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Certainty

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-P005-1
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-P005-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 19, 2018, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/certainty/v-1

Article Summary

‘Certainty’ is not a univocal term. It is predicated of people, and it is predicated of propositions. When certainty is predicated of a person, as in ‘Sally is certain that she parked her car in lot 359’, we are ascribing an attitude to Sally. We can say that a person, S, is psychologically certain of a proposition, p, just in case S believes p without any doubts. In general, psychological certainty has not been a topic which philosophers have found problematic.

On the other hand, certainty as a property of propositions, as in ‘The proposition that Sally parked her car in lot 359 is certain for Sally’, has been discussed widely by philosophers. Roughly, we can say that a proposition, p, is propositionally certain for a person, S, just in case S is fully warranted in believing that p and there are no legitimate grounds whatsoever to doubt that p. The philosophical issue, of course, is whether there are any such propositions and, if so, what makes them certain.

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Citing this article:
Klein, Peter D.. Certainty, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-P005-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/certainty/v-1.
Copyright © 1998-2018 Routledge.

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