Modern Epistemology: A New Introduction by Alec Fisher; Nicholas Everitt

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9780070212145 "A welcome and fresh addition to a market that has been dominated by rather traditional texts...instructors will enjoy teaching with it in their classrooms" -- Teaching Philosophy, March 1998. This text offers an exceptionally lucid account of how philosophers in the 20th century have challenged the ideas of "modern" philosophers (17th century) on fundamental questions in epistemology (theory of Knowledge). Numerous examples are used to help undergraduates grasp the material. Self-study questions and further readings are included. The book sets out the traditional view that knowledge is justified true belief and then presents Gettier's challenge to this theory. Three alternative accounts of knowledge--the "reliable method" account, the "casual" account, and Nozick's "tracking" account--are examined. Fisher and Everitt argue in favor of attending to justified belief rather than knowledge and present a view which tentatively favors a "casual" theory of justified belief. Next the authors assess and reject "foundationalism," a popular position in modern philosophy. Though foundationalism about empirical beliefs is commonly discussed in textbooks, this book is unique in giving foundationalism about a priori beliefs equal and expert consideration. In the second half of the book the authors present alternatives to modern epistemology, including coherentism, Quine's "naturalized epistemology," and Rorty's critique. These discussions are undertaken with a great deal of sensitivity to the needs of the beginning student of epistemology.