Easy Knowledge, Closure Failure, or Skepticism: A Trilemma

Metaphilosophy 47 (2):214-232 (2016)
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This article aims to provide a structural analysis of the problems related to the easy knowledge problem. The easy knowledge problem is well known. If we accept that we can have basic knowledge via a source without having any prior knowledge about the reliability or accuracy of this source, then we can acquire knowledge about the reliability or accuracy of this source too easily via information delivered by the source. Rejecting any kind of basic knowledge, however, leads into an infinite regress and, plausibly, to skepticism. The article argues that the third alternative, accepting basic knowledge but rejecting easy knowledge, entails closure failure. This is obviously the case for deductive bootstrapping, but, notably, the problem also arises for inductive bootstrapping. Hence, the set of problems related to the easy knowledge problem has the structure of a trilemma. We are forced to accept easy knowledge, closure failure, or skepticism.



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Guido Melchior
University of Graz

References found in this work

Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2003 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
The skeptic and the dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Knowing Full Well.Ernest Sosa - 2010 - Princeton University Press.

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