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When Is True Belief Knowledge?$
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Richard Foley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154725

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154725.001.0001

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Instability and Knowledge

Instability and Knowledge

(p.91) Chapter 18 Instability and Knowledge
When Is True Belief Knowledge?

Richard Foley

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores how the possession of true beliefs for a brief duration can (or cannot) be counted as knowledge. In everyday situations, if one has true but unstable beliefs and is unaware of the source of the instability, this gap in one's information can be used to explain why one lacks knowledge. Demon and brain-in-the-vat hypotheses typically make use of the familiar narrative technique in which the audience is given information that the characters of the story lack. The audience is aware that the characters are being massively deceived, but the characters themselves are not. The chapter, however, takes a new spin on the demon hypothesis to raise further questions about what counts as knowledge in scenarios were the character does not lack information about their situation that is available to the audience.

Keywords:   knowledge, instability, demon hypothesis, true beliefs, unstable beliefs, deception

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