Jeremy Lent has been awarded a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for 2015-16.

Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships are extremely competitive and prestigious. The Fellowship supports outstanding doctoral students who have achieved candidacy and are actively working on dissertation research and writing. It provides awardees with a stipend for three terms of support, candidacy tuition, registration fees and health and dental coverage.

Jeremy will be honored at reception held at Rackham in April. Please join us in congratulating this great achievement.

Here's a brief summary of Lent's thesis proposal.

Since Plato, philosophers have noted that we distinguish between knowledge and “mere” true belief, and that we tend to value having the former over having the latter. In a slogan, we aim to be knowers, not merely to believe the truth. But the project of saying what exactly distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief—let alone why knowledge is more desirable—has met with repeated failure. In this dissertation, I observe that whether we attribute knowledge to someone (as opposed to mere true belief) closely tracks whether we consider their belief-formation process to be a good example for others to replicate. In a slogan, knowers are good role models. Whenever someone has a true belief but lacks knowledge, there’s something which undermines their suitability to be emulated. And since we derive value from being good role models (or so I argue), knowledge has a distinctive value.