The Nature, Value, and Function of Knowledge
I am currently writing a book about the value of knowledge, tentatively titled Knowledge Matters: A Function First Epistemology.
I hope this book will make an original contribution in five ways. First, it will outline a new methodological approach called ‘function-first epistemology’ (Robin McKenna suggested this label), which investigates why the concept of knowledge occupies a central place in our mental and verbal lexicons. Second, this function-first approach will motivate a new view about the semantics of knowledge ascriptions, called ‘epistemic pragmatism’. I argue that we must look at the social or practical roles of words and concepts to understand their meaning. Third, this book will clarify the relationship between epistemological theory and folk epistemology. Fourth, this will be the first philosophical work to systematically evaluate the variety of scattered proposals about the normative roles of knowledge and give them a unified treatment. Finally, I will extend my function-first approach to throw light on the nature, value, and purpose of human understanding.