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Dalmiya, Vrinda, , . Knowing People
2001, In Matthias Steup (ed.), Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility, and Virtue. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: Makes a case for redirecting epistemology by basing it on a virtue approach and the method of care. According to virtue epistemology, what confers epistemic value are properties of the epistemic subject: his or her epistemic character, belief?forming habits, and cognitive dispositions. The method of care is a complex, interactive process of acquiring justified beliefs or knowledge, a process that integrates the subject into a social and ethical context. Starting out with a discussion of knowledge of other minds, the writer moves on to an examination of the role the knowing self plays within the kind of epistemology she wishes to advocate. One important element of that kind of epistemology is epistemic responsibility, understood not as epistemic duty fulfillment but instead as the endeavor to cultivate and reinforce attitudes that are deemed admirable in the epistemic community.

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Elgin, Catherine Z., , . True Enough
2004, Philosophical Issues 14 (1): 113-131. also reprinted in Epistemology: and Anthology, Wiley 2008
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:

Abstract: Truth is standardly considered a requirement on epistemic acceptability. But science and philosophy deploy models, idealizations and thought experiments that prescind from truth to achieve other cognitive ends. I argue that such felicitous falsehoods function as cognitively useful fictions. They are cognitively useful because they exemplify and afford epistemic access to features they share with the relevant facts. They are falsehoods in that they diverge from the facts. Nonetheless, they are true enough to serve their epistemic purposes. Theories that contain them have testable consequences, hence are factually defeasible.

Comment: In a context in which epistemology takes truth to be a necessary condition for knowledge and falsehood as an immediate knowledge defeater, this paper offers a new perspective on the epistemic value of falsehood as playing an important role both in science and in philosophy. In a nutshell, the author argues that although falsehoods diverge from the facts, they are “true enough” to serve their epistemic purpose. Some of the falsehoods employed both in science and philosophy result in models, idealisations and thought experiments: by sharing and exemplifying relevant features of the facts, they end up being cognitively useful. This could work as secondary literature for a postgraduate course in epistemology and philsoophy of science, insofar as it gives a new perspective on epistemic value falshood can play.

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Zagzebski, Linda, , . Epistemic Value and the Primacy of What We Care About
2004, Philosophical Papers 33(3): 353-377.
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Added by: Rie Iizuka, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: In this paper I argue that to understand the ethics of belief we need to put it in a context of what we care about. Epistemic values always arise from something we care about and they arise only from something we care about. It is caring that gives rise to the demand to be epistemically conscientious. The reason morality puts epistemic demands on us is that we care about morality. But there may be a (small) class of beliefs which it is not wrong to hold unconscientiously. I also argue that epistemic values enjoy a privileged place in the panorama of what we care about because they are entailed by anything we care about. That means that when there is a conflict between caring about knowledge or true belief and caring about something else, that conflict cannot be resolved simply by following the one we care about the most because caring about knowledge in any domain is entailed by caring about that domain. Finally, I argue that whereas caring demands different degrees of conscientiousness in different contexts, contextualism about knowledge is less plausible.

Comment: An interesting paper on the concept of care in virtue epistemology. This paper might be useful in the course of virtue epistemology or philosophy of care.

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Zagzebski, Linda, , . Epistemic Value Monism
2004, Greco, John (ed.), Ernest Sosa and His Criticis. Oxford: Blackwell. 190-198
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Introduction: Where does the state of knowledge get its value? Virtually everyone agrees that it comes partly from the value of the truth that is thereby acquired, but most philosophers also agree that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. If so, what is the source of the extra value that knowledge has? Curiously, several well-known contemporary epistemic theories have trouble answering this question. In particular, I have argued that reliabilism is unable to explain where knowledge gets its value. I call this the value problem. Sosa addresses the value problem in a recent paper, moving his theory in a more Aristotelian direction. In this chapter I will review the moves Sosa makes to solve the problem and will suggest a simpler approach that I believe does justice to all his desiderata.

Comment: In this paper, Zagzebski examines Sosa’s solution to the value problem against reliabilism according to which a reliable process or faculty is good only because of the good of its product. It is a good material for teaching on epistemic value at either lower or upper level undergraduate courses.

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Zagzebski, Linda, , . On Epistemology
2009, Wadsworth.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Publisher’s Note: What is knowledge? Why do we want it? Is knowledge possible? How do we get it? What about other epistemic values like understanding and certainty? Why are so many epistemologists worried about luck? In ON EPISTEMOLOGY Linda Zagzebski situates epistemological questions within the broader framework of what we care about and why we care about it. Questions of value shape all of the above questions and explain some significant philosophical trends: the obsession with answering the skeptic, the flight from realism, and the debate between naturalism and anti-naturalism. THE WADSWORTH PHILOSOPHICAL TOPICS SERIES (under the general editorship of Robert Talisse, Vanderbilt University) presents readers with concise, timely, and insightful introductions to a variety of traditional and contemporary philosophical subjects. With this series, students of philosophy will be able to discover the richness of philosophical inquiry across a wide array of concepts, including hallmark philosophical themes and themes typically underrepresented in mainstream philosophy publishing. Written by a distinguished list of scholars who have garnered particular recognition for their excellence in teaching, this series presents the vast sweep of today’s philosophical exploration in highly accessible and affordable volumes. These books will prove valuable to philosophy teachers and their students as well as to other readers who share a general interest in philosophy.

Comment: Zagzebski offers a very approachable overview of main issues in Epistemology. Particularly useful in undergraduate teaching are: Chapter 1 which provides a general introduction focusing on the relationship between knowing and caring; Chapter 2 which introduces scepticism and presents some contemporary responses to it; and Chapter 5 which introduces Gettier problems. The remaining chapters expand on those topics and offer an overview of virtue epistemology.

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Zagzebski, Linda, , . The Search for the Source of the Epistemic Good
2003, Metaphilosophy 34(1-2): 12-28.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: Knowledge has almost always been treated as good, better than mere true belief, but it is remarkably difficult to explain what it is about knowledge that makes it better. I call this “the value problem.” I have previously argued that most forms of reliabilism cannot handle the value problem. In this article I argue that the value problem is more general than a problem for reliabilism, infecting a host of different theories, including some that are internalist. An additional problem is that not all instances of true belief seem to be good on balance, so even if a given instance of knowing p is better than merely truly believing p, not all instances of knowing will be good enough to explain why knowledge has received so much attention in the history of philosophy. The article aims to answer two questions: What makes knowingp better than merely truly believing p? The answer involves an exploration of the connection between believing and the agency of the knower. Knowing is an act in which the knower gets credit for achieving truth. What makes some instances of knowing good enough to make the investigation of knowledge worthy of so much attention? The answer involves the connection between the good of believing truths of certain kinds and a good life. In the best kinds of knowing, the knower not only gets credit for getting the truth but also gets credit for getting a desirable truth. The kind of value that makes knowledge a fitting object of extensive philosophical inquiry is not independent of moral value and the wider values of a good life.

Comment: This paper nicely elucidates different respects of the value problem about knowledge and enriches the debate by bringing multiple resources and perspectives into consideration, such as the agency of the knower and the wider value of good life. It is good for teachings on epistemic values in an epistemology course at either an advanced or introductory level.

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