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Epistemology: A Guide

John Turri (Original Author)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3369-5
322 pages
October 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Epistemology: A Guide (1444333690) cover image


Designed to accompany Epistemology: An Anthology or stand alone as a concise primer, this is a straightforward and accessible introduction to contemporary epistemology for those studying the topic for the first time.

  • A step-by-step introduction to contemporary epistemology, with coverage of skepticism, epistemic justification, epistemic closure, virtue epistemology, naturalized epistemology, and more
  • Explains the main arguments of the most influential publications from the last 50 years
  • Contextualizes key concepts and themes, instead of treating them in isolation
  • Straightforward and accessible for those studying the topic for the first time
  • Designed to accompany the second edition of Epistemology: An Anthology (Wiley Blackwell, 2008), but stands on its own as a concise introduction to the key ideas and arguments in epistemology
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

1 The best case for skepticism about the external world?
(Stroud, “The Problem of the External World”) 1

2 Proving the external world exists
(Or: Let’s all give Moore a hand!)  (Moore, “Proof of an External World”) 6

3 Some ways of resisting skepticism
(Moore, “Four Forms of Scepticism”) 10

4 Plausibility and possibilities
(Moore, “Certainty”) 15

5 Skeptic on skeptic
(Klein, “How a Pyrrhonian Skeptic Might Respond to Academic Skepticism”) 19

6 Realism in epistemology
(Williams, “Epistemological Realism”) 24

7 Socratic questions and the foundation of empirical knowledge
(Chisholm, “The Myth of the Given”) 31

8–9 The foundation of empirical knowledge?
(Sellars, “Does Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation?” and “Epistemic Principles”) 36

10 It’s not a given that empirical knowledge has a foundation
(BonJour, “Can Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation?”) 44

11 Interpretation, meaning and skepticism
(Davidson, “A Coherence Theory of Truth and Knowledge”) 49

12 Blending foundationalism and coherentism
(Haack, “A Foundherentist Theory of Epistemic Justification”) 54

13 Foundationalism, coherentism and supervenience
(Sosa, “The Raft and the Pyramid”) 60

14 Infinitism
(Klein, “Human Knowledge and the Infinite Regress of Reasons”) 67

15 The Gettier problem
(Gettier, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”) 73

16 Some principles concerning knowledge and inference
(Harman, Thought, Selections) 77

17 The essence of the Gettier problem
(Zagzebski, “The Inescapability of Gettier Problems”) 83

18 Knowledge is an unanalyzable mental state
(Williamson, “A State of Mind”) 85

19 Closure, contrast and semi-skepticism
(Dretske, “Epistemic Operators”) 92

20 Closure, contrast and anti-skepticism
(Stine, “Skepticism, Relevant Alternatives, and Deductive Closure”) 99

21 Keeping close track of knowledge
(Nozick, “Knowledge and Skepticism”) 103

22 Moore wins
(Sosa, “How to Defeat Opposition to Moore”) 111

23 The closure principle: dangers and defense
(Vogel, “Are There Counter examples to the Closure Principle?”) 116

24 Evidentialist epistemology
(Feldman and Conee, “Evidentialism”) 123

25 Non-defensive epistemology
(Foley, “Skepticism and Rationality”) 129

26 Reliabilism about justification
(Goldman, “What Is Justified Belief?”) 135

27 Reliabilism: a level assessment
(Vogel, “Reliabilism Leveled”) 141

28 Against externalism
(BonJour, “Externalist Theories of Empirical Knowledge”) 146

29 Against internalism
(Goldman, “Internalism Exposed”) 151

30 A skeptical take on externalism
(Fumerton, “Externalism and Skepticism”) 156

31 A friendly take on internalism
(Feldman and Conee, “Internalism Defended”) 159

32 Warrant
(Plantinga, “Warrant: A First Approximation”) 164

33 Intellectual virtues
(Zagzebski, Virtues of the Mind) 169

34 Virtue epistemology
(Greco, “Virtues and Vices of Virtue Epistemology”) 172

35 Knowledge, luck and virtue
(Pritchard, “Cognitive Responsibility and the Epistemic Virtues”) 176

36 Epistemic value and cognitive achievement
(Sosa, “The Place of Truth in Epistemology”) 181

37 Giving up on knowledge
(Kvanvig, “Why Should Inquiring Minds Want to Know?”) 187

38 Giving up on (exact) truth
(Elgin, “True Enough”) 192

39 Naturalized epistemology advertised
(Quine, “Epistemology Naturalized”) 196

40 Naturalized epistemology criticized
(Kim, “What is ‘Naturalized Epistemology’?”) 203

41 Naturalized epistemology radicalized
(Antony, “Quine as Feminist”) 207

42 A apriori justification and unrevisability
(Putnam, “There is at Least One A Priori Truth”) 211

43 A priori justification and revisability
(Casullo, “Revisability, Reliabilism, and A Priori Knowledge”) 215

44 Philosophical method and empirical science
(Bealer, “A Priori Knowledge and the Scope of Philosophy”) 219

45 Experimental epistemology
(Weinberg, Nichols and Stich, “Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions”) 226

46 Natural kinds, intuitions and method in epistemology
(Kornblith, “Investigating Knowledge Itself”) 230

47 Contextualism and skeptical puzzles
(DeRose, “Solving the Skeptical Problem”) 235

48 Contextualism and infallibilist intuitions
(Lewis, “Elusive Knowledge”) 240

49 Contextualism and intuitional instability
(Cohen, “Contextualist Solutions to Epistemological Problems”) 244

50 Knowledge and action
(Stanley, “Knowledge and Practical Interests, Selections”) 247

51 Rationality and action
(Fantl and McGrath, “Evidence, Pragmatics, and Justification”) 252

52 One invariantist’s scorecard
(Hawthorne, “Sensitive Moderate Invariantism”) 258

53 A relativist theory of knowledge attributions
(MacFarlane, “The Assessment Sensitivity of Knowledge Attributions”) 264

54 Rationality and trust
(Baker, “Trust and Rationality”) 270

55 Testimony and gullibility
(Fricker, “Against Gullibility”) 273

56 Some reflections on how epistemic sources work
(Burge, “Content Preservation”) 277

57 Testimony and knowledge
(Lackey, “Testimonial Knowledge and Transmission”) 282

58 Memory and knowledge
(Huemer, “The Problem of Memory Knowledge”) 286

59 Perception and knowledge
(McDowell, “Criteria, Defeasibility, and Knowledge”) 291

60 Skills and knowledge
(Reynolds, “Knowing How to Believe with Justification”) 295

Index 299

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Author Information

John Turri is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He specializes in epistemology, philosophy of language, experimental philosophy, and cognitive science. He is editor of Virtuous Thoughts: The Philosophy of Ernest Sosa (2013) and co-editor of Contemporary Debates in Epistemology (2nd edition, Wiley, 2013) and Virtue Epistemology: Contemporary Readings (2012).
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“The author fosters an excellent bridge to the primary sources and presents the material in a way that scarcely could be made more palatable.  Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”  (Choice, 1 December 2014)


“This is a superb companion to Epistemology: An Anthology. It consists of sixty commentaries, one for each of the sixty entries in that anthology. Turri is an extremely lucid writer, with a wonderful knack for finding and laying out argumentative structure, and for explaining crucial concepts. His commentary will greatly aid student comprehension and enhance class discussion.”

—Ernest Sosa, Rutgers University

“Turri's discussions are engaging and lucid. They are written for beginning students and will serve that purpose beautifully, but they are so well done that even veteran epistemologists will find them helpful.”

—John Greco, Saint Louis University

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