New Work for Certainty
Philosophers' Imprint, 2020
Abstract. This paper argues that we should assign certainty a central place in epistemology. While epistemic certainty played an important role in the history of epistemology, recent epistemology has tended to dismiss certainty as an unattainable ideal, focusing its attention on knowledge instead. I argue that this is a mistake. Attending to certainty attributions in the wild suggests that much of our everyday knowledge qualifies, in appropriate contexts, as certain. After developing a semantics for certainty ascriptions, I put certainty to explanatory work. Specifically, I argue that by taking certainty as our central epistemic notion, we can shed light on a variety of important topics, including evidence and evidential probability, epistemic modals, and the normative constraints on credence and assertion.
You can find the published version here, and the penultimate version here.