Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-18-2012

Abstract

This paper distinguishes two ways to 'put knowledge first'. One way affirms a knowledge norm. For example, Williamson [2000] argues that one must only assert that which one knows. Hawthorne and Stanley [2008] argue that one must only treat as a reason for action that which one knows. Another way to put knowledge first affirms a determination thesis. For example, Williamson [2000] argues that what one knows determines what one is justified in believing. Hawthorne and Stanley [2008] argue that what one knows determines what it is rational for one to do. This paper argues that the defender of the knowledge norms can and should reject the determination theses. For example, the rationality of acting on a partial belief cannot be explained in terms of the subject's knowledge. That's no problem for the knowledge norm, which only governs acting on full belief. (Analogously, the knowledge norm of flat-out assertion does not govern hedged assertion.) One might worry that rejecting the determination theses undermines the importance of knowing. I reply that the knowledge norms set the standard for epistemic success. The importance of success is not undermined by loosening its ties to justification and rationality.

Comments

This is an electronic version of an article published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 90(2). Australasian Journal of Philosophy is available online at: www.tandfonline.com. DOI: 10.1080/00048402.2011.587438

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