Knowing from not knowing

Jesper Kallestrup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Arguments from ignorance are typically fallacious: one shouldn’t infer that p is true merely from the fact that p isn’t known to be false. The reason one cannot invariably come to know that p on the basis of lack of knowledge that not-p is that p may well be false even though one hasn’t been in a position to know that not-p. The qualifiers ‘typically’ and ‘invariably’ are key here. In cases where one would have known that not-p had p been false, reasoning from ignorance seems perfectly kosher, indeed where one knows that counterfactual independently, one is positioned to gain knowledge. Goldberg (2010a; 2010b) has developed a set of conditions sufficient for such epistemic coverage to obtain in the domain of social epistemology. This paper elaborates, extends and critically discusses Goldberg’s pioneering framework.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUncovering Facts and Values
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Contemporary Epistemology and Political Philosophy
EditorsAdrian Kuzniar, Joanna Odrowaz-Sypniewska
PublisherBrill Rodopi
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789004312654
ISBN (Print)9789004319103
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Publication series

NamePoznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities
ISSN (Print)0303-8157
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7243


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