Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

7-14-2010

Graduate Advisor

Eric Wiland, Ph.D.

Committee

Berit Brogaard

John Brunero

Eric Wiland

Abstract

Kant’s account of reason – both the practical account and the theoretical account – can give help in addressing the long-standing problems in epistemology of understanding what knowledge is and why it is distinctly valuable. In this paper, I address these particular epistemic concerns in three main parts: 1) I give an overview of Kant’s account of practical reason and argue for the primacy of practical reason over theoretical reason; 2) I present an analysis of knowledge from Kant’s account of (practical and theoretical) reason and suggest some intellectual counterparts to some of the key concepts in Kant’s ethical theory that line up with his account of theoretical reason; 3) I address four major challenges regarding the value of knowledge and present one promising approach to these challenges offered by Duncan Pritchard. I argue that Pritchard’s account fails to adequately address the four key challenges, then apply my Kantian analysis of knowledge to the problems to show how it is superior in addressing them. The positive account I offer here is unique in its explicit relying on duty and the Kantian universalizability criterion of reason.

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