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Roughly, Craig's story begins with the need for the concept of a good informant in a primitive state of humankind and attempts to show how such concept, through a process of "objectivisation," becomes our concept of knowledge. But many other suggestions have recently been made about other related roles e. Beebe , terminating inquiry cf. Kappel a and Rysiew , and encouraging good testimony cf.

Reynolds The plausible hypothesis I wish to explore is that the concept of knowledge picks out cases where the testimonial procedures of competency to achieve the truth to be communicated are successful. So I implement the Craigian framework with a different hypothesis that is not susceptible to worries raised about Craig's own cf.

Gelfert ; Kelp by doing without an imaginary state-of-nature genealogy and the need for an objectivisation of the concept cf. Craig 84 ff. That is, neither is the story here offered a state-of-nature story, since we will not be necessarily describing some primitive state of the human condition, nor does it rely on a process of conceptual development, since we will not be describing how a state-of-nature concept of a good informant evolves into the current concept of knowledge.

Kappel a. The offered hypothesis about the role of the concept of knowledge, just like Craig's own, might be rejected if not considered plausible, and the more controversial the claims are, the less plausible the explication will tend to be. But, if plausible, the hypothesis should be judged ultimately on its theoretical fruits.

Taking a cue from Craig then, the starting point is the hypothesis that the concept of knowledge is required to satisfy a certain need of ours. Of course, once we have the concept of knowledge, we might use it in a variety of different ways. But the idea is that there is a particular need that the concept is meant to satisfy that provides it with its point, which in turn helps us make sense of features of the target phenomenon cf. Kappel a And the suggestion is that this need arises out of the development of our fundamental and pervasive testimonial practice. More precisely, the concept of knowledge is the result of a conceptual need related to this practice.

But plausibly assuming that the practice is developed and shaped by our need for truth, the question arises as to why the concept of knowledge, as suggested, is needed. To answer this question, we need to think of the possibility of failure and success in testimony. From the speaker's side, she can fail to engage in felicitous testimony by not being either sincere or competent or both. But, in felicitous cases, neither being sincere nor competent entails that what is being told p is true.

More particularly, competent performance does not pick out only those cases in which one achieves the truth. After all, most testimonial procedures we exploit to work out whether p are not likely to be perfectly truth-conducive given a reasonable feasibility constraint otherwise the practice becomes useless. So testimonial competence is not factive. Nevertheless, if one competently and sincerely testifies that p , then even if p is not the case, one is not to blame for such unsuccessful testimony. But blameless testimony viz. The practice is designed to deliver truth or so we are assuming , and without it, the testimony, even if blameless, does not satisfy the practice's goal.

We want more from testimony than blamelessness. Indeed, successful testimony requires truth. So, given that we want to be able to refer to those cases of competence in which we do achieve the truth i. This concept picks out those cases of testimonial competence that succeed in achieving the truth and the suggestion is that such concept is knowledge.

The concept of knowledge is needed to pick out those successful cases in which the truth is achieved by means of procedures that render the testifier competent, and we refer to those cases as being "knowledge" and to the individual who apprehends the truth in such a way as "knowing". The basic idea on which this hypothesis rests, is that the verb "know" is what Gilbert Ryle calls an "achievement word" , as opposed to a task word compare finding to looking, and scoring to shooting.

The suggestion is that "know" is a verb that indicates success with regard to the competence task. That is, "know" indicates the possession of the truth by means of testimonial competence procedures to work out whether p. So the concept of knowledge addresses a particular conceptual need generated by our universal and pervasive testimonial practice.

Knowledge and Truth, The Value of |

This need can provide us with a practical explication of the concept of knowledge that allows us to explain why the concept enjoys such widespread use all known cultures engage in such practice and have such concept. And, to repeat, given that testimonial competence does not entail truth, we need the concept of knowledge to pick out the successful cases of competence.

So, some concepts are required in connection with our testimonial practice, one of which is the success concept knowledge that picks out cases of testimonial competence that deliver the truth: that allows us to refer to these successful cases. Now, it is important to notice two things to appreciate the plausibility of the hypothesis. First, due to the connection between testimonial competence and acceptance, the concept of knowledge also applies to hearers who felicitously acquire the truth via testimony, since a competent way to acquire the truth given the regulation of testimony and the usual scenario involving chains of testimony is by means of testimony.

This way of acquiring the truth renders it fit for further transmission by the hearer. That is, some cases of competence are cases of acceptance. So we can also talk of hearers as knowing when accepting testimony. Second, we can also refer to individuals who are not involved in a testimonial exchange as knowing. That is, potential testifiers as well as individuals who are not trusted or who will not testify or who deceive us, can be thought as knowing.

