Knowing the Facts



Keith Hossack argues in his The Metaphysics of Knowledge(2007) that knowledge is a simple and metaphysically fundamental relation between a thinker and a fact: knowledge is uptake of fact. Facts are conceived as combinations of particulars and universals, distinct from true propositions. Hossacks's general argument is, roughly, that one can define central philosophical concepts (belief, content, justification, etc.) if one assumes that knowledge is primitive, but that knowledge cannot be defined in terms of such concepts. In this paper, I will question Hossack's view of knowledge and his use of knowledge in the theory of content. To anticipate one of the main points: there is knowledge that cannot be uptake of a fact, because there is no fact to be taken up. The conclusion is that Hossack needs either to revise his theory of facts or his metaphysics of knowledge. Something has to give.