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Here is an argument against reliabilism. Grateful for comments. Also, is this argument already out there? Wouldn’t be surprised. The argument proceeds in two parts. Here’s part A, an analogy.

1. Suppose I’m imprisoned permanently in a windowless prison cell. However there is a large TV screen. My jailer tells me it shows, by cameras that focus on various events in the world outside, what is really happening.

2. As my life continues I believe that the events on the screen are accurate, but naturally I have doubts–maybe I’m being shown old reruns or computer generated confabulations or...– and I wonder if what I’m seeing is really going on. Sometimes images appear on the screen of how the system itself works–the cameras, their construction, the lens, examples of them capturing events in the world, the way the images are relayed accurately to the screen in my cell...I believe these are accurate but it’s hardly unreasonable to continue to wonder whether what I’m seeing is really going on–th ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/7941 Reply


I am unsure if this is the correct forum for this. Kant is famous for asking what the conditions are for the possibility of knowledge in the Critique of Pure Reason. I  think that his answers are more right than not.

    How can we apply this question to the phenomenology of Sartre or Heidegger? That is, what, are the conditions for knowledge, if any, for some of the claims in Being and Time and Being and Nothingness. I refer to the assertions about Being, Dasein, Nothingness, authenticity and the terminology therein. I realize that this is a huge and difficult question that is worthy of a book. My reason for asking is to challenge the entire projects of these texts. Their conclusions, after all, are not empirical and little or no evidence is given because that is not the intention, except with Husserl, arguably. Their claims are speculative and perhaps fallacious.
. Would you consider their assertions non-propositional in that no definite truth or falsity can be known? I think Ayer would a ... (read more)
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Hi Jack,

Nice paper!. However, if I may, I wasn't convinced by your response to objection five. The objection, I take it, is that the intuitions you are marshaling about incoherence derive from a non-moral standpoint, that is, they are intuitions that arise when one is doing metaethics and not when one is actually moralizing.  And it seems undeniable that Moore paradoxical sentences are straightforwardly bizarre when uttered by persons in the context of actual moralizing (just imagine actually having the relevant conversation). At the outset of your paper, you correctly note that expressivism is a theory about actual moralizing, so it seems like this is one objection to which you should be very sensitive.  You respond:

This is not really a rejection of C3, but a rejection of C1, since it admits that it is not always the case that affective or conative attitudes are expressed by moral assertions. If non-cognitive mental states are only sometimes expressed by moral assertions, then the clai ... (read more)

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Your article is very interesting.

In the same spirit I propose a more modal formalism to speak about "true announcements" and "learning" : http://philpapers.org/rec/MARFPS

This representation allow to make the difference between a world before and after the learning act. Then it becomes easier to deal with expression about knowledge and learning.

Hi Matt,

This is a very interesting paper.  I am in agreement with the basic premise, namely, that we should be suspicious of moral intuitions which are highly contingent or "flippable".  However, I have one or two questions about the argument.

In one section, you're dealing with the problem of "typing" mechanisms.  The point, as I understand it, is to show that your argument defeats demandingness intuitions but does not defeat other moral intuitions (such as those concerning the wrongness of slavery).  You say:

Given these considerations, how generally should we type the testimonial process behind my moral belief that slavery is wrong? The reliability of (say) my mother’s anti-racist moral testimony in the actual world should not necessarily be impugned by the unreliability of her moral testimony were she a racist bigot, for her epistemic situation (i.e., her foundational moral beliefs) in the latter case would be radically mistaken. The two types of testimonial processes, then, are plausibl ... (read more)

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R. Swinburne claims that "And, finally, basic propositions include very general propositions about what there is in the world and how things work—‘the Earth is hundreds of millions of years old’, ‘China is a big country’ [...] We normally do not recall how we came to learn these things, but we believe that we did learn them, have been told them often, and that everything else we learn fits well with them. They have the status of basic propositions to which the believer ascribes a high degree of prior probability, and often form our background beliefs (or ‘background evidence’ or ‘background knowledge’) which we take into account in judging the probability of beliefs of more limited scope." (Faith and Reason, p.21).

