The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Thu Dec 8, 2011
Howison Library, 4:10–6 PM
Graduate Research Colloquium
Tamar Lando (University of California, Berkeley)
Conclusive Reasons to Believe

How should we understand reasons-based knowledge? According to the counterfactual account of conclusive reasons, famously defended by Dretske, R is conclusive for P just in case [R would not be the case unless P were the case]. I argue that while knowing is plausibly related to having conclusive reasons to believe, having such reasons cannot be understood in terms of the obtaining of this counterfactual condition. I suggest a new theory of what it is to have conclusive reason to believe that P—one which does a better job of capturing our intuitive judgments in a wide range of cases. The inadequacy of the counterfactual account has, as I argue, wider consequences for safety- based theories of knowledge, and modal accounts of ‘epistemic luck.’