KNOWLEDGE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING RIGHT (pages 265-289)

Davide FASSIO

ABSTRACT: Some philosophers have recently argued that whether a true belief amounts to knowledge in a specific circumstance depends on features of the subject’s practical situation that are unrelated to the truth of the subject’s belief, such as the costs for the subject of being wrong about whether the believed proposition is true. One of the best-known arguments used to support this view is that it best explains a number of paradigmatic cases, such as the well-known Bank Case, in which a difference in knowledge occurs in subjects differing exclusively with respect to their practical situation. I suggest an alternative explanation of such cases. My explanation has a disjunctive character: on the one hand, it accounts for cases in which the subject is aware of the costs of being wrong in a given situation in terms of the influence of psychological factors on her mechanisms of belief-formation and revision. On the other hand, it accounts for cases in which the subject is ignorant of the costs of being wrong in her situation by imposing a new condition on knowledge. This condition is that one knows that p only if one does not underestimate the importance of being right about whether p. I argue that my explanation has a number of advantages over other invariantist explanations: it accounts for all the relevant cases preserving the semantic significance of our ordinary intuitions, it is compatible with an intellectualist account of knowledge and it escapes several problems affecting competing views.

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