An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

Epistemology or the theory of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of analytic philosophy, and this book provides a clear and accessible introduction to the subject. It discusses some of the main theories of justification, including foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. Other topics include the Gettier problem, internalism and externalism, skepticism, the problem of epistemic circularity, the problem of the criterion, a priori knowledge, and naturalized epistemology. Intended primarily for students taking a first class in epistemology, this lucid and well-written text would also provide an excellent introduction for anyone interested in knowing more about this important area of philosophy.
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About the author

Noah Lemos is Professor of Philosophy at the College of William and Mary, Virginia. He is author of Intrinsic Value (1994) and Common Sense (2004).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Feb 15, 2007
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781139461856
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Epistemology
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This volume is the first sustained examination of epistemic situationism: the clash between virtue epistemology and the situationist hypothesis inspired by research in empirical psychology. Situationism began as a challenge to the psychology of character traits, targeting ethical theories that presuppose a trait psychology. Psychological research suggests that (often trivial) environmental variables have greater explanatory power than character traits. Epistemology pursues questions about the nature of knowledge. While there are internal differences within virtue epistemology between responsibilists and reliabilists, they all analyze knowledge in terms of epistemic virtues and vices. However, despite promising normative results, virtue epistemology appears to assume the same character-based psychology as virtue ethics does. Until recently, virtue epistemology and situationism were separate literatures, but philosophers have begun to examine the apparent incompatibility between situationist psychology and virtue epistemology. Much of the psychological research that raises questions about the empirical adequacy of the moral psychology of virtue ethics also appears to raise doubts about the empirical adequacy of the epistemic psychology assumed by virtue epistemology. Responsibilist virtue epistemology appears particularly vulnerable because epistemic virtues like open mindedness, conscientiousness and intellectual courage are traits of intellectual character, but reliabilist virtue epistemology appeals to the psychology of cognitive skills, abilities, and competences that may be similarly vulnerable. The essays in this volume take up this new problem of epistemic situationism from multiple points of view - some sceptical or revisionary, others conservative.
Epistemology, or “the theory of knowledge,” is concerned with how we know what we know, what justifies us in believing what we believe, and what standards of evidence we should use in seeking truths about the world and human experience. This comprehensive introduction to the field of epistemology explains the concepts and theories central to understanding knowledge. Along with covering the traditional topics of the discipline in detail, Epistemology explores emerging areas of research. The third edition features new sections on such topics as the nature of intuition, the skeptical challenge of rational disagreement, and “the value problem” – the range of questions concerning why knowledge and justified true belief have value beyond that of merely true belief. Updated and expanded, Epistemology remains a superb introduction to one of the most fundamental fields of philosophy.

Special features of the third edition of Epistemology include:

a comprehensive survey of basic concepts, major theories, and emerging research in the field enhanced treatment of key topics such as contextualism, perception (including perceptual content), scientific hypotheses, self-evidence and the a priori, testimony, understanding, and virtue epistemology expanded discussion of the relation between epistemology and related fields, especially philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and ethics increased clarity and ease of understanding for an undergraduate audience an updated list of key literature and annotated bibliography.

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