Ideas from 'Elusive Knowledge' by David Lewis [1996], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology' by Lewis,David [CUP 1999,0-521-58787-5]].

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11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / a. Beliefs
The timid student has knowledge without belief, lacking confidence in their correct answer
                        Full Idea: I allow knowledge without belief, as in the case of the timid student who knows the answer but has no confidence that he has it right, and so does not believe what he knows.
                        From: David Lewis (Elusive Knowledge [1996], p.429)
                        A reaction: [He cites Woozley 1953 for the timid student] I don't accept this example (since my views on knowledge are rather traditional, I find). Why would the student give that answer if they didn't believe it? Sustained timid correctness never happens.
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 3. Fallibilism
To say S knows P, but cannot eliminate not-P, sounds like a contradiction
                        Full Idea: If you claim that S knows that P, and yet grant that S cannot eliminate a certain possibility of not-P, it certainly seems as if you have granted that S does not after all know that P. To speak of fallible knowledge just sounds contradictory.
                        From: David Lewis (Elusive Knowledge [1996], p.419)
                        A reaction: Starting from this point, fallibilism seems to be a rather bold move. The only sensible response seems to be to relax the requirement that not-P must be eliminable. Best: in one epistemic context P, in another not-P.
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 1. Justification / b. Need for justification
Justification is neither sufficient nor necessary for knowledge
                        Full Idea: I don't agree that the mark of knowledge is justification, first because justification isn't sufficient - your true opinion that you will lose the lottery isn't knowledge, whatever the odds; and also not necessary - for what supports perception or memory?
                        From: David Lewis (Elusive Knowledge [1996])
                        A reaction: I don't think I agree. The point about the lottery is that an overwhelming reason will never get you to knowing that you won't win. But good reasons are coherent, not statistical. If perceptions are dubious, justification must be available.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 6. Contextual Justification / a. Contextualism
Knowing is context-sensitive because the domain of quantification varies
                        Full Idea: The context-sensitivity of 'knows' is a function of contextual restrictions on the domain of quantification.
                        From: report of David Lewis (Elusive Knowledge [1996]) by Stewart Cohen - Contextualism Defended p.68
                        A reaction: I think the shifting 'domain of quantification' is one of the most interesting features of ordinary talk. Or, more plainly. 'what are you actually talking about?' is the key question in any fruitful dialogue. Sophisticated speakers tacitly shift domain.
We have knowledge if alternatives are eliminated, but appropriate alternatives depend on context
                        Full Idea: S knows P if S's evidence eliminates every alternative. But the nature of the alternatives depends on context. So for Lewis, the context sensitivity of 'knows' is a function of contextual restrictions ln the domain of quantification.
                        From: report of David Lewis (Elusive Knowledge [1996]) by Stewart Cohen - Contextualism Defended (and reply) 1
                        A reaction: A typical modern attempt to 'regiment' a loose term like 'context'. That said, I like the idea. I'm struck by how the domain varies during a conversation (as in 'what we are talking about'). Domains standardly contain 'objects', though.