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Knowledge Without Justification

Crispin Sartwell


This was my first philosophy book, written around 1990. Despite the fact that I had some excellent publications with parts of it (The Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Proceedings of the C.S. Peirce Society), I couldn't quite get it published. At several academic presses, one peer reviewer said: excellent; and the other said: unpublishable. Looking back on it twenty years later, I would say it is the book of a young philosophy professor anxious to try to get a job and rise in reputation. It spends too much time addressing texts and considering objections that could have been skipped. Even a few years later I would have written with less punctiliousness. Also, I framed the whole theory of knowledge within the propositional-attitude model then current in analytic philosophy; now I would think about belief somewhat differently. Nevertheless, Knowledge Without Justification expresses a thesis (K=TB) that I still regard as not only true, but magnificently counter-consensus. And many of my basic philosophical attitudes were expressed here first: that knowledge - even scientific knowledge - rests on faith, and that human experience of the world does not proceed through representations, but rather through interpenetration or ingestion. I am satisfied to let the text stand as representing my view and my personality from then, though I intend to appropriate parts of it (especially 'radical externalism') in a future project.

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