The multi premise closure principle states that the logical conjunction of known facts yields again a known fact. For absolute knowledge this principle holds. We show that for fallible knowledge, assuming knowing requires a minimum level of statistical certainty (whatever else it requires), and that there is a sufficient number of known facts above a given level of uncertainty, it does not hold, for simple statistical reasons. We present a modified version, the dependent conjunctive closure principle, that does hold.
In this paper it will be attempted to dissolve the lottery problem based on fallibilism, probabilism and the introduction of a so far widely neglected second context of knowledge. First, it will be argued that the lottery problem is actually an exemplification of the much wider Humean "future knowledge problem" (ch. 1). Two types of inferences and arguments will be examined, compared and evaluated in respect to their ability to fittingly describe the thought processes behind lottery/future knowledge propositions (ch. 2). (...) A second context of knowledge that underlines the importance of fallibilism and probabilism in a somewhat different manner will be introduced (ch. 3) and, based on that "two-context probabilism," the lottery/future knowledge problem will be dissolved (ch. 4). Lastly, it will be hinted at the necessity of adopting not just fallibilism including and two context minding probabilism, but, beyond that, also the even more encompassing position of both ontological and epistemological "gradualism" (ch. 5). (shrink)
I construe Relevant Alternatives Theory (RAT) as an abstract combination of anti-skepticism and epistemic modesty, then re-evaluate the challenge posed to it by the missed clue counter-examples of Schaffer . The import of this challenge has been underestimated, as Schaffer’s specific argument invites distracting objections. I offer a novel formalization of RAT, accommodating a suitably wide class of concrete theories of knowledge. Then, I introduce abstract missed clue cases and prove that every RA theory, as formalized, admits such a case. (...) This yields an argument - in Schaffer’s spirit - that resists easy dismissal. (shrink)
The paper proposes an account of the rational response to higher-order evidence whose key claim is that whenever we acquire such evidence we ought to engage in the inquiring activity of double-checking. Combined with a principle that establishes a connection between rational inquiry and rational belief retention, the account offers a novel explanation of the alleged impermissibility of retaining one’s belief in the face of higher-order evidence. It is argued that this explanation is superior to the main competitor view which (...) appeals to the notion of defeat. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to analyse and develop how scepticism becomes an intelligible question starting from requirements that epistemologists themselves aim to endorse. We argue for and defend the idea that the root of scepticism is the underdetermination principle by articulating its specificitya respectable epistemic principle and by defending it against objections in current literature. This engagement offers a novel understanding of underdetermination-based scepticism. While most anti-sceptical approaches challenge scepticism by understanding it as postulating uneliminated scenarios of mass (...) deception, or as endorsing unnatural epistemic requirements, we argue here that both contentions are mistaken. Underdetermination-based scepticism targets our beliefs by issuing a genuine question about the rational support they enjoy. If we cannot establish that the sources of our beliefs provide them the required epistemic merit and authority, they lack non-arbitrary grounds. This has a sizable impact on what constitutes a satisfactory anti-sceptical strategy. Strategies that merely focus on the scenario-based aspect of scepticism, or on the truth-functional evaluation of our beliefs, are shown to miss the mark of the sceptical threat. The proposed analysis ultimately provides a shift in perspective concerning the character and reach of philosophical doubt. (shrink)
Corroborating evidence supports a proposition that is already supported by other initial evidence. It bolsters or confirms the original body of evidence. Corroboration has striking psychological and epistemic force: It potently affects how people do and should assess the target proposition. This essay investigates the distinctive powers of corroborating evidence. Corroboration does not simply increase the quantifiable probability of the adjudicated claim. Drawing on the relevant alternatives framework, I argue that corroboration winnows remaining uneliminated error possibilities. This illuminates the independence, (...) weight, and non-fungibility of corroborating evidence. I compare corroborating evidence to prudential safeguards, like fire doors, that forfend against non-epistemic harms. I thereby sketch a general, non-quantificational model of risk management. Finally, I turn to legal corroboration requirements and the epistemic significance of corroboration for legal proof. (shrink)
