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Zagzebski, Linda, , . The inescapability of Gettier Problems
1994, Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174): 65-73.
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Conclusion: Almost every contemporary theory of justification or warrant aims only to give the conditions for putting the believer in the best position for getting the truth. The best position is assumed to be very good, but imperfect, for such is life. Properly functioning faculties need not be working perfectly, but only well enough; reliable belief-producing mechanisms need not be perfectly reliable, only reliable enough; evidence for a belief need not support it conclusively, but only well enough; and so on. As long as the truth is never assured by the conditions which make the state justified, there will be situations in which a false belief is justified. I argue that with this common, in fact, almost universal assumption, Gettier cases will never go away.

Comment: This is a great paper on the Gettier problem for epistemic justification. It is often used in combination with the original paper by Gettier in elucidating the nature of the Gettier problem. Suitable for undergraduate epistemology courses.

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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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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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Zagzebski, Linda, , . What is Knowledge?
1999, in John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.) The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology (Oxford: Blackwell)): 92-116.
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Summary: This chapter is an analysis of propositional knowledge, including how we are to define it, focusing on ‘justified true belief’ and Gettier objections. It concludes with a definition of knowledge as ‘an act of intellectual virtue’, drawing on virtue ethics. Zagzebski then defends this definition.

Comment: Very useful as an introduction to an introductory course on Epistemology. Sets the scene really well by introducing the concept of knowledge, and different kinds of knowledge and Gettier cases. For this reason, it would make a great first reading on an introductory epistemology module.

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Zagzebski, Linda Trinkaus, , . Ethical and epistemic egoism and the ideal of autonomy
2007, Episteme 4 (3):252-263.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: In this paper I distinguish three degrees of epistemic egoism, each of which has an ethical analogue, and I argue that all three are incoherent. Since epistemic autonomy is frequently identified with one of these forms of epistemic egoism, it follows that epistemic autonomy as commonly understood is incoherent. I end with a brief discussion of the idea of moral autonomy and suggest that its component of epistemic autonomy in the realm of the moral is problematic.

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Zagzebski, Linda Trinkaus, , . Recovering Understanding
2001, In M. Steup (ed.), Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility, and Virtue. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: Proposes an analysis of the concept of understanding. Finds three important, relevant strands of thought in the works of Plato and Aristotle, among which the most important one is that understanding involves representing the world nonpropositionally, e.g. through visualization or diagrams. Taking this to be the defining characteristic, proposes that understanding is a state of comprehending nonpropositional structures of reality, such as automobiles, pieces of music or art, the character of a person, or a causal nexus. Argues that virtue epistemology is better suited than traditional epistemology to help us develop a successful analysis of understanding thus conceived. For unlike the theories from which it departs, virtue epistemology takes the objects of valuable epistemic states to consist of both propositional and nonpropositional objects.

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