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Easy Knowledge

Peter J. Markie
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 70, No. 2 (Mar., 2005), pp. 406-416
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40040800
Page Count: 11
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Easy Knowledge
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Abstract

Stewart Cohen has recently presented solutions to two forms of what he calls "The Problem of Easy Knowledge" ("Basic Knowledge and the Problem of Easy Knowledge," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LXV, 2, September 2002, pp. 309-329). I offer alternative solutions. Like Cohen's, my solutions allow for basic knowledge. Unlike his, they do not require that we distinguish between animal and reflective knowledge, restrict the applicability of closure under known entailments, or deny the ability of basic knowledge to combine with self-knowledge to provide inductive evidential support. My solution to the closure version of the problem covers a variation on the problem that is immune to Cohen's approach. My response to the bootstrapping version presents reasons to question whether the problem case, as Cohen presents it, is even possible, and, assuming it is, my solution avoids a false implication of Cohen's own. The key to my solutions for both versions is the distinction between an inference's transferring epistemic support, on the one hand, and its not begging the question against skeptics, on the other.

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