Epistemic Intuitions in Fake-Barn Thought Experiments
20 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2011 Last revised: 29 Jul 2013
Date Written: April 5, 2013
In epistemology, fake-barn thought experiments are often taken to be intuitively clear cases in which a justified true belief does not qualify as knowledge. We report a study designed to determine whether non-philosophers share this intuition. The data suggest that while participants are less inclined to attribute knowledge in fake-barn cases than in unproblematic cases of knowledge, they nonetheless do attribute knowledge to protagonists in fake-barn cases. Moreover, the intuition that fake-barn cases do count as knowledge is negatively correlated with age; older participants are less likely than younger participants to attribute knowledge in fake-barn cases. We also found that increasing the number of defeaters (fakes) does not decrease the inclination to attribute knowledge.
Keywords: experimental philosophy, intuitions, epistemology, fake barn cases, age differences
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