Hope, in its propositional construction "I hope that p," is compatible with a stated chance for the speaker that not-p. On fallibilist construals of knowledge, knowledge is compatible with a chance of being wrong, such that one can know that p even though there is an epistemic chance for one that not-p. But self-ascriptions of propositional hope that p seem to be incompatible, in some sense, with self-ascriptions of knowing whether p. Data from conjoining hope self-ascription with outright assertions, with (...) first- and third-person knowledge ascriptions, and with factive predicates suggest a problem: when combined with a plausible principle on the rationality of hope, they suggest that fallibilism is false. By contrast, the infallibilist about knowledge can straightforwardly explain why knowledge would be incompatible with hope, and can offer a simple and unified explanation of all the linguistic data introduced here. This suggests that fallibilists bear an explanatory burden which has been hitherto overlooked. (shrink)
This paper outlines a new type of skepticism that is both compatible with fallibilism and supported by work in psychology. In particular, I will argue that we often cannot properly trust our ability to rationally evaluate reasons, arguments, and evidence (a fundamental knowledge-seeking faculty). We humans are just too cognitively impaired to achieve even fallible knowledge, at least for many beliefs.
Alex Worsnip argues in favor of what he describes as a particularly robust version of fallibilism: subjects can sometimes know things that are, for them, possibly false (in the epistemic sense of 'possible'). My aim in this paper is to show that Worsnip’s argument is inconclusive for a surprising reason: the existence of possibly false knowledge turns on how we ought to model entailment or consequence relations among sentences in natural language. Since it is an open question how we ought (...) to think about consequence in natural language, it is an open question whether there is possibly false knowledge. I close with some reﬂections on the relation between possibly false knowledge and fallibilism. I argue that there is no straightforward way to use linguistic data about natural language epistemic modals to either verify or refute the fallibilist thesis. (shrink)
This paper revisits the epistemological doctrine of fallibilism and discusses its overarching consequences to the whole structure of human knowledge and its extended applications. Fallibilism claims that we can never have absolute certainty to justify our knowledge claims. That means, knowledge needs not have an absolute, definitive warrants. Consequently, using the discursive method of enquiry, the paper argues that, if fallibilism is true, then, the concept of knowledge is redefined. Hence, knowledge would no longer mean the preclusion of error but (...) the contextual absence of doubt. Accordingly, knowledge in this schema, would only be an approximation [or even a verisimilitude] to the truth or a working tool for future progress so long as it serves the purposes of the present. It is the conclusion of the paper, that aside its apparent epistemic implications, fallibilism has also non-epistemic implications which ranges from a more general change in attitude towards our stances to a more applied and direct consequences in both legal, religious or moral enterprises of human endeavours. (shrink)
This paper thematically analyzes Charles Sanders Peirce’s doctrine of fallibilism. Peirce’s fallibilism is best construed as an epistemic thesis that tries to correct the excesses of and mediate between Cartesian dogmatism and skepticism. Hence, as a theory of epistemic justification, it is neither overly confident like foundationalism nor overarchingly cynic like skepticism. It grants the possibility for knowledge, yet, this knowledge is not foregrounded on absolute warrants. The paper therefore argues that, it is at this juncture that the theory runs (...) into the problem of vagueness: if we are not certain at which particular point a given piece of information becomes knowledge, how can we know we have arrived at it yet? Subsequently, Peirce’s novel introduction of hope (as an epistemic principle) and the self-corrective nature of inquiry makes his theory more convincing. Thus, we do not need