This is because, regardless of whether one transmits the truth and whether someone accepts it, if one competently achieves it, one qualifies as knowing. So the Mafioso, the liar and the Boy-that-cried-wolf can all be said to know, as we would expect. Moreover, even if we are right about the conceptual need that the concept of knowledge is meant to satisfy, the concept can still fulfill different roles. After all, once we have the concept, we might use it in a variety of different ways.

Indeed, there are many other uses for it. Here are two: it allows us to flag good social sources of truth i. But it does not seem needed, for this given tell-wh seems to be factive consider: "She can tell you whether p ," "Who can tell me whether p? The concept also allows us to refer to those cases of felicitous testimony that transmit the truth.

1. Value problems

That is, it can help us pick out and mark the success of testimonial exchanges "She let me know that p " ; something that tell-that can't do "She told me that p " , hence allowing us to refer to infelicitous cases "I was told that p but not- p ," "I told her that p , but I lied".

However, once again tell-wh can do this job, so know is not required for this either. So these are some of the things that the concept of knowledge can do for us, but still the idea is that there is a particular need that the concept is meant to satisfy that provides it with its point. And the point of the concept or, what the concept is for is to allow us to pick out the successful cases of testimonial competence: that is, its purpose is to fulfill the need to pick out those success-cases.

After all, the testimonial practice is to satisfy our basic need for truth, so a concept that allows us to pick out the truth when competent seems required. Anyhow, this is the plausible hypothesis I want to put forward. Importantly, the account of knowledge that we can derive from this practical explication has great explanatory power when it comes to the value desideratum, a case that will be made below. A second main component of this Craigian project is that knowledge is a social kind: roughly, a category that human beings impose on the world in response to central needs and interests.

As Craig says, knowledge is "something that we delineate by operating with a concept which we create in answer to certain needs" 3. Hilary Kornblith complains that Craig does not give us "a reason to believe that the category of knowledge is socially constructed rather than a natural kind" But, firstly, it is not clear that knowledge could be regarded as a natural kind cf. Brown and, secondly and more importantly, this is to be taken as a plausible methodological presupposition and the best way to proceed is to assume its correctness and see where it takes us cf.

Craig 4. After all, the most effective way to demonstrate the limitations of any approach, including the natural-kind one, is by developing a better alternative, and here I intend to contribute to the development of a Craig-inspired alternative. This approach should be judged ultimately on its theoretical fruits and my aim is to illustrate the great explanatory power it can enjoy with respect to central value issues regarding knowledge. Given this methodological presupposition, knowledge, although a natural phenomenon, is the kind of phenomenon that we shape.

So the suggestion, echoing Craig, is that the above success-concept, which satisfies a specific conceptual need generated by our basic and universal testimonial practice, delineates the phenomenon of knowledge. I suggest then, rather schematically, that knowledge is the apprehension of the truth by means of truth-conducive procedures that are in place for testimonial competence. As mentioned, the best way to proceed is to assume its correctness and see where it takes us.

I think that is a good place at least with respect to the value desideratum, and the case for this is presented below. So, to know is to grasp the truth by means of certain norms, where these norms of knowledge are certain regulatory procedures of testimony. It would be important to consider in some detail the nature of the testimonial practice, and particularly the nature of its regulatory rules, if we are to adequately understand what knowledge is.

So, with it on the table, we should now start considering the different value problems to which we would like answers. We would prefer our account of knowledge to explain the distinctive value of knowledge that in turn explains why knowledge is valuable and more valuable than mere true belief. Again, the claim is not that any plausible account of knowledge must entail that knowledge is distinctively valuable.


This desideratum is not non-negotiable. Having said that, it is preferable, given the widespread intuitions behind this desideratum, to explain why knowledge has such value rather than explain our intuitions away cf. Pritchard In these final sections we shall see that the present account can capture the value desideratum, while noticing that some competitors fail to do so. But let us first set the terrain for our explanation. We ordinarily think knowledge is valuable and this can be easily explained by the fact that we value the truth and that knowledge requires it. But, knowledge, we think, is also more valuable than mere true belief.

And, in the Meno cf. We can respond to this challenge by either claiming a that knowledge, which is merely instrumentally valuable because it delivers truth, does not have greater value than mere true belief, or b that knowledge, which is instrumentally valuable because it delivers truth and "stability" or "resilience" over time, actually has greater instrumental value than mere true belief, or c that knowledge is also non-instrumentally valuable. I take the first strategy to be the least promising, given that it consists in denying a widespread commonsensical intuition about knowledge cf.

