The Next Big Thing in Epistemology

Well, perhaps only maybe, but I’m in a bold mood, so here it is: pragmatic encroachment–where, when, how, why, and what the hell it is.

Been thinking about it lately because of a draft chapter from Keith on what he (from Jason) terms “Intellectualism.” Matt and Jeremy call it “epistemic purism,” which has nice moral overtones that Jane Austen would approve of. Here I want to address the “what the hell it is” question a bit, which I think is a bit harder than has been realized to this point.

First, minor issues, arising from a quote from Matt and Jeremy:

According to received tradition in analytic epistemology, whether a true belief qualifies as knowledge depends only on purely epistemic factors – factors that are appropriately “truth-related”. If my true belief that p qualifies as knowledge while yours does not, this must be because of some difference in our evidence regarding p, the reliability of the processes involved in our beliefs that p, our counterfactual relations to the truth of p, and so on. My true belief cannot count as knowledge, and yours not, simply because you have more at stake than I do in whether p. Raising the stakes may indirectly affect whether one satisfies the belief condition on knowledge (because of one’s worrying about the costs of being wrong, for example), but it cannot otherwise make a difference to whether one knows.

Three points. First, it is natural to characterize intellectualism negatively: it opposes pragmatic encroachment in the account of key epistemic terms. The goal of answering the “what the hell it is” question is to replace this negative characterize with something substantive and positive, since other types of encroachment are possible as well: moral, aesthetic, political, etc.

Second, a point Keith makes. His point, which he mentions and then moves past, is that belief may not be the right condition for knowledge. Maybe subjective certainty is required. I don’t know if that is correct, but no characterization of intellectualism should hang on the issue.

A final point about the quote above. Suppose raising the stakes makes the risk of being mistaken more salient, and suppose one agrees with Mike Bergmann concerning subjective defeaters and the epistemic significance of salience of risk. Salience of risk thus enters the intellectualist story as a type of defeater that would need to be rebutted in order to fail to undermine knowledge, but I don’t see how the characterization of intellectualism by F&M leaves open that possibility, except by lowering one’s confidence level to the point at which one no longer believes. I doubt salience of risk need have any confidence-lowering result, so raising the stakes can function in a different way in a fully intellectualist story than F&M allow. If the connection were lawlike or even metaphysically necessary, the intellectualist position should still be able to accommodate the point. So even necessary connections to practical stakes isn’t incompatible with intellectualism.

That’s a point that Keith stresses anyway: contextualism is attractive in part because it can maintain intellectualism. Now, this is a surprising claim, initially, because Keith agrees with John and Jason about the bank case that the practical stakes affect whether it is true to attribute knowledge. But the contextualist gets to assign the role of pragmatic encroachment to the level of semantic ascent only, claiming that the proposition expressed is true/false on the basis of purely intellectual factors. The trick, of course, is that the proposition expressed varies by context, and this variability is where pragmatic encroachment enters for the contextualist, rather than into (to use a term crying for explication) the truth conditions of the proposition expressed. So classical invariantism denies any place to pragmatic encroachment, either about knowledge or about ‘knowledge’ and its cognates, contextualism allows pragmatic encroachment at the semantic metalevel, and some versions of invariantism, such as subject-sensitive invariantism, allow it at both the semantic metalevel and and the object level.

The small issues above foreshadow bigger ones, however. As I see it, the quote above is a schema for an account, where we fill in the kinds of acceptable items for an intellectualist to appeal to in terms of a wide range of epistemic concepts: truth-related factors, purely epistemic factors, sameness of total epistemic position, evidence, or sharing the same truth-relevant features. We populate the list with the kinds of things by which epistemologists have clarified the concepts of justification, (epistemic or egocentric) rationality, reliability, safety, sensitivity, warrant, or positive epistemic status.

Now, some items on the list give cause for concern. If ‘epistemic’ means something concerning knowledge, then it will be unhelpful to define intellectualism in terms of epistemic factors, since everybody thinks that only conditions for knowledge can be appealed to in an account of the distinction between knowledge and true belief.

