Everything is Knowable – How to Get to Know Whether a Proposition is True

Theoria 78 (2):93-114 (2011)
Fitch showed that not every true proposition can be known in due time; in other words, that not every proposition is knowable. Moore showed that certain propositions cannot be consistently believed. A more recent dynamic phrasing of Moore-sentences is that not all propositions are known after their announcement, i.e., not every proposition is successful. Fitch's and Moore's results are related, as they equally apply to standard notions of knowledge and belief (S 5 and KD45, respectively). If we interpret ‘successful’ as ‘known after its announcement’ and ‘knowable’ as ‘known after some announcement’, successful implies knowable. Knowable does not imply successful: there is a proposition ϕ that is not known after its announcement but there is another announcement after which ϕ is known. We show that all propositions are knowable in the more general sense that for each proposition, it can become known or its negation can become known. We can get to know whether it is true: ◊(Kϕ ∨ K¬ϕ). This result comes at a price. We cannot get to know whether the proposition was true. This restricts the philosophical relevance of interpreting ‘knowable’ as ‘known after an announcement’
Keywords public announcements  Fitch's paradox  knowability  modal logic  dynamic epistemics
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DOI 10.1111/j.1755-2567.2011.01119.x
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Jaakko Hintikka (1962). Knowledge and Belief. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

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