Pragmatic Encroachment and the Threshold Problem

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The threshold problem for knowledge is the problem of saying where the threshold for knowledge lies in various cases and explaining why it lies there rather than elsewhere. Pragmatic encroachment is the idea that the knowledge-threshold is sensitive to practical factors. The latter idea seems to help us make progress on the former problem. However, Jessica Brown has argued that appearances are deceiving in this case: the threshold problem is still a thorny one even for those who accept pragmatic encroachment. This paper takes a look at Brown’s arguments and at Michael Hannon’s recent attempt to respond to them. Hannon’s response is shown to face serious difficulties and a novel alternative response to Brown is provided. The paper also takes up an issue Brown raises very briefly concerning cases in which a proposition is relevant to multiple stakes which a subject faces at a given time. It turns out that there is a good deal more to be said about how defenders of pragmatic encroachment should try to handle such cases than Brown permits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-188
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Logic


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