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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 38, 2013

Michael Hannon
Pages 349-366
DOI: 10.5840/jpr20133818

'Knows’ Entails Truth

It is almost universally presumed that knowledge is factive: in order to know that p it must be the case that p is true. This idea is often justified by appealing to knowledge ascriptions and related linguistic phenomena; i.e., an utterance of the form ‘S knows that p, but not-p’ sounds contradictory. In a recent article, Allan Hazlett argues that our ordinary concept of knowledge is not factive. From this it seems to follow that epistemologists cannot appeal to ordinary language to justify the truth condition of knowledge. More significantly, Hazlett claims that epistemologists theorizing about knowledge should not concern themselves with the ordinary concept of knowledge as revealed by knowledge ascriptions and related linguistic phenomena. My paper has two goals: first, to defend the orthodox view that the ordinary concept of knowledge is factive; second, to undermine Hazlett’s claim that epistemologists should not theorize about knowledge on the basis of how ‘knows’ is used in everyday speech.

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