notes_1 - Preview of the main claims and arguments of the...

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1 Preview of the main claims and arguments of the book that I’ll be commenting on, objecting to, which are themselves previewed in TW’s “Introduction”. TW claims that knowledge is a mental state. Several of my arguments will go to show that we have not been given reason to think that. 1) Because there are other good explanations of the broadness and primeness of knowledge. TW claims that knowledge is the primitive in this area; in particular, it is not analyzable in terms of true belief + X. I argue that because broadness and primeness of knowledge can be explained by a couple of candidate X conjuncts, the broadness and primeness of knowledge give us no reason to think knowledge is a primitive. TW claims something like that reference to knowledge is necessary for explaining action/behavior. (Sometimes sounds like the weaker claim “sometimes necessary”.) I shall argue that this isn’t true, and also explain why my particular characterization of knowledge explains why knowledge can explain our capability to act, that is, explain why knowledge is power. Williamson doesn’t offer an explanation of this, and the reasons he gives for thinking knowledge is necessary for explaining action when it is have to do with a robustness that taking knowledge to be a mental state or FMSO does nothing to explain. So, by his own lights there’s a hole and a tension. Tracking, on the other hand, explains the robustness that knowledge has, which in turn can explain the capacity to act. TW claims that accepting that knowledge is the most general factive (stative) mental state operator is the way to see why knowledge is more valuable than true belief—indeed suggests that it’s the only way--and why we should care about it at all. “It matters to us because factive mental states matter to us.” (34) I will explain how a tracking view explains why knowledge matters to us, and why it’s more valuable than true belief. TW argues that no mental state is luminous. 1) I claim that no internalist needs to suppose it is. Also, no externalist would have thought that mental states were luminous. 2) But more than this the anti-luminosity argument seems to me a bit off-target, since surely perfect resolution was never why the internalist thought his access to his own mind was better than his access to the external world. That was rather because it was his , or here rather than there. Sensitivity—Sherri has some things to say about this. TW argues that there is an asymmetry in evidence between the normal case and the skeptical case on the basis of the idea that knowledge is a mental state and that E = K. I explain why a tracking view of knowledge and evidence has a better explanation of the asymmetry, and doesn’t implausibly claim this answers the skeptic.
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2 TW argues that E=K. A relatively minor point: E doesn’t equal K on my view because we can be affected by a piece of evidence that we don’t have a belief about. So not even belief is strictly necessary for something to be evidence for us. (However, that is different
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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 University of California, Berkeley.

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notes_1 - Preview of the main claims and arguments of the...

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