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Professor Jason Stanley (Rutgers University) has recently won the American Philosophical Association Book Prize for his book, Knowledge and Practical Interests. In this book, Stanely also tests and develops his theories and principles by means of intuitive judgments about cases. Here is a case from the book:

[Bank Case 1:] Hannah and her wife Sarah are driving home on a Friday afternoon. They plan to stop at the bank on the way home to deposit their paychecks. Since they have an impending bill coming due, and very little in their account, it is very important that they deposit their paychecks by Saturday. But neither Hannah nor Sarah is aware of the impending bill, nor of the paucity of available funds. Looking at the lines [i.e., at the long queue at the bank], Hannah says to Sarah, ‘I know the bank will be open tomorrow, since I was there just two weeks ago on Saturday morning. So we can deposit our paychecks tomorrow morning.’ (p. 5)

Question: Is Hannah’s utterance of ‘I know the bank will be open tomorrow’ true?

Happy voting :) Thoughts and comments on this case welcome here.

Bank Case 1: Is Hannah's utterance of 'I know the bank will be open tomorrow' true? [See Jason Stanley's Bank Case Poll Post for details]

  • Yes (43%)
  • No (41%)
  • Not sure (16%)

Total Votes: 113


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  1. 1. Posted by Jussi Suikkanen | January 3, 2008 12:08 pm

    Is that the story in whole? I know my intuitions would much depend on whether it is true that the bank is open the next day. If it is true, then at least it might be that she knows, but if it false then surely considerably less people, if anyone, would think that she knows.

  2. 2. Posted by S. Matthew Liao | January 3, 2008 4:06 pm

    That’s an excellent question, Jussi. Stanley doesn’t specify further, but based on his other cases and the general point he is trying to make, I think we can presume that the bank will in fact be open the next day.

  3. 3. Posted by S. Matthew Liao | January 18, 2008 12:48 am

    So far, a total of 44 people have voted: 45% voted ‘Yes,’ 32% voted ‘No,’ and 23% voted ‘Not sure.’ It’d be quite interesting to learn why people voted the way they did.

  4. 4. Posted by Bob Barnard | February 5, 2008 5:14 pm

    I voted no. I guess I am relying on an imagined possible outcome where they go to the bank Sat. morning and it isn’t open. If I asserted ‘I know that it will rain tomorrow’ on the basis of my experiencing rain two weeks ago on the same day of the week, it would be pretty clear that the knowledge claim would be false. The case is really interesting since there is so much tacit information in play, but the general form of the justification claim fails by my lights.

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