Commitments to knowledge and defaults to knowledge
I've been reading in epistemology lately, and shall be doing so regularly for a while yet. I've seen a couple of moves which strike me as puzzling.
First, it's claimed by some writers that knowledge has a normative element. Apparently, when I assert a claim to knowledge, I am making a "commitment" to truth, that (on the basis of evidence) I am "entitled" to this commitment, and that I have a "right" to believe it. Such strange talk! When I claim to "know" something, I certainly feel I'm correct, that the world is a certain way, but I don't feel like I'm making an ethical claim. Can one make an ethical claim and not be aware of doing it? Suppose I'm saying to the janitor, in the act of handing her the object in question, "The trash can is here," which I would claim to know. Am I making a commitment, or feeling entitled or asserting a right to my belief that the trash can is at a certain place? I think not. I am disposed to think a certain way about the world when I make a knowledge claim, but that I'm committed, entitled, asserting a right, etc. -- that would be a very odd way of talking about what I'm doing in making a knowledge claim. Odd because I'm not doing that. I somehow think others are not doing it either. Why is it that people so quickly want to artificially inject ethics into everything?
Second, I've seen it claimed that, lacking any other contextual cues, any assertion I make is tacitly defaulted to a knowledge claim. Really? In the normal course of my daily utterances, anything I say is a claim to knowledge? Automatically unless shown otherwise? Now that's a strong claim! I think it's fair to say I'm asserting a belief in what I say, and that I've a certain level of psychological attachment to what I say. "Yes, Pat, I think the trash can is right behind the filing cabinet." Do I claim to know that? Often, I don't even consider the epistemic status of what I say. After the fact I might say I was psychologically assured of my statement to Pat, and that I indeed believed it. But to claim that I knew something or that I was asserting a knowledge claim at that instant is way over-stated. I can't see why some writers in epistemology want to make such assured claims about people's utterances. What surveys or psychological studies show that this is the default way that people view their utterances? I sure don't see them giving any citations to this effect.