Philosophy Colloquium Series 2013-2014Export this event to calendar

Friday, February 28, 2014 — 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM EST

Carrie Jenkins
University of British Columbia

On Putting Knowledge 'First'

On a traditional picture, prevalent in twentieth-century analytic epistemology, knowledge was to be analysed in terms of notions like truth, belief, and justification. These analysans-properties (along with whatever else one invoked in one's theory of knowledge) were supposed to be in some sense 'prior to' or 'more basic than' knowledge. In the twenty-first century, the traditional picture has been questioned, notably by Timothy Williamson. The 'knowledge first' program takes knowledge itself as basic, and uses it to explain notions that had traditionally been used in knowledge's analysans. The topic of this paper is to examine in what this kind of shift might consist. What does it mean for knowledge to be, in the relevant sense, 'first'? We distinguish conceptual from metaphysical interpretations of the knowledge first program --- according the former, the concept KNOWS is somehow primitive, basic, or unanalysable; according the the latter, the state or relation of knowing is somehow ontologically privileged. We catalogue a series of possible views, and argue that some of them have been conflated in important ways in the literature. We conclude with a tentative examination of what considerations might count in favour of or against each kind of knowledge 'first' view. This paper is co-authored with Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa.

Location 
HH - J.G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities
Room 334
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Canada

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