But we don’t need to make such a silly mistake. As Jason puts it, the idea is to understand intellectualism in terms of truth-related factors that affect how likely it is that the belief is true, either from the point of view of the subject or from a more objective vantage point. It is worth noting that the only notion of likelihood that will be of much use here is the epistemic one which we might use to clarify one of the evaluative notions above: justification, warrant, rationality, reliability, etc. But we needn’t mean by ‘epistemic’ “whatever makes for knowledge”; instead, we are talking about the factors that make for key epistemic notions regarding which it is a substantive claim that they are required for knowledge. So we look through a glass darkly at intellectualism by saying intellectualism is the view that the only relevant difference between knowledge and true belief is stuff related to epistemological axiology: justification, warrant, rationality, positive epistemic status, undefeatedness, reliability, safety, sensitivity, etc.

Now, some do deny this position: Fantl & McGrath, for instance. But I think the heart of intellectualism still eludes us. Here’s why.

The complication arises from something Jason says. He says that items of epistemological axiology are themselves subject to pragmatic encroachment (no, he didn’t really say that–he just said it about justification, and I generalized). So suppose that’s right. Then you can’t define intellectualism as above, since items of epistemological axiology are not themselves epistemically pure. That’s the complication: for any attempt to identify the factors an intellectualist can appeal to, the worry is that a pragmatic encroacher might come along and sully that factor.

Of course, if there is a fundamental, unsullied notion, that is one element out of which we craft the sullied concepts, things are fine again. For example, maybe justification is sullied, but crafted from pragmatic stuff plus truth-related factors, where the latter are unsullied.

The problem is that the notion of a truth-related factor needs clarification. There’s the reliabilist characterization, which does leave it unsullied. But you shouldn’t have to adopt such an account to be an intellectualist. Perhaps such a factor is a reasonable-belief-making feature, or a bit of evidence in favor of some proposition. But reasonability isn’t by definition unsullied, and neither is the notion of evidence, so far as I can tell. If so, it looks like we must face the possibility that things are sullied “all the way down”, and the prospect of having to characterize intellectualism even in the face of this possibility.

Maybe there’s a simple solution here. Maybe the truth of intellectualism rests on there being some unsullied epistemic concept or concepts and intellectualism about a particular epistemic concept such as knowledge requires that the only epistemic contribution to knowledge (i.e., what is needed in addition to whatever semantic and psychological elements are needed) is explicable in terms of these unsullied concepts.

This proposal gets things backwards however. Intellectualism and unsullied-ness are interdefinable and interdependent concepts in this discussion. We don’t know what intellectualism about knowledge is, and we want to define it in terms of intellectualism about some other concept. But then we need an account of that sort of intellectualism, and the chase begins all over again.

I don’t know who this is a problem for. But the basic issue is this: how can one define intellectualism given the possibility of lack of purity all the way down? Perhaps this is an argument for the conclusion that there has to be some fundamental, unsullied epistemic notion?


Comments

The Next Big Thing in Epistemology — 14 Comments

  1. On this being the next big thing in epistemology: I’ve seen at least pretty big things before they got so big, and, well, I for one can’t tell what’s going to be big. But this seems to have some potential to at least get kinda big. (Much depends of course on the very unpredictable matter of what people come up with to say about it. Plus the vagaries of what folks get worked up about, even if they don’t come up with much to say about it.) In my intro what’s-it-all-about lectures for my basic epistemology class, I planned to talk just a bit about intellectualism, and, led by some questions, I ended up talking about it quite a bit. Can seem pretty central to epistemology. It’s tightly tied up with other issues that some folks are working on.

  2. Hi Jon,

    Very nice post. I think you’re right that this is a central issue, and that a lot more work needs to be done to characterize intellectualism, especially since it is often said (as in the quote you cite above) to be the “received” position in epistemology. It also doesn’t surprise me that Keith’s students wanted to know more about what this position amounted to; it’s not clear to me either.

    I find it helpful, at any rate, to look at things like this. Virtually all of the main truth-connected factors you cite here—justification, warrant, rationality, positive epistemic status, reliability, safety, etc.—seem to come in degrees. Thus a cognitive process can be more or less reliable, a belief can have more or less justification, and so on. But then if we ask the question “*How much* of one or more of these factors is needed for knowledge?” we get a few different positions, two invariantist and two contextualist. (Apologies for continuing to talk about knowledge here; that’s the lens through which I view this.)

    ******

    1. Invariantist: (a) Intellectualist Invariantism, and (b) Practicalist Invariantism

    2. Contextualist: (a) Intellectualist Contextualism, and (b) Practicalist Invariantism

    Intellectualist Invariantism says that the amount of these truth-connected factors that is needed for knowledge is exclusively pinned to our “purely intellectual” or “purely epistemic” interests and desires, where these interests and desires are invariant across contexts.

