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Gaṅgeśa on Epistemic Luck

Das, N; (2021) Gaṅgeśa on Epistemic Luck. Journal of Indian Philosophy 10.1007/s10781-021-09461-6. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This essay explores a problem for Nyāya epistemologists. It concerns the notion of pramā. Roughly speaking, a pramā is a conscious mental event of knowledge-acquisition, i.e., a conscious experience or thought in undergoing which an agent learns or comes to know something. Call any event of this sort a knowledge-event. The problem is this. On the one hand, many Naiyāyikas accept what I will call the Nyāya Definition of Knowledge, the view that a conscious experience or thought is a knowledge-event just in case it is true and non-recollective. On the other hand, they are also committed to what I shall call Nyāya Infallibilism, the thesis that every knowledge-event is produced by causes that couldn’t have given rise to an error. These two commitments seem to conflict with each other in cases of epistemic luck, i.e., cases where an agent arrives a true judgement accidentally or as a matter of luck. While the Nyāya Definition of Knowledge seems to predict that these judgements are knowledge-events, Nyāya Infallibilism seems to entail that they aren’t. In this essay, I show that Gaṅgeśa Upādhyāya, the 14th century Naiyāyika, solves this problem by adopting what I call epistemic localism, the view that upstream causal factors play no epistemically significant role in the production of knowledge.

Type: Article
Title: Gaṅgeśa on Epistemic Luck
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10781-021-09461-6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10781-021-09461-6
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Gaṅgeśa Upādhyāya, Pramā, Knowledge, Infallibilism, Epistemic luck, Nyāya
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123304
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