Knowledge and approximate knowledge

L.B. Decock, I.E.J. Douven, C. Kelp, S. Wenmackers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Traditionally, epistemologists have held that only truth-related factors matter in the question of whether a subject can be said to know a proposition. Various philosophers have recently departed from this doctrine by claiming that the answer to this question also depends on practical concerns. They take this move to be warranted by the fact that people’s knowledge attributions appear sensitive to contextual variation, in particular variation due to differing stakes. This paper proposes an alternative explanation of the aforementioned fact, one that allows us to stick to the orthodoxy. The alternative applies the conceptual spaces approach to the concept of knowledge. With knowledge conceived of spatially, the variability in knowledge attributions follows from recent work on identity, according to which our standards for judging things (including concepts) to be identical are context-dependent. On the proposal to be made, it depends on what is at stake in a context whether it is worth distinguishing between knowing and being at least close to knowing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1150
Number of pages22
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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