Knowledge, Stakes, and Mistakes

Noûs 49 (2):201–234 (2015)
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Abstract

According to a prominent claim in recent epistemology, people are less likely to ascribe knowledge to a high stakes subject for whom the practical consequences of error are severe, than to a low stakes subject for whom the practical consequences of error are slight. We offer an opinionated "state of the art" on experimental research about the role of stakes in knowledge judgments. We draw on a first wave of empirical studies--due to Feltz & Zarpentine (2010), May et al (2010), and Buckwalter (2010)--which cast doubt on folk stakes sensitivity, and a second wave of empirical studies--due to Pinillos (2012) and Sripada & Stanley (2012)--said to vindicate it, as well as new studies of our own. We conclude that the balance of evidence to date best supports Folk stakes insensitivity, or that all else equal, stakes do not affect knowledge ascription.

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Wesley Buckwalter
George Mason University

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2003 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - Oxford University Press.

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