Greco ; Sosa Now, some disagree about the generality of the intuition, suggesting that this is not an exceptionless generalization cf. Baehr ; Fricker , and we shall come back to this below. But, granted that such denial of our ordinary thinking about knowledge is least desirable, the two main options are claiming that knowledge has greater instrumental value than mere true belief b and claiming that knowledge is also non-instrumentally valuable c. The latter is the response the proposed account promotes, so let us first consider whether b is a viable competitor to c with respect to the above challenge.

Now, b is in fact Socrates' strategy in the Meno. He claims that knowledge, as opposed to mere true belief, is, metaphorically speaking, "tethered" and so it does not "run away," like the statues of Daedalus. And this strategy has been adopted by others. Perhaps the most natural and plausible way to develop it is by suggesting that "mere true beliefs are typically more vulnerable to being lost in the face of misleading counter-evidence" Fricker This "stability" or "resilience" of knowledge i.

As Miranda Fricker points out, this explanation of the extra value of knowledge becomes available as soon as one gives up the "synchronic presumption" normally implicitly accepted in the current debate. This is the presumption that "the value question is [ I am sympathetic to Fricker's approach; in particular to a change in perspective: in this case, from a synchronic to a diachronic one.

And, the proposed Craig-inspired account promotes another change of focus: from an individualist perspective to a social one, where the "the realities of social interaction" Kvanvig are not neglected. This change of focus, as we shall see, allows us to fully deal with the various value problems here considered cf.

Fricker - Anyway, I also think this resilience can explain why sometimes knowledge can have more instrumental value than mere true belief. But, as Fricker is aware, if that is the full story , then the intuition if correct cannot be general: that is, knowledge is not always more instrumentally valuable than true belief. This is because, as Fricker and many others think, having evidence or reasons is not a necessary condition of knowledge.

That is, we do not always enjoy, in cases of knowledge, the ability to retain truths over time in the face of misleading evidence. Now, I think this resilience explanation is not the full story for two reasons: a the independent reasons for thinking that the intuition is not general do not seem compelling, and b it is not clear that this story can explain why we would have a widespread intuition that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. Let us take them in that order.

So let us consider whether the reasons for thinking that the intuition is not general are compelling a. Jason Baehr and Fricker provide some independent reasons for holding the non-generality of the intuition. Firstly, "there is nothing independently or inherently counterintuitive in the suggestion that there might exist, say, at least one item of knowledge the value of which fails to exceed that of the corresponding item of true belief" Baehr Secondly, trivial knowledge and immoral knowledge are meant to be in fact cases where such possibility is actualised cf.

Now, in response to the first point, one can say that, given that something's value can be outweighed or defeated, there is no reason to think that knowledge is always valuable all-things-considered. So, for example, the moral disvalue of a certain belief could defeat any instrumental or otherwise epistemic value it may have and so bring the value of it as true belief and as knowledge to naught.

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In this way then, we would have a case where the item of knowledge is not more valuable all-things-considered than the mere true belief. So, given that epistemic value instrumental or otherwise can be defeated, we can agree that there is nothing inherently counter-intuitive with the idea that an item of knowledge can fail to be more valuable all-things-considered than the relevant true belief. But this does not rule out the possibility that knowledge is more valuable than true belief within the epistemic realm , which is the content of, what we might call, our Meno intuition.

According to such subjective approaches, there is value in pursuing the truth by whatever means or methods are best by one's own lights, in full knowledge that these means or methods might having nothing more in their favor than hopes and wishes. Moreover, the value added by this property is not obviously swamped by the value of truth in the way that the property proposed by objective likelihood theorists is swamped, just as we value honesty and sincerity even when restricting our considerations to accurate reports.

So one way of developing a theory of justification useful in the project of explaining the value of knowledge is to develop a subjective theory of justification. The other way is to add further elements to the objective approaches so that the swamping problem is eliminated. One way to do so appeals to virtue epistemology, according to which knowledge is the product of the application of one's intellectual virtues see Greco , Riggs , and Sosa On a standard account of the intellectual virtues, a virtue is a stable trait of character that makes the beliefs it produces likely to be true.

In this way, standard virtue theories adopt objective likelihood accounts of justification. They do not stop, however, with the idea that justification is simply objective likelihood of truth. They add that this objective likelihood of truth must also arise from the display of some laudable intellectual character. The true beliefs that result are not merely likely to be true, they also constitute accomplishments of the believer, so that having the true belief is something for which the believer is responsible. As a result, the cognizer deserves credit for having a true belief, and this credit is valuable in a way not explained by the likelihood that the belief is true.

