Book

Knowledge and its Limits

Timothy Williamson

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199256563
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598678 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019925656X.001.0001

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

Knowledge and its Limits

Show Summary Details

Preview

The book develops a conception of epistemology in which the notion of knowledge is explanatorily fundamental. It reverses the traditional programme of trying to analyse knowledge as a combination of truth, belief, and other factors, such as justification. Rather, belief is a state whose successful form is knowledge, and justification is on the basis of knowledge, which is acquainted with evidence. Knowing is as much a mental state as believing, but it is world‐involving because one can know only what is true; the book extends the externalist conception of mind from the contents of mental states to the attitudes to those contents. As with other mental states, one cannot always know whether one is in the state of knowing. It is argued that this is a special case of a much more general phenomenon; no non‐trivial conditions are such that one is always in a position to know that they obtain whenever they in fact do so. This result has disturbing implications for the nature of rationality, because one is not always in a position to know what it is rational to do. Traditional arguments for scepticism fail because they assume that one is always in a position to know what one's evidence is. The speech act of assertion is also governed by a norm of knowledge. A final chapter explores the limits on what can be known that are revealed by the so‐called paradox of knowability.

Keywords: assertion; belief; Epistemology; evidence; externalism; internalism; justification; knowledge; mental state; paradox of knowability; philosophy of mind; rationality; scepticism; Timothy Williamson

Book.  352 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »


Table of Contents

Introduction in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

A State of Mind in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Broadness in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Primeness in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Anti‐Luminosity in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

An Application in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Sensitivity in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Scepticism in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Evidence in Knowledge and its Limits

Chapter

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

See all items in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.