to worry about arriving at the knowledge, because doubt necessitates inquiry which in turn is self-corrective. So, the more the inquiry, the surer we are of arriving at knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper I consider the prospects for a skeptical version of infallibilism. For the reasons given above, I think skeptical invariantism has a lot going for it. However, a satisfactory theory of knowledge must account for all of our desiderata, including that our ordinary knowledge attributions are appropriate. This last part will not be easy for the infallibilist invariantist. Indeed, I will argue that it is much more difficult than those sympathetic to skepticism have acknowledged, as there are serious (...) problems with regarding paradigmatic, typical knowledge attributions as loose talk, exaggerations, or otherwise practical uses of language. So, I do not think the pragmatic story that skeptical invariantism needs is one that works without a supplemental error theory of the sort left aside by purely pragmatic accounts of knowledge attributions. In its place, I will offer a compromise pragmatic and error view that I think delivers everything that skeptics can reasonably hope to get. (shrink)
In response to a recent argument by David Bloor, I argue that denying absolutes does not necessarily lead to relativism, that one can be a fallibilist without being a relativist. At issue are the empirical natural sciences and what might be called “framework relativism”, that is, the idea that there is always a conceptual scheme or set of practices in use, and all observations are theory-laden relative to the framework. My strategy is to look at the elements that define a (...) relativist stance and show where the pragmatic fallibilist disagrees. Defending the pragmatic notion of experience will be central, given that relativists reject the idea that experience can play a role in objectively justifying belief. We can reject all absolutes and start from the premise that everything is historical, contingent, and situated. One of the lessons of pragmatism is that universal and fixed principles are not necessary for objective knowledge. (shrink)
Why must we respect others’ rights to dispute scientific knowledge such as that the Earth is round, or that humans evolved, or that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are warming the Earth? In this paper, I argue that in On Liberty Mill defends the freedom to dispute scientific knowledge by appeal to a novel social epistemic rationale for free speech that has been unduly neglected by Mill scholars. Mill distinguishes two kinds of epistemic warrant for scientific knowledge: 1) the positive, direct evidentiary (...) warrant that scientific experts construct for their knowledge by applying the methods Mill had set out in his A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, and 2) a social testimonial warrant that the non-expert “public” has for what Mill refers to as their “rational[ly] assur[ed]” beliefs on scientific subjects. Mill does not argue that scientific claims can never be proven true with complete practical certainty to scientific experts, nor does he argue that scientists must engage in free debate with critics such as flat-earthers in order to fully understand the grounds of their scientific knowledge. Instead, Mill argues that in the absence of the freedom to dispute scientific knowledge, non-experts cannot establish that scientific experts are credible sources of testimonial knowledge. To establish the credibility of scientific expert speakers, non-expert audiences must have a rational assurance, Mill argues, that experts have satisfactory answers to objections that might undermine the positive, direct evidentiary proof of scientific knowledge. But since non-experts cannot distinguish objections that undermine such expert proof from objections that do not, censorship of any objection — even the irrelevant objections of literal or figurative flat-earthers — will prevent non-experts from determining whether scientific expert speakers are credible. Hence, while censoring irrelevant objections would not undermine the positive, direct evidentiary warrant that scientific experts have for their knowledge, doing so would destroy the non-expert, social testimonial warrant for that knowledge. The asymmetry between how expert scientific speakers and non-expert audiences warrant their scientific knowledge is what both generates and necessitates Mill’s social epistemic rationale for the “absolute” freedom to dispute it. (shrink)
