Reflective Knowledge and the Nature of Truth

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Abstract

I consider the problem of reflective knowledge faced by views that treat sensitivity as a sufficient condition for knowledge, or as a major ingredient of the concept, as in the analysis I advance in Scepticism and Reliable Belief. I present the problem as concerning the correct analysis of SATs — beliefs to the effect that one of my current beliefs is true. I suggest that a plausible analysis of SATs should treat them as neither true nor false when they ascribe truth to a non-existent belief. I argue that the problem is inescapable if we construe SATs as ascribing the property of truth to a belief. Deflationism manages to avoid the problem of reflective knowledge, but it does so by violating alethic priority — the principle that our account of representation must be built on our account of truth. I argue that we can avoid the problem of reflective knowledge while preserving alethic priority with a pragmatist account of truth — according to which truth is explicated in terms of the rules that govern the practice of assessing judgments and related items as true or false.

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