Hostname: page-component-7479d7b7d-k7p5g Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-14T05:55:44.690Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 June 2018


Pragmatic encroachment theories have a problem with evidence. On the one hand, the arguments that knowledge is interest-relative look like they will generalise to show that evidence too is interest-relative. On the other hand, our best story of how interests affect knowledge presupposes an interest-invariant notion of evidence. This paper sketches a theory of evidence that is interest-relative, but which allows that ‘best story’ to go through with minimal changes. The evidence someone has is just what evidence a radical interpreter says they have. And a radical interpreter is playing a kind of game with the person they are interpreting. The cases that pose problems for pragmatic encroachment theorists involve coordination games between the interpreter and the interpretee, and like most coordination games they have multiple equilibria. The best solution to these games involves the notion of risk-dominant equilibria. So the evidence the person has is the evidence the interpreter says they have in the risk-dominant equilibria. This will be interest-relative, but consistent with the ‘best story' about how interests usually affect knowledge.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Brown, J. 2008. ‘Subject-Sensitive Invariantism and the Knowledge Norm for Practical Reasoning.’ Noûs, 42: 167–89.Google Scholar
Carlsson, H. and van Damme, E. 1993. ‘Global Games and Equilibrium Selection.’ Econometrica, 61: 9891018.Google Scholar
Fantl, J. and McGrath, M. 2009. Knowledge in an Uncertain World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Harsanyi, J. C. and Selten, R. 1988. A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Hawthorne, J. 2004. Knowledge and Lotteries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Ichikawa, J. J., Jarvis, B. and Rubin, K. 2012. ‘Pragmatic Encroachment and Belief-Desire Psychology.’ Analytic Philosophy, 53: 327–43.Google Scholar
Lackey, J. 2010. ‘Acting on Knowledge.’ Philosophical Perspectives, 24: 361–82.Google Scholar
Reed, B. 2014. ‘Practical Matters Do Not Affect Whether You Know.’ In Steup, M., Turri, J. and Sosa, E. (eds), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd edition, pp. 95106. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
Rousseau, J.-J. 1913. Social Contract and Discourses. Translated by Cole, G. D. H.. New York, NY: J. M. Dent & Sons.Google Scholar
Rubin, K. 2015. ‘Total Pragmatic Encroachment and Epistemic Permissiveness.’ Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 96: 1238.Google Scholar
Schwitzgebel, E. 2008. ‘The Unreliability of Naive Introspection.’ Philosophical Review, 117: 245–73.Google Scholar
Stanley, J. 2005. Knowledge and Practical Interests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Williamson, T. 2000. Knowledge and its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Williamson, T. 2007. The Philosophy of Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar