Reasons, knowledge, and probability

Philosophy of Science 38 (2):216-220 (1971)
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Abstract

Though one believes that P is true, one can have reasons for thinking it false. Yet, it seems that one cannot know that P is true and (still) have reasons for thinking it false. Why is this so? What feature of knowledge (or of reasons) precludes having reasons or evidence to believe (true) what you know to be false? If the connection between reasons (evidence) and what one believes is expressible as a probability relation, it would seem that the only satisfactory explanation of this fact is that when one knows that P is true, the reasons or evidence one has in support of P are such as to confer upon P the probability of 1. It is shown by an application of Bayes' Theorem that any value smaller than 1 would permit having reasons to believe what one knows to be false. Hence, it would seem that knowledge requires conclusive reasons to believe (if reasons or evidence is required at all)

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Author's Profile

Fred Dretske
Last affiliation: Duke University

Citations of this work

Epistemic Akrasia.David Owens - 2002 - The Monist 85 (3):381-397.
What is testimony?Peter J. Graham - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):227-232.
How can belief be akratic?Eugene Chislenko - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13925-13948.

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