The internalist virtue theory of knowledge

Synthese 197 (12):5357–5378 (2020)
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Here is a definition of knowledge: for you to know a proposition p is for you to have an outright belief in p that is correct precisely because it manifests the virtue of rationality. This definition resembles Ernest Sosa’s “virtue theory”, except that on this definition, the only virtue that must be manifested in all instances of knowledge is rationality, and no reductive account of rationality is attempted—rationality is assumed to be an irreducibly normative notion. This definition is compatible with “internalism” about rationality, and with a form of “pragmatic encroachment” on the conditions of rational outright belief. An interpretation is given of this definition, and especially of the sense of ’because’ that it involves. On this interpretation, this definition entails that both safety and adherence are necessary conditions on knowledge; it supports a kind of contextualism about terms like ‘knowledge’; and it provides resources to defend safety, adherence, and contextualism, against some recent objections.
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First archival date: 2021-05-10
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