Who's afraid of common knowledge?

Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)
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Some arguments against the assumption that ordinary people may share common knowledge are sound. The apparent cost of such arguments is the rejection of scientific theories that appeal to common knowledge. My proposal is to accept the arguments without rejecting the theories. On my proposal, common knowledge is shared by ideally rational people, who are not just mathematically simple versions of ordinary people. They are qualitatively different from us, and theorizing about them does not lead to predictions about our behavior. Nevertheless, models of action that assume common knowledge have a role to play in our understanding of collective rationality.

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Giorgio Sbardolini
University of Amsterdam


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