The status of the knowledge iteration principles in the account provided by Lewis in “Elusive Knowledge” is disputed. By distinguishing carefully between what in the account describes the contribution of the attributor’s context and what describes the contribution of the subject’s situation, we can resolve this dispute in favour of Holliday’s (2015) claim that the iteration principles are rendered invalid. However, that is not the end of the story. For Lewis’s account still predicts that counterexamples to the negative iteration principle (\(\lnot Kp\rightarrow K\lnot Kp\)) come out as elusive: such counterexamples can occur only in possibilities which the attributors of knowledge are ignoring. This consequence is more defensible than it might look at first sight.
KeywordsEpistemic logic Epistemic contextualism David Lewis
I’m grateful to Kevin Dorst, Julien Dutant, Jeremy Goodman, Sophie Horowitz, Brendan de Kenessey, Justin Khoo, Harvey Lederman, Ginger Schultheis, Alex Silk, Declan Smithies, Jack Spencer, Jonathan Vogel, Roger White, Steve Yablo, and one anonymous referee for helpful comments and discussion. I’m especially grateful to Bob Stalnaker and a second anonymous referee, whose critical yet sympathetic comments have improved the following discussion immeasurably, with respect to both numerous specific details (too many to acknowledge individually) and overall structure.
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