'Enquiry' Seminar Series
Guest Speaker: Barnaby Walker (Warwick)
Title: Knowledge and the State of Nature
In Knowledge and the State of Nature Edward Craig presents a genealogy of the concept of knowledge. In this paper I argue that no genealogy of the concept of knowledge that starts from our need for true beliefs, like Craig’s, can succeed. This is for a reason identified by Williamson in a footnote of Knowledge and its Limits: namely, that there is no reason to regard the need for true belief as being more basic than the need for knowledge. I buttress the argument of Williamson’s footnote and show that contemporary defenders of genealogy have failed to grasp its significance for the prospects of genealogy. I conclude with some thoughts about the larger idea, exemplified by Craig’s genealogy, that reflection on the position of the enquirer is crucial for gaining a philosophical understanding of knowledge.