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The Knowability Paradox$
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Jonathan L. Kvanvig

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282593

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199282595.001.0001

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The Paradox

The Paradox

(p.7) 1 The Paradox
The Knowability Paradox

Jonathan L. Kvanvig (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the logical structure of the knowability paradox, presenting the details of the proofs that underlie the paradox, and clarifying which elements of these proofs give rise to paradox. It argues that there is no simple and obvious logical mistake in the derivation of the knowability result. A paradox has deep significance only if it arises from plausible premises. Those in question in Fitch’s proof are the claim of epistemic modesty, that some truths will never be known, and the knowability principle that all truths are knowable. Although the second claim does not have the same intuitive pull as the first, there are substantive grounds in its favour; grounds that some hold show that all truths are knowable, but which show at the very least that it is plausible to maintain that all truths are knowable.

Keywords:   knowability paradox, proof, epistemic modesty, knowability principle, truth

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