Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy 2022-23: Session 17

A Problem for Greco’s Anti-Reductionism

Nuno Venturinha (IFILNOVA, New University of Lisbon)


24 March 2023, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET)

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)


Abstract: In his most recent work, culminating in The Transmission of Knowledge, John Greco adopts a new epistemological perspective, arguing that knowledge transmission cannot be viewed as reducible to knowledge generation. The purpose of Greco’s “anti-reductionist theory of knowledge transmission” is not simply to specify that there are two irreducible “ways of coming to know”. Rather, Greco sets out to formulate a unified virtue-theoretic account of generative and transmissive knowledge. But while his framework convincingly addresses the individualism objection often levelled against virtue epistemology, it problematically incorporates a third kind of knowledge, that of “common knowledge” or “hinge knowledge”, which shares the property of irreducibility with generated and transmitted knowledge. In this paper, I will discuss the all-pervasive and inescapable nature of hinge commitments, raising difficulties for the anti-reductionism that characterizes Greco’s “unified epistemology of generated, transmitted, and hinge knowledge”. If the latter is to be understood in terms of procedural knowledge or “tacit knowledge that is constitutive of cognitive virtue”, as Greco suggests, then it seems hard to escape the conclusion that both generated and transmitted knowledge are ultimately reducible to hinge knowledge.