Knowledge as Fact-Tracking True Belief

Manuscrito 40 (4):1-30 (2017)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Drawing inspiration from Fred Dretske, L. S. Carrier, John A. Barker, and Robert Nozick, we develop a tracking analysis of knowing according to which a true belief constitutes knowledge if and only if it is based on reasons that are sensitive to the fact that makes it true, that is, reasons that wouldn’t obtain if the belief weren’t true. We show that our sensitivity analysis handles numerous Gettier-type cases and lottery problems, blocks pathways leading to skepticism, and validates the epistemic closure thesis that correct inferences from known premises yield knowledge of the conclusions. We discuss the plausible views of Ted Warfield and Branden Fitelson regarding cases of knowledge acquired via inference from false premises, and we show how our sensitivity analysis can account for such cases. We present arguments designed to discredit putative counterexamples to sensitivity analyses recently proffered by Tristan Haze, John Williams and Neil Sinhababu, which involve true statements made by untrustworthy informants and strange clocks that sometimes display the correct time while running backwards. Finally, we show that in virtue of employing the paradox-free subjunctive conditionals codified by Relevance Logic theorists instead of the paradox-laden subjunctive conditionals codified by Robert Stalnaker and David Lewis.

Author Profiles

Fred Adams
University of Delaware
Murray Clarke
Concordia University

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