# How to make sense of " I know that p but I could be wrong as to p"? ( Faillibilism)

• There is a well known modal fallacy regarding knowledge which says that if some subject s knows that p, then p cannot be false, and therefore , p is a necessarily true proposition.

Source : [ by Schwartz, author of Possible Worlds] https://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/modal_fallacy.htm#knows

• I want to talk about this other fallacy : if s knows that p, then s is necessarily right about p.

• Sure, it is true that " necessarily ( if s knows that p, s is right about p) ", but that does not mean that " if s knows that p, then s is necessarily right about p". In other words , knowledge does not require infaillibility.

• However, I cannot prevent myself from feeling a tension between : (1) s mustn't be right by luck ( knowledge requires a justification) and (2) s need not to be necessarily right.

• How can a justification yield a belief that is contingently right.

• Certainly, there must be some room between random contingency ( getting it right by luck) and necessity. How to make this idea precise? Could concepts pertaining to probability be helpfull here?

• Maybe I am missing something, but I am not feeling the tension. Empirical justification relies on empirical, and hence contingent, facts and circumstances, so it typically yields only contingently true beliefs. If they happen to be necessarily true that would be luck. On reliabilist theories of justification, beliefs are justified when produced by reliable processes, but reliable processes produce true beliefs only most of the time. Being right isn't luck, but it isn't certainty either, empirical regularities are contingent. Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 12:47

## 1 Answer

There is a well known modal fallacy regarding knowledge which says that if some subject s knows that p, then p cannot be false, and therefore , p is a necessarily true proposition.

Well, there is a well-known syllogism, called "hypothetical syllogism", and we can apply it to solve this question:

1. If S knows that p, then p is true;
2. If p is true, then p cannot be false;
3. Therefore, If S knows that p, then p cannot be false;

Problem solved.

We could have considered the relevant counterfactual instead:

If S knows that p, then it could not have been possible that p be false.

But this conditional is false...

• How do you read premise (2)? T --> Nec( ~F) or Nec ( T --> ~F) ? ( With " Nec" meaning " necessarily") Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 18:28
• @FloridusFloridi I read that as nonsense. This is metaphysical gobbledegook. Alternatively, try to explain to me the notion of "necessity" without assuming it first. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 17:30