Philosophical Studies

, Volume 146, Issue 1, pp 29–48 | Cite as

Restricting factiveness

  • Fredrik Stjernberg


In discussions of Fitch’s paradox, it is usually assumed without further argument that knowledge is factive, that if a subject knows that p, then p is true. It is argued that this common assumption is not as well-founded as it should be, and that there in fact are certain reasons to be suspicious of the unrestricted version of the factiveness claim. There are two kinds of reason for this suspicion. One is that unrestricted factiveness leads to paradoxes and unexpected results, the other is that the usual arguments for factiveness are not as compelling as is commonly thought. There may in fact be some kinds of contexts, where factiveness doesn’t hold for knowledge—the usual arguments for factiveness don’t suffice to support the claim that knowledge is unrestrictedly factive. Perhaps all that can be shown is that knowledge is at times factive, or that it is default factive, as it were: this doesn’t show that there can’t be counterexamples, however. Certain aspects of knowledge without unrestricted factiveness are examined briefly.


Knowledge Factiveness Knower paradox Fitch’s knowability paradox 



Research for this paper was supported by a grant from the Swedish Science Council. An ancestor of this paper was presented at Peter Pagin’s Philosophy of language seminar at Stockholm University, and I would like to thank the participants at that seminar for valuable comments. Joe Salerno and an anonymous referee also provided valuable comments on an earlier version.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hus KeyLinkoping UniversityLinkopingSweden

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