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Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd Edition

Matthias Steup (Editor), John Turri (Editor), Ernest Sosa (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-67209-9
400 pages
September 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd Edition (0470672099) cover image


Fully updated with new topics covering the latest developments and debates, the second edition of this highly influential text retains its unique combination of accessibility and originality.

  • Second edition of a highly influential text that has already become a standard in the field, for students and professional researchers alike, due to its impressive line-up of contributors, and its unique combination of accessibility and originality
  • Twenty-six essays in total, covering 13 essential topics
  • Features five new topics that bring readers up to speed on some of the latest developments in the field, and give them a glimpse of where it's headed: Should knowledge come first? Do practical matters affect whether you know? Is virtuous motivation essential to knowing? Can knowledge be lucky? Can evidence be permissive?
  • Substantially updates two other debates: Is there immediate justification? Can belief be justified through coherence alone?
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors viii

Preface to the Second Edition xiii

Preface to the First Edition xiv

1 Should Knowledge Come First? 1

Knowledge First Timothy Williamson 1

What Is Knowledge-first Epistemology? Trent Dougherty and Patrick Rysiew 10

Experience First Trent Dougherty and Patrick Rysiew 17

Knowledge Still First Timothy Williamson 22

Still Nowhere Else to Start Trent Dougherty and Patrick Rysiew 25

2 Is Knowledge Closed under Known Entailment? 27

The Case against Closure Fred Dretske 27

The Case for Closure John Hawthorne 40

Reply to Hawthorne Fred Dretske 56

3 Is Knowledge Contextual? 60

Contextualism Contested Earl Conee 60

Contextualism Defended Stewart Cohen 69

Contextualism Contested Some More Earl Conee 75

Contextualism Defended Some More Stewart Cohen 79

4 Do Practical Matters Affect Whether You Know? 84

Practical Matters Affect Whether You Know Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath 84

Practical Matters Do Not Affect Whether You Know Baron Reed 95

5 Can Skepticism Be Refuted? 107

The Refutation of Skepticism Jonathan Vogel 108

The Challenge of Refuting Skepticism Richard Fumerton 120

6 Are Intellectually Virtuous Motives Essential to Knowledge? 133

Knowledge Need Not Be Virtuously Motivated Jason Baehr 133

Knowledge and the Motive for Truth Linda Zagzebski 140

Reply to Zagzebski Jason Baehr 146

Reply to Baehr Linda Zagzebski 149

7 Can Knowledge Be Lucky? 152

Knowledge Cannot Be Lucky Duncan Pritchard 152

Knowledge Can Be Lucky Stephen Hetherington 164

8 Is There a Priori Knowledge? 177

In Defense of the a Priori Laurence BonJour 177

There Is No a Priori Michael Devitt 185

Reply to Devitt Laurence BonJour 195

Reply to BonJour Michael Devitt 197

Last Rejoinder Laurence BonJour 200

9 Is There Immediate Justification? 202

There Is Immediate Justification James Pryor 202

There Is no Immediate Justification Juan Comesaña 222

Reply to Comesaña James Pryor 235

Reply to Pryor Juan Comesaña 239

10 Can Belief Be Justified Through Coherence Alone? 244

Non-foundationalist Epistemology: Holism, Coherence, and Tenability Catherine Z. Elgin 244

Why Coherence Is Not Enough: A Defense of Moderate Foundationalism James Van Cleve 255

Reply to Van Cleve Catherine Z. Elgin 267

Reply to Elgin James Van Cleve 271

11 Is Infinitism the Solution to the Regress Problem? 274

Infinitism Is the Solution to the Regress Problem Peter Klein 274

Infinitism Is Not the Solution to the Regress Problem Carl Ginet 283

Reply to Ginet Peter Klein 291

Reply to Klein Carl Ginet 295

12 Can Evidence Be Permissive? 298

Evidence Can Be Permissive Thomas Kelly 298

Evidence Cannot Be Permissive Roger White 312

13 Is Justification Internal? 324

Justification Is Not Internal John Greco 325

Justification Is Internal Richard Feldman 337

14 Is Truth the Primary Epistemic Goal? 351

Truth Is Not the Primary Epistemic Goal Jonathan L. Kvanvig 352

Truth as the Primary Epistemic Goal: A Working Hypothesis Marian David 363

Index 378

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Author Information

Matthias Steup is Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University, USA, where he is head of the Department of Philosophy. A specialist in epistemology, he is a widely published author and editor. Previous work includes A Companion to Epistemology (co-edited with Jonathan Dancy and Ernest Sosa, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, second edition), the first edition of Contemporary Debates in Epistemology (co-edited with Ernest Sosa, Wiley-Blackwell, 2005), and Knowledge, Truth and Duty (2001).

John Turri
is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Canada. A specialist in epistemology and the philosophy of language, he has published dozens of articles on these topics in leading journals such as Philosophical Review, Noûs, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Analysis, and Philosophical Studies. He currently holds an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.

Ernest Sosa is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, USA. He has published books and articles in epistemology, including Knowledge in Perspective (1991), Epistemic Justification (with Laurence BonJour, Blackwell, 2003), A Virtue Epistemology (2007), Reflective Knowledge (2009), and Knowing Full Well (2011).

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“When Blackwell published the first edition of Contemporary Debates in Epistemology in 2005, that volume very quickly became epistemology's superego: it expressed the ideals that were implicit in the best recent epistemological work, and it served to guide both practicing and apprenticing epistemologists to the questions that mattered most to the field back then. Of course, the questions that matter most in 2013 are not exactly the same as those that mattered most in 2005; thus, the need for a new edition. I expect that this new edition — which contains units on the now widely discussed issues of whether knowledge is epistemologically fundamental, whether practical concerns encroach on epistemic status, whether evidential justification is permissive, what sort of epistemic luck (if any) is incompatible with knowledge — will serve to guide epistemological practice for the next several years, and with at least as much authority as the first edition. The contributors are among the most prominent in the field, and their contributions represent some of the best work being done on the topics under discussion. If you want to contribute to the most important epistemological conversations today, you will need to read this book.”

—Ram Neta, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Praise for the First Edition

“This book is packed with cutting-edge epistemology by excellent contributors to the field. It is both comprehensive and admirably brief.”

— Robert Audi, University of Notre Dame

“What are the burning problems of today’s epistemology? What are the most promising solutions to these problems? They are all in this timely volume, explained and debated by leading authorities.”

—Alvin Goldman, Rutgers University

“With leading and emerging figures in epistemology debating some of its most fundamental questions, this volume will be required reading for anyone interested in where the theory of knowledge has been and where it is going. A superb collection.”

—Paul Boghossian, New York University

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