Defeat and proficiencies

Kelp, C. (2022) Defeat and proficiencies. Philosophical Issues, 32(1), pp. 82-103. (doi: 10.1111/phis.12223)

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Virtue epistemology is the view that beliefs are attempts at truth (or perhaps knowledge) and, as a result, can be assessed as successful, competent, and apt. Moreover, virtue epistemology identifies central epistemic properties with normative properties of beliefs as attempts. In particular, knowledge is apt belief and justified belief is competent belief. This paper develops a systematic virtue epistemological account of defeat (of justification/competence). I provide reason to think that defeat occurs not only for beliefs but for attempts more general. The key constructive idea is that defeaters are evidence that attempting (in a certain way) isn't successful and that defeaters defeat the competence of an attempt when one stands in a certain normative relation to the defeater. I argue that while this account handles paradigm cases of defeat both within epistemology and beyond nicely, cases of external (sometimes also ‘normative’ or ‘propositional’) defeat continue to cause trouble. To handle these cases, I develop a distinctively functionalist version of virtue epistemology. This functionalist version of virtue epistemology allows me to countenance proficiencies, that is, roughly, abilities that have the function to produce successes under certain conditions. It is the normative import of proficiencies that delivers the normative relation that serves to explain defeat in cases of external defeat. In this way, the functionalist version of virtue epistemology ushers the way towards a satisfactory account even of external defeat.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kelp, Professor Christoph
Authors: Kelp, C.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Philosophical Issues
ISSN (Online):1758-2237
Published Online:20 October 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Philosophical Issues 32(1): 82-103
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
306621A Virtue Epistemology of TrustJoseph CarterLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)RPG-2019-302Arts - Philosophy