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An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge Epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, is one of the cornerstones of analytic philosophy, and this book provides a clear and accessible introduction to the subject. It discusses some of the main theories of justification, including foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. Other topics include the Gettier problem, internalism and externalism, skepticism, the problem of epistemic circularity, the problemofthecriterion,aprioriknowledge,andnaturalizedepistemology.
Contents Preface page ix 1 Knowledge, truth, and justification 1 2 The traditional analysis and the Gettier problem 22 3 Foundationalism 44 4 The coherence theory of justification 66 5 Reliabilism and virtue epistemology 85 6 Internalism, externalism, and epistemic circularity 108 7 Skepticism 131 8 The problem of the criterion 158 9 The a priori 179 10 Naturalized epistemology 201 Select bibliography 219 Index 227 vii.
Preface The theory of knowledge, or epistemology, is one of the main areas of philosophy.Someoftheproblemsareasold asPlato,yettheyremainalive andinterestingtoday.Thisbookisintendedtointroducethereadertosome ofthemainproblemsinepistemologyandtosomeproposedsolutions.Itis primarily intended for students taking their first course in the theory of knowledge, but it should also be useful to the generally educated reader interestedinlearningsomethingaboutepistemology. Idonotassumethat the reader has an extensive background in philosophy.
1 Knowledge, truth, and justification Epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, is concerned with a variety of questions about knowledge and related topics. Certainly one of the most important questions is ‘‘What is the extent of our knowledge?’’ Some philosophers, especially those in the ‘‘common sense’’ tradition, would say that we know pretty much those things that we ordinarily think we know.