Against Fallibilism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):665 - 685 (2011)
Abstract
In this paper I argue for a doctrine I call ?infallibilism?, which I stipulate to mean that If S knows that p, then the epistemic probability of p for S is 1. Some fallibilists will claim that this doctrine should be rejected because it leads to scepticism. Though it's not obvious that infallibilism does lead to scepticism, I argue that we should be willing to accept it even if it does. Infallibilism should be preferred because it has greater explanatory power than fallibilism. In particular, I argue that an infallibilist can easily explain why assertions of ?p, but possibly not-p? (where the ?possibly? is read as referring to epistemic possibility) is infelicitous in terms of the knowledge rule of assertion. But a fallibilist cannot. Furthermore, an infallibilist can explain the infelicity of utterances of ?p, but I don't know that p? and ?p might be true, but I'm not willing to say that for all I know, p is true?, and why when a speaker thinks p is epistemically possible for her, she will agree (if asked) that for all she knows, p is true. The simplest explanation of these facts entails infallibilism. Fallibilists have tried and failed to explain the infelicity of ?p, but I don't know that p?, but have not even attempted to explain the last two facts. I close by considering two facts that seem to pose a problem for infallibilism, and argue that they don't
Keywords knowledge attributions  epistemic modals  skepticism  fallibilism  contextualism  knowledge  epistemology
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References found in this work BETA
Keith DeRose (1991). Epistemic Possibilities. Philosophical Review 100 (4):581-605.
Keith DeRose (1996). Knowledge, Assertion and Lotteries. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):568 – 580.
Dylan Dodd (2007). Why Williamson Should Be a Sceptic. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):635–649.

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Citations of this work BETA
Baron Reed (2012). Fallibilism. Philosophy Compass 7 (9):585-596.
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Julien Dutant (2007). The Case for Infallibilism. In C. Penco, M. Vignolo, V. Ottonelli & C. Amoretti (eds.), Proceedings of the 4th Latin Meeting in Analytic Philosophy. Genoa: University of Genoa. 59-84.
Clayton Littlejohn (2011). Concessive Knowledge Attributions and Fallibilism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (3):603-619.
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