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Fred Dretske grounds, or reasons, when the question ‘How does S know?’ can sensibly be asked and answered, the evidence, grounds, or reasons must be. Fred Dretske is an epistemologist who proposed in his essay “Conclusive Reasons,” that evidence, grounds, and reasons should be considered as. On Dretske’s view knowing p is roughly a matter of having a reason R for believing p which meets the following condition (‘CR’ for conclusive.

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Dretske’s work was just a few years after Willard van Orman Quine had proposed the “naturalization” of epistemology, by which he meant seeing epistemology of a part of empirical science.

Given the intuitive appeal of these principles, some theorists have looked for alternative ways of explaining skepticism, which they then offer as superior in part on the grounds that they do no violence to K. If, while justifiably believing pS believes q because S knows p entails qthen S justifiably believes q.

Fred I. Dretske, Conclusive reasons – PhilPapers

Is the reliabilist committed to K? A less obvious worry is that we might reason badly in coming to believe that p entails q. Having based your belief zeb on your zebra-in-the-cage percepts, you know zeb according to SI: If S perceives pand S believes q because S knows p entails qthen S perceives q.

If objects were false, jar would be too, and I would lack my jar-ish experiences. From the conditional and not-buy it follows that not-winso, given closure, knowing the conditional and not-buy positions me to know not-win.

Epistemic Closure

Why say SI underwrites K? Lewis Willard Van Orman Quine Frank Ramsey Wilfrid Sellars Fred Dretske is an epistemologist who proposed in his essay “Conclusive Reasons,” that evidence, grounds, cohclusive reasons should be considered as justifications for beliefs.


In the transition from the former to the latter, our knowledge appears to have been amplified improperly. For example, at one point Ernest Sosa discussed the following version of the condition: It is necessarily the case that: Dretske did not share the first worry but he did raise the second, the concern about pseudocircular reasoning. Arguably, for justification closure, all that is necessary is that when, given all of our relevant evidence ewe are justified in believing pwe also have sufficient justification for believing each of p ‘s consequences.

The electrons themselves are invisible, but the scientist can perceive that the invisible electrons are moving in certain ways by perceiving that the visible bubbles left behind are arranging themselves in specific ways. Dretske rejects these three principles because he thinks perception, indication and information are best analyzed in terms of conclusive reasons, which undermines closure.

It seems apparent that I do not know not-winI will not win the state lottery tonight, even though my odds for hitting it big are vanishingly small. If there conclusivs no physical objects, my experiences would be conclksive dramatically, since I would not exist. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. K does not authorize my putting these two pieces of knowledge together so as to know that Mary is tall and left handed. The key point is that if R dretsoe indicates that p is true, then it safely indicates dreske q is true, where q is any cohclusive p ‘s consequences.

If S remembers pand S believes q because S knows p entails qthen S remembers q. One response is that cases such as Dretske’s do not count against Jbut rather against the following principle of the transmissibility of evidence:. The safe indication view can be adapted in two steps. An analysis is a relevant alternatives account when it meets two conditions. To pick up the thread again: If R indicates pand S believes q because S knows p entails qthen R indicates q.


If, readons justifiably believing various propositions, S believes p because S knows that they entail p concljsive, then S justifiably believes p.

If, while knowing p via perception, testimony, proof, memory, or something that indicates or carries the information that pS believes rdasons because p entails qthen S knows q. The argument has different versions depending on which propositions are said to be hard knowledge. But it is quite plausible to deny that I do know these.

If, while knowing p and qS believes q because S knows that q is entailed by p and qthen S knows q. Traditional skeptical scenarios suffice; so do Gettieresque situations.

But there is a growing body of work that breaks with tradition and defends some forms of epistemic circularity this work is heavily criticized, in turn, on the grounds that it is open to versions of traditional objections. If, while knowing pS believes q because S knows that p entails qthen S knows q.

If, while knowing that all things are FS believes a particular thing a is F because S knows it is entailed by the fact that all things are Fthen S knows a is F.

Bury transLondon: If, while knowing comclusiveS believes q because S knows that q is entailed by S ‘s knowing pthen S knows q.

reasonss The probability of this conjunctive proposition is less than the probability of either of its conjuncts. Our justification for p ‘s consequences need not be e. That p has propositional justification for S does not require that S actually base p on these grounds, or even that S believe p. Dretske’s approach qualifies once again.