David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 190 (14):2731-2748 (2013)
The idea that knowledge can be extended by inference from what is known seems highly plausible. Yet, as shown by familiar preface paradox and lottery-type cases, the possibility of aggregating uncertainty casts doubt on its tenability. We show that these considerations go much further than previously recognized and significantly restrict the kinds of closure ordinary theories of knowledge can endorse. Meeting the challenge of uncertainty aggregation requires either the restriction of knowledge-extending inferences to single premises, or eliminating epistemic uncertainty in known premises. The first strategy, while effective, retains little of the original idea—conclusions even of modus ponens inferences from known premises are not always known. We then look at the second strategy, inspecting the most elaborate and promising attempt to secure the epistemic role of basic inferences, namely Timothy Williamson’s safety theory of knowledge. We argue that while it indeed has the merit of allowing basic inferences such as modus ponens to extend knowledge, Williamson’s theory faces formidable difficulties. These difficulties, moreover, arise from the very feature responsible for its virtue- the infallibilism of knowledge.
|Keywords||Knowledge Inference Modus ponens Infallibilism Lottery propositions Chance Epistemic probability Knowledge safety Single premise closure Multi premise closure|
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References found in this work BETA
John Hawthorne (2004). Knowledge and Lotteries. Oxford University Press.
Timothy Williamson (2000). Knowledge and its Limits. Oxford University Press.
John Hawthorne & Jason Stanley (2008). Knowledge and Action. Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):571-590.
Edmund Gettier (1963). Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? Analysis 23 (6):121-123.
James Pryor (2000). The Skeptic and the Dogmatist. Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
Citations of this work BETA
Stewart Cohen & Juan Comesaña (2013). Williamson on Gettier Cases in Epistemic Logic and the Knowledge Norm for Rational Belief: A Reply to a Reply to a Reply. Inquiry 56 (4):400-415.
Marcello Di Bello (2014). Epistemic Closure, Assumptions and Topics of Inquiry. Synthese 191 (16):3977-4002.
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