Epistemic Virtue and Knowledge Attribution
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] What factors influence whether we may rightly attribute knowledge to a subject? It is uncontroversial that factors like whether a subject has a given belief, whether that belief is true, what evidence the subject has for that belief and the reliability of the causal process whereby the subject came to have the belief may affect whether it is right to ascribe knowledge to that subject. More recently, some have argued that the practical situation of either the knowledge ascriber or the believer may determine whether the believer can rightly be ascribed knowledge. Such claims represent significant departures from traditional epistemology, but seem to be motivated by everyday patterns in our knowledge attribution. This paper argues that the patterns of use of the word "knows" and related terms, fail to support the departures from traditional epistemology. The commitments of traditional epistemology may be preserved by recognizing that knowledge attribution tracks, in addition to belief, the truth of the belief, evidence, and the reliability of belief-forming processes, the epistemic responsibility of the purported subject of knowledge. By recognizing this fact, we may account for everyday patterns of knowledge-ascription without allowing that practical factors may directly influence whether one may properly be said to know.