The Jowett Society (Friday - Week 4, TT22)

Philosophical Society

After a period when the validity and importance of the distinction between the closure of knowledge and other notions of epistemic warrant across (known) entailment and their transmissibility was generally accepted, there has recently been something of a push-back (mostly on the part of “Knowledge-First” externalists) arguing that closure principles should be formulated dynamically and that when they are, the distinction fades. I’ll argue that this is not a good development, that the original distinction should be upheld, and that dynamic closure principles for knowledge in particular are inconsistent with a plausible rationality constraint on knowledge-acquisition. A simplified template for transmission-failure is explained and four celebrated controversial cases (Moore’s “Proof of an External World”, McKinsey’s “proof” of the incompatibility of content externalism with privileged self-knowledge, Putnam’s “proof” that we are not brains-in-in-a-vat, and Dretske’s totemic “Zebras”), are reviewed in its light. If there is time, I’ll conclude with some scrutiny of Duncan Pritchard’s recent attempts to protect (dynamic) closure for knowledge.

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Meeting ID: 860 2780 8324 | Passcode: 3uBMJF

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Jowett Society Organising Committee: Stephanie (Xiaoyi Lu)  | Jowett Society Website