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Although it is debatable that justification is a necessary or sufficient condition for knowledge, many philosophers make the claim that it is. African-American philosopher of culture Alain Locke argues that this epistemic approach will necessarily lead to authoritarian and hegemonic theories of value. As a pluralistic pragmatist, Locke argues for a functional theory of value that guides validity rather than relying upon it. Locke writes

We are accustomed to regard validity at first as an absolute and (theoretically) unquestionable degree of value and to illustrate it from the ideal validity of logic and ethics. On examination, however, this sense of validity appears to be merely formal, and to be nugatory or null as a guarantee of real value. For in both these sciences the valid and valuable fall apart. Neither is the valuable necessarily valid, nor is the valid necessarily valuable. Every moral order makes extensive use of inferior moral motives; every science uses probable but invalid reasonings. Whether the ideal validity is ever reached, or would be valuable if it were, seems more than doubtful. hence it seems proper to reduce meaning of validity to a high or generally recognized and practically indisputable degree of value, and to make value determine validity, and not validity determine value. (The Philosophy of Alain Locke: Harlem Renaissance and Beyond, Edited by Leonard Harris, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1989, 122-123, emphasis added)

How should we navigate the tricky balance between our epistemic obligations to validity and the values we derive from and create in the world?

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