Saturday, May 1, 2010


I received word this morning from Philosophy and Phenomenological Research that they've accepted my piece on fallibilism and concessive knowledge attributions. Title? Fallibilism and Concessive Knowledge Attributions.

The gist of it:
* Stanley's objection to Rysiew's pragmatic account stands. You can't deal with Stanley's objection in the way that Dougherty and Rysiew try by revising the standard treatment of epistemic modals. They say that epistemic possibilities depend upon a subject's evidence rather than a subject's body of knowledge. This doesn't help. Not if you want to accomodate Lewis' observation that you can raise a skeptical hypothesis and elicit a proper concession from someone that she might be mistaken in believing some mundane claim about the external world.
* To show that CKAs aren't really a threat to non-skeptical fallibilist views, you just have to show that there's more to epistemic necessity than just knowledge. I say that that's personal and impersonal certainty. (Here I draw on Stanley's work. He argues that knowledge doesn't require certainty and I use similar arguments to show that epistemic necessity does and an independent line of argument to show that there's more to epistemic necessity than just knowledge.)
* Bonus: Someone could be a contextualist about epistemic modals if the account sketched in the paper is correct because someone could be a contextualist about 'certain' (as Stanley suggests). If there's more to epistemic necessity than just knowledge, you can give the contextualists about 'knows' the epistemic modals but deny that we need contextualism about 'knows' to accommodate intuitions about proper concession.

The paper owes a lot to Stanley's work. Basically, I insert myself into a debate between Stanley and Rysiew to argue that an objection Stanley raised in his Analysis piece wasn't successfully dealt with. I had written an early version of this paper many, many years ago that I wanted to call ''Might' made right'. That can't happen now, the title has been taken. In the original paper, I wanted to try to block an argument from intuitions about proper concession to contextualism by arguing that mere knowledge won't give you epistemic necessity. I didn't really have a venue that I thought would be interested, but luckily there was another round of debate and I could jump in.


Chris Tucker said...


Neil Sinhababu said...

Congratulations, Clayton! If I get this right, you're now forthcoming in half of the top 6 journals.