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Nice cases! For now, just a vote ... I'll try to comment later. First case: surely, Shirley knows on Monday. Second case: I need some clarification on Nickfit's situation. Is it the case that he -- at the time we are considering his situation -- only has very strong evidence in favor of his current belief, inter alia, he has -- at the time we are considering him -- no countervailing evidence, and that he WOULD be likely to change his belief were he to have any countervailing evidence, even if the countervailing evidence is very weak?


Clarification on the first case. I agree with Joe that if the example is construed simply as a case of coercian (independent of her grasp of the relevant concepts), then it is clear that Shirley knows on Monday. However, if we understand the case as one in which Shirley's flip-flop is determined by her weak grasp of universal generalization (e.g., if we suppose that she would never have behaved as she did with existential generalization because she has mastered that rule), then it is not so clear to me that she knows on Monday.


Thanks for the clarification, Marc. Could I ask for a follow-up on the clarification? In the initial description of the case, you described Shirley as justified in her belief. Is the clarificatory description of Shirley as having a "weak grasp of universal generalization" compatible with her being justified in so believing?


I think so. Consider Burge-style cases in which an individual incompletely or incorrectly grasps, say, the concept of arthritis. In such cases, we would still want to say that the individual knows (and, hence, is justified in believing) many things concerning arthritis. For example, the individual knows that arthritis causes the pain in his joints. So I don't think that even out-and-out misunderstanding of a concept precludes knowledge.

I guess I am further committed to the claim that a deficient understanding of a concept doesn't imply instability of belief--but I /think/ that is ok. I don't see any reason to say that the arthritis patient's belief is unstable even though he misunderstands the concept of arthritis. Nevertheless, I do think that the nature of one's grasp of a concept may contribute to instability.

Incidentally, I have been pretty vague about what stability amounts to in this discussion--relying on an intuitive grasp of the idea. I do want to point out, however, that I take stability to have both a temporal and a modal characteristic. The first case involves temporal instability; the second, modal instability.

modeling women

You are being so honest. I like your personality.

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