Journal of Philosophical Investigations

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor of Philosophy Department, Saint Louis University, USA

2 Doctoral Student in Philosophy, Saint Louis University, USA


We value possessing knowledge more than true belief. Both someone with knowledge and someone with a true belief possess the correct answer to a question. Why is knowledge more valuable than true belief if both contain the correct answer? I examine the philosophy of American pragmatist John Dewey and then I offer a novel solution to this question often called the value problem of knowledge. I present and explicate (my interpretation of) Dewey’s pragmatic theory of inquiry. Dewey values competent inquiry and claims it is a knowledge-forming process, and I argue that it is competently conducting inquiry that explains why knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. Knowledge is always the result of a process of competent inquiry (itself valuable) whereas belief can but need not be the result of inquiry. I end by considering and replying to reasonable objections to my pragmatic solution.


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