Questions and Answers

The Classical Review 21 (7):220-220 (1907)
Jonathan is known for his answers as well as his questions. In fact, he is known for giving the same answer to different questions. This illustrates his point about convergent questions: different questions can have the same answer. Jonathan relies on this point to show that if p is the answer to a certain question, knowing the answer to that question doesn’t consist merely in knowing that p. Since p is the answer to many questions, and you can know the answer to one without knowing the answer to another, knowing that p does not suffice for knowing the answer to the question in question. This argument refutes the orthodox reductive view or, as I’ll call it for short, the stupid view. Jonathan thinks that knowledge-wh relates a knower to a question as well as an answer – it’s a three-term relation. Indeed, as previous visitors to Bellingham know, Jonathan even thinks that knowledge-that is a three-term relation. His not-so-hidden agenda this time around is to parlay the shortcomings of the stupid view of knowledge- wh into new support for his contrastivist view of knowledge-that. He now thinks that even “knowledge-that includes a question” (p. 14). As for me, there’s a more sensible way to improve upon the stupid view. This sensible view is reductive insofar as it holds that knowledge-wh reduces to knowledgethat, with knowledge-that understood as a two-term relation. And it’s reductive in a different way: it’s not expansive like Jonathan’s view, which incorporates both questions and answers into knowledge-wh ascriptions. The sensible view says that knowledge-wh is a two-term relation, relating knowers just to questions. Even so, as I will explain, it agrees with Jonathan that knowing-wh is knowing the answer (or at least an answer – like Jonathan, I’ll downplay the fact that some questions have more than one true answer). Best of all, the sensible view exhibits the connection between answers and questions. It shows precisely how it is that what you know when you know the answer to a question is the answer to that question..
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.1017/S0009840X00165254
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Berit Brogaard (2009). What Mary Did Yesterday: Reflections on Knowledge-Wh. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):439 - 467.
Noël Carroll (2007). Narrative Closure. Philosophical Studies 135 (1):1 - 15.
Jonathan Ginzburg (1995). Resolving Questions, I. Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (5):459 - 527.

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