This is a collection of nineteen essays in the tradition of critical rationalism (as advocated by Karl Popper). All but one of the essays is previously unpublished and the one previously published paper has undergone significant revisions. The first four essays tackle topics in the philosophy of science, the first being an exposition of Popper's views, the others discussing falsifiability, truth, the aim of science, and ceteris-paribus law-statements. Five essays follow concerned with Reason, reasoning and reasons, in which faulty conceptions (...) of theoretical and practical reason are criticised, the nature and uses of argument are discussed, and the rationality of debate, agreement and disagreement are explained. Next, there are two papers on economics, one of which is a substantial critique of the so-called subjective theory of value, the other a brief discussion of entrepreneurial insight. The last section of the book contains a miscellany of eight critical essays in which some errors of contemporary philosophers are exposed regarding issues including the interpretation of Popper’s work, the Gettier problem, no-platforming, open-mindedness, homosexual equality, tolerance, philosophical heuristics and the conduct of debate. (shrink)
Two of the most orthodox ideas in epistemology are fallibilism and purism. According to the fallibilist, one can know that a particular claim is true even though one’s justification for that claim is less than fully conclusive. According to the purist, knowledge does not depend on practical factors. Fallibilism and purism are widely assumed to be compatible; in fact, the combination of these views has been called the ‘ho-hum,’ obvious, traditional view of knowledge. But I will argue that fallibilism and (...) purism are incompatible. The best explanation for fallibilism requires one to reject purism, while maintaining purism should lead one to reject fallibilism. It follows that the orthodox view of knowledge is deeply mistaken. (shrink)
According to the dogmatist, knowing p makes it rational to disregard future evidence against p. The standard response to the dogmatist holds that knowledge is defeasible: acquiring evidence against something you know undermines your knowledge. However, this response leaves a residual puzzle, according to which knowledge makes it rational to intend to disregard future counterevidence. I argue that we can resolve this residual puzzle by turning to an unlikely source: Kavka’s toxin puzzle. One lesson of the toxin puzzle is that (...) it is irrational to intend to do that which you know will be irrational. This yields a simple reply to the dogmatist: it is irrational to intend to disregard future evidence because you can know in advance that it will be irrational to do so. (shrink)
Jeder Mensch irrt – ausgenommen der Papst, wenn er Glaubenssätze verkündet. So jedenfalls befand einst das erste Vatikanische Konzil. Nun waren die Kardinäle, so bemerkt Keil frech, selbst keineswegs Träger der päpstlichen Unfehlbarkeit. »Woher wussten sie dann, dass der Papst unfehlbar ist?« Niemand weiß vorher, wann und wo er sich irren wird. Viele Philosophen haben daraus geschlossen, dass Menschen nichts wissen, sondern immer nur vermuten. Das ist aber ein Irrtum, den dieser kluge und kurzweilige Essay aufklärt.
This is a reply to Howard Sankey’s comment (“Factivity or Grounds? Comment on Mizrahi”) on my paper, “You Can’t Handle the Truth: Knowledge = Epistemic Certainty,” in which I present an argument from the factivity of knowledge for the conclusion that knowledge is epistemic certainty. While Sankey is right that factivity does not entail epistemic certainty, the factivity of knowledge does entail that knowledge is epistemic certainty.
This is a comment on Moti Mizrahi's paper ' You Can't Handle the Truth: Knowledge = Epistemic Certainty'. Mizrahi claims that the factivity of knowledge entails that knowledge requires epistemic certainty. But the argument that Mizrahi presents does not proceed from factivity to certainty. Instead, it proceeds from a premise about the relationship between grounds and knowledge to the conclusion about certainty.
This reply provides further grounds to doubt Mizrahi’s argument for an infallibilist theory of knowledge. It is pointed out that the fact that knowledge requires both truth and justification does not entail that the level of justification required for knowledge be sufficient to guarantee truth. In addition, an argument presented by Mizrahi appears to equivocate with respect to the interpretation of the phrase “p cannot be false”.
This paper comprises a defence of Infallibilism about knowledge. In it, I articulate two arguments in favour of Infallibilism, and for each argument show that Infallibilism about knowledge does not lead to an unpalatable Scepticism if justified belief is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge, and if Fallibilism about justified belief is true.