    Practicalist Invariantism says that the amount of these truth-connected factors that is needed for knowledge is pinned, at least to some extent, to our practical goals and desires, where these interests and desires are invariant across contexts.

    Intellectualist Contextualism says that the amount of these truth-connected factors that is needed for knowledge is exclusively pinned to our “purely intellectual” or “purely epistemic” goals and desires, where these interests and desires can fluctuate across contexts.

    Practicalist Contextualism says that the amount of these truth-connected factors that is needed for knowledge is pinned, at least to some extent, to our practical interests and desires, where these interests and desires can fluctuate across contexts.

    ******

    One then gets different versions of these views (SSI, attributor contextualism, etc.), depending on how one fills out *whose* (intellectual or practical) interests and desires matter, exactly. The “our” mentioned above could thus be sharpened in various ways, so that it is the subject’s interests, the attributor’s interests, etc. that matter.

    Also: I don’t mean to suggest that a belief has to do well with respect to *all* of the truth-connected factors mentioned above in order to amount to knowledge. Whether it’s safety or evidence or something else will be a substantive question.

    *****

    And now for my last point, which bears on your question about the difficulty in understanding what intellectualism amounts to, exactly: By my lights, although I have a pretty good idea of what the practicalist versions of invariantism and contextualism amount to, I have very little idea at all of what the intellectualist versions of these views amount to. For example, what could it mean for our “purely intellectual” or “purely epistemic” interests and desires to vary across contexts? For that matter, what do our “purely intellectual” or “purely epistemic” interests and desires even amount to?

    I think this last question in particular has yet to receive a good answer so far, even though our understanding of intellectualism seems to hinge on it—another reason why recent attention to the nature of epistemic value strikes me as very worthwhile.

    -Stephen

  3. If I’m understanding Stephen correctly, his terminology is quite different from my own. The way he distinguishes intellectualist from practicalist contextualism —

    Intellectualist Contextualism says that the amount of these truth-connected factors that is needed for knowledge is exclusively pinned to our “purely intellectual” or “purely epistemic” goals and desires, where these interests and desires can fluctuate across contexts.

    Practicalist Contextualism says that the amount of these truth-connected factors that is needed for knowledge is pinned, at least to some extent, to our practical interests and desires, where these interests and desires can fluctuate across contexts.

    — would seem to make me (for instance, but my guess is that this hold for other actual contextualists, too) a “practicalist contextualist,” not a “intellectualist contextualist.” I’m not sure I’m reading this right, but, like other actual contextualists, I do think that “practical interests and desires” play a big role in determining what are the standards for the true application of “know(s)” in various contexts, and this would seem to get us on the “practicalist” side of Stephen’s division.

    But as I use the term, I am an “intellectualist contextualist,” because I think that, though practical factors can influence exactly what proposition gets expressed by a knowledge attribution, whether that that particular proposition is true turns completely on the truth-relevant (to use F&M’s term) factors of the situation.

    Thought it was worth pointing out (what at least seems to be) the very different terminology here.

  4. Thanks for clarifying, Keith. I meant to reply just with a couple short points, but things ballooned a bit. So here are a few longish points in reply.

    First, you say that you count as an intellectualist because, on your view, only truth-related factors matter for knowledge (or, in your words—and I think they come to the same thing—that whether the particular proposition expressed by a knowledge attribution sentence is true turns completely on the truth-related factors of the situation). Which is to say, I take it, that on your view whether we judge that someone knows depends only on how they seem to fare with respect to such truth-related factors as their evidence, the reliability of their faculties, the safety of their beliefs, and so on.

    But if that’s all it takes to be an intellectualist, then it seems to me that not only do you count as an intellectualist, but more significantly so do F&M, Hawthorne, Stanley, etc. After all, the cases they present in support of their view (the Foxboro case, etc.) don’t even remotely seem to suggest that whether a belief amounts to knowledge depends on factors *other* than the ones just mentioned. Instead, the claim is that practical factors help to determine *how much* of the relevant truth-related factor is needed to know: thus, how much evidence, how much reliability, how safe, etc. In other words, on their view, practical interests and desires can help to determine where the threshold required to know is set, with respect to these truth-related factors. But that seems to be what you think too, so you seem to be united on this point at least, even though you still disagree about the contextualist/invariantist question.

