Topic: Cognition & Epistemology
Knowledge and Explanation
By Carrie Jenkins
In this paper I attempt a project of this kind. I propose a necessary and sufficient condition for A knows that p which is, although recognizably similar to the traditional sets of conditions, arguably immune to the kind of counterexample which tends to deter philosophers from thinking that any illuminating conditions can be found. I present this condition, however, not as an analysis of knowledge, but rather as a way of getting a handle on the concept and furthering the effort to understand what its role in our lives might be. Taken in this spirit, the current proposal is not at odds with the principles that motivate Craig?s view.
In denying my proposal the status of a reductive analysis, I am mindful of the fact that it will tell us little more than that knowledge is ?non-accidental true belief?. What it offers is a (hopefully fruitful) way of spelling out what is meant by ?non-accidental? in this context. In what follows, I shall write ?KAp? for ?A knows that p? and ?BAp? for ?A believes that p.? I shall propose that KAp just in case BAp and it can be said (under specific circumstances, to be described shortly) that A believes p because p is true. But this is not a causal account of knowledge. The ?because? signals not causation, but explanation.
To appear in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy