Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology [chapter]

Duncan Pritchard
2009 Knowledge  
It is argued that there are two 'master' intuitions about knowledge⎯an anti-luck intuition and an ability intuition⎯and that these impose distinct epistemic demands. It is claimed that recognising this fact leads one towards a new proposal in the theory of knowledge⎯anti-luck virtue epistemology⎯which can avoid the problems that afflict other theories of knowledge. This proposal is motivated in contrast to two other ways of thinking about knowledge which are shown to be ultimately
more » ... ul: anti-luck epistemology and virtue epistemology. Finally, a diagnosis is offered of why our concept of knowledge should have the kind of structure dictated by anti-luck virtue epistemology. TWO MASTER INTUITIONS ABOUT KNOWLEDGE Until relatively recently, a key task assigned to the epistemologist was to offer an adequate definition of knowledge, one that was informative, non-circular, and which could suitably accommodate our salient epistemological intuitions. Call this the analytical project. This project has fallen into disfavour recently, with many arguing that it is a hopeless task. 2 Given the lack of success that epistemologists have had on this score it is not surprising that a disconsolate mood should have set in amongst those working on this project. Nevertheless, such pessimism is premature. Indeed, I will be arguing that there is an adequate theory of knowledge available which fulfils the remit of the analytical project. Central to my proposal is the idea that we need to reconsider two overarching intuitions which govern our thinking about knowledge; specifically, our thinking regarding what turns true belief into knowledge. The first will be very familiar indeed. This is the intuition that when one knows one's cognitive success (i.e., one's believing truly) is not a matter of luck. Call this the antiluck intuition. Consult any introductory text in the theory of knowledge and you will find a statement of this intuition. If, for example, a commentator is asked to explain why mere true belief cannot suffice for knowledge, the standard response is to point out that in cases of mere true
doi:10.1057/9780230242241_5 fatcat:2zivqrha7jafxnsy5hpa4dcbua