The standard view in epistemology is that propositional knowledge entails belief. Positive arguments are seldom given for this entailment thesis, however; instead, its truth is typically assumed. Against the entailment thesis, Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel (Noûs, forthcoming) report that a non-trivial percentage of people think that there can be propositional knowledge without belief. In this paper, we add further fuel to the fire, presenting the results of four new studies. Based on our results, we argue that the entailment thesis does not deserve the default status that it is typically granted. We conclude by considering the alternative account of knowledge that Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel propose to explain their results, arguing that it does not explain ours. In its place we offer a different explanation of both sets of findings—the conviction account, according to which belief, but not knowledge, requires mental assent.
KeywordsKnowledge Belief Mental assent Entailment thesis Conviction account Capacity-tendency account
We would like to thank Blake Myers-Schulz, Eric Schwitzgebel, Jacob Beck, Hayden Thornburg, and an anonymous referee for Philosophical Studies for their comments on previous versions of this article. We would also like to thank our audiences at the meetings of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, 2012, and the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association, 2012, where we presented previous versions of this paper.
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