I wonder why he describes these propositions as basic beliefs?! This view seems to have important consequences. Does anybody know what is the origin of this view or any articles related to this issue? 
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/7689 Reply

On So-called Myth of the given

Chaohui Zhuang

Myth of the given by Sellars is an important topic in contemporary analytical philosophy. I will show that Sellars’s argument is invalid.

1. First, Sellars found ambiguities in some sense-datum theories, but these ambiguities could be clarified. I will present a clearer sense-datum theory.

1.1 Sellars said:

“The sense-datum theorist, it would seem, must choose between saying:

(a) It is particulars which are sensed. Sensing is not knowing. The existence of sense-data does not logically imply the existence of knowledge.

(b) Sensing is a form of knowing. It is facts rather than particulars which are sensed.”

For a sense-datum theory, the answer is quite easy: (a) is right. The next question is: Sensing is not knowing, then where is knowledge? The answer is also quite easy: After sensing, knowing occurs. Sensing and Knowing are different events, they are not one thing.

In our sense-datum theory, there are two activities:

a.   Sensing activity ... (read more)


I'm interested in belief formation.

Spinoza, and also the psychologist Daniel Gilbert, have argued that we automatically believe whatever enters our mind, rather than after an assessment of truth, and that it's merely disbelief that requires an assessment of truth.

However, such disbelief may occur within a fraction of a second of the formation of the belief - hence our unawareness of our initial complete credulity.

I've come to the conclusion that, from a logical point of view, belief can actually never be the product of an assessment of truth:

The content of any belief is a claim, whether it’s something profound, like ‘There’s an afterlife’, or something mundane, like ‘Tomorrow is Monday’.

However, when we assess whether a claim is true, all we can ever do is assess whether it agrees with our understanding of the matter in question at the moment that we reach our conclusion - which means assessing whether it agrees with what we believe about the matter in question at that moment.

For exa ... (read more)
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In "Wright contra McDowell on Perceptual Knowledge and Scepticism" by Duncan Pritchard we read: << ..once one notices that the "prima facie" evidence that S has for believing the type-II proposition -encapsulated in the type-I proposition - is only "ultima facie" good evidence inthis regard provided that S already has independent grounds for believing that she is not a
My question regards the notion of prima facie ultima facie justification and evidence in the context of epistemology; what do they refer to and what is the reason to distinguish them?
thank you very much for your consideration
Hossein Rahmani

notation : I use ! for 'not'

Perhaps you can avoid paradox but you have to admit this very strange proposition :
K !K x ->  !P K x
If you know that you ignore (x) it's impossible that you know (x)

I don't see how it could be compatible with the knowability principle :
x ->  P K x
else you can't have
(x) and (K !K x)

(excuse me if this message is out of place, I ignore the policy of tis forum,
excuse also my probable mistakes in english)
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/6605 Reply

Quine criticized the so-called two dogmas of Empiricism, and Davidson criticized the so-called third dogma of Empiricism. Then, McDowell criticized the existence of non-conceptual content of experience. we will show that their arguments are all wrong. Their arguments are some kind of proof by contradiction. If we accept some principle of Empiricism, then we have to face some problems, thus we could not accept some principle of Empiricism. We will show that these problems could be solved. In fact, Wittgenstein had solved these problems. Therefore, their arguments are all invalid. At last, we will examine proof by contradiction. What contradictions can tell us? What about ability and inability of conceptual analysis?

1. The first So-called dogmas of Empiricism

Quine criticize Frege's definition of analyticity, but it doesnot mean that there are no other definition s of analyticity. In fact, Wittgenstein had given another definition of analyticity: logically true statements are analyti ... (read more)

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Is the world that we experience around us, the real world itself, experienced out there where it lies? Or is our experience of the world a "picture" generated by our brain inside our head?

