, Volume 153, Issue 1, pp 43-59

Replies to Ram Neta, James Van Cleve, and Crispin Wright for a book symposium on reflective knowledge (OUP, 2009)

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I am very grateful for these excellent comments. Here now are my responses.

Ram Neta poses three main problems. I take them up in order

1. First, he notes that a belief might get it right only because it manifests a competence that telekinetically ensures its correctness. Since no such belief would constitute knowledge, he argues, this refutes the account of knowledge as belief that is apt, i.e., accurate in a way that manifests the believer’s competence. (No such belief qualifies as any sort of knowledge, not even on the animal level.)

The idea is not just that the believer’s competence in forming his predictions is coupled with a telekinetic mechanism that ensures their correctness. Rather, we are to suppose that his belief-forming competence is implemented in a mechanism that happens to be telekinetic. The mechanism thus ensures the correctness of the subject’s predictions, and does so through the exercise of his belief-forming competence.

That is analogized with an archer who aims well