What Liars Can Tell Us About the Knowledge Norm of Practical Reasoning
Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 347-367, 2011
30 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 23, 2011
If knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning, then we should be able to alter people’s behavior by affecting their knowledge as well as by affecting their beliefs. Thus, as Roy Sorensen (2010, 611) suggests, we should expect to see people telling lies that target knowledge rather than just lies that target belief. In this paper, however, I argue that Sorensen’s discovery of knowledge-lies does not support the claim that knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning. First, I use a Bayesian framework to show that each of his examples of knowledge-lies alters people’s behavior by affecting their beliefs. Second, I show that, while we can imagine lies that target knowledge without targeting belief, they cannot alter people’s behavior. In other words, knowledge-lies actually work (i.e., manipulate behavior) by targeting belief or they do not work at all.
Keywords: Lying, Knowledge-Lies, Knowledge Norm of Practical Reasoning, Bayesianism
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