Safety, Evidence, and Epistemic Luck

Acta Analytica 37 (1):121-134 (2022)
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Abstract

This paper critically explores Timothy Williamson’s view of evidence, and it does so in light of the problem of epistemic luck. Williamson’s view of evidence is, of course, a crucially important aspect of his novel and influential “knowledge-first” epistemological project. Notoriously, one crucial thesis of this project is that one’s evidence is equivalent to what one knows. This has come to be known as the E = K thesis. This paper specifically addresses Williamson’s knowledge-first epistemology and the E = K thesis in the context of anti-luck epistemology and the idea that knowledge is factive. Williamson’s views on these matters are worth investigating in some detail because he subscribes to a well-worked out anti-luck view of knowledge that incorporates what is perhaps the most common anti-luck condition. But this paper is also of more general importance because the critique of Williamson’s views on these matters reveals some important things about the nature of evidence and evidence is one of the most fundamental concepts in epistemology.

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Michael Shaffer
Gustavus Adolphus College

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