    Second, although they don’t agree word-for-word in their descriptions of (what we’re now calling) intellectualism, F&M, Hawthorne, and Stanley all basically agree that on the “traditional” intellectualist view whether a belief amounts to knowledge or not depends exclusively on truth-related factors. But on that way of looking at things, since you allow that practical factors can influence how much of the various truth-related factors are needed for knowledge (or, alternatively, for us to judge that someone knows), then you seem to be committed to the denial of their (more-or-less) shared characterization of intellectualism. Why? Because you allow that whether someone knows (or that we judge they know) can depend on the practical stakes at issue—where, according to Stanley at least, “Someone’s practical investment in the truth or falsity of her belief is completely irrelevant to truth-conduciveness in any sense” (KPI, p. 2).

    Now, we’ve reached a peculiar conclusion here. On your way of carving things up, I’m saying that not just you, but also F&M, H, and S count as intellectualists, because you all seem to claim that only how one fares with respect to truth-related factors such as evidence, reliability, safety, etc. matters to whether one knows. On the way of carving things up that I described in my previous post, however, I’m claiming that you all count as practicalists, because you all allow that establishing how *how much* of the relevant truth-related factor that it takes to know can depend on our practical interests and concerns.

    So, I want to suggest that on your way of carving things up, there is no real intellectualist/practicalist dispute with F&M, H, and S—even though there is still a significant contextualist/invariantist dispute. I also want to suggest that this oddness helps to underscore Jon’s original point—namely, that there is no real clarity about what intellectualism amounts to, and especially what it might mean for knowledge to depend so exclusively on intellectual or truth-connected factors that our practical interests and concerns fail to even enter in at the threshold-setting stage.

    Maybe Jon can clear things up? After all, you’re a card-carrying intellectualist, right?

  5. But if that’s all it takes to be an intellectualist, then it seems to me that not only do you count as an intellectualist, but more significantly so do F&M, Hawthorne, Stanley, etc. After all, the cases they present in support of their view (the Foxboro case, etc.) don’t even remotely seem to suggest that whether a belief amounts to knowledge depends on factors *other* than the ones just mentioned. Instead, the claim is that practical factors help to determine *how much* of the relevant truth-related factor is needed to know

    I wouldn’t count any of those guys as intellectualists. Yes, like typical contextualists, they can be understood as letting practical factors play a role in determining the standard that must be met for the subject to know, and then having truth-relevant factors determine whether that standards is met — as you put it, “practical factors help determine *how much* of the relevant truth-related factor is needed to know.” At least I like to construe their views in such terms; they don’t always speak in such ways. But even given that understanding, on their view, whether a particular proposition expressed about a subject is true depends in part on the practical factors of her situation. Not so on contextualism. On contextualism, the practical factors only operate in determining what proposition gets expressed, not in determining whether the particular proposition that is expressed is true. Here’s how I put the difference in the chapter draft Jon posted here:

    For the contextualist, exactly which proposition gets expressed by a knowledge-ascribing sentence will often be affected by “practical” factors, but the particular proposition that does get expressed will not itself be at all about those factors: Whether that proposition is true is determined only by the subject’s attitude and the truth-relevant factors of the subject’s situation. On SSI, by contrast, the same proposition gets expressed no matter how the practical facts are arrayed, but the truth-conditions of that proposition are such that whether they are satisfied crucially does depend on the practical, as well as on the truth-relevant, facts of the situation. Roughly, whereas on contextualism a knowledge attribution expresses that a subject (has a true belief and) meets such-and-such epistemic standards, where exactly which standards are invoked can be effected by practical factors, on SSI it expresses the thought that the subject (has a true belief and) meets the epistemic standards that are appropriate to her practical situation – and whether that thought is true depends in part on what the subject’s practical situation is.

  6. Stephen, I think we can’t get the issues sorted out without first making sure that we talk about contextualism at one level of semantic ascent. The connection between the level of semantic ascent and epistemic propositions themselves is complicated by issues about the propriety of disquotation, which Invariantists endorse and argue that Contextualists deny. Once the levels are distinguished, then I think there is no single answer to the question of whether a theory posits pragmatic encroachment. So, Keith, for example, denies pragmatic encroachment until we take the step of semantic ascent. So, it seems to me we can’t address Keith’s view without carefully separating knowledge itself from what we say or judge about knowledge (the latter being at the level of semantic ascent).

