Knowledge can be transmitted by a valid deductive inference. If I know that p, and I know that if p then q, then I can infer that q, and I can thereby come to know that q. What feature of a valid deductive inference enables it to transmit knowledge? In some cases, it is a proof of validity that grounds the transmission of knowledge. If the subject can prove that her inference follows a valid rule, then her inference transmits knowledge. (...) However, this only pushes the question back to the inference that was made in this proof. What feature of that inference enables it to transmit knowledge? A vicious regress looms here. Every proof requires a valid inference, and every valid inference must follow at least one rule of inference. So every proof must follow at least one rule of inference. Therefore not every valid inference that transmits knowledge can acquire this power through a proof, on pain of vicious infinite regress. So it must be possible to transmit knowledge by making an inference that follows an underived rule. A deductive inference that follows an underived rule is what I will call a basic deductive inference. It must be possible to transmit knowledge by making a basic deductive inference. But how is this possible? What feature of a basic deductive inference gives it this power to transmit knowledge? (shrink)
This paper examines the role of ?situations? in John Dewey's philosophy of logic. To do this properly it is necessary to contrast Dewey's conception of experience and mentality with views characteristic of modern epistemology. The primary difference is that, rather than treat experience as peripheral and or external to mental functions (reason, etc.), we should treat experience as a field in and as a part of which thinking takes place. Experience in this broad sense subsumes theory and fact, hypothesis and (...) evidence, reason and observation, thought and perception. Logic in this view is a formal study of the generic features of all possible kinds of experience in this broad (thick, deep, wide, multifaceted) sense. The goal of this paper is to explain what Dewey thinks a situation is in the context of this view of experience, and to argue for the fundamental importance of that idea for logic and philosophy in general. (shrink)
Contemporary debates in epistemology devote much attention to the nature of knowledge, but neglect the question of its sources. This book focuses on the latter, especially on the question of innateness. Carruthers' aim is to transform and reinvigorate contemporary empiricism, while also providing an introduction to a range of issues in the theory of knowledge. He gives a lively presentation and assessment of the claims of classical empiricism, particularly its denial of substantive a priori knowledge and of innate knowledge. He (...) argues that we would be right to reject the substantive a priori but not innateness, and then presents a novel account of the main motivation behind empiricism, which leaves contemporary empiricists free to accept innate knowledge and concepts. Carruthers closes with a discussion of scepticism, arguing that acceptance of innate concepts may lead to a decisive resolution of the problem in favor of realism. (shrink)
A blindfolded clairvoyant walks into a room and immediately knows how it is arranged. You walk in and immediately see how it is arranged. Though both of you represent the room as being arranged in the same way, you have different experiences. Your experience doesn’t just represent that the room is arranged a certain way; it also visually presents the very items in the room that make that representation true. Call the felt aspect of your experience made salient by this (...) contrast its presentational phenomenology. Many philosophers have observed that perceptual experiences have presentational phenomenology. In this paper I explore its nature, scope, and significance. I argue that in addition to perceptual experiences, presentational phenomenology can be found in intuitive, introspective, imaginative, and recollective experiences. I also argue that presentational phenomenology is epistemologically significant: it plays a central role in explaining why the experiences that have it justify beliefs and give us knowledge. (shrink)
We must rethink our assessment of Hume’s theory of probabilistic inference. Hume scholars have traditionally dismissed his naturalistic explanation of how we make inferences under conditions of uncertainty; however, psychological experiments and computer models from cognitive science provide substantial support for Hume’s account. Hume’s theory of probabilistic inference is far from obsolete or outdated; on the contrary, it stands at the leading edge of our contemporary science of the mind.
