PhilosophyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations