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Suppose that if I am happy I am not obliged to know it, and if I am not happy I am not obliged to know it, then does that mean that I am not obliged to know if I am happy or not? It seems non obligatory, and I believe it is non-obligatory, but I am stuck feeling I should know if I'm happy or not even with those premises.

More generally, if I am not obliged to know p or not p, then does that mean that p is meaningless (for me)? This may seem a strong phrase, but I feel (again it's just a feeling) that if e.g. I am not permitted to know p or not p then p matters nothing, and if not obliged then it's not essential to any possible good.

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This might be related to "the" paradox of epistemic obligation. What I mean is that if we are ever obligated to know that A or not A, yet when either is something wrong, then it seems like it is obligatory that the thing that is wrong would be in order to be known, but that seems morally absurd. But if we can deny agglomeration, or OBA & OBB = OB(A & B), then can we deny an inverse of this with respect to disjunction? So to say:

  • ¬(OB(A or B) = (OBA or OBB))

... leaving us with e.g. perhaps an obligation to know whether we are happy, but not an obligation that one be known regardless of the knowability of the other. (See sec. 1.2, and later, in the SEP article on questions, for comparisons and contrasts between knowledge-that, knowing-whether, and knowing-which. Note that it sounds fine in English when one says, "It is known whether X or Y," but not quite so much, "It is obligatory whether X or Y," or at least the latter is not very common, anyway.)

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  • sorry i have too much invested in an answer to make sense of "when either is something wrong" here
    – user67675
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 19:59
  • @prof_ghost I mean that the mainstream paradox kicks in relative to wrongfulness, but maybe there is a more general paradox/puzzle available in this connection, per your example. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 20:21
  • ok dwai. i have a headache. idt there is anything paradoxical about it (you can only know p if p), and that it shows that anything the premises hold for (e.g. happiness) is not something that i should know: at least for now (hah)
    – user67675
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 20:24
  • i followed the link to the paradox, thanks. that's very pretty if you've shown that (can't read symbolic logic lol).
    – user67675
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 1:20
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The problem with your analysis is a confusion over a specific instance of a more general logical phenomenon, namely that ~A⊭~(A∨B). Further, any logic that uses Classical Propositional Logic validates (A∨~A) for any wff A. So, your attempted counterexample fails both since it is a validity that you either know something or you don’t, but also because the negation of a disjunct doesn’t imply the negation of the whole disjunction of which it’s a part.

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  • it wasn't an attempted counter example! i don't recognize all the symbols you use, sorry, can you write it out? are you saying "yes" to the title question?
    – user67675
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 19:56
  • Read the part starting from “so your…” again. I explain what the symbols mean in words in that part. Basically, just because in each of two cases it holds that you aren’t obliged to know one of either P or not-P, it still follows that you know (P or not-P).
    – PW_246
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 20:11
  • that makes no sense. is it a typo? there are lots of things that i don't know, so why would it follow i do?
    – user67675
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 20:12
  • @prof_ghost since, assuming Classical negation, you know that for any proposition, you know that it’s the case or you don’t know that it’s the case. Basically, just because you know one of either P or Q holds, it doesn’t mean you know which one of them holds.
    – PW_246
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 23:28

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