Greco's Virtue Reliabilism: Sailing Short Of Adequacy

1450 words - 6 pages

John Greco in, The Nature of Ability and the Purpose of Knowledge, argues that, “...knowledge is a true belief grounded in intellectual ability” (Greco 1). Now, this is categorically a 'virtue reliabilist' or more specifically, an 'agent reliabilist' claim. The purpose of this paper to analyze Greco's virtue reliablism. Moreover, to articulate one strong objection to Greco's view and to argue that Greco's defense of virtue reliablism fails. Specifically, the argument will be made that the newly instantiated 'Sea Race Objection' example effectively refutes Greco's version of virtue reliablism.

Greco's Virtue Reliabilism-
Greco contends that, “... knowledge is true belief grounded in ...view middle of the document...

Greco contends that his virtue reliablilist account answers this problem. Greco argues that success from ability is intrinsically more valuable than success realized through luck or otherwise, such as faulty reasoning. This argument is upheld by the notion that virtue is the 'highest human good*.' [*Which is itself a highly debatable contentious claim, yet not the focus of this paper. (See Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics for a baseline defense articulated by Greco). ] 'Highest human good' or not, the claim that epistemic luck or just true belief is somehow more creditable than knowledge through ability seems intuitively weaker than the opposite. An example of this will be illuminating.

Sea Race Objection-
For example, take a professional sea navigator of the Baltic sea with 30 years sea navigating experience in the region named Sjöfarare and a random citizen of the United States of America who has always lived and never left the state of Kansas named Muriel. The professional maritime navigator is extremely familiar with this particular sea as the navigator has spent 30 years in the Baltic navigating. While, the citizen of Kansas has never been on a boat, nor has read or otherwise obtained advanced sea navigating knowledge, moreover specifically not to this region. Suppose that these two individuals were given 'equivalent*' crews and the same model and year of boat** and were to set sail from Stockholm Sweeden, without any advanced navigation tools and were told to sail race across the Baltic to Helsinki Finland. [(*Now, for this example equivalent crews will be the same aged crews with the same number of years sailing experience in the Balitic with as close to 'even skill' in the knowledge of the boat being used as metaphysically possible. It is metaphysically possible that the two crews are nearly identical.) (** The boat being used will be a boat deemed more than sea worthy for such a voyage by an objective thrid party.)] Also note that the two agents would be both categorically 'healthy' at the start and finish of the race, as to account for illness skewing the results. It seems intrinsically true, as laid out, that the sea navigator would have knowledge that the citizen of landlocked Kansas would not. The race yields three intriguing possibilities, and a fourth that both of the agents fail.
Keeping Greco's framework in mind, the three possibilities being explored are as followed: the professional sea navigator Sjöfarare wins the race, the Kansas native Muriel wins the race, and the third being they tie. Keep Greco's contention that, “[w]e credit success through ability more than we credit mere lucky success” particularly in mind (Greco 3). The list as it is written seems to be written in the most plausible order. At the very least, it seems intrinsically true that Sjöfarare winning the race is the most plausible. According to Greco, if Sjöfarare wins the race, it will be creditable due to Sjöfarare's ability. Simply put, if Sjöfarare...

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