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Infallibilism and the state of nature

Berry, D.; (2011) Infallibilism and the state of nature. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The subject of this thesis is the debate between infallibilism and fallibilism in epistemology. Rather than the usual approach of trying to enscaplutate intuitions regarding the meaning of the term ‘knowledge’ with a set of logically necessary and sufficient conditions, I have instead – following Edward Craig’s book ‘Knowledge and State of Nature’ (Craig, 1990) – begun with an hypothesis about the role of the concept in everday life, and used this to construct a picture of the prototypical case of ascription when this purpose is properly fulfilled. The hypothesis employed is that the concept is used to ‘flag good informants’, and the primary methodological technique employed is consideration of the situation of an individual inquirer in the state of nature. Later on (in Chapter 2), considerations brought in by the fact that life in a primitive community is inherently social are brought in, thus complicating the picture; the effect is to derelativize it from the individual situation of the enquirer and bring it closer to the familiar analyses of the literature (with which I make various comparisons). I use the picture of the concept of knowledge thus constructed as a basis to argue against the infallibilists’ positions in chapter 3, and construct a positive alternative in chapter 4.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Infallibilism and the state of nature
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1332885
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