For this reason, virtue approaches to justification have some hope of avoiding the swamping problem of providing an account of justification that is useful in the project of explaining the value of justification in terms greater than the value of its parts. Were knowledge nothing more than justified true belief, these approaches to justification would give significant hope to the idea that knowledge is more valuable than its parts.

Knowledge, however, is more than justified true belief; it is justified true belief where the connection between justification and truth is, in an appropriate way, nonaccidental. Various theories have been proposed regarding the appropriate kind of nonaccidentality that is required for knowledge, with the two most popular being the defeasibility theory and the relevant alternatives theory. There are serious worries that any approach to the fourth condition undermines the idea that knowledge is more valuable than its parts, and we can use these two theories to illustrate the difficulties.

The fundamental problem faced by all theories of the fourth condition is an insensitivity to the problem of the value of knowledge. In the Meno , Meno's response to Socrates's counterexample was to question why we prize knowledge more than true opinion and, indeed, whether there is any difference between the two. Meno's response reveals an important constraint on a theory of knowledge. To the extent that the theory focuses on the nature of knowledge at the expense of being able to account for the value of knowledge, it is suspect; and to the extent that a theory focuses on the issue of the value of knowledge at the expense of being able to account for the nature of knowledge, it is suspect as well.

The two major approaches to the fourth condition cited above provide excellent illustrations of how to err in each of these directions. Take first the relevant alternatives theory. On a relevant alternatives approach, the difference between knowledge and justified true belief is determined by whether one would be immune from error in alternatives to the actual situation.

In perceptual cases, for example, suppose the surrounding area is littered with fake barns, but one happens to be looking at the only real barn in the area. Then in alternatives to the actual situation, one is not immune from error, for had one been looking at a fake barn, one would still have believed of it that it is a real barn. This theory handles the fake barn case quite well, but it also risks implying global skepticism, if we consider the alternative situation in which Descartes's evil demon is operative.

In order to avoid this skeptical consequence, this approach introduces the qualifier "relevant," and holds that the evil demon scenario is not a relevant alternative to the actual situation. The pressing issue for this approach is to specify what makes a situation relevant, and here relevant alternatives theorists have had little to say. The most simplistic version of the view would simply rely on our intuitive understanding of the concept of relevance, claiming that no more precise theoretical specification is needed. Such a theory is well suited to addressing the issue of the value of knowledge.

Immunity from error is itself a good thing, and it would be hard to argue that one should prefer such immunity in irrelevant alternatives to immunity in relevant alternatives. Whether this value could withstand the scrutiny needed to provide a full and complete answer to the question of the value of knowledge would remain to be seen, but the theory provides some hope of such.

It provides such hope by identifying a property with obvious evaluative dimensions, and in this way follows the strategy of addressing questions regarding the value of knowledge by identifying evaluative features of knowledge not present in mere true belief or even in justified true belief. What this theory gains through the use of the concept of relevance in addressing the problem of the value of knowledge, however, it sacrifices in addressing the problem of the nature of knowledge.

For without some clarification of the concept of relevance, this approach is a nonstarter for addressing the problem of the nature of knowledge. It is important to recognize explicitly the significance of the intuitive concept of relevance, however. For the evaluative nature of this concept gives one precisely what one would wish for when focusing on the question of the value of knowledge. It is unfortunate that the simplistic version of this approach has no similar hope of adequately addressing questions regarding the nature of knowledge.

The defeasibility approach begins from a starting point that appears attractive in the search for a solution to the problem of the value of knowledge as well. The starting point for such theories is that what distinguishes knowledge from mere justified true belief is the absence of defeaters — information that, if acquired, would undermine the justification in question.

In the fake barn case above, the further unknown information is that the landscape is littered with fake barns that cannot be distinguished from real ones. This starting point is attractive from the point of view of the problem of the value of knowledge, for it cites a valuable property for a belief to have. It is valuable to have a belief whose justification cannot be undermined by learning any new information. The problem is that this starting point is inadequate, and to the credit of defeasibility theorists, they move beyond the simple relevant alternatives theory above by providing detailed and sophisticated accounts of precisely what unknown information undermines knowledge.

These accounts thus provide the detail needed in a serious effort to uncover the nature of knowledge, but the details of these accounts are completely insensitive to questions regarding the value of knowledge. The standard approach to developing the needed detail is to assemble a stable of examples, some of which involve knowledge and some of which do not, and attempt to find some distinguishing feature of the defeaters in cases of knowledge to use in refining the initial insight of the defeasibility theory.

