Subject-sensitive invariantism, high-stakes/low-stakes cases, and presupposition suspension

Episteme 17 (2):249-254 (2020)


It is a familiar criticism of Subject-Sensitive Invariantism that the view makes incorrect predictions about cases in which the attributor of knowledge is in a high-stakes situation and the subject of the attribution in a low-stakes situation. In a recent paper in this journal, Brian Kim has argued that the mentioned type of case should be ignored, since the relevant knowledge ascriptions are inappropriate in virtue of violating an epistemic norm of presupposing. I show, pace Kim, that the mentioned utterances do not carry factivity presuppositions. To this end I discuss a phenomenon known as presupposition suspension, which is widely associated with the presuppositions of epistemic factives such as know that p or discover that p. I argue further that the problem of unknown presuppositions discussed by Kim can be circumvented by slightly amending the cases at hand. In particular, I demonstrate that factivity presuppositions are unobjectionable in problem cases in which the high-stakes ascriber knows the presuppositions at issue to be true.

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Author's Profile

Michael Blome-Tillmann
McGill University

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):353-356.
Contextualism and Knowledge Attributions.Keith Derose - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):913-929.
Norms of Assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):594–626.
Evidence, Pragmatics, and Justification.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (1):67-94.

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