Warrant Does Entail Truth

Synthese 184 (3):287-297 (2012)
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Abstract

Let ‘warrant’ denote whatever precisely it is that makes the difference between knowledge and mere true belief. A current debate in epistemology asks whether warrant entails truth, i.e., whether (Infallibilism) S’s belief that p is warranted only if p is true. The arguments for infallibilism have come under considerable and, as of yet, unanswered objections. In this paper, I will defend infallibilism. In Part I, I advance a new argument for infallibilism; the basic outline is as follows. Suppose fallibilism is true. An implication of fallibilism is that the property that makes the difference between knowledge and mere belief (which I dub ‘warrant*’) is the conjunctive property being warranted and true . I show that this implication of fallibilism conflicts with an uncontroversial thesis we have learned from reflection on Gettier cases: that nonaccidental truth is a constituent of warrant*. It follows that infallibilism is true. In the second part of the paper, I present and criticize a new argument against infallibilism. The argument states that there are plausible cases where, intuitively, the only thing that is keeping a belief from counting as knowledge is the falsity of that belief. Furthermore, it is plausible that such a belief is warranted and false. So, the argument goes, infallibilism is false. I show that this argument fails.

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Andrew Moon
Virginia Commonwealth University

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