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EpistemologyNew Essays$
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Quentin Smith

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264933.001.0001

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Useful False Beliefs

Useful False Beliefs

Chapter:
(p.25) 2 Useful False Beliefs
Source:
Epistemology
Author(s):

Peter D. Klein (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264933.003.0003

This chapter examines the role of false beliefs in the production of knowledge. False beliefs are generally thought to play no role in the production of knowledge, which some philosophers have defined as true belief that does not rely in an essential way on a falsehood. Cases are presented in which false beliefs play an essential role in both the justification and causal production of cognition. The chapter proposes a general account of the conditions in which such false beliefs, referred to as ‘useful false beliefs’, can make essential contributions to the acquisition of knowledge.

Keywords:   knowledge, useful false beliefs, justification, cognition

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