Essential Tie Between Knowing and Believing. A Causal Account of Knowledge and Epistemic Reasons

Author: Carrier, L. S.
This book offers a causal account of knowledge as a true belief caused by the state of affairs in the world. It also presents a conceptual theory of epistemic reasons. Although both foundationalism and coherentism provide some insights into what constitutes a good epistemic reason for belief, it is argued that neither view provides a satisfactory account of good epistemic reasons. This is because foundationalism results in a dogmatic viewpoint, and coherentism does not serve to tie one's beliefs to the world. Instead, it is argued that good epistemic reasons not only depend upon the context in which they are offered in defending claims to knowledge, but also upon a grounding of such reasons in something that is known. It is argued that this pragmatic, contextual account of epistemic reasons anchored in the world offers an antidote to skepticism while also preserving our pre-analytic understanding of what constitutes a good reason for belief.


“It is rare to find a single place where the arena of such an important philosophical debate is illuminated with such accessibility, clarity, and comprehensiveness.” -Prof. Allan Casebier, University of Southern California

“This is a terrific book. It should be of interest to all epistemologists and to anyone interested in the nature of knowledge”- Prof. Ed Erwin, University of Miami

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Allan Casebier
Chapter One: What is Knowledge?
The problem of the criterion:
Plato's marks of knowledge:
Knowledge and justification:
Gettier's counterexamples:
Chapter Two: Plato's Problem
Aristotle's response to Plato's problem of the regress:
Cartesian foundationalism:
Recent reactions to the problem:
The threat of skepticism:
Chapter Three: Why Knowledge Requires True Belief
Accepting prepositional knowledge as basic :
Plato' s two types of knowing:
Radford's denial that knowledge requires belief:
Answering Radford's complaint:
Chapter Four: Clearing the Ground
Knowledge as reliable belief:
Problems with nomic reliabilism:
Conflicting intuitions generated by reliabilism:
Chapter Five: Knowledge and Causality
Goldman's causal account:
Causality and conditions:
Dretske's use of causality:
Problems for causal accounts:
Reasons as explanations for belief:
Chapter Six: Knowledge Defined
Basic formula for propositional knowledge:
Formula for the causality of belief:
Accounting for derived and underived knowledge:
Knowledge and the chance of error:
Having knowledge and being able to use it:
Chapter Seven: Skeptical Worries
Avoiding dogmatic treatments of knowledge:
Harman's view that basic beliefs best explain our experience:
Criticism of Harman: internal and external questions regarding existence:
The verifiability criterion of significance as a defense against skepticism.
Skepticism that springs from the principle of deductive closure:
Chapter Eight: Fallible Knowers
The transmissibility principle:
Definition of fallibilism and Schlesinger's criticism:
Reply to Schlesinger:
Dismissing transmissibility:
Massive error as methodologically impossible:
Chapter Nine: Epistemic Reasons: Foundationalism
Setting a standard for epistemic justification:
Classical foundationalism:
Non-classical foundationalism:
Criticism of externalist views of justification:
Chapter Ten: Epistemic Reasons: Coherentism
Salient points of coherentism:
Lehrer' s coherentism:
BonJour's coherentism:
Problems with BonJour's account:
Chapter Eleven: A Contextual Theory of Epistemic Reasons
Epistemic justification and the causal-explanatory theory:
Accommodating both foundationalism and coherentism:
Having good epistemic reasons for basic beliefs:
Answering skepticism about epistemic reasons: