Knowledge and deductive closure

Synthese 86 (3):409 - 423 (1991)
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Abstract

The question whether epistemological concepts are closed under deduction is an important one since many skeptical arguments depend on closure. Such skepticism can be avoided if closure is not true of knowledge (or justification). This response to skepticism is rejected by Peter Klein and others. Klein argues that closure is true, and that far from providing the skeptic with a powerful weapon for undermining our knowledge, it provides a tool for attacking the skeptic directly. This paper examines various arguments in favor of closure and Klein's attempted use of closure to refute skepticism. Such a refutation of skepticism is mistaken. But the closure principle is in any case false, so the skepticism that depends on it is undermined. The appeal of the closure principle derives from a failure to recognize an important feature of our epistemological concepts, namely, their context relativity.

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Jim White
Cornell College

Citations of this work

An Argument for External World Skepticism From the Appearance/Reality Distinction.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (4):368-383.
Epistemic Contextualism.Antonia Barke - 2004 - Erkenntnis 61 (2-3):353-373.
Contradictory Belief and Epistemic Closure Principles.Bryan Frances - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (2):203–226.
A Defence of the Principle of Information Closure Against the Sceptical Objection.Luciano Floridi - 2013 - In Hanne Andersen, Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao González, Thomas Uebel & Gregory Wheeler (eds.), New Challenges to Philosophy of Science. Springer Verlag. pp. 35--47.

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References found in this work

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and the Flow of Information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.
Epistemic Operators.Fred Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
Philosophical Explanations. [REVIEW]Robert Nozick - 1981 - Philosophy 58 (223):118-121.
Epistemic Operators.Fred Dretske - 1970 - In Keith DeRose & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader. Oup Usa.

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