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Ichikawa-Jenkins, Jonathan, , Matthias Steup. The Analysis of Knowledge
2012, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Summary: This entry provides an overview of attempts to analyse knowledge, including the topics: knowledge as justified true belief; lightweight knowledge; the Gettier problem; no false lemmas; modal conditions; doing without justification?; is knowledge analyzable?; epistemic luck; virtue-theoretic approaches; knowledge first; pragmatic encroachment; contextualism; and an introduction that briefly discusses what it is to analyse knowledge.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on epistemology. It provides an overview – though quite a detailed one – of all the main strands in the analysis of knowledge: justified, true belief; Gettier cases; modal conditions; reliabilism; epistemic luck; virtue-theoretic approaches; contextualism and more. This covers ground that may take a few weeks – even an entire course – to teach, and so is particularly useful as an intial survey of the topic.

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Nagel, Jennifer, , . Intuitions and Experiments: A Defense of the Case Method in Epistemology
2012, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3): 495-527.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: Many epistemologists use intuitive responses to particular cases as evidence for their theories. Recently, experimental philosophers have challenged the evidential value of intuitions, suggesting that our responses to particular cases are unstable, inconsistent with the responses of the untrained, and swayed by factors such as ethnicity and gender. This paper presents evidence that neither gender nor ethnicity influence epistemic intuitions, and that the standard responses to Gettier cases and the like are widely shared. It argues that epistemic intuitions are produced by the natural ‘mindreading’ capacity that underpins ordinary attributions of belief and knowledge in everyday social interaction. Although this capacity is fallible, its weaknesses are similar to the weaknesses of natural capacities such as sensory perception. Experimentalists who do not wish to be skeptical about ordinary empirical methods have no good reason to be skeptical about epistemic intuitions.

Comment: Nagel is one of the prominent epistemologists who bring relevant psychological researches to philosophical debates. In this excellent paper, Nagel discusses the legitimacy of using pre-theoretical epistemic intuitions in epistemological theorizing in the light of findings in cognitive science. It is very useful for teachings on experimental philosophy in courses on epistemology or methodology of philosophy. It can be used together with Stephen (2013)’s response “Do different groups have different epistemic intuitions? a reply to Jennifer Nagel”.

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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 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, , . What is Knowledge?
1999, in John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.) The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology (Oxford: Blackwell)): 92-116.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

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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