Infallibilism is the view that knowledge requires conclusive grounds. Despite its intuitive appeal, most contemporary epistemology rejects Infallibilism; however, there is a strong minority tradition that embraces it. Showing that Infallibilism is viable requires showing that it is compatible with the undeniable fact that we can go wrong in pursuit of perceptual knowledge. In other words, we need an account of fallibility for Infallibilists. By critically examining John McDowell’s recent attempt at such an account, this paper articulates a very important (...) general lesson for Infallibilists. The paper concludes by briefly discussing two ways to do justice to this lesson: first, at the level of experience; and second, at the level of judgment. (shrink)
This paper examines the prospects of a prima facie attractive response to Fantl and McGrath’s argument for pragmatic encroachment. The response concedes that if one knows a proposition to be true then that proposition is warranted enough for one to have it as a reason for action. But it denies pragmatic encroachment, insofar as it denies that whether one knows a proposition to be true can vary with the practical stakes, holding fixed strength of warrant. This paper explores two ways (...) to allow knowledge-reason links without pragmatic encroachment, both of which appeal to defeat. The first appeals to defeaters of reasons. If you know the bank is open tomorrow, what you know is available as a reason, but it may be defeated by considerations concerning the stakes. The second appeals to defeaters which do not defeat reasons but which nonetheless do something similar: they make the action recommended by those reasons vicious. In a high stakes case performing the “risky” action would be vicious even if it is justified in the sense of being supported by undefeated reasons. What is defeated is a virtue-based epistemic status rather than reasons or justification. I argue that neither proposal halts the march from a knowledge-reason link to pragmatic encroachment. (shrink)
In this paper we show that Audi’s fallibilist foundationalism is beset by three unclarities. First, there is a conceptual unclarity in that Audi leaves open if and how to distinguish clearly between the concepts of fallibility and defeasibility. Second, there is a general unclarity: it is not always clear which fallibility/defeasibility-theses Audi accepts or denies. Finally, there is an unclarity of self-application because Audi does not specify his own claim that fallibilist foundationalism is an inductivist, and therefore itself fallible, thesis. (...) The critical part of our paper is supplemented by a constructive part, in which we present a space of possible distinctions between different fallibility and defeasibility theses. These distinctions can be used by Audi as a toolkit to improve the clarity of fallibilist foundationalism and thus provide means to strengthen his position. (shrink)
A tese central do fiabilismo é que uma crença verdadeira é conhecimento apenas se foi produzida por um mecanismo que tende a gerar crenças verdadeiras. Como tanto o processo que gera uma dada crença quanto sua propensão a produzir crenças verdadeiras podem não ser apreendidos pelo sujeito a quem se atribui o conhecimento, o fiabilismo é uma teoria externista. A principal fonte de críticas ao fiabilismo reside precisamente na desvinculação entre o que torna crenças meramente verdadeiras conhecimento e a perspectiva (...) do sujeito. As diferentes versões do fiabilismo são diferentes respostas a esta crítica, quer pela aproximação com as ciências cognitivas e com o projeto naturalista, quer pela proposição de uma epistemologia da virtude. (shrink)
We explore consequences of the view that to know a proposition your rational credence in the proposition must exceed a certain threshold. In other words, to know something you must have evidence that makes rational a high credence in it. We relate such a threshold view to Dorr et al.’s :277–287, 2014) argument against the principle they call fair coins: “If you know a coin won’t land tails, then you know it won’t be flipped.” They argue for rejecting fair coins (...) because it leads to a pervasive skepticism about knowledge of the future. We argue that the threshold view of evidence and knowledge gives independent grounds to reject fair coins. (shrink)
This paper is about the ‘threshold problem’ for knowledge, namely, how do we determine what fixes the level of justification required for knowledge in a non-arbitrary way? One popular strategy for solving this problem is impurism, which is the view that the required level of justification is partly fixed by one’s practical reasoning situation. However, this strategy has been the target of several recent objections. My goal is to propose a new version of impurism that solves the threshold problem without (...) succumbing to these criticisms. (shrink)
