Against swamping

Analysis 72 (4):690-699 (2012)
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The Swamping Argument – highlighted by Kvanvig (2003; 2010) – purports to show that the epistemic value of truth will always swamp the epistemic value of any non-factive epistemic properties (e.g. justification) so that these properties can never add any epistemic value to an already-true belief. Consequently (and counter-intuitively), knowledge is never more epistemically valuable than mere true belief. We show that the Swamping Argument fails. Parity of reasoning yields the disastrous conclusion that nonfactive epistemic properties – mostly saliently justification – are never epistemically valuable properties of a belief. We close by diagnosing why philosophers have been mistakenly attracted to the argument.

Author Profiles

Benjamin Jarvis
Brown University
J. Adam Carter
University of Glasgow


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