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Knowledge By Acquaintance: An Explication and Defence

Markunas, Michael Ernest; (2024) Knowledge By Acquaintance: An Explication and Defence. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Recently, there has been a renaissance of study on knowledge by acquaintance. One reason for this is that many writers believe acquaintance holds the key to understanding consciousness and our conscious experience of the world. For this reason, research on acquaintance has been primarily focused on perception and self-knowledge. While these questions are undoubtedly important, I believe being overly focused on these issues has prevented a defensible theory of knowledge by acquaintance from being developed. In particular, two questions have largely been ignored in the literature. First, what kind of knowledge is knowledge by acquaintance? If knowledge by acquaintance is supposed to give us special epistemic access to its objects, what are the central epistemic features of it and how do they differ from other kinds of knowledge? Second, can we have knowledge by acquaintance beyond cases of perception and self-knowledge, and if so, how? In this dissertation, I answer both of these questions. In response to the first question, I argue that knowledge by acquaintance is a form of nonpropositional discriminatory knowledge. Roughly, discriminatory knowledge is the exercise of a discriminatory capacity to single out a particular object from other objects of its kind. It is non-propositional because the object of the mental act of discriminating is not a proposition or truth. It is important that we understand knowledge by acquaintance in terms of discriminatory knowledge because it allows us to move beyond perceptual knowledge and selfknowledge. In this dissertation, I show how this is possible by showing that we can be acquainted with the natural numbers. This provides an answer to the second question. There is, in principle, no reason why acquaintance should only exist in sensory perception, provided we understand it in terms of discriminatory knowledge. The upshot of this is that my account of knowledge by acquaintance has a breadth and unity not often found in the acquaintance literature.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Knowledge By Acquaintance: An Explication and Defence
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2024. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
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/10185013
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