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Title: The epistemological significance of reflective access
Author: Hanson, Charlotte Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 1786
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is, in part, a defence of a broad-based approach to epistemology. We should be wary of taking too narrow a focus and thus neglecting important aspects of knowledge. If we are too focused on one methodology then we are likely to miss insights that can come about from a different perspective. With this in mind, I investigate two particular methodologies in detail: Kornblith’s naturalism and Craig’s ‘genealogical’ approach. Kornblith emphasises the importance of looking at knowledge in the context of the natural world, thus stressing the continuity between animal and human knowledge. Craig, on the other hand, focuses on a distinctly human aspect of knowledge: the importance of enquiry and the sharing of information. As such, the two theories of knowledge that are developed have different emphases. I argue that by bringing them together we can better understand what knowledge is. This leads us to the other main contribution of this thesis, which is a defence of the role of reflection in epistemology. This has often been neglected in contemporary epistemology, primarily because of the effectiveness of externalist theories of knowledge. The focus on externalism has lead to reflection being sidelined. I do not argue that reflection is necessary for knowledge, but rather want to bring back attention to the important role that it plays in human life. Reflectively accessible justification is necessary for our knowledge claims and therefore plays a vital role in enquiry. If we add reflectively accessible justification to knowledge then it is both more stable and more valuable. Even if it is not necessary for knowledge, reflection should not be neglected.
Supervisor: Millar, Alan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Knowledge, Theory of ; Critical thinking