In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Richard Rorty presents powerful arguments against traditional epistemology, conceived as a quest both for empirical grounds that provide certainty and for necessary truths that provide a conceptual framework within which to couch empirical findings. Rorty finds traditional epistemology in general, and specifically any appeal to representation that might ground knowledge, to be an unmitigated failure. In this paper, I show that Rorty at least considered but ultimately rejected the possibility of a type of (...) epistemically relevant, foundational representation with a normative status. Drawing on the work of Tyler Burge, I argue that Rorty was too quick in dismissing the important, epistemically foundational role of perceptual representation. A new and improved picture of foundational epistemology emerges. Throughout the paper, I aim to shed light on the fundamental disconnect between Rorty’s and Burge’s approaches to epistemology, and to philosophical investigation more generally. (shrink)
When spelled out properly infallibilism is a viable and even attractive view. Because it has long been summary dismissed, however, we need a guide on how to properly spell it out. The guide has to fulfil four tasks. The first two concern the nature of knowledge: to argue that infallible belief is necessary, and that it is sufficient, for knowledge. The other two concern the norm of belief: to argue that knowledge is necessary, and that it is sufficient, for justified (...) certainty. With such a guide in hand infallibilism can be evaluated on its own merits. The most controversial parts are the first and fourth. The idea that knowledge requires infallible belief is thought to be excessively sceptical. The idea that knowledge warrants certainty is thought to be excessively dogmatic. The present paper addresses the first. It argues that knowledge requires infallible belief. (shrink)
According to epistemic fallibilism, we cannot be certain of anything. According to the Christian tradition, faith comes with certainty. I develop this dilemma from recent accounts of fallibilism and various representatives of the Christian tradition. I then argue that on John Henry Newman's account of faith the dilemma is merely apparent. Finally, I develop Newman's account of the certainty that accompanies faith and is compatible with fallibilism.
Many epistemologists call themselves ‘fallibilists’. But many philosophers of language hold that the meaning of epistemic usages of ‘possible’ ensures a close knowledge- possibility link : a subject’s utterance of ‘it’s possible that not-p’ is true only if the subject does not know that p. This seems to suggest that whatever the core insight behind fallibilism is, it can’t be that a subject could have knowledge which is, for them, possibly false. I argue that, on the contrary, subjects can have (...) such possibly false knowledge. My ultimate aim, then, is to vindicate a very robust form of fallibilism. Uniquely, however, the account I offer does this while also allowing that concessive knowledge attributions – sentences of the form “I know that p, but it’s possible that not-p” – are not only infelicitous but actually false whenever uttered. The account predicts this result without conceding KPL. I argue that my account has the resources to explain some related cases for which the KPL account yields the wrong predictions. Taken as a whole, the linguistic data not only do not support the proposal that subjects cannot have possibly false knowledge, but indeed positively favor the proposal that they can. (shrink)
Los sótanos del universo plantea la necesidad de cambiar la epistemología del conocimiento apodíctico científico-filosófico basado en la certidumbre por la “epistemología del riesgo”. Asimismo, sugiere un mayor acercamiento entre ciencia y filosofía para superar la actual confusión y estancamiento que afectan a estos saberes. Este artículo analiza ambos temas. -/- Los Sótanos del Universo proposes the necessity of changing the epistemology of apodictic scientific-philosophical knowledge, based on certainty, for the “epistemology of risk”. Furthermore, it suggests a better approach between (...) philosophy and science in order to surpass the confusion and standstill that affect these disciplines today. This paper analyses both matters. (shrink)
This paper defends the epistemological doctrine of fallibilism from recent objections. In “The Myth of Knowledge” Laurence BonJour argues that we should reject fallibilism for two main reasons: first, there is no adequate way to specify what level of justification is required for fallible knowledge; second, we cannot explain why any level of justification that is less than fully conclusive should have the significance that makes knowledge valuable. I will reply to these challenges in a way that allows me to (...) make progress on a number of important issues in contemporary epistemology: epistemic value, the functional roles of knowledge attributions, experimental epistemology, skepticism, the Gettier problem, and the lottery paradox. My argument is motivated by appealing to various insights derived from the method of ‘practical explication’, particularly the idea that a central purpose of the concept of knowledge is to flag reliable informants. My conclusion is that various practical and theoretical considerations derived from the method of practical explication support the fallibilist conception of knowledge. (shrink)
