Skeptical pragmatic invariantism: good, but not good enough

Synthese 193 (8):2577-2593 (2016)
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In this paper, I will discuss what I will call “skeptical pragmatic invariantism” as a potential response to the intuitions we have about scenarios such as the so-called bank cases. SPI, very roughly, is a form of epistemic invariantism that says the following: The subject in the bank cases doesn’t know that the bank will be open. The knowledge ascription in the low standards case seems appropriate nevertheless because it has a true implicature. The goal of this paper is to show that SPI is mistaken. In particular, I will show that SPI is incompatible with reasonable assumptions about how we are aware of the presence of implicatures. Such objections are not new, but extant formulations are wanting for reasons I will point out below. One may worry that refuting SPI is not a worthwhile project given that this view is an implausible minority position anyway. To respond, I will argue that, contrary to common opinion, other familiar objections to SPI fail and, thus, that SPI is a promising position to begin with.

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Alexander Dinges
Humboldt University, Berlin


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