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Evidence and the openness of knowledge
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy. The Open University of Israel, Israel.
Number of Authors: 2
2017 (English)In: Philosophical Studies, ISSN 0031-8116, E-ISSN 1573-0883, Vol. 174, no 4, 1001-1037 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The paper argues that knowledge is not closed under logical inference. The argument proceeds from the openness of evidential support and the dependence of empirical knowledge on evidence, to the conclusion that knowledge is open. Without attempting to provide a full-fledged theory of evidence, we show that on the modest assumption that evidence cannot support both a proposition and its negation, or, alternatively, that information that reduces the probability of a proposition cannot constitute evidence for its truth, the relation of evidential support is not closed under known entailment. Therefore the evidence-for relation is deductively open regardless of whether evidence is probabilistic or not. Given even a weak dependence of empirical knowledge on evidence, we argue that empirical knowledge is also open. On this basis, we also respond to the strongest argument in support of knowledge closure (Hawthorne 2004a). Finally, we present a number of significant benefits of our position, namely, offering a unified explanation for a range of epistemological puzzles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 174, no 4, 1001-1037 p.
Keyword [en]
Knowledge, Closure, Open knowledge, Evidence
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-142615DOI: 10.1007/s11098-016-0723-2ISI: 000396059100013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-142615DiVA: diva2:1097188
Available from: 2017-05-22 Created: 2017-05-22 Last updated: 2017-05-22Bibliographically approved

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