The peculiar case of Lehrer’s lawyer

Synthese 195 (4):1615-1630 (2018)
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Abstract

The peculiar case of Lehrer’s lawyer purports to describe a scenario in which a subject has a justified belief, indeed knowledge, despite the fact that their belief is not causally or counterfactually sustained by any good reasons for it. The case has proven controversial. While some agree with Lehrer’s assessment of the case, others disagree, leading to a schism among accounts of the basing relation. In this paper I aim to reconcile these camps and put simple causal and counterfactual accounts of the basing relation back on the table, by arguing that Lehrer’s case is probably metaphysically impossible, but even if it isn’t, it is ambiguous between a psychologically implausible and a psychologically plausible reading, and this can account for the diverging intuitions that it generates.

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Kevin Wallbridge
University of Southampton

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