Joel Pust University of Delaware
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  • Faculty, University of Delaware
  • PhD, University of Arizona, 1997.

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I'm a professor at the University of Delaware. I work mostly on a priori justification, epistemological problems of indexical belief, philosophical methodology, and skepticism.
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  1. Joel Pust (forthcoming). Empirical Evidence for Rationalism? In Darrell Rowbottom & Anthony Booth (eds.), Intuitions. Oxford University Press.
    Moderate rationalism is the view a person's having a rational intuition that p prima facie justifies them in believing that p. It has recently been argued that moderate rationalism requires empirical support and, furthermore, that suitable empirical support would suffice to convince empiricists to abandon their opposition to rationalism. According to one argument, the causal requirement argument, empirical evidence is necessary in order to justify the claim that any actual token belief is based on rational intuition and moderate rationalism requires (...)
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  2. Joel Pust (2014). Beauty and Generalized Conditionalization: Reply to Horgan and Mahtani. Erkenntnis 79:687-700.
    Horgan and Mahtani (Erkenntnis 78: 333–351, 2013) present a new argument for the 1/3 answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem resting on a principle for updating probabilities which they call “generalized conditionalization.” They allege that this new argument is immune to two attacks which have been recently leveled at other arguments for thirdism. I argue that their new argument rests on a probability distribution which is (a) no more justified than an alternative distribution favoring a different answer to the problem, (...)
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  3. Joel Pust (2014). Critical Notice of Hilary Kornblith's On Reflection. Episteme 11:53-61.
    Hilary Kornblith's On Reflection is a sustained and detailed criticism of philosophical appeals to reflection. Kornblith argues, on both conceptual and empirical grounds, that a large number of appeals to reflective belief and desire in philosophical theorizing about knowledge and justification, reasoning, free will and normativity are deeply flawed. In this paper, I discuss Kornblith's arguments, finding some quite compelling and some wanting. Moreover, I argue that an important ambiguity about the nature of reflection renders the book less clear than (...)
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  4. Joel Pust (2013). Sleeping Beauty, Evidential Support and Indexical Knowledge: Reply to Horgan. Synthese 190 (9):1489-1501.
    Terence Horgan defends the thirder position on the Sleeping Beauty problem, claiming that Beauty can, upon awakening during the experiment, engage in “synchronic Bayesian updating” on her knowledge that she is awake now in order to justify a 1/3 credence in heads. In a previous paper, I objected that epistemic probabilities are equivalent to rational degrees of belief given a possible epistemic situation and so the probability of Beauty’s indexical knowledge that she is awake now is necessarily 1, precluding such (...)
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  5. Joel Pust (2013). Skepticism, Reason and Reidianism. In Albert Casullo & Joshua Thurow (eds.), The A Priori in Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 205.
    The traditional problems of epistemology have often been thought to be properly solved only by the provision of an argument, with premises justified by rational intuition and introspection, for the probable truth of our beliefs in the problematic domains. Following the lead of Thomas Reid, a sizable number of contemporary epistemologists, including many proponents of so-called "Reformed epistemology" regarding religious belief, reject as arbitrary the preferential treatment of reason and introspection implicit in the traditional view of the problems. These "Reidians" (...)
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  6. Joel Pust (2012). Conditionalization and Essentially Indexical Credence. Journal of Philosophy 109 (4):295-315.
    One can have no prior credence whatsoever (not even zero) in a temporally indexical claim. This fact saves the principle of conditionalization from potential counterexample and undermines the Elga and Arntzenius/Dorr arguments for the thirder position and Lewis' argument for the halfer position on the Sleeping Beauty Problem, thereby supporting the double-halfer position. -/- .
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  7. Joel Pust, Intuition. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This entry addresses the nature and epistemological role of intuition by considering the following questions: (1) What are intuitions?, (2) What roles do they serve in philosophical (and other “armchair”) inquiry?, (3) Ought they serve such roles?, (4) What are the implications of the empirical investigation of intuitions for their proper roles?, and (5) What is the content of intuitions prompted by the consideration of hypothetical cases?
