David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press (2008)
Operational epistemology is, to a first approximation, the attempt to provide cognitive rules such that one is in principle always in a position to know whether one is complying with them. In Knowledge and its Limits, I argue that the only such rules are trivial ones. In this paper, I generalize the argument in several ways to more thoroughly probabilistic settings, in order to show that it does not merely demonstrate some oddity of the folk epistemological conception of knowledge. Some of the generalizations involve a formal semantic framework for treating epistemic probabilities of epistemic probabilities and expectations of expectations. The upshot is that operational epistemology cannot work, and that knowledge-based epistemology has the right characteristics to avoid its problems.
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