5th Edition

What is this thing called Knowledge?

By Duncan Pritchard Copyright 2023
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    What is knowledge? Where does it come from? What kinds of knowledge are there? Can we know anything at all? What is the practical relevance of learning about epistemology?

    This lucid and engaging introduction grapples with these central questions in the theory of knowledge, offering a clear, non-partisan view of the main themes of epistemology. Both traditional issues and contemporary ideas are discussed in 22 easily digestible chapters, each of which concludes with a useful summary of the main ideas discussed, study questions, annotated further reading, and a guide to internet resources.

    Each chapter also features text boxes providing bite-sized summaries of key concepts and major philosophers, and clear and interesting examples are used throughout. The book concludes with an annotated guide to general introductions to epistemology, a glossary of key terms, and a summary of the main examples used in epistemology. This is an ideal first textbook in the theory of knowledge for undergraduates coming to philosophy for the first time.

    This fifth edition has been revised throughout and features a new part devoted to social epistemology. In addition, the text as a whole has been refreshed to keep it up-to-date with current developments.

    Preface to the fifth edition

    How to use this book

    Part 1: What is knowledge?

    1. Some preliminaries

    2. The value of knowledge

    3. Defining knowledge

    4. The structure of knowledge

    5. Rationality

    6. Virtues and faculties

    Part 2: Where does knowledge come from?

    7. Perception

    8. Testimony and memory

    9. A priority and inference

    10. The problem of induction

    Part 3: What kinds of knowledge are there?

    11. Scientific knowledge

    12. Religious knowledge

    13. Moral knowledge

    Part 4: What are the social dynamics of knowledge?

    14. Disagreement

    15. Ignorance and Epistemic Injustice

    Part 5: How can the theory of knowledge be applied to particular domains?

    16. Technology

    17. Education

    18. Law

    19. Politics

    Part 6: Do we have any knowledge?

    20. Scepticism about other minds

    21. Radical scepticism

    22. Truth and objectivity.

    Further Reading

    Glossary of Terms



    Duncan Pritchard FRSE is UC Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Knowledge, Technology & Society at the University of California Irvine, USA. His main research area is epistemology, and he has published widely in this field. His books include: Epistemic Luck (2005), The Nature and Value of Knowledge (with A. Millar and A. Haddock, 2010), Epistemological Disjunctivism (2012), Epistemic Angst (2016), Scepticism: A Very Short Introduction (2019), and Skepticism (with A. Coliva, Routledge, 2021).

    Praise for previous editions:

    'Duncan Pritchard’s What is this thing called Knowledge? is the best text book as a first introduction to epistemology. The summaries, up-to-date reading suggestions and largely independent chapters make it very easy and flexible to use for instructors and students alike. The new chapters on applied epistemology are a great idea: they show the relevance of epistemology to some of the most important problems in modern-day life and society.' - Markus Lammenranta, University of Helsinki, Finland

    'Pritchard’s fourth edition of What is this thing called Knowledge? improves on an already outstanding introductory text. With new chapters covering the relationship between theory of knowledge and technology, law, politics and education this is a highly accessible, but never condescending book. Thoroughly engaging, consistently thought-provoking, exceptionally lucid, with attention to both classic debates and contemporary developments, What is this thing called Knowledge? offers students a superlative introduction to epistemology.' - Jill Rusin, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

    'Pritchard’s updated edition is a superior resource for students and scholars alike. It expertly traverses the terrain surrounding familiar debates over the sources and structure of knowledge, and then guides the reader through newer epistemic territories and applied domains.' - Robert Barnard, University of Mississippi, USA