Three Levels and a Regress? - A Comment on Quassim Cassam s   ``The Possibility of Knowledge
47 pages
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Three Levels and a Regress? - A Comment on Quassim Cassam's ``The Possibility of Knowledge''

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47 pages
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Three Levels and a Regress?A Comment on Quassim Cassam’s“The Possibility of Knowledge”Erik SteiJohannes Gutenberg-Universität MainzJanuary 11, 20081. The 3-Levels Approach 2. Implications of Enabling Conditions 3. A Regress? 4. Means of Egress 5. ConclusionOutline1. The 3-Levels Approach2. Implications of Enabling Conditions3. A Regress?4. Means of Egress5. ConclusionErik Stei Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz1. The 3-Levels Approach 2. Implications of Enabling Conditions 3. A Regress? 4. Means of Egress 5. Conclusion1. The 3-Levels Approach3 Levels of How-Possible-QuestionsI Level 1: Means ResponseI Level 2: Obstacle Removing LevelI Level 3: Enabling ConditionsErik Stei Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz1. The 3-Levels Approach 2. Implications of Enabling Conditions 3. A Regress? 4. Means of Egress 5. ConclusionLevel 1: Means Response“A Means Response to a how-possible question regards theidentification of one or more of the means by which something cancome about as a means of explaining how it is possible. So, forexample, if perceiving is a means of coming to know somethingabout the world around us then it is also a means by whichknowledge of the external world is possible.”(Cassam 2007: 6)Erik Stei Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz1. The 3-Levels Approach 2. Implications of Enabling Conditions 3. A Regress? 4. Means of Egress 5. ConclusionLevel 2: Obstacle Removing LevelI Obstacle-Overcoming Response:An obstacle-overcoming ...

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Three Levels and a Regress?
A Comment on Quassim Cassam’s “The Possibility of Knowledge”
Erik Stei
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
January 11, 2008
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3. A Regress?
4. Means of Egress
2. Implications of Enabling Conditions
1. The 3-Levels Approach
5. Conclusion
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Outline
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3 Levels of How-Possible-Questions ILevel 1: Response Means ILevel 2: Obstacle Removing Level ILevel 3: Enabling Conditions
The 3-Levels Approach
1.
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Level 1: Means Response “A Means Response to a how-possible question regards the identification of one or more of the means by which something can come about as a means of explaining how it is possible. So, for example, if perceiving is a means of coming to know something about the world around us then it is also a means by which knowledge of the external world is possible.” (Cassam 2007: 6)
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Level 2: Obstacle Removing Level IObstacle-Overcoming Response: An obstacle-overcoming response would be one which shows that the requirement which is an obstacle to answering a How-Possible Question (HPQ)canin fact be met. IObstacle-Dissipating Response: “An obstacle-dissipating response, in contrast, would be one which makes it plausible that there is no such requirement.” (Cassam 2007: 8)
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Level 2: Obstacle Removing Level IObstacle-Overcoming Response: An obstacle-overcoming response would be one which shows that the requirement which is an obstacle to answering a How-Possible Question (HPQ)canin fact be met. IObstacle-Dissipating Response: “An obstacle-dissipating response, in contrast, would be one which makes it plausible that there is no such requirement. (Cassam 2007: 8)
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Level 3: Enabling Conditions IWhat makes it possible for us to acquire knowledge of kind K by means M? “This is a question about what might be called theenabling conditionsof [knowledge of kind K], the conditions under which it is possible for [M] to be a source of knowledge of [kind K] . . . I thought that underpins this question is that there is. . . The more to explaining how something is possible than showing that it isn’t impossible.” (Cassam 2007: 9)
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Level 3: Enabling Conditions IWhat makes it possible for us to acquire knowledge of kind K by means M? “This is a question about what might be called theenabling conditionsof [knowledge of kind K], the conditions under which it is possible for [M] to be a source of knowledge of [kind K] . . . I. . . The thought that underpins this question is that there is more to explaining how something is possible than showing that it isn’t impossible.” (Cassam 2007: 9)
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What does a Multi-Levels Response look like? “A multi-levels response to a how-possible question operates on different levels. Level 1 is the level of means, the level at which means of knowing about a certain subject matter are identified. (. . . )Level 2 is the obstacle-removing level, the level at which obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge by the proposed means are overcome or dissipated. Finally, Level 3 is the level at which enabling conditions for knowing by the proposed means are identified.”(Cassam 2007: 10)
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What does a Multi-Levels Response look like? “A multi-levels response to a how-possible question operates on different levels. Level 1 is the level of means, the level at which means of knowing about a certain subject matter are identified. (. . . ) Level 2 is the obstacle-removing level, the level at which obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge by the proposed means are overcome or dissipated.Finally, Level 3 is the level at which enabling conditions for knowing by the proposed means are identified.”(Cassam 2007: 10)
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What does a Multi-Levels Response look like? “A multi-levels response to a how-possible question operates on different levels. Level 1 is the level of means, the level at which means of knowing about a certain subject matter are identified. (. . . ) Level 2 is the obstacle-removing level, the level at which obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge by the proposed means are overcome or dissipated. Finally, Level 3 is the level at which enabling conditions for knowing by the proposed means are identified.”(Cassam 2007: 10)
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