FOLK ATTRIBUTIONS of UNDERSTANDING: IS THERE A ROLE for EPISTEMIC LUCK?

Daniel A. Wilkenfeld, Dillon Plunkett, Tania Lombrozo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

As a strategy for exploring the relationship between understanding and knowledge, we consider whether epistemic luck - which is typically thought to undermine knowledge - undermines understanding. Questions about the etiology of understanding have also been at the heart of recent theoretical debates within epistemology. Kvanvig (2003) put forward the argument that there could be lucky understanding and produced an example that he deemed persuasive. Grimm (2006) responded with a case that, he argued, demonstrated that there could not be lucky understanding. In this paper, we empirically examine how participants' patterns of understanding attributions line up with the predictions of Kvanvig and Grimm. We argue that the data challenge Kvanvig's position. People do not differentiate between knowing-why and understanding-why on the basis of proper etiology: attributions of knowledge and understanding involve comparable (and minimal) roles for epistemic luck. We thus posit that folk knowledge and understanding are etiologically symmetrical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-49
Number of pages26
JournalEpisteme
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History and Philosophy of Science

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