Chapter

Formal Problems About Knowledge

Roy Sorensen

in The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195130058
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833481 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195130057.003.0020
Formal Problems About Knowledge

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In ”Formal Problems about Knowledge,” Roy Sorensen examines epistemological issues that have logical aspects. He uses Fitch's proof for unknowables and the surprise test paradox to illustrate the hopes of the modal logicians who developed epistemic logic, and he considers the epistemology of proof with the help of the knower paradox. One solution to this paradox is that knowledge is not closed under deduction. Sorensen reviews the broader history of this maneuver along with the relevant alternatives model of knowledge which assumes that ”know” is an absolute term like ”flat.” Sorensen argues that the difference between epistemic absolute terms and extensional absolute terms gives rise to an asymmetry that undermines recent claims that there is a structural parallel between the supervaluational and epistemicist theories of vagueness, and he suggests that we have overestimated the ability of logical demonstration to produce knowledge.

Keywords: epistemic logic; epistemology of proof; Fitch's proof; knower paradox; knowledge; logic; modal logic; relevant alternatives; Roy Sorensen; surprise test paradox; unknowable; vagueness

Chapter.  13013 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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