Armchair Access and Imagination

Dialectica 72 (4):525-547 (2018)
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Abstract
In this paper, I focus on the Armchair Access Problem for E=K as presented by Nicholas Silins (2005), and I argue, contra Silins, that it does not represent a real threat to E=K. More precisely, I put forward two lines of response, both of which put pressure on the main assumption of the argument, namely, the Armchair Access thesis. The first line of response focuses on its scope, while the second line of response focuses on its nature. The second line of response is the most interesting one, for it represents the framework within which I develop a novel account of second-order knowledge, one that involves evaluation of counterfactual conditionals and the employment of our imaginative capacities, i.e., an imagination-based account of second-order knowledge. The two lines of response are shown to be jointly compatible and mutually supportive. I then conclude that the Armchair Access Problem is not a challenge for E=K, yet it relies on the ambiguity of the notion of armchair knowledge underpinning the Armchair Access thesis.
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Knowledge and Its Limits.Williamson, Timothy

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