A Luxury of the Understanding: On the Value of True Belief

Hardcover | October 26, 2013

byAllan Hazlett

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The value of true belief has played a central role in history of philosophy - consider Socrates' slogan that the unexamined life is not worth living, and Aristotle's claim that everyone naturally wants knowledge - as well as in contemporary epistemology, where questions about the value ofknowledge have recently taken center stage. It has usually been assumed that accurate representation - true belief - is valuable, either instrumentally or for its own sake. In A Luxury of the Understanding, Allan Hazlett offers a critical study of that assumption, and of the main ways in which itcan be defended. Hazlett defends the conclusion that true belief is at most sometimes valuable. In the first part of the book, he targets the view that true belief is normally better for us than false belief, and argues that false beliefs about ourselves - for example, unrealistic optimism about our futures andabout other people, such as overly positive views of our friends - are often valuable vis-a-vis our wellbeing. In the second part, he targets the view that truth is "the aim of belief," and argues for anti-realism about the epistemic value of true belief. Together, these arguments comprise achallenge to the philosophical assumption of the value of true belief, and suggest an alternative picture, on which the fact that some people love truth is all there is to "the value of true belief".

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The value of true belief has played a central role in history of philosophy - consider Socrates' slogan that the unexamined life is not worth living, and Aristotle's claim that everyone naturally wants knowledge - as well as in contemporary epistemology, where questions about the value ofknowledge have recently taken center stage. It h...

Allan Hazlett is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, having taught previously at Texas Tech University and Fordham University. His research has covered several philosophical topics, including scepticism, knowledge attributions, the concept of authenticity, and the nature of fiction. He is the Secretary of the Scot...

other books by Allan Hazlett

Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:October 26, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199674809

ISBN - 13:9780199674800

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsPrologue1. Two Ancient IdeasPart I: The Eudaimonic Value of True Belief2. Greatness of Mind3. Partiality and Charity4. True Belief as a Non-Ideal GoodPart II: The Epistemic Value of True Belief5. The Problem of the Source of Epistemic Normativity6. Humean Approaches7. Darwinian Approaches8. Kantian Approaches9. Anti-Realism about Epistemic NormativityEpilogueBibliography