By examining the general conditions in which a structure could come to represent another state of affairs, it is argued that beliefs, a special class of representations, have their contents limited by the sort of information the system in which they occur can pick up and process. If a system — measuring instrument, animal or human being — cannot process information to the effect that something is Q, it cannot represent something as Q. From this it follows (for simple, ostensively (...) acquired concepts at least) that if an organism has the concept Q, if it can believe that things are Q, then it is the kind of organism that has the information-processing capabilities for knowing that something is Q. (shrink)
This paper means to demonstrate the theoretical-and-methodological potential of a particular pattern of thought about culture. Employing an end-means and absolute value plus concept of reality approach, the continuous model of culture aims to embrace from one holistic standpoint various concepts and debates of the modern human, social, and political sciences. The paper revisits the fact versus value, nature versus culture, culture versus structure, agency versus structure, and economics versus politics debates and offers the concepts of the rule of law, (...) state capitalism, a dialectical model of progress, and interpretative qualitative research, as well as of cultural diffusion, autonomy, alienation, and individuality. This model distinguishes between the ideal-symbolical and the instrumental functions of culture, sees culture as being sewn from universal binaries, and provides a certain understanding of the cognitive function of a value judgment, with positivism so far vague about the topic. It, too, suggests an extra method for investigating culture(s): the comparative literature study of culture(s) enables social science to view literature as its potential in-depth interviewee—a case for arguing for a certain conception of interdisciplinarity as well. In addition, it predicts that cultural particularism or individuality remains an essential factor of human existence. Analyzing the issue of Eurocentrism in social science, the model finds modernity’s concept of reality to be involved in “methodological” intellectualistic reductionism, characterizing it since the empiricism/rationalism origination. Systematically confusing the universal oppositions in a Eurocentric manner, intellectualism becomes a contributing factor in unfolding post-modernity. (shrink)
I claim that caricature is an epistemically defective depiction. More precisely, when employed in service to some epistemic uptake, I claim that caricature can have a non-negligible epistemic effect only for a less than ideally rational audience with certain cognitive biases. An ideally rational audience, however, would take all caricature to be what I refer to as fairground caricature, i.e., an interesting or entertaining form of depiction that is at best only trivially revelatory. I then argue that any medium (or (...) genre) substantially employing caricature (or standardly featuring or prescribing its employment) in service to some epistemic uptake is to that extent an epistemically defective medium (e.g., beliefs informed by works specific to that medium are to that extent unwarranted). I then show the editorial cartoon to be just such an epistemically defective medium. (shrink)
Photographs furnish evidence. This is true in both formal and informal contexts. The use of photographs as legal evidence goes back to the very earliest days of photography, and they have been used in American trials since around the time of the Civil War. Photographs may also serve as historical evidence (for example, about the Civil War). And they serve in informal contexts as evidence about all sorts of things, such as what we and our loved ones looked like in (...) the past. (shrink)
Having assigned experience this exclusive role in justification, empiricists then have a range of views concerning the character of experience, the semantics of our claims about unobservable entities, the nature of empirical confirmation, and the possibility of non-empirical warrant for some further class of claims, such as those accepted on the basis of linguistic or logical rules. Given the definitive principle of their position, empiricists can allow that we have knowledge independent of experience only where what is known is not (...) some objective fact about the world, but something about our way of conceptualizing or describing things. Some empiricists say we have knowledge of verbal equivalences or trivialities; some argue that any non-empirical tenets are not even properly called knowledge, but should be seen as notions accepted on pragmatic rather than properly epistemic grounds. What no empiricist will allow is substantive a priori knowledge: according to empiricism we have no pure rational insight into real necessities or the inner structure of nature, but must rely on the deliverances of our senses for all of our information about external reality. Some versions of empiricism argue against the very notion of real necessities or metaphysical structure behind the phenomena; other versions take a more agnostic approach, arguing that if there is a metaphysical structure behind the phenomena it is either out of our epistemic reach, or known only to the extent that it can be grasped through experience, rather than through rational reflection. (shrink)
A theory of understanding -- Truth's role in understanding -- Critique of justificationist and evidential accounts -- Do pragmatist views avoid this critique? -- A realistic account -- How evidence and truth are related -- Three grades of involvement of truth in theories of understanding -- Anchoring -- Next steps -- Reference and reasons -- The main thesis and its location -- Exposition and four argument-types -- Significance and consequences of the main thesis -- The first person as a case (...) study -- Fully self-conscious thought -- Immunity to error through misidentification relative to the first person -- Can a use of the first-person concept fail to refer? -- Some conceptual roles are distinctive but not fundamental -- Implicit conceptions -- Implicit conceptions : motivation and examples -- Deflationary readings rejected -- The phenomenon of new principles -- Explanation by implicit conceptions -- Rationalist aspects -- Consequences : rationality, justification, understanding -- Transitional -- Applications to mental concepts -- Conceiving of conscious states -- Understanding and identity in other cases -- Constraints on legitimate explanations in terms of identity -- Why is the subjective case different? -- Attractions of the interlocking account -- Tacit knowledge, and externalism about the