Knowledge and Objective Chance
In Patrick Greenough & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 92--108 (2009)
We think we have lots of substantial knowledge about the future. But contemporary wisdom has it that indeterminism prevails in such a way that just about any proposition about the future has a non-zero objective chance of being false.2, 3 What should one do about this? One, pessimistic, reaction is scepticism about knowledge of the future. We think this should be something of a last resort, especially since this scepticism is likely to infect alleged knowledge of the present and past. One anti-sceptical strategy is to pin our hopes on determinism, conceding that knowledge of the future is unavailable in an indeterministic world. This is not satisfying either: we would rather not be hostage to empirical fortune in the way that this strategy recommends. A final strategy, one that we shall explore in this paper, is one of reconciliation: knowledge of a proposition is compatible with a subject’s belief having a non-zero objective chance of error.4 Following Williamson, we are interested in tying knowledge to the presence or absence of error in close cases, and so we shall explore the connections between knowledge and objective chance within such a framework. We don’t want to get tangled up here in complications involved in attempting to formulate a necessary and sufficient condition for knowledge in terms of safety. Instead, we will assume the following rough and ready necessary condition: a subject knows P only if she could not easily have falsely believed P.5 Assuming that easiness is to be spelt..
|Keywords||objective chance knowledge skepticism scepticism safety uncertainty prediction Timothy Williamson error|
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Citations of this work BETA
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Epistemic Closure Under Deductive Inference: What is It and Can We Afford It?Assaf Sharon & Levi Spectre - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2731-2748.
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