According to advocates of Interest-Relative Invariantism (or pragmatic encroachment), whether or not someone knows something at a time (or has evidence for it) depends in part on what is at stake for that person at that time in acting on it. There has been a good deal of controversy recently about how this thesis reflects the intuitive judgments of vox populi, with a number of papers arguing that the folk do not have interest-relative intuitions. Summarizing this work, Jonathan Schaffer and Joshua Knobe say, in a recent paper in Nous, that IRI models “seem to predict the exact opposite of the data.” In this paper, forthcoming in the journal Episteme, Chandra Sripada and I critically discuss some of the prior studies, and present the results of own experiments, which provide strong support for IRI. We discuss our results in the light of complementary results by Angel Pinillos, and conclude by discussing an intellectualist challenge to IRI due to Jennifer Nagel.
This figure summarizes our results. One key discovery we made in running our surveys is the difficulty in presenting non-philosophers with a true low-stakes case. We repeatedly found that non-philosophers tended to interpret the basic low-stakes case as a high-stakes case. As we argue in section 1.3, this is to be expected on general Gricean grounds.