Epistemic comparative conditionals

Synthese 162 (1):133 - 156 (2008)
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The interest of epistemic comparative conditionals comes from the fact that they represent genuine ‘comparative epistemic relations’ between propositions, situations, evidences, abilities, interests, etc. This paper argues that various types of epistemic comparative conditionals uniformly represent comparative epistemic relations via the comparison of epistemic positions rather than the comparison of epistemic standards. This consequence is considered as a general constraint on a theory of knowledge attribution, and then further used to argue against the contextualist thesis that, in some cases, considering a new counter- possibility can raise the epistemic standard of knowledge attribution. Instead, the paper shows that considering a new counter-possibility can only lower the epistemic position of a putative knower. Moreover, since the comparison, by the nature of conditionals, is free from any commitment to the truth-values of specific knowledge attributions, my conclusion is free from the debate between contextualism and invariantism on whether the truth-value of a knowledge attribution can actually vary with context.



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Linton Wang
National Chung Cheng University

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References found in this work

Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Elusive knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.

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