    Things are further complicated here not only by my worries about whether there is an intellectualist notion of “truth-related factors” but also by the metaphysical notion of a truth condition for a proposition. If we have a clear notion of a truth condition for a proposition plus an unsullied notion of a truth-related factor, then intellectualism about epistemic propositions of type K could be defined in terms of these notions. If not, I don’t know where to turn, and I’ve become more skeptical of late about appeals to the notion of truth conditions, but that’s a topic for another time!

  7. Jon: I think you’re exactly right about the importance of keeping the difference between knowledge and what we say or judge about knowledge straight. You’ll notice that in my first post I speak about knowledge, but then in trying to connect my way of carving up things with Keith’s I drift into what we would say or judge about knowledge—a point which has been bugging me since I pressed the “submit” button. One of the pains of being a blogging tyro, I guess. Also, I agree with you that what does and does not count as a truth condition for a proposition will weigh significantly in this discussion; this has become clearer to me in thinking about the various options here.

    Keith: Thanks for pointing me to this passage in your chapter.

    And yet: When Jon K. and others first raised the alarm about pragmatic encroachment, the concern seemed to be with the idea that changes in factors other than traditional truth-connected factors could make a difference to whether someone knows. Thus, for the anti-encroacher, while changes in things such as one’s evidence, or one’s cognitive functioning, or the objective layout of the world, etc. could make a difference to whether one knows, changes in things like practical stakes (or our awareness of these stakes) could not make a difference. Put another way, for the anti-encroacher, whether a true belief amounted to knowledge could only depend on how one fared with respect to factors such as evidence, etc., and not with respect to factors such as practical costs (or our awareness thereof).

    In that light, I’m having a hard time seeing how the anti-encroacher would be satisfied with your side of the distinction you describe. Suppose we grant your way of looking at things, where practical facts are not among the truth-makers of the propositions you describe. Still, it seems to me that insofar as practical facts (or our awareness of them) help to determine which propositions get expressed, there is still a robust sense in which changes in practical facts alone (or our awareness of them) can make a difference to whether someone’s true belief amounts to knowledge—at least in the sense that if proposition A gets expressed (where the knowledge relation picked out incorporates low standards, due to low stakes) the person’s true belief will amount to knowledge, while if proposition B gets expressed (where the knowledge relation incorporates high standards, due to high stakes) the person’s true belief will not amount to knowledge.

    So even though I have a clearer idea now of what you mean by intellectualism (or at least I think I do), I still have doubts about whether this way of characterizing intellectualism will be “pure” or (to use Jon’s equally Austenian word from his last post) “unsullied” enough for anti-encroachers.

  8. Good post Jon, and sorry I didn’t notice it until today. I hope it’s not too late to chime in. These are issues I discuss in the conclusion of my book. In the book, I focused on arguing for an anti-intellectualist claim for knowledge, and I wanted to make my book neutral between anti-intellectualism about knowledge, and intellectualism for justification, on the one hand, and pragmatic encroachment all the way down. But, as I make clear in the conclusion, I myself am much more sympathetic to the view that all epistemic concepts are sullied (to adopt F&M’s purist vocabulary for the moment); I also make this point about probability talk – that is, if it’s epistemic probability that is at issue, then that is going to be characterized in terms of knowledge, which is going to be sullied.

    But one thing puzzled me about your post. You seem to think that the considerations you adduce provide an argument for the view that there is at least one intellectualist epistemic notion. I drew the opposite moral in the conclusion of my book. If all epistemic notions are sullied, then it’s difficult to state what is so unintuitive about pragmatic encroachment. That is, one reason to doubt anti-intellectualism about knowledge is that it seems to be in tension with a natural supervenience claim concerning the relation between knowledge and evidence. As I put it in the book (p. 181), “It is prima facie difficult to accept that one person knows that p and another does not, despite the fact that they have the same evidence for their true belief that p”. But if pragmatic encroachment is correct about about evidence as well, then the anti-intellectualist is not asserting this unintuitive claim. Two people in different practical situations will have different evidence. In short, adopting pragmatic encroachment about all epistemic notions makes it very difficult to see what is supposed to be so unintuitive about the view (if you look at my responses to critics in the PPR volume, you’ll see I make this move a lot).

    I suspect you are reasoning as follows:(P1) pragmatic encroachment is unintuitive, (P2) if all epistemic notions are sullied, then pragmatic encroachment is not unintuitive, therefore some epistemic notions are unsullied. In contrast, I reasoned that (P1) pragmatic encroachment is intuitive, (P2) if some epistemic notion is unsullied, then pragmatic encroachment is not intuitive, therefore all epistemic notions are sullied. Isn’t my reasoning so much more compelling?

