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The Fixation of Knowledge and the Question-Answer Process of Inquiry

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Abstract:

The aim of the paper is to present some important insights of C. Hookway's pragmatist analysis of knowledge viewed less in the standard (Gettier) way, as justified true belief, than as a dynamic natural and normative question-answer process of inquiry, a reliable and successful agent-based enterprise, consisting in virtuous dispositions explaining how we can be held responsible for our beliefs and investigations. Despite the merits of such an approach, the paper shows that it may be inefficient in accounting for some challenges posed by scepticism or by the nature of epistemic normativity. In which case it might be premature to propose it as a new conception of knowledge against the standard one and worth considering a different, though still pragmatist, strategy, in which inquiry would aim at the fixation of knowledge, still viewed as justified true beliefs, i.e critical commonsensical, warrantedly assertible, intellectual and sentimental dispositions for which the epistemic agent, viewed less as an individual person than as a scientific community of inquirers, should be taken as a knowing and reliable agent, both answerable and responsible for her assertions.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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