Towards an Account of Epistemic Luck for Necessary Truths

Acta Analytica 33 (4):483-504 (2018)
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Abstract

Modal epistemologists parse modal conditions on knowledge in terms of metaphysical possibilities or ways the world might have been. This is problematic. Understanding modal conditions on knowledge this way has made modal epistemology, as currently worked out, unable to account for epistemic luck in the case of necessary truths, and unable to characterise widely discussed issues such as the problem of religious diversity and the perceived epistemological problem with knowledge of abstract objects. Moreover, there is reason to think that this is a congenital defect of orthodox modal epistemology. This way of characterising modal epistemology is however optional. It is shown that one can non-circularly characterise modal conditions on knowledge in terms of epistemic possibilities, or ways the world might be for the target agent. Characterising the anti-luck condition in terms of epistemic possibilities removes the impediment to understanding epistemic luck in the case of necessary truths and opens the door to using these conditions to shed new light on some longstanding epistemological problems.

Author's Profile

James Collin
University of Glasgow

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