Erkenntnis:1-14 (forthcoming)

John Turri
University of Waterloo
From antiquity through the twentieth century, philosophers have hypothesized that, intuitively, it is harder to know negations than to know affirmations. This paper provides direct evidence for that hypothesis. In a series of studies, I found that people naturally view negations as harder to know than affirmations. Participants read simple scenarios and made judgments about truth, probability, belief, and knowledge. Participants were more likely to attribute knowledge of an outcome when framed affirmatively than when framed negatively. Participants did this even though the affirmative and negative framings were logically equivalent. The asymmetry was unique to knowledge attributions: it did not occur when participants rated truth, probability, or belief. These findings show new consequences of negation on people’s judgments and reasoning and can inform philosophical theorizing about the ordinary concept of knowledge.
Keywords knowledge  negation  theory of mind  belief  truth  probability  epistemology
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-020-00274-9
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Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars (ed.) - 1963 - New York: Humanities Press.
Philosophical Papers.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):353-356.

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