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  8. Joel Pust (2011). Sleeping Beauty and Direct Inference. Analysis 71 (2):290-293.
    One argument for the thirder position on the Sleeping Beauty problem rests on direct inference from objective probabilities. In this paper, I consider a particularly clear version of this argument by John Pollock and his colleagues (The Oscar Seminar 2008). I argue that such a direct inference is defeated by the fact that Beauty has an equally good reason to conclude on the basis of direct inference that the probability of heads is 1/2. Hence, neither thirders nor halfers can find (...)
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  9. Kai Draper & Joel Pust (2008). Diachronic Dutch Books and Sleeping Beauty. Synthese 164 (2):281 - 287.
    Hitchcock advances a diachronic Dutch Book argument (DDB) for a 1/3 answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem. Bradley and Leitgeb argue that Hitchcock’s DDB argument fails. We demonstrate the following: (a) Bradley and Leitgeb’s criticism of Hitchcock is unconvincing; (b) nonetheless, there are serious reasons to worry about the success of Hitchcock’s argument; (c) however, it is possible to construct a new DDB for 1/3 about which such worries cannot be raised.
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  10. Joel Pust (2008). Horgan on Sleeping Beauty. Synthese 160 (1):97 - 101.
    With the notable exception of David Lewis, most of those writing on the Sleeping Beauty problem have argued that 1/3 is the correct answer. Terence Horgan has provided the clearest account of why, contrary to Lewis, Beauty has evidence against the proposition that the coin comes up heads when she awakens on Monday. In this paper, I argue that Horgan’s proposal fails because it neglects important facts about epistemic probability.
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  11. Paul Draper, Kai Draper & Joel Pust (2007). Probabilistic Arguments for Multiple Universes. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (3):288–307.
    In this paper, we discuss three probabilistic arguments for the existence of multiple universes. First, we provide an analysis of total evidence and use that analysis to defend Roger White's "this universe" objection to a standard fine-tuning argument for multiple universes. Second, we explain why Rodney Holder's recent cosmological argument for multiple universes is unconvincing. Third, we develop a "Cartesian argument" for multiple universes. While this argument is not open to the objections previously noted, we show that, given certain highly (...)
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  12. Joel Pust (2007). Cartesian Knowledge and Confirmation. Journal of Philosophy 104 (6):269-289.
    Bayesian conceptions of evidence have been invoked in recent arguments regarding the existence of God, the hypothesis of multiple physical universes, and the Doomsday Argument. Philosophers writing on these topics often claim that, given a Bayesian account of evidence, our existence or something entailed by our existence (perhaps in conjunction with some background knowledge or assumption) may serve as evidence for each of us. In this paper, I argue that this widespread view is mistaken. The mere fact of one's existence (...)
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  13. Joel Pust (2005). A Priori Justification. [REVIEW] Mind 114 (453):124-128.
    A review of Albert Casullo's "A Priori Justification" (Oxford University Press).
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  14. Joel Pust (2004). Natural Selection and the Traits of Individual Organisms. Biology and Philosophy 19 (5):765-779.
    I have recently argued that origin essentialism regarding individual organisms entails that natural selection does not explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do. This paper defends this and related theses against Mohan Matthen's recent objections.
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  15. Joel Pust (2004). On Explaining Knowledge of Necessity. Dialectica 58 (1):71–87.
    Moderate rationalists maintain that our rational intuitions provide us with prima facie justification for believing various necessary propositions. Such a claim is often criticized on the grounds that our having reliable rational intuitions about domains in which the truths are necessary is inexplicable in some epistemically objectionable sense. In this paper, I defend moderate rationalism against such criticism. I argue that if the reliability of our rational intuitions is taken to be contingent, then there is no reason to think that (...)
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  16. Joel Pust (2002). Kitcher on Tradition-Independent a Priori Warrant. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):373-376.
    In his most recent treatment of a priori knowledge, Philip Kitcher argues against what he takes to be the widespread view that our knowledge and warranted belief is 'tradition-independent'. Furthermore, he argues that defeasible conceptions of a priori warrant entail that it is not tradition-independent, a conclusion which he thinks is contrary to what most epistemologists hold. I argue that knowledge is not widely believed to be tradition-independent, and that, while warrant is widely believed to be tradition-independent, Kitcher's arguments show (...)
