Knowledge, belief, and egocentric bias

Synthese 196 (8):3409-3432 (2019)
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Abstract

Changes in conversationally salient error possibilities, and/or changes in stakes, appear to generate shifts in our judgments regarding the correct application of ‘know’. One prominent response to these shifts is to argue that they arise due to shifts in belief and do not pose a problem for traditional semantic or metaphysical accounts of knowledge. Such doxastic proposals face familiar difficulties with cases where knowledge is ascribed to subjects in different practical or conversational situations from the speaker. Jennifer Nagel has recently offered an ingenious response to these problematic cases—appeal to egocentric bias. Appeal to this kind of bias also has the potential for interesting application in other philosophical arenas, including discussions of epistemic modals. In this paper, I draw on relevant empirical literature to clarify the nature of egocentric bias as it manifests in children and adults, and argue that appeal to egocentric bias is ill-suited to respond to the problem cases for doxastic accounts. Our discussion also has significant impact on the prospects for application of egocentric bias in other arenas.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2003 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in an Uncertain World.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2009 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Elusive Knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.

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