Department of Philosophy
Fallibilism and Multiple Paths to Knowledge (Extended Version)
- Author(s): Holliday, Wesley Halcrow
- et al.
This chapter argues that epistemologists should replace a “standard alternatives” picture of knowledge, assumed by many fallibilist theories of knowledge, with a new “multipath” picture of knowledge. The chapter first identifies a problem for the standard picture: fallibilists working with this picture cannot maintain even the most uncontroversial epistemic closure principles without making extreme assumptions about the ability of humans to know empirical truths without empirical investigation. The chapter then shows how the multipath picture, motivated by independent arguments, saves fallibilism from this problem. The multipath picture is based on taking seriously the idea that there can be multiple paths to knowing some propositions about the world. An overlooked consequence of fallibilism is that these multiple paths to knowledge may involve ruling out different sets of alternatives, which should be represented in a fallibilist picture of knowledge. The chapter concludes by considering inductive knowledge and strong epistemic closure from this multipath perspective.