Knowledge and its Place in Nature

Paperback | November 8, 2004

byHilary Kornblith

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Philosophers have traditionally used conceptual analysis to investigate knowledge. Hilary Kornblith argues that this is misguided: it is not the concept of knowledge that we should be investigating, but knowledge itself, a robust natural phenomenon, suitable for scientific study. Cognitiveethologists not only attribute intentional states to non-human animals, they also speak of such animals as having knowledge; and this talk of knowledge does causal and explanatory work within their theories. The account of knowledge which emerges from this literature is a version of reliabilism:knowledge is reliably produced true belief.This account of knowledge is not meant merely to provide an elucidation of an important scientific category. Rather, Kornblith argues that knowledge, in this very sense, is what philosophers have been talking about all along. Rival accounts are examined in detail and it is argued that they areinadequate to the phenomenon of knowledge (even of human knowledge). One traditional objection to this sort of naturalistic approach to epistemology is that, in providing a descriptive account of the nature of important epistemic categories, it must inevitably deprive these categories of their normative force. But Kornblith argues that a proper account of epistemicnormativity flows directly from the account of knowledge which is found in cognitive ethology. Knowledge may be properly understood as a real feature of the world which makes normative demands upon us.This controversial and refreshingly original book offers philosophers a new way to do epistemology.

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Philosophers have traditionally used conceptual analysis to investigate knowledge. Hilary Kornblith argues that this is misguided: it is not the concept of knowledge that we should be investigating, but knowledge itself, a robust natural phenomenon, suitable for scientific study. Cognitiveethologists not only attribute intentional stat...

Hilary Kornblith is in the Department of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.5 inPublished:November 8, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199246327

ISBN - 13:9780199246328

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Table of Contents

1. Investigating Knowledge Itself2. Knowledge as a Natural Phenomenon3. Human Knowledge and Social Practices4. Human Knowledge and Reflection5. Normativity and Natural Knowledge6. What Philosophy Might BeBibliography, Index