Indicative conditionals without iterative epistemology

Noûs 55 (3):560-580 (2019)
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This paper argues that two widely accepted principles about the indicative conditional jointly presuppose the falsity of one of the most prominent arguments against epistemological iteration principles. The first principle about the indicative conditional, which has close ties both to the Ramsey test and the “or‐to‐if” inference, says that knowing a material conditional suffices for knowing the corresponding indicative. The second principle says that conditional contradictions cannot be true when their antecedents are epistemically possible. Taken together, these principles entail that it is impossible to be in a certain kind of epistemic state: namely, a state of ignorance about which of two partially overlapping bodies of knowledge corresponds to one's actual one. However, some of the more popular “margin for error” style arguments against epistemological iteration principles suggest that such states are not only possible, but commonplace. I argue that the tension between these views runs deep, arising just as much for non‐factive attitudes like belief, presupposition, and certainty. I also argue that this is worse news for those who accept the principles about the indicative conditional than it is for those who reject epistemological iteration principles.

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Ben Holguín
Johns Hopkins University


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