I’m working on a (strict invariantist) psychological account of shifty patterns of judgments about knowledge ascriptions (e.g., salient alternatives cases and Schaffer/Knobe’s contrast effects). I’m pursuing an epistemic focal bias account that is partly characterized by the following two principles.

(Principle of Contextual Salience)

Normally, for an agent, A, q is a contextually salient alternative to S’s knowledge that p iff A processes q as an epistemically relevant alternative to S’s knowledge that p.


(Principle of Epistemic Satisficing)

Normally, an intuitive epistemic judgment is made on the basis of a prima facie reason that is arrived at by processing only a limited part of the available evidence.

Each principle concerns the psychological processes that leads to judgments about knowledge ascriptions. I think the conjunction of the two principles may form the basis of a psychological account of some of the puzzling patterns of judgment about knowledge ascriptions.

For example, I think that they may account for Knobe and Schaffer’s contrast effects/intuitions (discussed on CD on a few occasions) by predicting *false positive* knowledge ascriptions. I also think that they may yield a strict invariantist account of salient alternatives effects/intuitions by predicting *false negative* knowledge ascriptions.

I’ll happily send the full paper to anyone interested or to elaborate on the predictions in the comments. But I thought the two principles might be worth a discussion in their own right. At any rate, any comments (pointing out alternative formulations, trouble cases, required qualifications/restrictions and the like) would be helpful. 



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