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If You Understand, You Won’t Be Lucky

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The present paper argues that there is a structural difference between classical cases involving knowledge-undermining environmental luck, and cases where a subject acquires understanding in the presence of environmental luck. This difference appears to bear on arguments against the reductionist thesis that understanding is a special form of knowledge.

Affiliations: 1: Universität Duisburg-Essen, Philipps-Universität Marburg,


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1. Brössel, Peter (forthcoming). “"On the Role of Explanatory and Systematic Power in Scientific Reasoning"”. Synthese .
2. Goldman Alvin 1976. “"Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge”". The Journal of Philosophy Vol 73, 771791. [Crossref]
3. Grimm Stephen 2014. "“Understanding as Knowledge of Causes”". In: Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Virtue Epistemology Naturalized. Bridges between Virtue Epistemology and Philosophy of Science . Dordrecht: Springer, 329346.
4. Khalifa Kareem 2013. “"Understanding, Grasping, and Luck”". Episteme Vol 10, 117. [Crossref]
5. Kvanvig Jonathan 2003. The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
6. Morris Kevin 2012. “"A Defense of Lucky Understanding”". The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Vol 63, 357371. [Crossref]
7. Nozick Robert 1981. Philosophical Explanations . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
8. Pritchard Duncan 2007. Epistemic Luck . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
9. Pritchard Duncan 2008a. “"Knowing the Answer, Understanding, and Epistemic Value”". Grazer Philosophische Studien Vol 77, 32539. [Crossref]
10. Pritchard Duncan, 2008b. “"Sensitivity, Safety, and Anti-Luck Epistemology”". In: Greco John (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 437455.
11. Strevens Michael 2013. “"No Understanding without Explanation”". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Vol 44, 510515. [Crossref]

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