A closer look at closure scepticism

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The most prominent arguments for scepticism in modern epistemology employ closure principles of some kind. To begin my discussion of such arguments, consider Simple Knowledge Closure (SKC): (SKC) (Kxt[p] ∧ (p → q)) → Kxt[q].1 Assuming its truth for the time being, the sceptic can use (SKC) to reason from the two assumptions that, firstly, we don’t know ¬sh and that, secondly, op entails ¬sh to the conclusion that we don’t know op, where ‘op’ and ‘sh’ are shorthand for ‘ordinary proposition’ and ‘sceptical hypothesis’ respectively. (SKC), however, fails for familiar reasons: since knowledge entails belief (KB), we can derive the falsity (F) from (SKC) by hypothetical syllogism, and thus reduce (SKC) to absurdity: (KB) Kxt[p] → Bxt[p]. (F) (Kxt[p] ∧ (p → q)) → Bxt[q].
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Knowledge and its Limits.Williamson, Timothy
Epistemic Operators.Dretske, Fred I.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Williamson, Timothy

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