Assertion and Practical Reasoning, Fallibilism and Pragmatic Skepticism

Acta Analytica 35 (4):543-561 (2020)
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Skeptical invariantism does not account for the intuitive connections between knowledge, assertion, and practical reasoning and this constitutes a significant problem for the position because it does not save corresponding epistemic appearances (cf. Hawthorne (2004:131-5)). Moreover, it is an attraction of fallibilist over infallibilist-skeptical views that they can easily account for the epistemic appearances about the connections between knowledge, assertion, and practical reasoning (cf. Williamson (2000:249-255)). Call this argument ‘the argument from the knowledge norm’. I motivate and develop a Humean, pragmatist strategy for a skeptical response to ‘the argument from the knowledge norm’. Afterwards I outline a ‘toy’ version of pragmatic skepticism that can implement the strategy and save our everyday practice of assertion and practical reasoning. To this effect, I distinguish between assertibility conditions and truth conditions for ‘know’ and suggest that while assertibility conditions are pragmatic conditions sensitive to practical exigencies, truth conditions are semantic conditions sensitive only to truth. I briefly respond to three objections and conclude that pragmatic skepticism is resourceful enough to save our everyday practice of (fallibilist) assertion and practical reasoning and, hence, pay some due respect to corresponding epistemic appearances.



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Christos Kyriacou
University of Cyprus

Citations of this work

How Not to Be a Fallibilist.Christos Kyriacou - 2023 - The Monist 106 (4):423-440.
Varieties of skeptical invariantism II.Christos Kyriacou - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):e12758.
Skepticism, Mental Disorder and Rationality.Christos Kyriacou - 2023 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 13 (1):1-30.
Varieties of skeptical invariantism II.Christos Kyriacou - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):e12758.

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Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Being Realistic About Reasons.Thomas Scanlon - 2014 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Individualism and the mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

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