  9. Hi Jason, glad you made it! The issue in my post is very narrow–not as broad as I think you are thinking it is. I’m not here concerned with pragmatic encroachment itself, but only with the intellectualist position itself. I’m interested in saying exactly what that position is. I don’t think it can be defined as whatever position denies pragmatic encroachment, since there are other types of encroachment that need to be excluded as well. So I’m after a positive characterization. The concern is that if pragmatic encroachment goes all the way down, I don’t see how to define the position. That’s meant to be entirely neutral on the issue of pragmatic encroachment itself, though it will affect any position that infers the falsity of intellectualism from claims about pragmatic encroachment.

    So, no I’m not reasoning in the way you describe here, since I’m not trying to show any difficulty faced by pragmatic encroachment theories. I’m only concerned about the possibility of defining intellectualism under certain kinds of conditions, the conditions discussed at the end of your book.

  10. Jon,

    Yes, I got that. But I was addressing the very last sentence of your post – that perhaps the difficulty of stating intellectualism under the condition that every epistemic notion is sullied is an argument for the view that there is at least one unsullied epistemic notion.

    The reason I think that your post has broader implications is that I think that the basic positive formulations of intellectualism all sound quite intuitively plausible, and as such they are claims I’d like to accommodate. So, if all epistemic notions are sullied, then the pragmatic encroacher can also agree with the intuitively plausible claim that when a true belief counts as knowledge depends only upon evidence. In short, if all epistemic notions are sullied, it becomes very difficult to state what intuitive supervenience claim the pragmatic enroachment theorist denies. That is, it becomes very difficult to state the intellectualist position. That removes a significant and weighty objection to pragmatic encroachment.

  11. Jon,

    Yes, I got that. But I was addressing the very last sentence of your post – that perhaps the difficulty of stating intellectualism under the condition that every epistemic notion is sullied is an argument for the view that there is at least one unsullied epistemic notion.

    The reason I think that your post has broader implications is that I think that the basic positive formulations of intellectualism all sound quite intuitively plausible, and as such they are claims I’d like to accommodate. So, if all epistemic notions are sullied, then the pragmatic encroacher can also agree with the intuitively plausible claim that when a true belief counts as knowledge depends only upon evidence. In short, if all epistemic notions are sullied, it becomes very difficult to state what intuitive supervenience claim the pragmatic enroachment theorist denies. That is, it becomes very difficult to state the intellectualist position. That removes a significant and weighty objection to pragmatic encroachment.

  12. Jason, oops, I forgot the question in the last paragraph. As I see it, though, the various terms used here (purism, intellectualism, etc.) are sometimes clarified by a positive account (and then they need work) or they are clarified as a placeholder term for a view that, however we clarify it, must deny pragmatic encroachment. I see how your view goes when presented just with a positive account of the terms in question, but it seems to me that a governing principle for the terms is also the denial of pragmatic encroachment. It isn’t clear to me who this is a problem for. On your side, you can say that you can endorse the positive things the deniers want to say. But then they (we) say, “no, that’s not the right way to understand what I mean.” And that seems right. So what’s the intended view? Hard to state, except as: justification (knowledge, warrant, whatever) depends only on truth-related factors that are uninfected by pragmatic encroachment and other types of encroachment (moral, aesthetic, political, etc.). Such explanations don’t really reveal the essence of the view, and that worries me. But I don’t know if it is a problem or for whom it is a problem.

    This reminds me of Tennant on philosophy of logic. He says that you can’t attack intuitionism by presupposing classical logic in the metalanguage. You have to intuitionist at every level. Various problems here leaving room for a substantive disagreement between classicists and intuitionists, and that’s a defect if true.

    What I wouldn’t want to endorse is the view that the PE-er’s win just because there’s a way to block every positive statement of the intellectualist view, in the same way the intuitionist can point out that objections to intuitionistic scruples presuppose classical principles.

  13. Jon,

    Yes, I agree that PE-er’s don’t win just because there is a way to block every simple positive statement of the intellectualist view. However, perhaps the largest obstacle to accepting PE about knowledge is that there are intuitive claims about the relation between knowledge and other epistemic notions that seem to be in tension with PE (that is, if intellectualism is true about some epistemic notion, then there are intuitive claims in tension with PE). *That* objection against PE is one that does not, upon closer inspection, survive. However, this doesn’t remove other objections against PE (e.g. that it allows intuitively odd counterfactual statements).

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