forum 11: week of 26 March - knowledge and accomplishment

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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hah: no replies (yet). Come to class and all will be explained.

21:29, 26 March 2012

I'm not sure if I understood the question correctly, but here's my attempt to answer it: I get the impression that one of the possible analogs of the fake barn cases has already been discussed in the paper. It's the killer flu case, where the subject has been planning to murder someone, but instead sneezes on them and ends up killing them this way instead of the initially intended method. This doesn't appear to be a genuine case of accomplishing accomplishment, because, while the intended result has been achieved, since it was achieved by means other than the ones planned in advance, it is not the case of AA, but seems to have been achieved with some element of luck.

03:24, 27 March 2012
 

I think that Williamson's argument is more satisfying when applied to accomplishment rather than knowledge. I'm not sure if I'm convinced that persistence could be part of the distinction between knowledge and something lesser like true belief. But classifying accomplishment with respect to persistence seems more plausible. For knowledge, I think it's more likely that the distinction comes earlier - possibly from the cause of the persistence (in other words how the knowledge was acquired).

22:48, 1 April 2012
 

A similarity I notice among accomplishment, and Williamson's explanation of our actions, is the role of stakes. It seems that the more difficult something is to accomplish, the more willing we are to call it an accomplishment. If accomplishing something will lead to something significant, such as a large cash prize, then we would consider achieving this to be an accomplishment. The same can be said for Williamson's example of the burglar; the burglar is willing to ransack the house if he knows that the diamond is somewhere in the house, but his strong desire to possess the diamond is necessary for him to search the house, knowledge alone would not be enough. In both cases it seems that one's motivation to achieve whatever is at stake plays a crucial role.

23:05, 3 April 2012