Probabilistic Knowledge and Cognitive Ability

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Abstract

Sarah Moss (2013) argues that degrees of belief, or credences, can amount to knowledge in much the way that full beliefs can. This essay explores a new kind of objective Bayesianism designed to take us some way toward securing such knowledge-constituting credences, or “probabilistic knowledge.” Whatever else it takes for an agent's credences to amount to knowledge, their success, or accuracy, must be the product of cognitive ability or skill. The brand of Bayesianism developed here helps ensure this ability condition is satisfied. Cognitive ability, in turn, helps make credences valuable in other ways: it helps mitigate their dependence on epistemic luck, for example. What we end up with, at the end of the day, are credences that are particularly good candidates for constituting probabilistic knowledge. What's more, examining the character of these credences teaches us something important about what the pursuit of probabilistic knowledge demands from us. It does not demand that we give hypotheses equal treatment, by affording them equal credence. Rather, it demands that we give them equal consideration, by affording them an equal chance of being discovered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-587
Number of pages78
JournalPhilosophical Review
Volume125
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • Probabilistic Knowledge
  • Cognitive Skill
  • Accuracy
  • Explanation

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