Margin for error and the transparency of knowledge

Synthese 166 (1):1 - 20 (2008)
In chapter 5 of Knowledge and its Limits, T. Williamson formulates an argument against the principle (KK) of epistemic transparency, or luminosity of knowledge, namely “that if one knows something, then one knows that one knows it”. Williamson’s argument proceeds by reductio: from the description of a situation of approximate knowledge, he shows that a contradiction can be derived on the basis of principle (KK) and additional epistemic principles that he claims are better grounded. One of them is a reflective form of the margin for error principle defended by Williamson in his account of knowledge. We argue that Williamson’s reductio rests on the inappropriate identification of distinct forms of knowledge. More specifically, an important distinction between perceptual knowledge and non-perceptual knowledge is wanting in his statement and analysis of the puzzle. We present an alternative account of this puzzle, based on a modular conception of knowledge: the (KK) principle and the margin for error principle can coexist, provided their domain of application is referred to the right sort of knowledge.
Keywords Margin for error  Positive introspection  Modularity of knowledge  Epistemic paradoxes  Epistemic logic  Perception  Reflection
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References found in this work BETA
Jaakko Hintikka (1962). Knowledge and Belief. Ithaca, N.Y.,Cornell University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Denis Bonnay & Paul Égré (2008). Inexact Knowledge with Introspection. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (2):179 - 227.

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