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Title: Immediate knowledge and conditions on knowledge
Author: McBride, Mark
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores two sets of issues in contemporary epistemology. The first part explores issues surrounding the category of basic knowledge (or justification) – that is, at a first-pass, knowledge (or justification) which is immediate, in the sense that one’s justification for the known proposition doesn’t rest on any justification for believing other propositions. The second part investigates issues surrounding knowledge-closure and various conditions – namely, conclusive reasons, sensitivity, and safety – which some philosophers have claimed are necessary for knowledge. Each part of the thesis is substantial (there are five chapters in the first part and four in the second), and the two sets of issues – while evidently of independent interest – are interrelated in several ways. In broad outline, part one of the thesis concludes that, even if (in the worst case) the first-pass category of basic knowledge delineated above is not ultimately tenable (on account of credible arguments against it considered in chapter 5), there is a distinct category of knowledge, aptly called ‘basic’, which is, plausibly, tenable. Part two of the thesis, meanwhile, begins by attempting to render the conclusive reasons and sensitivity conditions – conditions the adoption of which involves rejection of knowledge-closure – in as plausible a form as possible. And a rejection of knowledge-closure has implications for the viability of the first-pass category of basic knowledge delineated above, in particular. Part two closes by exploring the safety condition: a start is made at defending a novel safety condition; and a possible application of the safety condition to the legal domain is considered. The Conclusion, which includes a prospectus for further work, ties the safety condition on knowledge (chapters 8 and 9) back to the notion of failure of transmission of epistemic warrant (an absolutely central notion in part one).
Supervisor: Davies, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy ; Epistemology,causation,humankind ; knowledge ; justification ; closure ; conclusive reasons ; sensitivity ; safety