internal -- Is this the myth of the given? -- Knowledge of others' conscious states -- Communicability : between Frege and Wittgenstein -- Conclusions and significance -- 'Another I' : representing perception and action -- The core rule -- Modal status and its significance -- Comparisons -- The possession-condition and some empirical phenomena -- The model generalized -- Wider issues -- Mental action -- The distinctive features of action-awareness -- The nature and range of mental actions -- The principal hypothesis and its grounds -- The principal hypothesis : distinctions and consequences -- How do we know about our own mental actions? -- Concepts of mental actions and their epistemological significance -- Is this account open to the same objections as perceptual models of introspection? -- Characterizing and unifying schizophrenic experience -- The first person in the self-ascription of action -- Rational agency and action-awareness -- Representing thoughts -- The puzzle -- A proposal -- How the solution treats the constraints that generate the puzzle -- Relation to single-level treatments -- An application : reconciling externalism with distinctive self-knowledge. (shrink)
The Realm of Reason develops a new, general theory of what it is for a thinker to be entitled to form a given belief. The theory locates entitlement in the nexus of relations between truth, content, and understanding. Peacocke formulates three principles of rationalism that articulate this conception. The principles imply that all entitlement has a component that is justificationally independent of experience. The resulting position is thus a form of rationalism, generalized to all kinds of content. To show how (...) these principles are realized in specific domains, Peacocke applies the theory in detail to several classical problems of philosophy, including the nature of perceptual entitlement, induction, and the status of moral thought. These discussions involve an elaboration of the structure of entitlement in ways that have applications in many other areas of philosophy. He also relates the theory to classical and recent rationalist thought, and to current issues in the theory of meaning, reference and explanation. In the course of these discussions, he proposes a general theory of the a priori. The focus of the work lies in the intersection of epistemology, metaphysics, and the theory of meaning, and will be of interest both to students and researchers in these areas, and to anyone concerned with the idea of rationality. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the best explanation of expertise about taste is that such alleged experts are simply more eloquent in describing the taste experiences that they have than are ordinary tasters.
An argument is epistemically self-defeating when either the truth of an argument’s conclusion or belief in an argument’s conclusion defeats one’s justification to believe at least one of that argument’s premises. Some extant defenses of the evidentiary value of intuition have invoked considerations of epistemic self-defeat in their defense. I argue that there is one kind of argument against intuition, an unreliability argument, which, even if epistemically self-defeating, can still imply that we are not justified in thinking intuition has evidentiary (...) value. (shrink)
Imagination seems to play an epistemic role in philosophical and scientific thought experiments, mindreading, and ordinary practical deliberations. That is, imagination seems to generate new knowledge of contingent facts. However, it also seems that imagination is limited to revealing merely possible ways the world might be. The conjunction of these claims is what I call the puzzle of knowledge through imagination. In this paper, I aim to resolve this puzzle. I argue that imagination has an epistemic role to play, but (...) it is limited to the context of discovery. I make this case by considering the Simulation Theory's so-called "threat of collapse." Consideration of the threat of collapse provides further evidence that imagination does not, on its own, yield new knowledge of contingent facts, and it suggests a way to supplement imagination in order to get such knowledge. (shrink)
Epistemology – the study of the nature and scope of knowledge – has been an integral topic in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist scholastic communities for the past 1500 years. This article provides an overview of the Buddhist epistemological tradition, emphasizing the central role that the concept of pramana plays in Indian theories of knowledge. After elucidating the two pramanas accepted by the Buddhist epistemological tradition, the article concludes by discussing the relationship between Buddhist epistemology and Buddhist soteriology.
Recent discussion of Vogel-style “bootstrapping” scenarios suggests that they provide counterexamples to a wide variety of epistemological theories. Yet it remains unclear why it’s bad for a theory to permit bootstrapping, or even exactly what counts as a bootstrapping case. Going back to Vogel's original bootstrapping example, I note that an agent who could gain justification through the method Vogel describes would have available a “no-lose investigation”: an investigation that can justify a proposition but has no possibility of undermining it. (...) The main suggestion of this article is that an epistemological theory should not permit no-lose investigations. I identify necessary and sufficient conditions for such investigations, then explore epistemological theories that rule them out. If we want to avoid both skepticism and no-lose investigations, we must eschew either Closure or epistemic externalism. (shrink)
I compare the epistemic culture of Wikipedia with the epistemic culture of science, with special attention to the culture of collaborative research in science. The two cultures differ markedly with respect to (1) the knowledge produced, (2) who produces the knowledge, and (3) the processes by which knowledge is produced. Wikipedia has created a community of inquirers that are governed by norms very different from those that govern scientists. Those who contribute to Wikipedia do not ground their claims on their (...) reputations as knowers, for they stand to lose nothing if and when their contributions are found to be misleading or false. And the immediacy of the medium encourages gossip and jokes. Hence, though we have some reason to believe that an invisible hand aids scientists in realizing their epistemic goals, we cannot ground our confidence in what is reported on Wikipedia on the fact that an invisible hand ensures quality. Nor is the information on Wikipedia aptly justified in a manner similar to the way testimony can be justified. (shrink)