Knowability and a modal closure principle

American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):261-270 (2006)
Does a factive conception of knowability figure in ordinary use? There is some reason to think so. ‘Knowable’ and related terms such as ‘discoverable’, ‘observable’, and ‘verifiable’ all seem to operate factively in ordinary discourse. Consider the following example, a dialog between colleagues A and B: A: We could be discovered. B: Discovered doing what? A: Someone might discover that we're having an affair. B: But we are not having an affair! A: I didn’t say that we were. A’s remarks sound contradictory. In this context the factivity of ‘someone might discover that’ explains this fact. So there is some reason to believe that knowability and related modalities are factive in ordinary use. For factive treatments of knowability in the context of epistemic theories of truth, compare Tennant (2000: 829) and Wright (2001: 59-60, n. 17).
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