The result of this strategy is an approach that has little hope of providing a defeasibility condition that tracks any difference in value, and thus provides little hope in the attempt to explain the value of knowledge over that of its parts. For example, consider one of the ways in which the simple defeasibility account is inadequate. Testimony by reliable persons often provides a defeater for what we would otherwise be justified in believing.

Suppose we have visual evidence that a friend, Tom, left the library at 11 p. Our justification can be defeated if Tom's mother says that Tom has an identical twin that we did not know about who was in the library while Tom was at home fixing his mother's dishwasher. Whether it undermines our knowledge, however, depends on other factors such as who she reports this information to and what they know about her.

It will not undermine our knowledge, for instance, if she fabricates the testimony to the police who are checking out a crime that occurred in the library, and the police have a large file of made-up stories from this woman in defense of Tom, who has a long criminal record, especially if the file contains precisely this concocted story, which the police have already checked in prior cases, discovering that Tom is an only child. The simple defeasibility approach was attractive in the search for an explanation of the value of knowledge because it is valuable to have opinions that no further learning can undermine.

Once we see cases such as the above, however, the defeasibility approach loses this attractive feature, for one can have knowledge even when further learning would rationally undermine one's opinion. In such cases, it is true that even more learning would restore one's original opinion, but there is little comfort to be found there, for the same will be true of any true belief, since if one knows all there is to know about a given claim, one will believe it if and only if it is true.

Defeasibility theories have had considerable difficulty in finding a condition that properly distinguishes when defeaters undermine knowledge and when they do not. The problem created by such approaches for the problem of the value of knowledge, however, is the tortured and ad hoc way in which various complex conditions are proposed to do the job.

In light of the labyrinthine complexity that such accounts of knowledge display, no optimism is justified that such conditions will track any value difference between satisfying those complex conditions and not satisfying them. It appears that the most warranted conclusion to draw is that the task of distinguishing cases of knowledge from cases of non-knowledge has been revealed to be so difficult that epistemologists make progress on the question of the nature of knowledge only by proposing conditions that undermine any explanation of the value of knowledge by appeal to those conditions.

So the idea that truth is valuable on intrinsic grounds from a purely cognitive point of view may be defensible, but the same kind of defense of the value of knowledge is implausible. Chapter 2 argues for the value of true belief, and thus that knowledge is valuable at least insofar as it implies true belief.

Having established the contribution of true belief to the value of knowledge, Kvanvig explores in Chapter 3 the value that the third condition for knowledge, justification, might provide.

Knowledge and Truth, The Value of

He first considers externalist theories of justification, particularly reliabilism. In the end, he concludes that only a strongly internalist, subjectivist notion of justification can provide any additional value to true belief, so increasing the value present among the components of knowledge. More on this below. However, the venerable Gettier literature has shown that knowledge is not identical with justified true belief.

Thus, merely to show that justified true belief is more valuable than true belief is not yet to solve the MP. In the end, Kvanvig agrees that virtuous true belief is more valuable than mere true belief.

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Thus, he acknowledges the epistemic value of true belief, internalist-subjective justification, and now virtuous belief. Yet again, the Gettier problem undermines this as a solution to the MP. Knowledge is not identical to virtuously held true belief either, as shown by numerous Gettier cases. Kvanvig addresses this head-on in Chapter 5, in which he attempts to find additional epistemic value in some property that would immunize justified true belief from Gettier cases.

As we have already said, Kvanvig admits that several potential subcomponents of knowledge are valuable. But Kvanvig insists throughout the book that this is not enough to solve the MP. Otherwise, it is not knowledge that holds such unique value for us, but rather justified true belief. So at this point, the attempt to find the value of knowledge depends upon demonstrating that some possible anti-Gettier condition has value that is not swamped by the value of the other subcomponents of knowledge.

He canvasses all the major proposals for such properties, and finds none that can provide any value for knowledge that is not already had by some other component. As the properties proposed to immunize justified true belief from Gettier cases necessarily become ever more complex and ad hoc, they perhaps come closer to yielding a counterexample-free theory of knowledge. In other words, they get closer to providing an adequate account of the nature of knowledge. But, at the same time, the complexity and ad hoc nature of these proposals makes it hard to find the proposed properties intuitively valuable.

It begs the current question simply to say that the former counts as knowledge whereas the latter does not. Kvanvig concludes that the closer one comes to getting the nature of knowledge right, the harder it becomes to account for the added value of knowledge over its subcomponents.

Kvanvig considers a few more attempts to solve the MP, but none are any more successful than what we have already considered.