A generality problem for bootstrapping and sensitivity

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):31-47 (2014)

Authors
Guido Melchior
University of Graz
Abstract
Vogel argues that sensitivity accounts of knowledge are implausible because they entail that we cannot have any higher-level knowledge that our beliefs are true, not false. Becker and Salerno object that Vogel is mistaken because he does not formalize higher-level beliefs adequately. They claim that if formalized correctly, higher-level beliefs are sensitive, and can therefore constitute knowledge. However, these accounts do not consider the belief-forming method as sensitivity accounts require. If we take bootstrapping as the belief-forming method, as the discussed cases suggest, then we face a generality problem. Our higher-level beliefs as formalized by Becker and Salerno turn out to be sensitive according to a wide reading of bootstrapping, but insensitive according to a narrow reading. This particular generality problem does not arise for the alternative accounts of process reliabilism and basis-relative safety. Hence, sensitivity accounts not only deliver opposite results given different formalizations of higher-level beliefs, but also for the same formalization, depending on how we interpret bootstrapping. Therefore, sensitivity accounts do not fail because they make higher-level knowledge impossible, as Vogel argues, and they do not succeed in allowing higher-level knowledge, as Becker and Salerno suggest. Rather, their problem is that they deliver far too heterogeneous results.
Keywords Sensitivity  bootstrapping  generality problem   higher-level knowledge
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DOI croatjphil20141413
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
What is Justified Belief.Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Philosophical Explanations.R. Nozick - 1981 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (1):83-85.

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Citations of this work BETA

Baseless Knowledge.Guido Melchior - 2017 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 17 (50):211-231.

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