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  17. Joel Pust (2001). Natural Selection Explanation and Origin Essentialism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):201-220.
    Does natural selection explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do? According to "the Negative View," natural selection does not explain why any individual organism has the traits that it does. According to "the Positive View," natural selection at least sometimes does explain why an individual organism has the traits that it does. In this paper, I argue that recent arguments for the Positive View fail in virtue of running afoul of the doctrine of origin essentialism and I (...)
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  18. Joel Pust (2001). Against Explanationist Skepticism Regarding Philosophical Intuitions. Philosophical Studies 106 (3):227 - 258.
    Though most of analytic philosophy is based upon intuitions, some philosophers are beginning to question whether intuitions are an appropriate basis for philosophical theory. This paper responds to the arguments of some contemporary philosophers who hold that intuitions should not be treated as evidence for anything other than our contingent psychological constitution. It begins with a demonstration that skeptical arguments by Gilbert Harman and Alvin Goldman are variations on an argument with the potential to undermine the use of intuitions in (...)
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  19. Joel Pust (2000). Intuitions as Evidence. Routledge.
    This book is concerned with the role of intuitions in the justification of philosophical theory. The author begins by demonstrating how contemporary philosophers, whether engaged in case-driven analysis or seeking reflective equilibrium, rely on intuitions as evidence for their theories. The author then provides an account of the nature of philosophical intuitions and distinguishes them from other psychological states. Finally, the author defends the use of intuitions as evidence by demonstrating that arguments for skepticism about their evidential value are either (...)
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  20. Joel Pust (2000). Warrant and Analysis. Analysis 60 (1):51–57.
    Alvin Plantinga theorizes about an epistemic property he calls "warrant," defined as that which makes the difference "between knowledge and mere true belief." I show that, given this account, Plantinga can have no justification for claiming that a false belief is warranted nor for claiming that warrant comes in degrees.
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  21. Joel Pust (1999). External Accounts of Folk Psychology, Eliminativism, and the Simulation Theory. Mind and Language 14 (1):113-130.
    Stich and Ravenscroft (1994) distinguish between internal and external accounts of folk psychology and argue that this distinction makes a significant difference to the debate over eliminative materialism. I argue that their views about the implications of the internal/external distinction for the debate over eliminativism are mistaken. First, I demonstrate that the first of their two external versions of folk psychology is either not a possible target of eliminativist critique, or not a target distinct from their second version of externalism. (...)
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  22. George Bealer, Robert Cummings, Michael DePaul, Richard Foley, Alvin Goldman, Alison Gopnik, George Graham, Gary Gutting, Tery Horgan, Tamara Horowitz, Hilary Kornblith, Joel Pust, E. Rosch, Eldar Shafir, Stephen Stitch, Ernest Sosa & Edward Wisniewkski (1998). Rethinking Intuition: The Psychology of Intuition and its Role in Philosophical Inquiry. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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  23. Alvin I. Goldman & Joel Pust (1998). Philosophical Theory and Intuitional Evidence. In Michael Depaul & William Ramsey (eds.), Rethinking Intuition: The Psychology of Intuition and its Role in Philosophical Inquiry. Rowman and Littlefield.
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  24. Joel Pust (1996). Induction, Focused Sampling and the Law of Small Numbers. Synthese 108 (1):89 - 104.
    Hilary Kornblith (1993) has recently offered a reliabilist defense of the use of the Law of Small Numbers in inductive inference. In this paper I argue that Kornblith's defense of this inferential rule fails for a number of reasons. First, I argue that the sort of inferences that Kornblith seeks to justify are not really inductive inferences based on small samples. Instead, they are knowledge-based deductive inferences. Second, I address Kornblith's attempt to find support in the work of Dorrit Billman (...)
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  25. Joel Pust (1995). Two Kinds of Representational Functionalism: Defusing the Combinatorial Explosion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (2):392.
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