Matthew A. Benton Oxford University
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  • Postdoc, Oxford University
  • PhD, Rutgers University, 2012.

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About me
I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in philosophy at Oxford. I write mostly in epistemology and some allied areas in philosophy of language (lately, on assertion, pragmatic encroachment, contextualism, testimony, disagreement, etc.), and also in early modern (particularly Descartes) and philosophy of religion.
My works
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  1. Matthew A. Benton (forthcoming). Believing on Authority. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
    Linda Zagzebski's "Epistemic Authority" (Oxford University Press, 2012) brings together issues in social epistemology with topics in moral and political philosophy as well as philosophy of religion. In this paper I criticize her discussion of self-trust and rationality, which sets up the main argument of the book; I consider how her view of authority relates to some issues of epistemic authority in testimony; and I raise some concerns about her treatment of religious epistemology and religious authority in particular.
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  2. Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Yoaav Isaacs (forthcoming). Evil and Evidence. Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
    The problem of evil is the most prominent argument against the existence of God. Skeptical theists contend that it is not a good argument. Their reasons for this contention vary widely, involving such notions as CORNEA, epistemic appearances, 'gratuitous' evils, 'levering' evidence, and the representativeness of goods. We aim to clarify some confusions about these notions, and also to offer a few new responses to the problem of evil.
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  3. Matthew A. Benton (2014). Expert Opinion and Second-Hand Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2).
    Expert testimony figures in recent debates over how best to understand the norm of assertion and the domain-specific epistemic expectations placed on testifiers. Cases of experts asserting with only isolated second-hand knowledge (Lackey 2011, 2013) have been used to shed light on whether knowledge is sufficient for epistemically permissible assertion. I argue that relying on such cases of expert testimony introduces several problems concerning how we understand expert knowledge, and the sharing of such knowledge through testimony. Refinements are needed to (...)
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  4. Matthew A. Benton (2014). Gricean Quality. Noûs 48 (3):n/a-n/a.
    Some philosophers oppose recent arguments for the Knowledge Account of Assertion by claiming that assertion, being an act much like any other, will be subject to norms governing acts generally, such as those articulated by Grice for the purpose of successful, cooperative endeavours. But in fact, Grice is a traitor to their cause; or rather, they are his dissenters, not his disciples. Drawing on Grice's unpublished papers, I show that he thought of asserting as a special linguistic act in need (...)
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  5. Matthew A. Benton (2014). Knowledge Norms. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:0-00.
    Encyclopedia entry covering the growing literature on the Knowledge Norm of Assertion (and its rivals), the Knowledge Norm of Action (and pragmatic encroachment), the Knowledge Norm of Belief, and the Knowledge Norm of Disagreement.
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  6. Matthew A. Benton & John Turri (2014). Iffy Predictions and Proper Expectations. Synthese 191 (8):1857-1866.
    What individuates the speech act of prediction? The standard view is that prediction is individuated by the fact that it is the unique speech act that requires future-directed content. We argue against this view and two successor views. We then lay out several other potential strategies for individuating prediction, including the sort of view we favor. We suggest that prediction is individuated normatively and has a special connection to the epistemic standards of expectation. In the process, we advocate some constraints (...)
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  7. Matthew A. Benton (2013). Dubious Objections From Iterated Conjunctions. Philosophical Studies 162 (2):355-358.
    The knowledge account of assertion - roughly: one should not assert what one does not know - can explain a variety of Moorean conjunctions, a fact often cited as evidence in its favor. David Sosa ("Dubious Assertions," Phil Studies, 2009) has objected that the account does not generalize satisfactorily, since it cannot explain the infelicity of certain iterated conjunctions without appealing to the controversial "KK" principle. This essay responds by showing how the knowledge account can handle such conjunctions without use (...)
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  8. Matthew A. Benton (2012). Assertion, Knowledge and Predictions. Analysis 72 (1):102-105.
    John N. Williams (1994) and Matthew Weiner (2005) invoke predictions in order to undermine the normative relevance of knowledge for assertions; in particular, Weiner argues, predictions are important counterexamples to the Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA). I argue here that they are not true counterexamples at all, a point that can be agreed upon even by those who reject KAA.
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  9. Matthew A. Benton (2011). Two More for the Knowledge Account of Assertion. Analysis 71 (4):684-687.
    The Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA) has received added support recently from data on prompting assertion (Turri 2010) and from a refinement suggesting that assertions ought to express knowledge (Turri 2011). This paper adds another argument from parenthetical positioning, and then argues that KAA’s unified explanation of some of the earliest data (from Moorean conjunctions) adduced in its favor recommends KAA over its rivals.
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  10. Matthew A. Benton (2006). Review of Clare Carlisle, "Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Becoming: Movements and Positions" (Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 2005). Pp. Xi+173. $55.00 (Hbk). ISBN 0 7914 6547 0. [REVIEW] Religious Studies 42 (4):488-492.
    Review of Clare Carlisle's book covering Kierkegaard's three 1843 pseudonymous texts: "Either/Or," "Repetition," and "Fear and Trembling.".
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  11. Matthew A. Benton (2006). The Modal Gap: The Objective Problem of Lessing's Ditch(Es) and Kierkegaard's Subjective Reply. Religious Studies 42 (1):27-44.
    This essay expands upon the suggestion that Lessing's infamous ‘ditch’ is actually three ditches: temporal, metaphysical, and existential gaps. It examines the complex problems these ditches raise, and then proposes that Kierkegaard's Fragments and Postscript exhibit a similar triadic organizational structure, which may signal a deliberate attempt to engage and respond to Lessing's three gaps. Viewing the Climacean project in this way offers an enhanced understanding of the intricacies of Lessing's rationalist approach to both religion and historical truth, and illuminates (...)
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