Pragmatic accounts of justification, epistemic analyticity, and other routes to easy knowledge of abstracta

In Xavier de Donato-Rodríguez, José Falguera & Concha Martínez-Vidal (eds.), Deflationist Conceptions of Abstract Objects. Springer (forthcoming)
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Abstract

One common attitude toward abstract objects is a kind of platonism: a view on which those objects are mind-independent and causally inert. But there's an epistemological problem here: given any naturalistically respectable understanding of how our minds work, we can't be in any sort of contact with mind-independent, causally inert objects. So platonists, in order to avoid skepticism, tend to endorse epistemological theories on which knowledge is easy, in the sense that it requires no such contact—appeals to Boghossian’s notion of epistemic analyticity are particularly common here, as are appeals to some broadly pragmatic account of the good standing of basic beliefs. I argue, though, that these appeals are hopeless: an argument adapted from the Benacerraf–Field challenge shows that, even if some such theory can deliver the verdict that our beliefs about abstract objects have some prima facie good standing, this good standing will inevitably be defeated.

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Brett Topey
University of Salzburg

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Epistemology and cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Ontology Made Easy.Amie Lynn Thomasson - 2014 - New York: Oup Usa.

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