what is epistemic closure principle

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hossein
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what is epistemic closure principle

Post by hossein »

what is this thing "epistemic closure principle" exactly (which is sometimes mentioned as the rule of transmission) and why has it become so important in contemporary epistemology? what is its implications in basic topics of epistemology?
thank u so much for your attention every body!
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: what is epistemic closure principle

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

http://www.iep.utm.edu/epis-clo/#H2
2. Philosophical Uses of the Closure Principle

The closure principle, now qualified to handle the straightforward counterexamples, has been employed in skeptical and anti-skeptical arguments, in support of a dogmatic refusal pay attention to evidence that counts against what one knows, to generate a paradox about self-knowledge, and for many other philosophical ends. These uses are described in brief in this section, and in greater detail in later sections.

The skeptic may argue as follows:
1.I do not know that I am not a handless, artificially stimulated brain in a vat.
2.I do know that I have hands entails I am not a handless, artificially stimulated, brain in a vat.
3.If I know one thing, and I know that it entails a second thing, then I also know the second thing. (Closure)
4.Thus, I do not know that I have hands. (From 2 and 3, if I knew I had hands I would know that I am not a brain in a vat, in contradiction with 1).

If one really knew the ordinary common sense claim to be true, one could deduce the falsity of the skeptical claim from it and come to know that the skeptical claim is false (by closure). The fact that one cannot know that the skeptical claim is false (as per the first premise) demonstrates that one does not in fact know that the common sense proposition is true either. (See also Contemporary Skepticism).

But one person’s modus tollens (the inference from if p then q and not-q to the conclusion not-p) is another person’s modus ponens (the inference from if p then q and p to the conclusion q), as we can see from an anti-skeptical argument of the sort associated with G.E. Moore. (See Moore 1959).
1.I know that I have hands.
2.I know that I have hands entails I am not a handless, artificially stimulated, brain in a vat.
3.If I know one thing, and I know that it entails a second thing, then I also know the second thing. (Closure)
4.Thus, I know that I am not a handless, artificially stimulated brain in a vat.

From the fact that one knows that she has hands and this is incompatible with a skeptical hypothesis under which her hands are illusory, one can infer, and thus come to know (if closure is correct), the falsity of the skeptical hypothesis.
Humans by default are programmed for certainty and closure for a limited range of purposes related to basic survival.
The 'closure principle' imo, is established to meet the above inherent instinct.

Nevertheless the 'closure principle' cannot be subjected to itself, thus itself is not 'closed'.
hossein
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Re: what is epistemic closure principle

Post by hossein »

thank u very much Aequitas;
I think the fact that i don't know whether the consequent of a conditional is the case should not necessarily count as the negation of that conditional's antecedent and hence construct a modus tollens. i.e. if we have "if p then q" and also have "~Kq", this cannot give us "~p". but perhaps can deliver "~Kp".
and about your last sentence, what do u mean by "closure principle cannot be subjected to itself, thus itself is not closed" ? would u plz explain it more?
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: what is epistemic closure principle

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

hossein wrote:thank u very much Aequitas;
I think the fact that i don't know whether the consequent of a conditional is the case should not necessarily count as the negation of that conditional's antecedent and hence construct a modus tollens. i.e. if we have "if p then q" and also have "~Kq", this cannot give us "~p". but perhaps can deliver "~Kp".
and about your last sentence, what do u mean by "closure principle cannot be subjected to itself, thus itself is not closed" ? would u plz explain it more?
I meant, for those who are pro the espistemic closure principle, they should not take whatever entailments from that principle as final and absolute.

For example, the fact that the Sun rises everyday, entails the existence of the Sun.
This truth is only valid within the common sense and scientific perspective.
In other perspectives, for example, Hume, that is not the absolute truth.

From Nietsche's, 'There are no absolute truths, there are only perspective'.
As such whatever proposition is entailed, it is merely perspectival and relative to the framework or a 'language game'.
hossein
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:40 pm
Location: Tehran, Iran

Re: what is epistemic closure principle

Post by hossein »

Thanks so much for the explanation Aequitas
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