Prof. Sven Bernecker (Univ. Köln): Explaining Knowledge: An Abductivist Account

Datum / Uhrzeit:
03.11.20   /  18:30 - 20:15

Institut für Theoretische Philosophie


Institut für Philosophie
Lehrstuhl für Theoretische Philosophie
Im Rahmen des Forschungsseminars laden wir ein zum Vortrag von

Prof. Dr. Sven Bernecker
(Univ. Köln)

Dienstag, 03.11.2020
18:30 – 20:00 Uhr
25.31 HS 5K

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"Explaining Knowledge. The Program of Knowledge-First Abductivism“
The paper presents a novel abductivist account of knowledge: S knows that p if and only if (i) p is the best explanation for S’s truly believing that p upon using method M and basis B in context C or (ii) S believes that p by competently deducing p from known premises. Abductiv-ism and reliabilism differ chiefly in two respects. First, reliabilism demands that the truth of p be appropriately related to the fact that S forms the belief that p. Abductivism, by contrast, is not in the business of explaining belief-formation. The issue is not whether p explains that S believes p but whether p is the best explanation for S’s belief that p being true. Second, ab-ductivism does not require that the method M by which S truly believes that p be reliable. Ab-ductivism differs from other explanationist accounts of knowledge in that it does not assume a causal notion of explanation. The kind of explanation constitutive of knowledge is inference to the best explanation or abduction. The abductivist account of knowledge has a leg up on rival accounts because it is not only extensionally adequate by identifying all and only cases of knowledge but also lets us understand the nature of knowledge. Among the features of ab-ductivism three stand out. First, abductivism can handle the problem cases of both local and global method reliabilism. Second, it yields a criterion for differentiating between falsehood-involving Gettier cases and cases of knowledge from falsehood. Third, it provides an elegant explanation of the lottery intuition.

Sven Bernecker is Humboldt Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cologne and Profes-sor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. His main areas of research are epis-temology, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind, and he has published numerous articles in these areas. He is the author of Reading Epistemology (Blackwell, 2006), The Metaphysics of Memory (Springer, 2008), and Memory: A Philosophical Study (OUP, 2010). He is the co-editor of Knowledge: Readings in Contemporary Epistemology (OUP, 2000), Routledge Companion to Epistemology (2011), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory (2017), Medical Knowledge in a Social World (Synthese, 2019), and The Epistemology of Fake News (OUP, 2021).


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