Perceptual Knowledge, Discrimination, and Closure
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Carter and Pritchard (Philos Stud 173(4):969–990, 2016) and Pritchard (Noûs 44(2):245–268, 2010, Epistemological disjunctivism, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012, Epistemic angst: radical scepticism and the groundlessness of our believing, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2016) have tried to reconcile the intuition that perceptual knowledge requires only limited discriminatory abilities with the closure principle. To this end, they have introduced two theoretical innovations: a contrast between two ways of introducing error-possibilities and a distinction between discriminating and favoring evidence. I argue that their solution faces the “sufficiency problem”: it is unclear whether the evidence that is normally available to adult humans is sufficient to retain knowledge of the entailing proposition and come to know the entailed proposition. I submit that, on either infallibilist or fallibilist views of evidence, Carter and Pritchard have set the bar for deductive knowledge too low. At the end, I offer an alternative solution. I suggest that the knowledge-retention condition of the closure principle is not satisfied in zebra-like scenarios.
I would like to thank Arturs Logins, Davide Fassio, and two anonymous referees for their detailed and challenging comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
Funding was provided by Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Grant No. FNS P300P1_161061/1).
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