Safety, Explanation, Iteration

Philosophical Issues 26 (1):187-208 (2016)
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Abstract
This paper argues for several related theses. First, the epistemological position that knowledge requires safe belief can be motivated by views in the philosophy of science, according to which good explanations show that their explananda are robust. This motivation goes via the idea—recently defended on both conceptual and empirical grounds—that knowledge attributions play a crucial role in explaining successful action. Second, motivating the safety requirement in this way creates a choice point—depending on how we understand robustness, we'll end up with different conceptions of safety in epistemology. Lastly, and most controversially, there's an attractive choice at this point that will not vindicate some of the most influential applications of the safety-theoretic framework in epistemology, e.g., Williamson's arguments against the KK principle, and luminosity.
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Archival date: 2016-09-19
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