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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Preconditional Value of Understanding

  • Author(s): Yunker, Mathew Mandeville
  • Advisor(s): Bernecker, Sven
  • et al.

In this dissertation I examine whether and how knowledge or cognitive achievements like it have final value. I first give an account of epistemic value according to which it is not a unique kind of value, but rather value simpliciter which attaches to epistemic objects. I then critically evaluate recent prominent accounts of the value of knowledge and find them lacking. I argue that both virtue- and curiosity-based accounts of the value of knowledge fail to ground universal final value for it. I conclude that knowledge does not in fact have universal final value, and propose my own view that not it, but understanding has what I call universal preconditional value: it is a precondition for the formation of values at all.

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