Resilient Understanding: The Value of Seeing for Oneself

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The primary aim of this paper is to argue that the value of understanding derives in part from a kind of subjective stability of belief that we call epistemic resilience. We think that this feature of understanding has been overlooked by recent work, and we think it’s especially important to the value of understanding for social cognitive agents such as us. We approach the concept of epistemic resilience via the idea of the experience of epistemic ownership and argue that the former concept has Platonic pedigree. Contrary to longstanding exegetical tradition, we think that Plato solves the “Meno problem” with an appeal to the epistemic resilience characteristic of understanding, not the well-groundedness characteristic of canonical cases of propositional knowledge. Finally, we apply our discussion to the case of science outreach and the challenge of global warming skepticism and conclude with directions for future research.
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Archival date: 2019-04-18
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