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Knowledge and its Limits$
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Timothy Williamson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019925656X.001.0001

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Primeness

Primeness

Chapter:
(p.65) 3 Primeness
Source:
Knowledge and its Limits
Author(s):

Timothy Williamson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019925656X.003.0004

A composite condition is one that consists of the conjunction of a purely internalist condition and a purely external condition; a condition that is not composite is prime. A general method of argument is provided for showing that many mental states, including knowing, are prime. A connection is made with the account of knowledge that Plato gives in the Meno. The primeness of mental states is shown to contribute to their value in the explanation of action by facilitating a kind of generality, which is made precise by use of the probabilistic notion of a correlation coefficient. The account is extended to the explanation of non‐mental events.

Keywords:   action, composite, condition, correlation coefficient, explanation, externalism, generality, internalism, Meno, Plato, prime

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