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Security, Knowledge and Well-being

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image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

This paper investigates whether being “physically insecure” (being at risk of not continuing to meet one's physical needs in the future) should be thought of as a constituent of current wellbeing. In §1, it is argued that we cannot understand the value of security in terms of “freedom from fear”. In §2, it is argued that the reliablist approach to epistemology can help us to construct an account of why physical security is valuable, by relating security to the conditions of agency for practically and epistemically limited animals. In §3, this argument is compared with other attempts to understand the value of physical security. In §4, the relationship between security and threats of rights violation is clarified. In §5, the epistemic analogy of §2 is used to suggest a difference between the concepts of “security” and “capability”.


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