Epistemic modality by Andy Egan, Brian Weatherson

By Andy Egan, Brian Weatherson

"There is lots we do not understand. that implies that there are numerous percentages which are, epistemically talking, open. for example, we do not comprehend even if it rained in Seattle the day gone by. So, for us at the very least, there's an epistemic threat the place it rained in Seattle the day gone by, and one the place it didn't. What are those epistemic percentages? they don't fit up with metaphysical chances -- there are Read more...

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We are asserting the possibility relative to another perspective. For example, an arsonist might utter (5) knowing full well that the core proposition is false. When we do not make the perspective explicit, typically our own perspective is the relevant one, as in a likely utterance of (6). (6) The front door might be unlocked. However, our own perspective can and often does incorporate our audience’s, insofar as we take for granted that their knowledge does not rule out the possibility in question.

So what he believes later is, just as appearances suggest, the negation of what he believed earlier, and in this respect he really has changed his mind. But this does not mean that the detective was first mistaken and later correct. Rather, these seemingly contradictory propositions are both true, but only relative to the relevant perspectives, not absolutely. The detective’s belief that the butler could have done it was true relative to his earlier perspective, and his later belief, that the butler could not have done it, was true too, relative to his later perspective.

5. Shifting Perspectives: Basic Examples Contextualism and Relativism are each motivated by intuitions about the truth values of ostensibly conflicting possibility claims made or considered in various situations. Three basic types of case have been discussed in the literature. In the first case, one person asserts a certain possibility and is overheard by someone else who knows that this possibility doesn’t obtain. The second is a case of direct disagreement between two people about a certain possibility.

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