Duncan Pritchard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter offers a new account of the nature of achievements, which can avoid the problems facing the old account put forward by robust virtue epistemology. It argues that achievements, so construed, are plausible candidates for final value. The relevance of this point for the value of understanding is then explored. A certain core kind of understanding is put forward for consideration, and it is argued that this form of understanding is factive. Interestingly, while this form of understanding is incompatible with 'Gettier-style' epistemic luck, it is (unlike knowledge) compatible with environmental epistemic luck. More generally, it is argued that understanding and knowledge come apart, and come apart precisely because understanding, unlike knowledge, is a form of cognitive achvievement, and hence is finally valuable. Some potential implications of the final value of understanding are explored concerning the problem of radical scepticism and the goal of inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Nature and Value of Knowledge: Three Investigations
EditorsDuncan Pritchard, Alan Millar, Adrian Haddock
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780191723360
ISBN (Print)9780199586264
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Achievements
  • Epistemic luck
  • Epistemic value
  • Final value
  • Inquiry
  • Knowledge
  • Scepticism
  • Understanding
  • Virtue epistemology


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