Reflective Knowledge: Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge

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275 Scopus citations


This book argues for a reflective virtue epistemology based on a kind of virtuous circularity that may be found explicitly or just below the surface in the epistemological writings of Descartes, Moore, and now Davidson, who also relies crucially on an assumption of virtuous circularity. Along the way various lines of objection are explored. Part I of this book considers historical alternatives to the view developed in Part II. It begins with G. E. Moore's legendary proof, and the epistemology that lies behind it. That leads to classical foundationalism, a more general position encompassing the indirect realism advocated by Moore. Next the book turns to the quietist naturalism found in David Hume, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and P. F. Strawson. After that comes Thomas Reid's common sense alternative. A quite different option is the subtle and complex epistemology developed by Wilfrid Sellars over the course of a long career. Finally, Part I concludes with a study of Donald Davidson's distinctive form of epistemology naturalized (as the book argues). The second part of the book presents an alternative beyond the historical positions of Part I, one that defends a virtue epistemology combined with epistemic circularity. This alternative retains elements of the earlier approaches, while discarding what was found wanting in them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9780191696053
ISBN (Print)9780199217250
StatePublished - Jan 8 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • Classical foundationalsim
  • David Hume
  • Davidson
  • Descartes
  • Epistemology
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Moore
  • P. F. Strawson
  • Thomas Reid
  • Wilfrid Sellars


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