Authors
Massimiliano Carrara
University of Padua
Davide Fassio
Zhejiang University
Abstract
A logical argument known as Fitch’s Paradox of Knowability, starting from the assumption that every truth is knowable, leads to the consequence that every truth is also actually known. Then, given the ordinary fact that some true propositions are not actually known, it concludes, by modus tollens, that there are unknowable truths. The main literature on the topic has been focusing on the threat the argument poses to the so called semantic anti-realist theories, which aim to epistemically characterize the notion of truth; according to those theories, every true proposition must be knowable. But the paradox seems to be a problem also for epistemology and philosophy of science: the conclusion of the paradox – the claim that there are unknowable truths – seems to seriously narrow our epistemic possibilities and to constitute a limit for knowledge. This fact contrasts with certain views in philosophy of science according to which every scientific truth is in principle knowable and, at least at an ideal level, a perfected, “all-embracing”, omniscient science is possible. The main strategies proposed in order to avoid the paradoxical conclusion, given their effectiveness, are able to address only semantic problems, not epistemological ones. However, recently Bernard Linsky (2008) proposed a solution to the paradox that seems to be effective also for the epistemological problems. In particular, he suggested a possible way to block the argument employing a type-distinction of knowledge. In the present paper, firstly, we introduce the paradox and the threat it represents for a certain views in epistemology and philosophy of science; secondly, we show Linsky’s solution; thirdly, we argue that this solution, in order to be effective, needs a certain kind of justification, and we suggest a way of justifying it in the scientific field; fourthly, we show that the effectiveness of our proposal depends on the degree of reductionism adopted in science: it is available only if we do not adopt a complete reductionism
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,636
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Taming of the True.Neil Tennant - 1997 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
A Logical Analysis of Some Value Concepts.Frederic Fitch - 1963 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 28 (2):135-142.
Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types.Bertrand Russell - 1908 - American Journal of Mathematics 30 (3):222-262.
The Paradox of Knowability.Dorothy Edgington - 1985 - Mind 94 (376):557-568.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Perfected Science and the Knowability Paradox.Massimiliano Carrara & Davide Fassio - 2010 - In M. M. D’Agostino, G. Giorello, F. Laudisa, T. Pievani & C. Sinigaglia (eds.), New Essays in Logic and Philosophy of Science. London College Publications.
Fitch's Paradox of Knowability.Berit Brogaard & Joe Salerno - 2010 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Not Every Truth Can Be Known (at Least, Not All at Once).Greg Restall - 2009 - In Joe Salerno (ed.), New Essays on the Knowability Paradox. Oxford University Press. pp. 339--354.
Knowability and Epistemic Truth.M. Hand - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2):216 – 228.
Knowability, Possibility and Paradox.Berit Brogaard & Joe Salerno - 2008 - In Vincent Hendricks (ed.), New Waves in Epistemology. Palgrave-Macmillan.
Truth and the Enigma of Knowability.Bernhard Weiss - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (4):521–537.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-02-16

Total views
36 ( #305,801 of 2,462,244 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,178 of 2,462,244 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes