Theory of Knowledge

Keith Lehrer

Second Edition • September 1, 2000 • 272 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813390536 • $44.00 USD$72.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780786742783 • $29.99 USD$34.99 CAN


More by these authors:

Order an Exam or Desk Copy

In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge, the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes that external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game. This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation.

Keith Lehrer is Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona.

Preface to First Edition
Preface to Second Edition
1. The Analysis of Knowledge
What Is Knowledge?
The Form and Objectives of an Analysis of Knowledge
The Analysis of Knowledge
Theories of Justification
A Counterexample
Justification Without Falsity: A Fourth Condition
A Final Analysis of Knowledge
Introduction to the Literature
2. Truth and Acceptance
Acceptance and Knowledge
The Consistency of Knowledge and Belief
Borderline Cases of Knowledge
Memory Without Knowledge
Introduction to the Literature
3. The Foundation Theory: Infallible Foundationalism
Infallible Versus Fallible Foundationalism
Fallible Foundations
The Foundation Theory in General
The Foundation As a Guarantee of Truth
Incorrigible Foundations
Fallibility and Inference: Summary of the Argument
Nomological Infallibility
Meaning and Belief
The Opacity of Incorrigibility
Justification As a Logical Guarantee of Truth for Nonbasic Beliefs
Objections to Phenomenalism
Introduction to the Literature
4. Fallible Foundations
Perceptual Belief and Independent Information
Justification and Innocent Belief
Semantics and Justification
Self-Justification and Necessary Truth
Semantic Foundationalism: A Counterexample
Contingent Self-Justification
Probability and Justification: Fallibilistic Foundationalism
Three Concepts of Probability
Probability, Truth, and Basic Belief
Introduction to the Literature
5. The Explanatory Coherence Theory
The Regress or the Circle
The Traditional Answer: Coherence As Implication
Coherence As Explanation
On the Justification of What Is Explained
Explanatory Coherence and Justification: An Analysis
Objections and Replies to Coherence As Explanation
Self-Explanatory Beliefs
Simplicity and Conservation
Introduction to the Literature
6. Internal Coherence and Personal Justification
Acceptance and Belief Reconsidered
Justification and Reasonable Acceptance
Justification, Reasonableness, and Coherence
Suggestion of a Unified Theory of Knowledge
Objection Defined
The Justification Game: Replying to a Critic
Answering Objections
The Justification Game and the Definition of Personal Justification
The Virtuous Loop of Reason
The Lottery Paradox
The Advantages of Truth
Introduction to the Literature
7. Coherence, Truth, and Undefeated Justification
The Uncharitable Possibility of Error
Undefeated Justification
A Solution: Defeat and the Ultra Justification Game
Truth Connection and the Isolation Objection
Perception, Memory, and Introspection
Knowledge of the Eliminated
A Definition of Undefeated Justification
Knowledge Reduced to Undefeated Justification
Determining Justification
Introduction to the Literature
8. Externalism and the Truth Connection
The Advantages of Externalism
The Naturalistic Relation
Objections to Externalism: Information Without Knowledge and the Opacity Objection
Externalism and Justification
Undefeated Justification and Reliabilism
Trustworthiness and Reliability in the Justification Game
Conversion to Irrefutable Justification
Causation and Justification: The Basing Relation
Acceptance, Belief, and Justification
Reliability and the Justification Game
Trustworthiness and Prejudice: An Objection
Externalism, Foundationalism, and Coherence: An Ecumenical Reconsideration
Introduction to the Literature
9. Skepticism, Virtue, and Context
Skepticism and Agnoiology
Conception and the Chance of Error
An Answer to Skepticism: Fallibility, Not Ignorance
Intellectual Virtue and Trustworthiness
The Duplication Argument: An Objection
The Merits of Skepticism
Skepticism and Closure: An Externalist Caveat
The Trilemma of Knowledge and Skepticism
Contextualism: Another Solution
Why not Closure?
Contextualism and Trustworthiness
The Insufficiency of Reliability and the Role of Explanation
Answering the Skeptic: A Concluding Discourse
Acceptance and Self-Trust: A Reply to the Skeptic
The Virtuous Loop Maximizes Explanation
Introduction to the Literature

Praise for previous edition:
“Will be useful to scholars as well as to students.… The book is well organized, clearly written, and philosophically careful.… Highly recommended.”
— Choice

“Attains something both difficult and rare, as it introduces students brilliantly to the field and also guides them to the cutting edge.”
— Ernest Sosa, Brown University

“Quite delightful. Lehrer is certainly a master stylist. In addition to its stylistic virtues, this book contains clear and careful accounts (and critiques) of traditional, modern, and contemporary theories.”
— Jonathan Kvanvig, Texas A&M University

If you are a professor or course instructor, please use the following form to give us feedback on Theory of Knowledge: