Safety purports to explain why cases of accidentally true belief are not knowledge, addressing Gettier cases and cases of belief based on statistical evidence. However, numerous examples suggest that safety fails as a condition on knowledge: a belief can be safe even when one's evidence is clearly insufficient for knowledge and knowledge is compatible with the nearby possibility of error, a situation ruled out by the safety condition. In this paper, I argue for a new modal condition designed to capture the non-accidental relationship between facts and evidence required for knowledge: causal safety. I argue that possible errors in belief can be captured by accounting for deviations in causal relationships and that there is a natural way to characterize which causal errors are relevant in an epistemic situation. Using this, I develop a causal analogue to safety, where one's belief in p is causally safe iff it is true in all causally relevant worlds where one believes p. Causal safety, I argue, can explain the cases safety is meant to address while avoiding the issues raised for safety.
Keywords Causal Models  Knowledge  Relevant Alternatives  Contextualism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2003 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Elusive Knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.

View all 73 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Relevant Alternatives and the Content of Knowledge Attributions.Keith Derose - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (1):193 - 197.
Knowledge and Relevant Alternatives.Palle Yourgrau - 1983 - Synthese 55 (2):175 - 190.
Justification in Context.Matjaž Potrč & Vojko Strahovnik - 2005 - Acta Analytica 20 (9):91-104.
The Reasonable and the Relevant: Legal Standards of Proof.Georgi Gardiner - 2019 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (3):288-318.
The Relevant Alternatives Theory and Missed Clues.T. Black - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):96 – 106.


Added to PP index

Total views
161 ( #71,574 of 2,498,211 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #32,340 of 2,498,211 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes