Cross-Cultural Universality of Knowledge Attributions

Authors
Yuan Yuan
University of Warwick
Abstract
We selected three effects of knowledge attribution recently reported about English speakers, i.e., (1) ceteris paribus people are less willing to ascribe knowledge for true beliefs based on probabilistic evidence than for true beliefs based on perceptual evidence; (2) ceteris paribus people are less willing to ascribe knowledge for true beliefs based on apparent evidence than for true beliefs based on authentic evidence even in Gettierized scenarios; and (3) ceteris paribus people are more willing to attribute knowledge to a protagonist when she engages in harmful activities than when she engages in beneficent activities even in Gettierized scenarios. And we translated the materials used in these existing studies into Chinese and Korean and then ran the studies with participants in China and South Korea. Strikingly, all three of the effects that had been found with Western participants also emerged with participants from these other cultures. Drawing on these results, we argue that it is time for a pivot in our more meta-philosophical discussions, namely, we should start systematically theorizing about the rather extraordinary cross-cultural similarities (instead of unfounded divergences) in people's epistemic intuitions.
Keywords epistemic intuitions  cross-cultural universality  experimental philosophy
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