Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (2):535-554 (2018)

Don Fallis
Northeastern University
We want to keep hackers in the dark about our passwords and our credit card numbers. We want to keep potential eavesdroppers in the dark about our private communications with friends and business associates. This need for secrecy raises important questions in epistemology (how do we do it?) and in ethics (should we do it?). In order to answer these questions, it would be useful to have a good understanding of the concept of keeping someone in the dark. Several philosophers (e.g., Bok, 1983; Carson, 2010; Mahon, 2009; Scheppele, 1988) have analyzed this concept (or, equivalently, the concept of keeping secrets) in terms of concealing and/or withholding information. However, their analyses incorrectly exclude clear instances of keeping someone in the dark. And more important, they incorrectly focus on possible means of keeping someone in the dark rather than on what it is to keep someone in the dark. In this paper, I argue that you keep X in the dark about a proposition P if and only if you intentionally cause X not to have a true belief that P. In addition, I show how this analysis of keeping someone in the dark can be extended from a categorical belief model of epistemic states to a credence (or degree of belief) model.
Keywords Concealing information  Conceptual analysis  Credences  Deception  Epistemic goals  Secrecy  Withholding information
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2018, 2020
DOI 10.1111/tops.12361
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: 64,159
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and the Flow of Information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.
Causation as Influence.David K. Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
The Philosophy of Information.Luciano Floridi - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 50:42-43.
What Is Lying.Don Fallis - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (1):29-56.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Shedding Light For The Matter.Barbara Bolt - 2000 - Hypatia 15 (2):202-216.
Shedding Light for the Matter.Barbara Bolt - 2000 - Hypatia 15 (2):202-216.
We See in the Dark.Roy Sorensen - 2004 - Noûs 38 (3):456-480.
Lakatos One and Lakatos Two: An Appreciation.William Berkson - 1976 - In R. S. Cohen, P. K. Feyerabend & M. Wartofsky (eds.), Essays in Memory of Imre Lakatos. Reidel. pp. 39--54.


Added to PP index

Total views
27 ( #407,753 of 2,454,833 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,241 of 2,454,833 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes