Michael Shaffer St. Cloud State University
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  1. Michael J. Shaffer (forthcoming). The Experimental Turn and the Methods of Philosophy. Routledge.
    This book is a examination of the question of the revolutionary character of experimental philosophy.
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  2. Michael J. Shaffer (forthcoming). The Paradox of Knowability and Factivity. Polish Journal of Philiosophy.
    This paper shows that the knowability paradox isn’t a paradox because the derivation of the paradox is faulty. This is explained by showing that the K operator employed in generating the paradox is used equivocally and when the equivocation is eliminated the derivation fails.
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  3. Michael J. Shaffer (2014). Reflection, Conditionalization and Indeterminacy About the Future. The Reasoner 8:65-66.
    This paper shows that any view of future contingent claims that treats such claims as having indeterminate truth values or as simply being false implies probabilistic irrationality. This is because such views of the future imply violations of reflection, special reflection and conditionalization.
     
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  4. Michael J. Shaffer (2013). Doxastic Voluntarism, Epistemic Deontology and Belief-Contravening Commitments. American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):73-82.
    Defenders of doxastic voluntarism accept that we can voluntarily commit ourselves to propositions, including belief-contravening propositions. Thus, defenders of doxastic voluntarism allow that we can choose to believe propositions that are negatively implicated by our evidence. In this paper it is argued that the conjunction of epistemic deontology and doxastic voluntarism as it applies to ordinary cases of belief-contravening propositional commitments is incompatible with evidentialism. In this paper ED and DV will be assumed and this negative result will be used (...)
     
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  5. Michael J. Shaffer (2013). E Does Not Equal K. The Reasoner 7:30-31.
    This paper challenges Williamson's "E = K" thesis on the basis of evidential practice. The main point is that most evidence is only approximately true and so cannot be known if knowledge is factive.
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  6. Michael J. Shaffer (2013). Epistemic Paradox and the Logic of Acceptance. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 25:337-353.
    Paradoxes have played an important role both in philosophy and in mathematics and paradox resolution is an important topic in both fields. Paradox resolution is deeply important because if such resolution cannot be achieved, we are threatened with the charge of debilitating irrationality. This is supposed to be the case for the following reason. Paradoxes consist of jointly contradictory sets of statements that are individually plausible or believable. These facts about paradoxes then give rise to a deeply troubling epistemic problem. (...)
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  7. Michael J. Shaffer (2012). Counterfactuals and Scientific Realism. Palgrave MacMillan.
    This book is a sustained defense of the compatibility of the presence of idealizations in the sciences and scientific realism. So, the book is essentially a detailed response to the infamous arguments raised by Nancy Cartwright to the effect that idealization and scientific realism are incompatible.
     
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  8. Michael J. Shaffer (2012). Moorean Sentences and the Norm of Assertion. Logos and Episteme 3:653-658.
    In this paper Timothy Williamson’s argument that the knowledge norm of assertion is the best explanation of the unassertability of Morrean sentences is challenged and an alternative account of the norm of assertion is defended.
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  9. Michael J. Shaffer (2012). Not-Exact-Truths, Pragmatic Encroachment and the Epistemic Norm of Practical Reasoning. Logos and Episteme 3:239-259.
    Recently a number of variously motivated epistemologists have argued that knowledge is closely tied to practical matters. On the one hand, radical pragmatic encroachment is the view that facts about whether an agent has knowledge depend on practical factors and this is coupled to the view that there is an important connection between knowledge and action. On the other hand, one can argue for the less radical thesis only that there is an important connection between knowledge and practical reasoning. So, (...)
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  10. Michael J. Shaffer (2011). The Constitutive A Priori and Epistemic Justification. In Michael J. Shaffer & Michael Veber (eds.), What Place for the A Priori? Open Court. 193.
    In this paper I argue that Michael Friedman's conception of the contitutive a priori faces two serious problems. These two problems show that the view collapses into a form of conventionalism.
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  11. Michael J. Shaffer (2011). Three Problematic Theories of Conditional Acceptance. Logos and Episteme 2 (1):117-125.
    In this paper it is argued that three of the most prominent theories of conditional acceptance face very serious problems. David Lewis' concept of imaging, the Ramsey test and Jonathan Bennett's recent hybrid view all face viscious regresses, or they either employ unanalyzed components or depend upon an implausibly strong version of doxastic voluntarism.
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  12. Michael J. Shaffer (2011). The Ramsey Principle and The Principle of Informational Equilibrium. The Reasoner 5 (3):37-39.
    This paper challenges the soundness of an argument given in support of a Ramseyan analysis of belief defended by Dokic and Engel in their 2001 book.
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  13. Michael J. Shaffer & Michael Veber (eds.) (2011). What Place for the A Priori? Open Court.
    The book gives a diverse and even-handed treatment of the topic without attempting to resolve the matter.
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  14. Michael J. Shaffer & Jeremy Morris (2010). The Epistemic Inadequacy of Ersatzer Possible World Semantics. Logique et Analyse 53:61-76.
    In this paper it is argued that the conjunction of linguistic ersatzism, the ontologically deflationary view that possible worlds are maximal and consistent sets of sentences, and possible world semantics, the view that the meaning of a sentence is the set of possible worlds at which it is true, implies that no actual speaker can effectively use virtually any language to successfully communicate information. This result is based on complexity issues that relate to our finite computational ability to deal with (...)
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  15. Michael J. Shaffer (2009). A Logical Hole in the Chinese Room. Minds and Machines 19 (2):229-235.
    Searle’s Chinese Room Argument (CRA) has been the object of great interest in the philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence and cognitive science since its initial presentation in ‘Minds, Brains and Programs’ in 1980. It is by no means an overstatement to assert that it has been a main focus of attention for philosophers and computer scientists of many stripes. It is then especially interesting to note that relatively little has been said about the detailed logic of the argument, whatever significance (...)
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  16. Michael J. Shaffer (2009). Decision Theory, Intelligent Planning and Counterfactuals. Minds and Machines 19 (1):61-92.
    The ontology of decision theory has been subject to considerable debate in the past, and discussion of just how we ought to view decision problems has revealed more than one interesting problem, as well as suggested some novel modifications of classical decision theory. In this paper it will be argued that Bayesian, or evidential, decision-theoretic characterizations of decision situations fail to adequately account for knowledge concerning the causal connections between acts, states, and outcomes in decision situations, and so they are (...)
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  17. Michael J. Shaffer (2008). Bayesianism, Convergence and Social Epistemology. Episteme 5 (2):pp. 203-219.
    Following the standard practice in sociology, cultural anthropology and history, sociologists, historians of science and some philosophers of science define scientific communities as groups with shared beliefs, values and practices. In this paper it is argued that in real cases the beliefs of the members of such communities often vary significantly in important ways. This has rather dire implications for the convergence defense against the charge of the excessive subjectivity of subjective Bayesianism because that defense requires that communities of Bayesian (...)
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  18. Michael J. Shaffer (2008). Idealization, Counterfactuals and the Correspondence Principle. In Jerzy Brzezinski, Andrzej Klawiter, Theo A. F. Kuipers, Krzysztof Lastowski, Katarzyna Paprzycka & Piotr Przybysz (eds.), The Courage of Doing Philosophy: Essays Presented to Leszek Nowak. Rodopi.
    In a recent revision (chapter 4 of Nowakowa and Nowak 2000) of an older article Leszek Nowak (1992) has attempted to rebut Niiniluoto’s 1990 critical suggestion that proponents of the Poznań idealizational approach to the sciences have committed a rather elementary logical error in the formal machinery that they advocate for use in the analysis of scientific methodology. In this paper I criticize Nowak’s responses to Niiniluoto’s suggestion, and, subsequently, work out some of the consequences of that criticism for understanding (...)
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  19. Michael J. Shaffer (2008). Re-Formulating The Generalized Correspondence Principle. Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):99-115.
    This paper presents a more clear formulation of the correspondence principle and explores its justification.
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  20. Michael J. Shaffer & Patricia Turrisi (2008). Theories of Violence and the Explanation of Ultra-Violent Behavior. In T. Levin (ed.), Violence: Mercurial Gestalt.
    Theorists in various scientific disciplines offer radically different accounts of the origin of violent behavior in humans, but it is not clear how the study of violence is to be scientifically grounded. This problem is made more complicated because both what sorts of acts constitute violence and what needs to be appealed to in explaining violence differs according to social scientists, biologists, anthropologists and neurophysiologists, and this generates serious problems with respect to even attempting to ascertain the differential bona fides (...)
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  21. Michael J. Shaffer (2007). Bealer on the Autonomy of Philosophical and Scientific Knowledge. Metaphilosophy 38 (1):44–54.
    In a series of influential articles, George Bealer argues for the autonomy of philosophical knowledge on the basis that philosophically known truths must be necessary truths. The main point of his argument is that the truths investigated by the sciences are contingent truths to be discovered a posteriori by observation, while the truths of philosophy are necessary truths to be discovered a priori by intuition. The project of assimilating philosophy to the sciences is supposed to be rendered illegitimate by the (...)
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  22. Michael J. Shaffer (2007). The Ad Verecundiam Fallacy and Appeals to Expert Testimony. In Proceedings of the 6th ISSA Conference on Argumentation.
    In this paper I argue that Tyler Burge's non-reductive view of testiomonial knowledge cannot adeqautrely discriminate between fallacious ad vericumdium appeals to expet testimony and legitimate appeals to authority.
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  23. Michael J. Shaffer (2007). Taste, Gastronomic Expertise and Objectivity. In Fritz Allhoff & David Monroe (eds.), Food & Philosophy. Blackwell.
    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.
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  24. Michael J. Shaffer (2006). Some Recent Existential Appeals to Mathematical Experience. Principia 10 (2):143-170.
    Some recent work by philosophers of mathematics has been aimed at showing that our knowledge of the existence of at least some mathematical objects and/or sets can be epistemically grounded by appealing to perceptual experience. The sensory capacity that they refer to in doing so is the ability to perceive numbers, mathematical properties and/or sets. The chief defense of this view as it applies to the perception of sets is found in Penelope Maddy’s Realism in Mathematics, but a number of (...)
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  25. Michael J. Shaffer (2006). The Publicity of Belief, Epistemic Wrongs and Moral Wrongs. Social Epistemology 20 (1):41 – 54.
    It is a commonplace belief that many beliefs, e.g. religious convictions, are a purely private matter, and this is meant in some way to serve as a defense against certain forms of criticism. In this paper it is argued that this thesis is false, and that belief is really often a public matter. This argument, the publicity of belief argument, depends on one of the most compelling and central thesis of Peircean pragmatism. This crucial thesis is that bona fide belief (...)
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  26. Michael J. Shaffer & Jeremy Morris (2006). A Paradox for Possible World Semantics. Logique et Analyse 49 (195):307-317.
    The development of possible worlds semantics for modal claims has led to a more general application of that theory as a complete semantics for various formal and natural languages, and this view is widely held to be an adequate (philosophical) interpretation of the model theory for such languages. We argue here that this view generates a self-referential inconsistency that indicates either the falsity or the incompleteness of PWS.
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  27. Michael J. Shaffer & Jeffery Oakley (2005). Some Epistemological Concerns About Dissociative Identity Disorder and Diagnostic Practices in Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):1-29.
    In this paper we argue that dissociative identity disorder (DID) is best interpreted as a causal model of a (possible) post-traumatic psychological process, as a mechanical model of an abnormal psychological condition. From this perspective we examine and criticize the evidential status of DID, and we demonstrate that there is really no good reason to believe that anyone has ever suffered from DID so understood. This is so because the proponents of DID violate basic methodological principles of good causal modeling. (...)
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  28. Michael J. Shaffer (2004). A Defeater of the Claim That Belief in God’s Existence is Properly Basic. Philo 7 (1):57-70.
    Some contemporary theologically inclined epistemologists, the reformed epistemologists, have attempted to show that belief in God is rational by appealing directly to a special kind of experience. To strengthen the appeal to this particular, and admittedly peculiar, type of experience these venture to draw a parallel between such experiences and normal perceptual experiences in order to show that, by parity of reasoning, if beliefs formed on the basis of the later are taken to be justified and rational to hold, then (...)
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  29. Michael J. Shaffer (2004). Probability and Tempered Modal Eliminativism. History and Philosophy of Logic 25 (4):305-318.
    In this paper the strategy for the eliminative reduction of the alethic modalities suggested by John Venn is outlined and it is shown to anticipate certain related contemporary empiricistic and nominalistic projects. Venn attempted to reduce the alethic modalities to probabilities, and thus suggested a promising solution to the nagging issue of the inclusion of modal statements in empiricistic philosophical systems. However, despite the promise that this suggestion held for laying the ‘ghost of modality’ to rest, this general approach, tempered (...)
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  30. Michael J. Shaffer & Jason A. Warnick (2004). Bursting Bealer's Bubble: How the Starting Points Argument Begs the Question of Foundationalism Against Quine. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):87-106.
    In his 1993 article George Bealer offers three separate arguments that are directed against the internal coherence of empiricism, specifically against Quine’s version of empiricism. One of these arguments is the starting points argument (SPA) and it is supposed to show that Quinean empiricism is incoherent. We argue here that this argument is deeply flawed, and we demonstrate how a Quinean may successfully defend his views against Bealer’s SPA. Our defense of Quinean empiricism against the SPA depends on showing (1) (...)
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  31. Michael J. Shaffer (2002). Coherence, Justification, and the AGM Theory of Belief Revision. In Yves Bouchard (ed.), Perspectives on Coherentism. Editions du Scribe. 139--160.
    In a recent article, Peter Gärdenfors (1992) has suggested that the AGM (Alchourrón, Gärdenfors, and Makinson) theory of belief revision can be given an epistemic basis by interpreting the revision postulates of that theory in terms of a version of the coherence theory of justification. To accomplish this goal Gärdenfors suggests that the AGM revision postulates concerning the conservative nature of belief revision can be interpreted in terms of a concept of epistemic entrenchment and that there are good empirical reasons (...)
     
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  32. Michael J. Shaffer (2001). Bayesian Confirmation of Theories That Incorporate Idealizations. Philosophy of Science 68 (1):36-52.
    Following Nancy Cartwright and others, I suggest that most (if not all) theories incorporate, or depend on, one or more idealizing assumptions. I then argue that such theories ought to be regimented as counterfactuals, the antecedents of which are simplifying assumptions. If this account of the logic form of theories is granted, then a serious problem arises for Bayesians concerning the prior probabilities of theories that have counterfactual form. If no such probabilities can be assigned, the the posterior probabilities will (...)
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