“For example, a fallibilist maintains that I may know that I have hands, on the basis of evidence that is logically consistent with the remote possibility that I do not have hands, because I am dreaming after a particularly terrible accident.”
So here’s what the fallibilist maintains: I may know that I have hands, on the basis of evidence that is logically consistent with the remote possibility that I do not have hands, because I am dreaming after a particularly terrible accident
So suppose the fallibilist wishes to assert what she maintains (either because like most philosophers she’s eager to assert what she thinks, or because someone says, “Hey, you’re a fallibilist, what do you maintain?”). What shall she say? It seems she should, according to Stanley, say this.
Now suppose that our fallibilist reasonably believes (even knows, let’s say (let her know that she knows if need be)) she has hands. Then there’s no “may” about it and she can say
Now given the conistency of her knowledge-grounding evidence with that possibility, what could possibly prevent the appropriateness of utterng FU2 from entailing the appropriateness of uttering
FU3 “I know that I have hands, though there’s this remote possibility that I do not have hands.”
“Fallibilism is the doctrine that someone can know that p, even though their evidence for p is logically consistent with the truth of not-p” (127).
So it appears that on Stanley’s model, my p-knowledge-grounding evidence doesn’t rule out a skeptical scenario S in which not-p, but, mirabile dictu, the knowledge I get from it does!
This is weird enough that I don’t think it’s going to be a good route to go to block the seemingly obvious move from FU to FU3. But FU comes from the lips of Stanley himself and FU3 is a concessive knowledge attribution.
Of course, Jason says more or less explicitly that CKA’s *can* express truths.
S1 “I believe that utterances of the sentences in (1) do in fact almost always express false propositions” (127, emphasis added).
S2 “What I will argue is that, when utterances of (1a) and (1c) express false propositions, the fact that they are false does not refute the fallibilist position” (127, emphasis added).
But if I read 2005 correctly, that’s just because the “mixed” variety (his 1b, 2b: “John K’s…but what I K….) possibly express truths (he accepts a pragmatic account here: Dougherty and Rysiew 2009 provide a unified account which explains all the infelicity as pragmatic). And the case I’ve focused on here–the sober assertion of fallibilism–doesn’t seem to bear any relevent similarity to these case.
Also, I never noticed before the seeming admission that there are some felicitous non-mixed CKA’s.
S3 “This explains the typical oddity of utterances of these sentences” (128, emphasis added).
S4 “such utterances are almost always odd” (128).
Maybe he’s just playing it safe.
[End Brief Excursus]
FU3 plausibly entails Jason’s
(5a) I know that I have hands, but I haven’t ruled out that I’m just a brain in a vat with no body at all.
FU3 doesnt mention “ruling out” but if you believe in “ruling out” then plausibly FU3 entails (5a). And he thinks the natural way to understand “ruling out” is to know it’s not the case, which yields
(6a) I know that I have hands, but I don’t know that I’m not a brain in a vat with no body at all.
I don’t think “ruling out” is an epistemic notion. I think it’s a completely pragmatic notion, something along the lines of S’s justifiedly believing p false and being such that further inquiry into p has negative expected utility. I get off the train at (5a). So I don’t need to endorse (6a).
However, it seems that Jason does. If I’m right–it has not failed to occur to me that this will be disputed (nor has it failed to occur to me that the disputants might be correct)–then Jason’s definition of fallibilism commits him to (5a) and his understanding of “excludes” then commits him to (6a).
This is kind of ironic because he says “there are some positions that are versions of fallibilism that do entail the truth (and presumably the acceptability) of the sentences in (6).” He notes that Nozick will be stuck with this but then claims “it is not the case that any non-contextualist account of knowledge that is fallibilist predicts that the sentences in (6) can be both true and felicitously assertable” (131). From this and the preceding conclusion, it follows that Jason–who is clearly a fallibilist–must be a contextualist. 🙂