Epistemology: The Big Questions by Linda Mart?n Alcoff

By Linda Mart?n Alcoff

In addition to together with the vintage papers from the historical past of epistemology, this unique, wide-ranging anthology offers crucial assurance of key modern demanding situations to that culture.

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What makes the outcome of a pure procedure right is simply its being a product of that procedure. Because it is a pure procedure, a footrace determines what it takes to win; the winner is (no more and no 36 EPISTEMOLOGY'S END less than) the runner who has what it takes. A constellation of norms, conventions, rules, and objectives constitutes a practice and defines the pure procedures belonging to it. Together its components specifY what counts as performing the procedures and what counts as doing so successfully.

Should our methods prove grossly inadequate, we devise others or abandon the quest. Sometimes, however, we manage to design procedures that are generally successful, though not invariably so. Being imperfect, these procedures yield some defective products or sometimes fail to produce in circumstances where they should. Still, they get things right often enough to be worth using. Although we have reason to think that conscientious, impartial juries are usually right, they are not infallible. Some juries convict the innocent, some acquit the guilty, and some fail to reach a verdict.

If the validity of some logical principle is put in question, one may be able to find a way of proving or disproving it. If it be suggested that the proof itself is suspect, one 24 THE RIGHT TO BE SURE may obtain reassurance by going over it again. When one has gone over it again and satisfied oneself that there is nothing wrong with it, then to insist that it may still not be valid, that the conclusion may not really have been proved, is merely to pay lip service to human fallibility. The doubt is maintained indefinitely, because nothing is going to count as its being resolved.

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