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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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Skepticism and Perceptual Knowledge

Skepticism and Perceptual Knowledge

Chapter:
(p.121) 6 Skepticism and Perceptual Knowledge
Source:
Epistemology
Author(s):

Ernest Sosa (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264933.003.0007

This chapter explores a deeply sceptical paradox regarding dreams. It begins by defending a heterodox conception of dreams in preparation for a first resolution. A second resolution is then based on a conception of knowledge as apt belief, as belief whose correctness is attributable to the believer's epistemic competence or virtue. It is argued that dreams do not contain beliefs, and hence do not threaten the safety of our ordinary perceptual beliefs. In order to be knowledge, a belief needs to be neither sensitive nor safe; it needs rather to be apt — that is, correct in virtue of manifesting the believer's epistemic competence exercised in its appropriate conditions.

Keywords:   paradox, dreams, apt belief, knowledge, epistemic competence

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