First-Class and Coach-Class Knowledge

Episteme 20 (3):736-756 (2023)
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Abstract

I will discuss a variety of cases such that the subject's believing truly is somewhat of an accident, but less so than in a Gettier case. In each case, this is because her reasons are not ultimately undefeated full stop, but they are ultimately undefeated with certain qualifications. For example, the subject's reasons might be ultimately defeated considered in themselves but ultimately undefeated considered as a proper part of an inference to the best explanation that is undefeated without qualification. In each section of the paper, I consider different qualifications and show how in each case we get an epistemic standing I call “coach-class knowledge”. First-class knowledge requires justifying reasons that are undefeated without qualification. Coach-class knowledge only requires qualified lack of defeat. I will use this distinction to bring debates over knowledge from falsehood and fake barns to an ecumenical resolution. In both cases, the subject enjoys coach-class rather than first-class knowledge. I will also show that the defeasible reasoning tradition can better account for graded accidental truth than safety theories.

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Author's Profile

Spencer Paulson
Northwestern University

Citations of this work

Luck and Reasons.Spencer Paulson - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
Reflective Naturalism.Spencer Paulson - 2023 - Synthese 203 (13):1-21.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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