Two Notions Of Safety

Swiss Philosophical Preprints (2010)

Julien Dutant
King's College London
Timothy Williamson (1992, 224–5) and Ernest Sosa (1996) have ar- gued that knowledge requires one to be safe from error. Something is said to be safe from happening iff it does not happen at “close” worlds. I expand here on a puzzle noted by John Hawthorne (2004, 56n) that suggests the need for two notions of closeness. Counterfac- tual closeness is a matter of what could in fact have happened, given the specific circumstances at hand. The notion is involved in the semantics for counterfactuals and is the one epistemologists have typically assumed. Normalized closeness is rather a matter of what could typically have happened, that is, what would go on in a class of normal alternatives to actuality, irrespectively of whether or not they could have happened in the circumstances at hand.
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How to Be an Infallibilist.Julien Dutant - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):148-171.

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