The Nature and Value of Knowledge: Three Investigations

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This volume comprises three distinct investigations into the relationship between the nature and the value of knowledge. Each is written by one of the authors in consultation with the other two. 'Knowledge and Understanding' (by Duncan Pritchard) critically examines virtue-theoretic responses to the problem of the value of knowledge, and argues that the finally valuable cognitive state is not knowledge but understanding. 'Knowledge and Recognition' (by Alan Millar) develops an account of knowledge in which the idea of a recognitional ability plays a prominent role, and argues that this account enables us better to understand knowledge and its value. 'Knowledge and Action' (by Adrian Haddock) argues for an account of knowledge and justification which explains why knowledge is valuable, and enables us to make sense of the knowledge we have of our intentional actions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[...] a superb, well-rounded view of some of the latest thinking on the nature and value of knowledge." —Stephen Grimm, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"The culmination of a long collaboration, this tryptich combines the latest by three outstanding contributors. The outcome is three illuminating panels on knowledge, its nature and value, and in one case specifically on self-knowledge. Anyone with an interest in these topics will want to read this book, and others who read it are likely to soon acquire an interest." Ernest Sosa, Rutgers University

"Pritchard's discussion of the nature and value of knowledge is first-rate. His framing of the various problems around the value of knowledge significantly advances current discussion of the relevant issues, to the point that, in my opinion, it is far and away the best available. Millar's discussion of the epistemology of testimony draws from his earlier work on understanding language and action, and is also neatly integrated into his accounts of perceptual knowledge and indicator knowledge in earlier chapters. This discussion is also very interesting. His arguments against reductionism, and his own anti-reductionist approach, are original and compelling. Finally, Haddock puts forward an account that tries to explain the value knowledge while at the same time explaining our knowledge of intentional actions. Haddock's contribution is a very interesting discussion that merits serious attention." John Greco, Saint Louis University

"The Nature and Value of Knowledge is an excellent book for those interested in either topic mentioned in the title. As one would expect, the issues of the nature and value of knowledge are deeply intertwined, and all three investigations undertaken in the book respect this fact. Indeed, each author has much original to say about both. What makes this book truly unique is that it is focused on two closely related topics, yet at the same time it encompasses a multiplicity of perspectives, in terms of philosophical method, substance and style. Anyone interested specifically in the issue of the value of knowledge would do well to read it. It's an added bonus that there are worthy contributions to the much larger literature on the nature of knowledge as well." Wayne Riggs, University of Oklahoma

"This volume [...] is a feast of contemporary epistemology approached through the question of how to account for the value of knowledge. Each contribution is highly readable, each quickly carries readers towards the cutting edge of discussions in recent epistemological literature, and each adds important, original arguments to those discussions." Peter Tramel, Philosophy

"Pritchard, Millar and Haddock, in their distinct and distinctive contributions to this book, examine the nature of knowledge in general and of certain species of knowledge, as well as the value of knowledge and of other epistemic standings. This is a superb and stimulating work, where each contribution stakes out and defends an original position in the field of epistemology. There is much here that merits serious attention." Daniel Whiting, The Philosophical Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199586264
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/29/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Duncan Pritchard is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. His work is mainly in the area of epistemology, in which he has published widely. His books include Epistemic Luck, What is this Thing Called Knowledge?, and Knowledge.

Alan Millar has taught philosophy for many years, and is now a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling. He is the author of Reasons and Experience (Oxford University Press, 1991), Understanding People: Normativity and Rationalizing Explanation (Oxford University Press, 2004), and articles mainly in the philosophy of mind and the theory of knowledge.

Adrian Haddock is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Stirling. He has published essays on action, knowledge, and idealism.

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Table of Contents

PART I: Knowledge and Understanding
1. The Value Problem for Knowledge
2. Knowledge and Final Value
3. Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology
4. Understanding
PART II: Knowledge and Recognition
5. Knowledge in Recent Epistemology: Some Problems
6. Perceptual Knowledge and Recognitional Abilities
7. Knowledge from Indicators
8. The Social Transmission of Knowledge
PART III: Knowledge and Action
9. Knowledge and Justification
10. Second-Order Knowledge
11. Knowledge of Action

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