Easy Knowledge, Closure Failure, or Skepticism: A Trilemma

Metaphilosophy 47 (2):214-232 (2016)
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This article aims to provide a structural analysis of the problems related to the easy knowledge problem. The easy knowledge problem is well known. If we accept that we can have basic knowledge via a source without having any prior knowledge about the reliability or accuracy of this source, then we can acquire knowledge about the reliability or accuracy of this source too easily via information delivered by the source. Rejecting any kind of basic knowledge, however, leads into an infinite regress and, plausibly, to skepticism. The article argues that the third alternative, accepting basic knowledge but rejecting easy knowledge, entails closure failure. This is obviously the case for deductive bootstrapping, but, notably, the problem also arises for inductive bootstrapping. Hence, the set of problems related to the easy knowledge problem has the structure of a trilemma. We are forced to accept easy knowledge, closure failure, or skepticism.
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