There Is No Knowledge From Falsehood

Episteme 12 (1):53-74 (2015)
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A growing number of authors defend putative examples of knowledge from falsehood (KFF), inferential knowledge based in a critical or essential way on false premises, and they argue that KFF has important implications for many areas of epistemology (whether evidence can be false, the Gettier debate, defeasibility theories of knowledge, etc.). I argue, however, that there is no KFF, because in any supposed example either the falsehood does not contribute to the knowledge or the subject lacks knowledge. In particular, I show that if the subject actually has knowledge in putative KFF cases, then there is always a veridical evidential path meeting the basing conditions that accounts for her knowledge; if there is no such path, then the subject is in a type of Gettier case. All the recent arguments that rely on KFF are therefore based on a mistake.

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Ian Schnee
University of Washington


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