A Defense of Temperate Epistemic Transparency
- 189 Downloads
Epistemic transparency tells us that, if an agent S knows a given proposition p, then S knows that she knows that p. This idea is usually encoded in the so-called KK principle of epistemic logic. The paper develops an argument in favor of a moderate version of KK, which I dub quasi-transparency, as a normative rather than a descriptive principle. In the second Section I put forward the suggestion that epistemic transparency is not a demand of ideal rationality, but of ideal epistemic responsibility, and hence that ideally responsible agents verify transparency principles of some sort; I also contend that their satisfaction should not be tied to an internalist epistemology. The central argument in favor of transparency is then addressed in Sections 3 to 8, through the development of a formal system. I show that, in a well-behaved formal setting, a moderate version of transparency is imposed upon us as a result of a number of independent decisions on the structure of higher-order probabilities, as long as we request that our probability and knowledge attributions cohere with each other. Thus I give a rationale to build a model for a hierarchy of languages with different levels of knowledge and probability operators; we obtain an analogous to KK for successive knowledge operators without actually demanding transitivity. The formal argument reinforces the philosophical intuition that epistemic transparency is an important desideratum we should not be too ready to dismiss.
KeywordsTransparency Responsibility Self-knowledge Higher-order probabilities Epistemic logic
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Bilgrami, A. (1999). Why is self-knowledge different from other kinds of knowledge? In L. E. Hahn (Ed.), The philosophy of Donald Davidson, library of living philosophers (pp. 211–224). Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
- 2.Bilgrami, A. (2006). Self-knowledge and resentment. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- 4.Brandom, R. (1994). Making it explicit. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- 7.Egré, P. (2008). Reliability, margin for error, and self-knowledge. In V. Hendricks & D. Pritchard (Eds.), New waves in epistemology (pp. 215–250). New York: Pagrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- 11.Gaifman, H. (1986). A theory of higher-order probabilities. In B. Skyrms & W. Harper (Eds.), Causation, chance, and credence (pp. 191–219). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
- 12.Hieronymi, P. (2005). The wrong kind of reason. Journal of Philosophy, 102(9), 427–457.Google Scholar
- 13.Hintikka, J. (1962). Knowledge and belief. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- 14.Leitgeb, H. (2002). Critical study of knowledge and its limits. Grazer Philosophischen Studien, 65, 195–205.Google Scholar
- 17.Nozick, R. (1981). Philosophical investigations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- 20.Samet, D. (1997). On the triviality of high-order probabilistic beliefs. Game Theory and Information 9705001, EconWPA.Google Scholar
- 21.Skyrms, B. (1980). Higher order degrees of belief. In Prospects for pragmatism. Essays in honor of F. P. Ramsey (Vol. 1, pp. 109–137). Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- 22.Sosa, E. (2007). A virtue epistemology: Apt beliefs and reflective knowledge (Vol. 1). Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- 26.Williams, M. (2001). Problems of knowledge: A critical introduction to epistemology. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- 27.Williamson, T. Very improbable knowing. Erkenntnis, forthcoming. Draft available at: http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/_data/assets/pdf_file/0015/19302/veryimprobable.pdf.
- 29.Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and its limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar