Essential Knowledge

Essential Knowledge : Readings in Epistemology

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With its blend of cutting-edge contemporary writings and classic selections, Essential Knowledge makes the theory of knowledge come alive for readers.

The mix of classic and contemporary readings makes this book balanced in its approach. Contemporary experts in the filed have written essays just for this book. New essays were contributed by: Stewart Cohen, Richard Foley, and Peter Klein. Richard Feldman and Earl Conee contributed a revised version of their essay "Evidentialism"; Louise Anthony provided an abridged version of "Quine as Feminist"; and John Greco provided a condensed version of "Virtues in Epistemology."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 190.5 x 236.22 x 20.32mm | 703.06g
  • Pearson
  • United States
  • English
  • 0321106415
  • 9780321106414

Table of contents

* Indicates essay written specifically for this volume. Each chapter begins with "Chapter Introduction" and ends with end of section questions.GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

The Main Project.

The Analysis of Knowledge.

The Standard Conditions for Knowledge.


What Makes for Justification?

The Structure of Justification.

Analyses of Knowledge.

Gettier Cases.

Internalism versus Externalism.

The Causal Theory.

The Defeasibility Theory.

The True Lemmas View.

The Reliabilist Theory.

The Relevant Alternatives Theory.


Defenses of Skepticism.

Responses to Skepticism.


1. Ancient Origins.

Ancient Rationalism: Plato, Meno, Republic, and Theatetus.

Ancient Skepticism: Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Pyrrhonism.

2. Modern Readings.

Indiscernability Skepticism: Rene Descartes, Meditations of First Philosophy.

The Representational Theory of Perception: John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

Idealism: George Berkeley, Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.

Empiricism: David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.

Transcendental Idealism: Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics.

Pragmatism: Charles Peirce, "The Fixation of Belief" and "How to Make Our Ideas Clear."


3. Knowledge.

(Against) the 'Standard' Theory: Edmund Gettier, "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?"

The True Lemmas View: Gilbert Harman, "Knowledge, Inference, and Explanation."

The Causal Theory: Alvin I. Goldman, "A Causal Theory of Knowing."

The Defeasibility Theory: Peter Klein, "Knowledge is True, Non-Defeated, Justified Belief."

The Tracking Theory: Robert Nozick, "Knowledge."

4. Justification.

Foundationalism (Versus Coherentism): Laurence BonJour, "Foundationalism and Coherentism."

Foundherentism: Susan Haack, "A Foundherentist Theory of Empirical Justification."

Negative Coherentism: Gilbert Harman, "Change in View."

Reliabilism: Alvin I. Goldman, "What Is Justified Belief?"

* Evidentialism: Richard Feldman and Earl Conee, "Evidentialism."

* Contextualism: Stewart Cohen, "Contextualism."

* Virtue Epistemology: John Greco, "Virtues in Epistemology."


5. Skepticism About Knowledge.

A Common Sense Response: G. E. Moore, "Proof of an External World."

A Verificationist Response: Rudolph Carnap, "Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology."

A Structural Contextualist Response: Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty.

A Tracking Theorist Response: Fred Dretske, "Skepticism: What Perception Teaches."

A Relevant Alternatives Response: G.C. Stine, "Skepticism, Relevant Alternatives, and Deductive Closure."

A Speaker-Centered Contextualist Response: David Lewis, "Elusive Knowledge."

A Neo-Moorean Response: Steven Luper, "Indiscernability Skepticism."

An Infinitist Response: Peter Klein, "There is No Good Reason to Be an Academic Skeptic."

6. Externalism Versus Internalism.

A Defense of Externalism: D. M. Armstrong, "Knowledge."

A Defense of Internalism: Lawrence BonJour, "Can Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation?"

A Mixed View: Ernest Sosa, "Reflective Knowledge in the Best Circles."

A Critique of Internalism: Alvin Goldman, "Internalism Exposed."

7. Naturalizing Epistemology.

A Defense: W.V.O. Quine, "Epistemology Naturalized."

Reservations: Jaegwon Kim, "What Is 'Naturalized Epistemology'?"

A Response to Critics: Hilary Kornblith, "Naturalistic Epistemology and Its Critics."

8. A Priori Knowledge.

A Pragmatic View: C.I. Lewis, "A Pragmatic Conception of the A Priori."

A Rationalist View: Laurence BonJour, "Toward a Moderate Rationalism."

Reservations about the Analytic: W.V.O. Quine, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism."

A Priori Knowledge of the Contingent: Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity.

9. Relavitism and Subjectivism.

Absolutism Rather Than Relativism: Harvey Siegel, "The Incoherence Argument and the Notion of Relative Truth."

*Subjectivist Relativism Rather Than Absolutism: Richard Foley, "Epistemically Rational Belief as Invulnerability to Self-Criticism."

Solidarity Rather Than Relativism or Absolutism: Richard Rorty, "Science and Solidarity."

*A Feminism Critique of Relativism: Louise Antony, "Quine as Feminist: The Radical Import of Naturalized Epistemology."
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