Knowledge, reasoning, and deliberation

Ratio 33 (1):14-26 (2020)
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Epistemologists have become increasingly interested in the practical role of knowledge. One prominent principle, which I call PREMISE, states that if you know that p, then you are justified in using p as a premise in your reasoning. In response, a number of critics have proposed a variety of counter-examples. In order to evaluate these problem cases, we need to consider the broader context in which this principle is situated by specifying in greater detail the types of activity that the principle governs. I argue that if PREMISE is interpreted as governing deductive reasoning, then the examples lose their force. In addition, I consider the cases, discussed by Keith DeRose, where the subject is in more than one practical context at the same time. In order to account for these latter cases, we need to further specify the scope of PREMISE. I distinguish two ways of understanding PREMISE, as a knowledge-action principle and as a knowledge-deliberation principle. I conclude by arguing for the knowledge-deliberation version of the principle and by exploring what this principle says about the practical role of knowledge.

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Brian Kim
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


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