What liars can tell us about the knowledge Norm of practical reasoning

Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):347-367 (2011)
If knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning, then we should be able to alter people's behavior by affecting their knowledge as well as by affecting their beliefs. Thus, as Roy Sorensen (2010) suggests, we should expect to find people telling lies that target knowledge rather than just lies that target beliefs. In this paper, however, I argue that Sorensen's discovery of “knowledge-lies” does not support the claim that knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning. First, I use a Bayesian framework to show that in each of Sorensen's examples, knowledge-lies alter people's behavior by affecting their beliefs. Second, I show that while we can imagine lies that target knowledge without targeting beliefs, they cannot alter people's behavior. In other words, knowledge-lies actually work (i.e., manipulate behavior) by targeting beliefs or they do not work at all.
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DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00078.x
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Bernard Williams (2002). Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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