Authors
John Turri
University of Waterloo
Abstract
This paper connects recent findings from experimental epistemology to several major themes in classical Indian epistemology. First, current evidence supports a specific account of the ordinary knowledge concept in contemporary anglophone American culture. According to this account, known as abilism, knowledge is a true representation produced by cognitive ability. I present evidence that abilism closely approximates Nyāya epistemology’s theory of knowledge, especially that found in the Nyāya-sūtra. Second, Americans are more willing to attribute knowledge of positive facts than of negative facts, especially when such facts are inferred and even when the positive and negative “facts” are logically equivalent. Similar suspicions about knowledge of negative facts seemingly occur in classical Indian epistemology, suggesting that the asymmetry might not be an American quirk but instead reflect a cross-culturally robust tendency in knowledge attributions. Each of these themes—abilism and the positive/negative asymmetry—presents an exciting opportunity for further research in experimental cross-cultural epistemology.
Keywords folk epistemology  cross-cultural  perception  inference  abilism  inside/outside  epistemology
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DOI 10.1007/s40961-017-0117-7
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