Difference - Making in Epistemology

Difference-making is thought to play an important role in epistemology. It is quite common to suggest, for example, that for a belief to amount to knowledge the world has to make the relevant kind of difference to what is believed. It is also quite common to suggest that for a belief to be justified on the basis of some evidence the evidence must make the relevant kind of difference to what is believed. In this paper we put forth a novel difference-making constraint on evidence and justification–and therefore, given that knowledge entails justification, a constraint on knowledge as well. We motivate such a constraint by means of a parallel with the suggestion that causation is a difference-making relation. In particular, we argue that a recent account of how causes make a difference to their effects can be adapted to explain how evidence makes a difference to justified beliefs. We also show that the proposed difference-making constraint can shed new light on the problem of “easy knowledge.”  

Co-Author: 
Juan Comesaña
Published in: Noûs
2014 48:2 Pages 368-387