, Volume 79, Supplement 6, pp 1129–1150 | Cite as

Knowledge and Approximate Knowledge

  • Lieven Decock
  • Igor DouvenEmail author
  • Christoph Kelp
  • Sylvia Wenmackers
Original Article


Traditionally, epistemologists have held that only truth-related factors matter in the question of whether a subject can be said to know a proposition. Various philosophers have recently departed from this doctrine by claiming that the answer to this question also depends on practical concerns. They take this move to be warranted by the fact that people’s knowledge attributions appear sensitive to contextual variation, in particular variation due to differing stakes. This paper proposes an alternative explanation of the aforementioned fact, one that allows us to stick to the orthodoxy. The alternative applies the conceptual spaces approach to the concept of knowledge. With knowledge conceived of spatially, the variability in knowledge attributions follows from recent work on identity, according to which our standards for judging things (including concepts) to be identical are context-dependent. On the proposal to be made, it depends on what is at stake in a context whether it is worth distinguishing between knowing and being at least close to knowing.


Conceptual Space Knowledge Attribution Doxastic State Relevant Respect Justify True Belief 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lieven Decock
    • 1
  • Igor Douven
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christoph Kelp
    • 3
  • Sylvia Wenmackers
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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