Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 11, pp 2841–2857 | Cite as

Anti-intellectualism, egocentrism and bank case intuitions

  • Alexander DingesEmail author


Salience-sensitivity is a form of anti-intellectualism that says the following: whether a true belief amounts to knowledge depends on which error-possibilities are salient to the believer. I will investigate whether salience-sensitivity can be motivated by appeal to bank case intuitions. I will suggest that so-called third-person bank cases threaten to sever the connection between bank case intuitions and salience-sensitivity. I will go on to argue that salience-sensitivists can overcome this worry if they appeal to egocentric bias, a general tendency to project our own mental states onto others. I will then suggest that a similar strategy is unavailable to stakes-sensitivists, who hold that whether a true belief amounts to knowledge depends on what is at stake for the believer. Bank case intuitions motivate salience- but not stakes-sensitivity.


Anti-intellectualism Bank cases Egocentric bias Epistemic contextualism 



I am grateful to Jie Gao, Dirk Kindermann, Jennifer Nagel, Jonathan Schaffer, the reading group Sprachphilosophie Berlin (most notably Emanuel Viebahn and Julia Zakkou), the members of the Forschungskolloquium in Hamburg, audiences in St Andrews and Cambridge and an anonymous referee for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


  1. Alexander, J., Gonnerman, C., & Waterman, J. (2014). Salience and epistemic egocentrism: An empirical study. In J. Beebe (Ed.), Advances in experimental epistemology (pp. 97–118). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Blome-Tillmann, M. (2008). The indexicality of “Knowledge”. Philosophical Studies, 138(1), 29–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blome-Tillmann, M. (2009). Knowledge and presuppositions. Mind, 118(470), 241–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, J. (2006). Contextualism and warranted assertibility manoeuvres. Philosophical Studies, 130(3), 407–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, J. (2013). Experimental philosophy, contextualism and SSI. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 86(2), 233–261. doi: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2010.00461.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buckwalter, W. (2014). The mystery of stakes and error in ascriber intuitions. In J. Beebe (Ed.), Advances in experimental epistemology (pp. 145–173). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Buckwalter, W., & Schaffer, J. (2015). Knowledge, stakes, and mistakes. Noûs, 49(2), 201–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, S. (2004). Knowledge, assertion, and practical reasoning. Philosophical Issues, 14(1), 482–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DeRose, K. (2009). The case for contextualism: Knowledge, skepticism, and context (Vol. 1). Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DeRose, K. (2012). Replies to Nagel, Ludlow, and Fantl and McGrath. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 84(3), 703–721. doi: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2012.00586.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dinges, A. (2016). Epistemic invariantism and contextualist intuitions. Episteme, 13(2), 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Epley, N., Savitsky, K., & Gilovich, T. (2002). Empathy neglect. Reconciling the spotlight effect and the correspondence bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(2), 300–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fantl, J., & McGrath, M. (2009). Knowledge in an uncertain world. Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Feltz, A., & Zarpentine, C. (2010). Do you know more when it matters less? Philosophical Psychology, 23(5), 683–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gao, J. (2015). Advances in experimental epistemology. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 29(1), 101–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gerken, M. (2013). Epistemic focal bias. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 91(1), 41–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gerken, M. (2015). How to do things with knowledge ascriptions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 90(1), 223–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gilovich, T., Kruger, J., & Medvec, V. H. (2002). The spotlight effect revisited: Overestimating the manifest variability of our actions and appearance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(1), 93–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gilovich, T., Medvec, V. H., & Savitsky, K. (2000). The spotlight effect in social judgment: An egocentric bias in estimates of the salience of one’s own actions and appearance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(2), 211–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gilovich, T., & Savitsky, K. (1999). The spotlight effect and the illusion of transparency: Egocentric assessments of how we are seen by others. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8(6), 165–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hawthorne, J. (2004). Knowledge and lotteries. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  22. Kenny, D. A., & DePaulo, B. M. (1993). Do people know how others view them? An empirical and theoretical account. Psychological Bulletin, 114(1), 145–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kim, B. (2015). In defense of subject-sensitive invariantism. Episteme, FirstView, 1–19.Google Scholar
  24. Lewis, D. (1996). Elusive knowledge. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 74(4), 549–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Loewenstein, G., & Small, D. A. (2007). The Scarecrow and the Tin Man: The vicissitudes of human sympathy and caring. Review of General Psychology, 11(2), 112–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. MacFarlane, J. (2005). The assessment sensitivity of knowledge attributions. In T. S. Gendler and J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology, volume 1 (Oxford Studies in Epistemology, 1, Oxford: OUP), pp. 197–234.Google Scholar
  27. McKenna, R. (2014). Normative scorekeeping. Synthese, 191(3), 607–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nagel, J. (2008). Knowledge ascriptions and the psychological consequences of changing stakes. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 86(2), 279–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nagel, J. (2010a). Epistemic anxiety and adaptive invariantism. Philosophical Perspectives, 24(1), 407–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nagel, J. (2010b). Knowledge ascriptions and the psychological consequences of thinking about error. Philosophical Quarterly, 60(239), 286–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nagel, J. (2012). Mindreading in Gettier cases and skeptical pressure cases. In J. Brown & M. Gerken (Eds.), Knowledge ascriptions (pp. 171–191). Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nagel, J., Juan, V. S., & Mar, R. A. (2013). Lay denial of knowledge for justified true beliefs. Cognition, 129(3), 652–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pinillos, N. Á. (2011). Some recent work in experimental epistemology. Philosophy Compass, 6(10), 675–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pinillos, N. Á. (2012). Knowledge, experiments and practical interests. In J. Brown & M. Gerken (Eds.), Knowledge ascriptions (pp. 192–219). Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pinillos, N. Á., & Simpson, S. (2014). Experimental evidence supporting anti-intellectualism about knowledge. In J. Beebe (Ed.), Advances in experimental epistemology (pp. 9–44). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Pynn, G. (2014). Unassertability and the appearance of ignorance. Episteme, 11(02), 125–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Royzman, E. B., Cassidy, K. W., & Baron, J. (2003). “I know, you know”. Epistemic egocentrism in children and adults. Review of General Psychology, 7(1), 38–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Savitsky, K., Epley, N., & Gilovich, T. (2001). Do others judge us as harshly as we think? Overestimating the impact of our failures, shortcomings, and mishaps. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(1), 44–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schaffer, J. (2006). The irrelevance of the subject: Against subject-sensitive invariantism. Philosophical Studies, 127(1), 87–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schaffer, J., & Knobe, J. (2012). Contrastive knowledge surveyed. Noûs, 46(4), 675–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shin, J. (2014). Time constraints and pragmatic encroachment on knowledge. Episteme, 11(2), 157–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Slovic, P., Fischhoff, B., & Lichtenstein, S. (1982). Fact versus fears. Understanding perceived risk. In D. Kahneman, P. Slovic, and A. Tversky (Eds.), Judgment under uncertainty. heuristics and biases (Cambridge: CUP), pp. 463–490.Google Scholar
  43. Sripada, C. S., & Stanley, J. (2012). Empirical tests of interest-relative invariantism. Episteme, 9(1), 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stanley, J. (2005). Knowledge and practical interests. Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Turri, J. (2017). Epistemic contextualism: An idle hypothesis. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 95(1), 141–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1973). Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability. Cognitive Psychology, 5, 207–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Williamson, T. (2005). Contextualism, subject-sensitive invariantism and knowledge of knowledge. Philosophical Quarterly, 55(219), 213–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wright, S. (2011). Knowledge and social roles: A virtue approach. Episteme, 8(1), 99–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophisches SeminarUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations