Two Deflationary Approaches to Fitch-Style Reasoning

C. Kelp, D. Pritchard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter looks at one — perhaps the only — theoretical view to which, on the face of it, the knowability principle is of central importance. It then considers two deflationary responses to Fitch's argument on behalf of defenders of this view. A `deflationary' response to the argument refers to a proposal which proceeds by weakening, on a principled basis, one of the principles essentially employed by that argument. The motivation for this strategy is this: ceteris paribus, if one can accommodate the considerations which prompt adoption of a certain principle by advancing a version of that principle which is (perhaps only slightly) logically weaker, then one ought to do so. If one can further show that the Fitch argument is blocked once the weaker `deflated' version of the principle is adopted, then one will have succeeded in offering a deflationary response to the argument. The first deflationary response that we will consider proceeds by weakening the factivity principle for knowledge. It is argued that this strategy does not stand up to closer inspection. Nevertheless, there are good grounds for holding that the second deflationary response considered — which rejects the principle of knowability in favour of a weaker principle — is effective at resolving the problem posed by Fitch's argument.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Essays on the Knowability Paradox
EditorsJoe Salerno
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780199285495
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • deflationary response
  • knowability paradox
  • knowability
  • theoretical view


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