Is Knowledge True Belief Plus Adequate Information?
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In When is True Belief Knowledge? (2012) Richard Foley proposes an original and strikingly simple theory of knowledge: a subject S knows some proposition p if and only if S truly believes that p and does not lack any important information. If this view is correct, Foley allegedly solves a wide variety of epistemological problems, such as the Gettier problem, the lottery paradox, the so-called ‘value problem’, and the problem of skepticism. However, a central component of his view is that whether a true belief counts as knowledge depends on the importance of the information that one has or lacks. My paper raises doubts about whether there is a non-circular way to distinguish important information from unimportant information. I argue that there is no way to distinguish important information from unimportant information without ultimately making reference to knowledge; thus, Foley’s new theory of knowledge does not achieve its goals.
KeywordsTrue Belief Virtue Epistemologist Missing Truth Epistemic Goal Human Concern
I am grateful to Nathan Ballantyne, Chris Cowie, Helen Marsh, and the audience at the Edinburgh Epistemology Conference in 2013. This paper was written while I was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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