Against Fallibilism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):665 - 685 (2011)
Authors
Dylan Dodd
University of Alaska, Anchorage
Abstract
In this paper I argue for a doctrine I call ?infallibilism?, which I stipulate to mean that If S knows that p, then the epistemic probability of p for S is 1. Some fallibilists will claim that this doctrine should be rejected because it leads to scepticism. Though it's not obvious that infallibilism does lead to scepticism, I argue that we should be willing to accept it even if it does. Infallibilism should be preferred because it has greater explanatory power than fallibilism. In particular, I argue that an infallibilist can easily explain why assertions of ?p, but possibly not-p? (where the ?possibly? is read as referring to epistemic possibility) is infelicitous in terms of the knowledge rule of assertion. But a fallibilist cannot. Furthermore, an infallibilist can explain the infelicity of utterances of ?p, but I don't know that p? and ?p might be true, but I'm not willing to say that for all I know, p is true?, and why when a speaker thinks p is epistemically possible for her, she will agree (if asked) that for all she knows, p is true. The simplest explanation of these facts entails infallibilism. Fallibilists have tried and failed to explain the infelicity of ?p, but I don't know that p?, but have not even attempted to explain the last two facts. I close by considering two facts that seem to pose a problem for infallibilism, and argue that they don't
Keywords knowledge attributions  epistemic modals  skepticism  fallibilism  contextualism  knowledge  epistemology
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DOI 10.1080/00048402.2010.510530
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

Believing Epistemic Contradictions.Beddor Bob & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic (1):87-114.
How to Be an Infallibilist.Julien Dutant - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):148-171.
Thinking Animals, Disagreement, and Skepticism.Eric Yang - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):109-121.
Fallibilism.Baron Reed - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):585-596.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

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