What is this thing called Knowledge?  book cover
5th Edition

What is this thing called Knowledge?

  • Available for pre-order on April 25, 2023. Item will ship after May 16, 2023
ISBN 9781032410692
May 16, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
304 Pages

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Book Description

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 twenty easily digestible chapters, each of which conclude 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.

The fifth edition has been revised and updated throughout and features two new chapters on social epistemology. In addition, the text as a whole has been refreshed to keep it up to date with current developments.

Table of Contents

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  Index

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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 with Annalisa Coliva Skepticism (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