Against the iterated knowledge account of high-stakes cases

Episteme 16 (1):92-107 (2019)
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One challenge for moderate invariantists is to explain why we tend to deny knowledge to subjects in high stakes when the target propositions seem to be inappropriate premises for practical reasoning. According to an account suggested by Williamson, our intuitive judgments are erroneous due to an alleged failure to acknowledge the distinction between first-order and higher-order knowledge: the high-stakes subject lacks the latter but possesses the former. In this paper, I provide three objections to Williamson’s account: i) his account delivers counterintuitive verdicts about what it is appropriate for a high-stakes subject to do; ii) the high-stakes subject doesn’t need iterated knowledge in order to be regarded as appropriately relying on the relevant proposition in practical reasoning; iii) Williamson’s account doesn’t provide a good explanation of why the high-stakes subject would be blameworthy if she were relying on the relevant proposition in her practical reasoning.
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