Varieties of easy knowledge inference: A resolution [Book Review]

Acta Analytica 22 (3):223-237 (2007)
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Abstract

It has recently been argued that any epistemological theory that allows for what is called basic knowledge, viz., knowledge that an agent acquires from a certain source, even if he fails to know that the source is reliable, falls victim to what is known as the problem of easy knowledge. The idea is that for such theories bootstrapping and closure allow us far too easily to acquire knowledge (justification) that seems unlikely under the envisaged circumstances. In this paper, I begin by highlighting the distinction between the (epistemic) legitimacy and dialectical effectiveness of such inferences. After evaluating some of the well-known solutions to this problem, I offer a mixed view of the legitimacy of easy knowledge inferences while trying to provide novel explanations as to how contrary intuitions arise.

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Hamid Vahid
Institute for Fundamental Sciences

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