A very different sort of challenge to Kvanvig's treatment ofunderstanding comes from Brogaard (2005, Other InternetResources). She argues that Kvanvig's claim that understanding is ofgreater value than knowledge is only achieved because he fails to givea rich enough account of knowledge. More specifically, Brogaard claimsthat we can distinguish between objectual and propositional knowledgejust as we can distinguish between objectual and propositionalunderstanding. Propositional understanding, argues Brogaard, no morerequires coherence in one's beliefs than propositional knowledge, andso the difference in value between the two cannot lie here. Moreover,while Brogaard grants that objectual understanding does incorporate acoherence requirement, this again fails to mark a value-relevantdistinction between knowledge and understanding because the relevantcounterpart—objectual knowledge (i.e., knowledge of a subjectmatter)—also incorporates a coherence requirement. So providedthat we are consistent in our comparisons of objectual andpropositional understanding on the one hand, and objectual andpropositional knowledge on the other, Kvanvig fails to make a soundcase for thinking that understanding is of greater value thanknowledge.
There are thus two key theses to this account of the value ofknowledge—that achievements are finally valuable, and thatknowledge is a form of achievement—both of which could be calledinto question. As regards the first thesis, one might object that somesuccesses that are because of ability—i.e., achievements, onthis view—are too trivial or easy or wicked to count as finallyvaluable. This line of objection is far from decisive. After all, itis open to Greco to argue that the claim is only that allachievements qua achievements are finally valuable, not thatthe overall value of every achievements is particularly high. It isthus consistent with the proposal that some achievements have a verylow—perhaps even negative, if that is possible—value invirtue of their other properties (e.g., their triviality). Indeed, asecond option in this regard is to allow that not all achievementsenjoy final value whilst nevertheless maintaining that it is in thenature of achievements to have such value (e.g., much in the way thatone might argue that it is in the nature of pleasure to be a good,even though some pleasures are bad). Since, as noted above, all thatis required to meet the (tertiary) value problem is to show thatknowledge is generally distinctively valuable, this claim would almostcertainly suffice for Greco's purposes.
In support of his claim that knowledge is the most general factivepropositional attitude, Williamson points out that it explains why wevalue knowledge: “The point of the conjecture is to illuminatethe central role of the concept of knowing in our thought. It mattersto us because factive stative attitudes matter to us”(Williamson 2000: 34). We value a match between mind and world, andknowing is the most general attitude in which mind must match world,which explains why we value knowing. (Notice that explaining why wevalue knowing is a subtly different question from the primary,secondary, or tertiary problems discussed earlier.)
It's actually not clear that this is a problem that isspecific to reliabilism. That is, it seems that if this is a bonafide problem then it will affect any account of the value ofknowledge which has the same relevant features asreliabilism—i.e., which regards the greater value of knowledgeover true belief as instrumental value, where the instrumental value inquestion is relative to the valuable good of true belief. Presumably,there could be non-reliabilist views that had these features.