I posed this question in Lehar( 2003 ) and Lehar( 2003 }, and I have posted an informal cartoon outlining the issue here:

A Cartoon Epistemology

What is the current state of consensus in the community on this subject? Are there more naive realists out there, or is representationalism the dominant paradigm yet?

And why is this most central and foundational issue not discussed more widely? Surely just about everything else in philosophy and psychology depends critically on getting this profound epistemological issue right. The issue is by no means irrelevant or insignificant. What is your view on this?

  Steve Lehar

Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/6262 Reply

On pp. 457-458 of his admirably lucid paper Is Perception a Propositional Attitude?  Philosophical Quarterly 59 (236):452-469,Tim Crane implies that John McDowell holds the view "that the content of experience can true or false." (p. 458). Can anyone point to the discussion in McDowell where he says or implies the view? Personally I've a feeling that this is a misattribution (McDowell does concede to a possibility of error to experience, but that's not the same thing as saying that experience can be true or false, for more than one reasons).
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/6066 Reply

Just wondering if the irony of an article about the high quality of open science research being situated behind a pay wall was lost on anybody...

One sometimes comes across the phrase "(is) in a position to know". I think I have a rough understanding of what it means in a philosophical context, but I also sometimes wonder whether this is supposed to be a clear or even technical term. Could people point me to the sources of the phrase, if any, and/or to discussion of it? And how would people describe the notion in other words? 

Here are some very crude thoughts which may hint at my problems: It's clear that "being in a position to know" is much more restricted than ordinary usage would suggest; I am "in a position to know" what the weather was like on this date a year ago since I could find somebody who has the meteorological data; in this usage, I might even be "in a position to know" whatever is knowable (to me). But this is not the philosophical notion of "in a position to know". Sometimes people say things like that one "has" information, but that one isn't aware of ... (read more)
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I am interested in how an observer perceives the world, builds the knowledge.
My special area of interest is the theory of knowledge that deals mainly with how our knowledge is structured, based because of the act of observation, i.e. obtaining the knowledge as a spectator [observer], the very presence of an observer in the universe. 

Down below I have listed few books which I have read or have plans of reading.
Can you guys suggest other important, landmark books and journal papers in the topics I have mentioned. Because, as you can already see, none of the books I have mentioned below doesnt directly expound on the topics I am looking for.

The books I have are -
> Hume - An enquiry concerning human understanding
> Russell - Our knowledge of the external world
> Russell - Theory of knowledge
> Russell - Human Knowledge
> Hayek - The sensory order
> Russell - The analysis of mind
> Marleau Ponty - The phenomenology of perception.

So please do suggest the other important books that I am n ... (read more)
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It seems to me plausible that Richard Swinburne (Epistemic Justification, 2001, p. 2ff) and William Alston ("Epistemic Desiderata", 1993) are right in suggesting that internalist and externalist conceptions of justification are not competing accounts of one thing, but are non-competing accounts of two different things.  (The debate then turns into which of the two conceptions of justification is (more) worth having, and by how much more.)  One would expect, however, that this claim would be contested by those interested in defending either internalism or externalism over against the other.  However, I am unable to find any literature contesting this claim. 

Does anyone know of any papers on this issue? 

What is your opinion about this claim?
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/4749 Reply

The Philosophical Registry is a very interesting project on its own, independantly of any use other than observing and participating in the systemic life of a philosophical community. However, it could lead to various uses and raise ethical questions : suppose that in few years it has grown enough to serve as a basis for the implementation of a philosophical version of the Turing Test, then, even a vote would not suffice to dissipate the ethical issue if it had not been addressed in the beggining.

There may be also issues related to preliminary theories on the nature of philosophy - specially in the last paragraph of the article - that could make this initial forumulation unsuited for an independant method of assessment. What if the new Lao Tzu gets the poorest evaluation?

This exciting project diserves that its ethical aspects receive thorough attention and prospective.



A link to an article going in the same direction:
This guy apparently has some theories about socio-technical systems and on academic publishing as a special case of such a system - see for example: http://brianwhitworth.com/STS/STS-chapter1.pdf

Just browsing First Monday for the link I've also encountered

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