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Why Epistemologists Are so down on Their Luck

Wayne Riggs
Synthese
Vol. 158, No. 3 (Oct., 2007), pp. 329-344
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27653599
Page Count: 16
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Why Epistemologists Are so down on Their Luck
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Abstract

It is nearly universally acknowledged among epistemologists that a belief, even if true, cannot count as knowledge if it is somehow largely a matter of luck that the person so arrived at the truth. A striking feature of this literature, however, is that while many epistemologists are busy arguing about which particular technical condition most effectively rules out the offensive presence of luck in true believing, almost no one is asking why it matters so much that knowledge be immune from luck in the first place. I argue that the best explanation for the consensus that luck undermines knowledge is that knowledge is, complications aside, credit-worthy true believing. To make this case, I develop both the notions of luck and credit, and sketch a theory of knowledge in those terms. Furthermore, this account also holds promise for being able to solve the "value problem" for knowledge, and it explains why both internal and external conditions are necessary to turn true belief into knowledge.

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