Impurism, Practical Reasoning, and the Threshold Problem
Article first published online: 27 DEC 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 48, Issue 1, pages 179–192, March 2014
How to Cite
Brown, J. (2014), Impurism, Practical Reasoning, and the Threshold Problem. Noûs, 48: 179–192. doi: 10.1111/nous.12008
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 27 DEC 2012
I consider but reject one broad strategy for answering the threshold problem for fallibilist accounts of knowledge, namely what fixes the degree of probability required for one to know? According to the impurist strategy to be considered, the required degree of probability is fixed by one's practical reasoning situation. I distinguish two different ways to implement the suggested impurist strategy. According to the Relevance Approach, the threshold for a subject to know a proposition at a time is determined by the practical reasoning situations she is then in to which that particular proposition is relevant. According to the Unity Approach, the threshold for a subject to know any proposition whatsoever at a time is determined by a privileged practical reasoning situation she then faces, most plausibly the highest stakes practical reasoning situation she is then in. I argue that neither way of implementing the impurist strategy succeeds and so impurism does not offer a satisfactory response to the threshold problem.