, Volume 194, Issue 11, pp 4583–4596 | Cite as

Question closure to solve the surprise test



This paper offers a new solution to the Surprise Test Paradox. The paradox arises thanks to an ingenious argument that seems to show that surprise tests are impossible. My solution to the paradox states that it relies on a questionable closure principle. This closure principle says that if one knows something and competently deduces something else, one knows the further thing. This principle has been endorsed by John Hawthorne and Timothy Williamson, among others, and I trace its motivation back to work by Alvin Goldman. I provide counterexamples to the principle and explain the flaw in the reasoning of those who defend it.


Surprise test Closure principle Reliabilism 



Thanks for comments to Katie Finley, Ryan Hammond, Richard Kim, Graham Leach-Krouse, Marc Moffett, Ted Shear, Jeff Speaks, Fritz Warfield, an audience at the 2013 Pacific APA and two anonymous referees.

Compliance with ethical standards


Author has no financial interest or benefit arising from the direct applications of their research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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