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Williamson on Knowledge$
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Patrick Greenough and Duncan Pritchard

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287512.001.0001

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Williamson on Knowledge and Evidence

Williamson on Knowledge and Evidence

(p.73) 5 Williamson on Knowledge and Evidence
Williamson on Knowledge

Alvin Goldman

Oxford University Press

It is difficult to reconcile Williamson's rejection of ‘decompositional’ analyses with his positive proposals for an ‘account’ of knowledge. After arguing that epistemologists should remain interested in sufficiency conditions, this chapter challenges the sufficiency of Williamson's safety-based account. Examination of cases suggests that the safety-based account is probably inferior to two of its reliabilist ‘cousins’: the relevant-alternatives approach and the reliable-process approach. The remainder of the chapter offers reasons to doubt Williamson's ‘evidence equals knowledge’ thesis. Interpreting evidence as non-inferential propositional justifiedness is at least as promising as interpreting evidence as knowledge. The case of the diffident doxastic agent — whose reluctance to believe is compatible with an abundance of evidence — helps support this claim.

Keywords:   evidence, justifiedness, knowledge, relevant alternatives, safety, reliability, Williamson

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