Knowability Relative to Information

Mind 130 (517):1-33 (2021)
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Abstract

We present a formal semantics for epistemic logic, capturing the notion of knowability relative to information (KRI). Like Dretske, we move from the platitude that what an agent can know depends on her (empirical) information. We treat operators of the form K_AB (‘B is knowable on the basis of information A’) as variably strict quantifiers over worlds with a topic- or aboutness- preservation constraint. Variable strictness models the non-monotonicity of knowledge acquisition while allowing knowledge to be intrinsically stable. Aboutness-preservation models the topic-sensitivity of information, allowing us to invalidate controversial forms of epistemic closure while validating less controversial ones. Thus, unlike the standard modal framework for epistemic logic, KRI accommodates plausible approaches to the Kripke-Harman dogmatism paradox, which bear on non-monotonicity, or on topic-sensitivity. KRI also strikes a better balance between agent idealization and a non-trivial logic of knowledge ascriptions.

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Author Profiles

Peter Hawke
Lingnan University
Franz Berto
University of St. Andrews

Citations of this work

Dynamic Hyperintensional Belief Revision.Aybüke Özgün & Francesco Berto - 2021 - Review of Symbolic Logic (3):766-811.
Rational requirements for suspended judgment.Luis Rosa - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):385-406.
Being in a position to know.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (4):1323-1339.
The Fundamental Problem of Logical Omniscience.Peter Hawke, Aybüke Özgün & Francesco Berto - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (4):727-766.

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References found in this work

Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and the flow of information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.
Epistemic operators.Fred Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.

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