Knowability, closure, and anti-realism

Dialectica 62 (1):59–75 (2008)
Abstract
In light of the paradox of knowability anti‐realists ought to revise their wholesale equation of truth and knowability, lest they be committed to the absurd conclusion that there are no truths that will never be known. The task accordingly becomes to identify the problematic statements the knowability of whose truth would force that conclusion and to restrict the equation in appropriate ways to all but the problematic statements. This restriction strategy was first implemented by Tennant. However, recently Williamson and Brogaard and Salerno have argued that the restriction strategy, and in particular Tennant's implementation of it, fail to avert the paradoxical conclusion. Here I argue, first, that the arguments devised by Brogaard and Salerno are ineffective because they rely on an invalid closure principle and, second, that while Williamson's argument may suffice to undermine Tennant's specific proposal, it fails to discredit the restriction strategy as such. To this end, I give a better characterisation of the problematic cases, which is immune to Williamson's criticism, and then show how the restricted anti‐realist thesis fares in light of the meaning‐theoretical arguments anti‐realists typically advance in support of their view
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