Stable acceptance for mighty knowledge

Philosophical Studies 181 (6):1627-1653 (2024)
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Drawing on the puzzling behavior of ordinary knowledge ascriptions that embed an epistemic (im)possibility claim, we tentatively conclude that it is untenable to jointly endorse (i) an unfettered classical logic for epistemic language, (ii) the general veridicality of knowledge ascription, and (iii) an intuitive ‘negative transparency’ thesis that reduces knowledge of a simple negated ‘might’ claim to an epistemic claim without modal content. We motivate a strategic trade-off: preserve veridicality and (generalized) negative transparency, while abandoning the general validity of contraposition. We criticize various approaches to incorporating veridicality into domain semantics, a paradigmatic ‘information-sensitive’ framework for capturing negative transparency and, more generally, the non-classical behavior of sentences with epistemic modals. We then present a novel information-sensitive semantics that successfully executes our favored strategy: stable acceptance semantics, extending a vanilla bilateral state-based semantics for epistemic modals with a knowledge operator loosely inspired by the defeasibility theory of knowledge.

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Peter Hawke
Lingnan University

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Epistemic Modals.Seth Yalcin - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):983-1026.
How to defeat opposition to Moore.Ernest Sosa - 1999 - Philosophical Perspectives 13:137-49.
Contemporary Theories of Knowledge.John Pollock - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (1):131-140.
Defaults in update semantics.Frank Veltman - 1996 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 25 (3):221 - 261.

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