notes_13 - Seminar presentation on Knowledge and Its Limits...

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Seminar presentation on Knowledge and Its Limits. Prof. Sherri Roush and Prof. Branden Fitelson Berislav Maruši ć December 6, 2006 On Skepticism and the Self-Knowledge Rule Tomorrow I’ll be presenting the paper “The Self-Knowledge Gambit.” To make sure that what we talk about today is sufficiently different from what I will discuss tomorrow in the practice jobtalk, I would like to first talk about the philosophical motivations for the Self-Knowledge Rule. Then I will tell you what my main claims are. Then I will give you my main arguments—though you’ll hear more about them tomorrow. Finally, I would like to discuss some worries about my account. I’d be very grateful for suggestions about what to say, and for an assessment of how pressing these worries are. 1. Philosophical Motivations An opinionated view of the philosophical background (something I can’t defend here): a) Externalism in the philosophy of mind is correct. b) Externalism in epistemology is correct. Nonetheless skepticism is defensible! Usually skepticism is associated with internalism, in at least one of these senses. Yet I think that a skeptic can do without such an assumption. I understand a) and b) in terms of the following theses: (I won’t defend this either.) A) Our evidence is different in the good case and the bad case. That’s why, from a failure of knowledge in the bad case, we cannot infer that we lack knowledge in the good case. Because I fail to know that I am dreaming, while dreaming, I don’t fail to know that I am not dreaming, while not dreaming. I think that this could be made out to follow from a view about externalism in the philosophy of mind. Since the experiential states are different in the good case and the bad case, the evidential states are different in the good case and the bad case. That’s why, when one is in the bad case, one cannot distinguish them from the good case. B) The KK-principle is false. KK-Principle: Necessarily, if S knows p , S knows that she knows p . I think that this is the basic epistemological externalist commitment. There are forms of epistemological internalism that do without it, but then they either give up the spirit of internalism, even if not the letter, or they don’t disavow commitment to this principle after all. —This is not something I can argue for, though. So—how are we to get a doubly externalist skepticism? It’s useful to consider Branden’s analogy from the discussion of Williamson on skepticism:
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“Let’s say you’re someone who values money for its instrumental power. You like having money only to the extent that it will actually do things for you. If it’s just sitting in the bank, never to be used, then (we shall say) it has no cash value for you. As it turns out, unbeknownst to you , you “possess” lots of money. Some benefactor has placed a large sum of money in an account that (legally) you own. But, the catch is that he didn’t tell you anything about this, and you will never find out about it. Are you rich? Well,
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This note was uploaded on 08/01/2008 for the course PHIL 290 taught by Professor Fitelson during the Fall '06 term at Berkeley.

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notes_13 - Seminar presentation on Knowledge and Its Limits...

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