Epistemic comparative conditionals

Synthese 162 (1):133 - 156 (2008)
The interest of epistemic comparative conditionals comes from the fact that they represent genuine ‘comparative epistemic relations’ between propositions, situations, evidences, abilities, interests, etc. This paper argues that various types of epistemic comparative conditionals uniformly represent comparative epistemic relations via the comparison of epistemic positions rather than the comparison of epistemic standards. This consequence is considered as a general constraint on a theory of knowledge attribution, and then further used to argue against the contextualist thesis that, in some cases, considering a new counter- possibility can raise the epistemic standard of knowledge attribution. Instead, the paper shows that considering a new counter-possibility can only lower the epistemic position of a putative knower. Moreover, since the comparison, by the nature of conditionals, is free from any commitment to the truth-values of specific knowledge attributions, my conclusion is free from the debate between contextualism and invariantism on whether the truth-value of a knowledge attribution can actually vary with context.
Keywords Epistemic comparative conditionals  Comparative epistemic relations  Epistemic standards  Epistemic positions  Knowledge attributions  Contextualism  Invariantism
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-007-9174-9
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References found in this work BETA
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
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