Beware of Safety

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Safety, as discussed in contemporary epistemology, is a feature of true
beliefs. Safe beliefs, when formed by the same method, remain true in
close-by possible worlds. I argue that our beliefs being safely true serves
no recognisable epistemic interest and, thus, that this notion of safety
should play no role in epistemology. Epistemologists have been misled
by failing to distinguish between a feature of beliefs — being safely true
— and a feature of believers, namely being safe from error. The latter is
central to our epistemic endeavours: we want to be able to get right
answers, whatever they are, to questions of interest. I argue that we are
sufficiently safe from error (in some relevant domain) by being
sufficiently sensitive (to relevant distinctions).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-355
Number of pages29
JournalAnalytic Philosophy
Issue number4
Early online date4 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2019

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  • safety, sensitvity, knowledge, epistemology, epistemic interest

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