Practical reasoning and the concept of knowledge

In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Epistemic Value. Oxford, GB: Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 163--182 (2009)
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Suppose we consider knowledge to be valuable because of the role known propositions play in practical reasoning. This, I argue, does not provide a reason to think that knowledge is valuable in itself. Rather, it provides a reason to think that true belief is valuable from one standpoint, and that justified belief is valuable from another standpoint, and similarly for other epistemic concepts. The value of the concept of knowledge is that it provides an economical way of talking about many epistemic concepts that are valuable in itself from one standpoint or another. In this way knowledge is like a Swiss Army Knife; a Swiss Army Knife is not useful as such on any occasion, but it provides an efficient way of carrying around different tools that are useful in themselves on different occasions.

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Matt Weiner
University of Vermont


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