Knowledge and Conditionals of (Dis)connection

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 15 (3):267-294 (2015)

Abstract

The gist of modal epistemology is expressed in the idea that you fail to know if you do believe truly but it is seriously possible for you to believe falsely. According to subjunctivism, this idea is captured by certain subjunctive conditionals. One formulation invokes a safety condition—“If S had believed P, then P would have been the case,” while the other invokes a sensitivity condition—“If P had been false, S would not have believed that P.” According to simple subjunctivism, such conditionals do not contrapose and Sosa derives important epistemological consequences which favor safety from this difference. However, simple subjunctivism is inadequate. I return to Goodman and his analysis of factuals and propose modal stability, which is restricted sensitivity or enhanced safety as a proper epistemic condition for the non-accidental connection between the basis for the belief and the relevant facts of the matter. The idea of modal stability combines robustness (benefi ts of safety) with responsiveness to facts (benefi ts of sensitivity) and recovers the original motivation for the relevant alternatives theory—when testing for claims of knowledge that p we ask what might be the case if not-p, but we ignore irrelevant possibilities. Epistemic modal conditions should be expressed in terms of conditionals of connection which contrapose within the limits of relevance.

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Danilo Suster
University of Maribor

References found in this work

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Epistemology and Cognition.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge.Alvin Goldman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.

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Citations of this work

A Note on Knowing and Checking.Danilo Šuster - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-15.

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