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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 113, Issue 11, November 2016

Duncan Pritchard
Pages 550-571
DOI: 10.5840/jphil20161131137

Epistemic Risk

The goal of this paper is to mark the transition from an anti-luck epistemology to an anti-risk epistemology, and to explain in the process how the latter has advantages over the former. We begin with an account of anti-luck epistemology and the modal account of luck that underpins it. Then we consider the close inter-relationships between luck and risk, and in the process set out the modal account of risk that is a natural extension of the modal account of luck. Finally, we apply the modal account of risk to epistemology in order to develop an anti-risk epistemology, and then explore the merits of this proposal. In particular, it is shown that (i) this account can avoid a theoretical lacuna in anti-luck epistemology, and (ii) there is a stronger theoretical motivation for anti-risk epistemology compared with anti-luck epistemology, especially when it comes to explaining why environmental epistemic luck is incompatible with knowledge.

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