Bringing about and conjunction: A reply to Bigelow on omnificence

Analysis 69 (3):452-458 (2009)
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Church and Fitch have argued that from the verificationationist thesis “for every proposition, if this proposition is true, then it is possible to know it” we can derive that for every truth there is someone who knows that truth. Moreover, Humberstone has shown that from the latter proposition we can derive that someone knows every truth, hence that there is an omniscient being. In his article “Omnificence”, John Bigelow adapted these arguments in order to argue that from the assumption "every contingent proposition is such that if it is true something brought it about that it is true" we can derive that there is an omnificent being: a being that brings it about that every true contingent proposition is true. In my reply to his article, I show that Bigelow’s argument is flawed because there is some formal property that the knowledge operator has but that the bringing about operator lacks. This is the property of distributing over conjunctions. I explain why what brings it about that some conjunctive proposition is true need not bring it about that its conjuncts are true.

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Ghislain Guigon
University of Geneva (PhD)

Citations of this work

A Universe of Explanations.Ghislain Guigon - 2008 - In Dean W. Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 345-375.
Collecting truths: A paradox in two guises.Eric Updike - 2022 - Analytic Philosophy 63 (3):156-173.
Humberstone’s Paradox and Conjunction.Eric T. Updike - 2024 - Erkenntnis 89 (3):1183-1195.

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References found in this work

Four Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
Theories of Location.Josh Parsons - 2008 - In Dean W. Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 201-232.
The formalities of collective omniscience.I. L. Humberstone - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 48 (3):401 - 423.

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