Ted Poston
University of Alabama
Timothy Williamson’s anti luminosity argument has received considerable attention. Escaping unnoticed, though, is a strikingly similar argument from David Hume. This paper highlights some of the arresting parallels between Williamson’s reasoning and Hume’s that will allow us to appreciate more deeply the plausibility of Williamson’s reasoning and to understand how, following Hume, we can extend this reasoning to undermine the “luminosity” of simple necessary truths. More broadly the parallels help us to identify a common skeptical predicament underlying both arguments, which we shall call “the quarantine problem”. The quarantine problem expresses a deep skepticism about achieving any exalted epistemic state. Further, the perspective gained by the quarantine problem allows us to easily categorize existing responses to Williamson’s anti luminosity argument and to observe the deficiencies of those responses. In sum, the quarantine problem reveals the deeply fallibilistic nature of whatever knowledge we may possess.
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References found in this work BETA

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Hume's Reason.David Owen - 1999 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Luminosity and the Safety of Knowledge.Ram Neta & Guy Rohrbaugh - 2004 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (4):396–406.

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Citations of this work BETA

Basic Reasons and First Philosophy: A Coherentist View of Reasons.Ted Poston - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):75-93.

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