The Roles of Knowledge Ascriptions in Epistemic Assessment

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Abstract

Knowledge norms of action are sometimes said to be motivated by the fact that they align with natural assessments of action in ordinary language. Competent and rational speakers normally use ‘knowledge’ and its cognates when they assess action. In contrast, competing accounts in terms of evidence, warrant or reliability do not straightforwardly align with ordinary language assessments of action. In response to this line of reasoning, I argue that a warrant account of action may explain the prominence of ‘knowledge’ in epistemic assessments better than the knowledge account. If this explanation is successful, it undermines a central rationale for the ‘knowledge first’ program in epistemology. Moreover, the explanation provides an insight into the social functions of knowledge ascriptions as well as a methodological lesson about the relationship between folk epistemology and epistemological theorizing.

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