Knowledge by Deduction
Abstract:It seems beyond doubt that a thinker can come to know a conclusion by deducing it from premisses that he knows already, but philosophers have found it puzzling how a thinker could acquire knowledge in this way. Assuming a broadly externalist conception of knowledge, I explain why judgements competently deduced from known premisses are themselves knowledgeable. Assuming an exclusionary conception of judgeable content, I further explain how such judgements can be informative. (According to the exclusionary conception, which I develop from some remarks in Ramsey, a judgement's content is given by the hitherto live possibilities that it excludes or rules out.) I propose that the value of logic lies in its allowing us to combine different sources of knowledge, so that we can learn things that we could not learn from those sources individually. I conclude by arguing that while single-conclusion logics possess that value, multiple-conclusion logics do not.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2008