The Case for a Causal Connection

  • Colin Cheyne
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 67)


So far, I have defended the claim that the etiology or causal history of a belief is crucial in determining whether or not that belief constitutes knowledge. Now I turn to the stronger claim that the fact that is believed must be causally connected to the belief in that fact in order that the belief be knowledge.1 This is the strong causal condition:
  • (SC) S knows that p only if the fact that p is causally connected to S’s belief that p.


True Belief Causal Connection Causal Condition Epistemic Justification Reliable Process 
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  1. 1.
    Much of this chapter is based on Cheyne 1997a.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Adapted from Lehrer 1965, pp. 169–70.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    I say ‘may be’ in deference to those of a more sceptical bent who would deny that there could be such circumstances. But to deny the possibility of any knowledge of the future seems over-sceptical. If I can know that I am now at the University of Otago, then surely I can know that I will be in Dunedin in one minute’s time. Anyway, a theory of knowledge should not rule out by fiat the possibility of knowledge of the future.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    ‘What a great way to learn a foreign language!’ — Charles Pigden, in conversation.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    It is not clear that the two approaches are clearly distinguishable (see Taylor 1991). For the remainder of this chapter, I use ‘reliabilism’ as a coverall term for such approaches.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    I examine, and reject, other ‘connectionist candidates in Chapter 6. Besides, the most plausible of those candidates do not allow platonic knowledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Cheyne
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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