Should have known

Synthese 194 (8):2863-2894 (2017)
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Abstract

In this paper I will be arguing that there are cases in which a subject, S, should have known that p, even though, given her state of evidence at the time, she was in no position to know it. My argument for this result will involve making two claims. The uncontroversial claim is this: S should have known that p when another person has, or would have, legitimate expectations regarding S’s epistemic condition, the satisfaction of these expectations would require that S knows that p, and S fails to know that p. The controversial claim is that these three conditions are sometimes jointly satisfied. I will spend the majority of my time defending the controversial claim. I will argue that there are two main sources of legitimate expectations regarding another’s epistemic condition: participation in a legitimate social practice ; and moral and epistemic expectations more generally . In developing my position on this score, I will have an opportunity to defend the doctrine that there are “practice-generated entitlements” to expect certain things, where it can happen that the satisfaction of these expectations requires another’s having certain pieces of knowledge; to contrast practice-generated entitlements to expect with epistemic reasons to believe; to defend the idea that moral and epistemic standards themselves can be taken to reflect legitimate expectations we have of each other; to compare the “should have known” phenomenon with a widely-discussed phenomenon in the ethics literature—that of culpable ignorance; and finally to suggest the bearing of the “should have known” phenomenon to epistemology itself.

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Sanford Goldberg
Northwestern University

Citations of this work

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Resistance to evidence and the duty to believe.Mona Simion - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (1):203-216.
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Thought.Gilbert Harman - 1973 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Content preservation.Tyler Burge - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (4):457-488.
Warrant for nothing (and foundations for free)?Crispin Wright - 2004 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):167–212.

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