Let ‘warrant’ denote whatever precisely it is that makes the difference between knowledge and mere true belief. A current debate in epistemology asks whether warrant entails truth, i.e., whether (Infallibilism) S’s belief that p is warranted only if p is true. The arguments for infallibilism have come under considerable and, as of yet, unanswered objections. In this paper, I will defend infallibilism. In Part I, I advance a new argument for infallibilism; the basic outline is as follows. Suppose fallibilism is (...) true. An implication of fallibilism is that the property that makes the difference between knowledge and mere belief (which I dub ‘warrant*’) is the conjunctive property being warranted and true . I show that this implication of fallibilism conflicts with an uncontroversial thesis we have learned from reflection on Gettier cases: that nonaccidental truth is a constituent of warrant*. It follows that infallibilism is true. In the second part of the paper, I present and criticize a new argument against infallibilism. The argument states that there are plausible cases where, intuitively, the only thing that is keeping a belief from counting as knowledge is the falsity of that belief. Furthermore, it is plausible that such a belief is warranted and false. So, the argument goes, infallibilism is false. I show that this argument fails. (shrink)
Although recent epistemology has been marked by several prominent disagreements – e.g., between foundationalists and coherentists, internalists and externalists – there has been widespread agreement that some form of fallibilism must be correct. According to a rough formulation of this view, it is possible for a subject to have knowledge even in cases where the justification or grounding for the knowledge is compatible with the subject’s being mistaken. In this paper, I examine the motivation for fallibilism before providing a fully (...) general account of the view. I conclude by looking at the two major difficulties for fallibilism: the Gettier problem and the lottery paradox. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to apply Charles S. Peirce's pragmatic method to establishing if proponents of transcendental arguments could hold the conclusions of their arguments to be fallibly known. I will thus propose a pragmatic clarification of the concepts of a priority, necessity, and infallibility in order to ascertain if these concepts are unavoidably related or not. I will argue that an a priori knowable necessary proposition is not in principle indubitable, whereas a proposition infallibly known is so. (...) Finally, I will apply these reflections to transcendental philosophy. (shrink)
In this study, 10 hematologists and 10 lung oncologists were interviewed regarding the information they provide to patients in four situations of uncertainty: determining the treatment that is in the patient’s best interest; recurrence or progression of the patient’s disease; determining when to withdraw life-prolonging treatment; discussing death, addressing questions such as whether the patient will die from the disease, and when. The primary finding is that delivery of information to patients with low survival rates can be improved by more (...) and better disclosure by physicians at an earlier stage. The crucial point for physicians is to ascertain the wishes of patients, to learn what to reveal about what patients should expect, short term and long term, as death approaches. (shrink)
We begin by asking what fallibilism about knowledge is, distinguishing several conceptions of fallibilism and giving reason to accept what we call strong epistemic fallibilism, the view that one can know that something is the case even if there remains an epistemic chance, for one, that it is not the case. The task of the paper, then, concerns how best to defend this sort of fallibilism from the objection that it is “mad,” that it licenses absurd claims such as “I (...) know that p but there’s a chance that not p ” and “ p but it there’s a chance that not p .” We argue that the best defense of fallibilism against this objection—a “pragmatist” defense—makes the following claims. First, while knowledge that p is compatible with an epistemic chance that not- p , it is compatible only with an insignificant such chance. Second, the insignificance of the chance that not- p is plausibly understood in terms of the irrelevance of that chance to p ’s serving as a ‘justifier’, for action as well as belief. In other words, if you know that p , then any chance for you that not p doesn’t stand in the way of p ’s being properly put to work as a basis for action and belief. (shrink)
This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...) naturalist’s commitment to scientific methodology in that it allows for apriori-justified claims to be sensitive to further conceptual developments and the expansion of evidence. The fallibilist apriorist allows that an a priori claim is revisable in only a purely epistemic sense. This modal claim is weaker than what is required for a revisability thesis to establish empiricism, so fallibilist apriorism represents a distinct position. (shrink)