David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 116 (1):37-52 (2003)
According to many philosophers, psychological explanation canlegitimately be given in terms of belief and desire, but not in termsof knowledge. To explain why someone does what they do (so the common wisdom holds) you can appeal to what they think or what they want, but not what they know. Timothy Williamson has recently argued against this view. Knowledge, Williamson insists, plays an essential role in ordinary psychological explanation.Williamson's argument works on two fronts.First, he argues against the claim that, unlike knowledge, belief is``composite'' (representable as a conjunction of a narrow and a broadcondition). Belief's failure to be composite, Williamson thinks, undermines the usual motivations for psychological explanation in terms of belief rather than knowledge.Unfortunately, we claim, the motivations Williamson argues against donot depend on the claim that belief is composite, so what he saysleaves the case for a psychology of belief unscathed.Second, Williamson argues that knowledge can sometimes provide abetter explanation of action than belief can.We argue that, in the cases considered, explanations that cite beliefs(but not knowledge) are no less successful than explanations that citeknowledge. Thus, we conclude that Williamson's arguments fail both coming andgoing: they fail to undermine a psychology of belief, and they fail tomotivate a psychology of knowledge.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Philosophy of Mind Philosophy of Religion|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jonathan Cohen (2003). Barry Stroud, the Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour. Noûs 37 (3):537-554.
Bernard Molyneux (2007). Primeness, Internalism and Explanatory Generality. Philosophical Studies 135 (2):255 - 277.
Similar books and articles
Aidan McGlynn (2012). Interpretation and Knowledge Maximization. Philosophical Studies 160 (3):391-405.
Anna Mahtani (2008). Williamson on Inexact Knowledge. Philosophical Studies 139 (2):171 - 180.
Dylan Dodd (2007). Why Williamson Should Be a Sceptic. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):635–649.
Murali Ramachandran (2006). How Believing Can Fail to Be Knowing. Theoria 21 (2):185-194.
Alvin Goldman (2009). Williamson on Knowledge and Evidence. In Patrick Greenough, Duncan Pritchard & Timothy Williamson (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. Oxford University Press. 73-91.
Robert Lockie (2004). Knowledge, Provenance and Psychological Explanation. Philosophy 79 (3):421-433.
Stephen Kearns & Ofra Magidor (2008). Epistemicism About Vagueness and Meta-Linguistic Safety. Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):277-304.
Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (2005). Williamson on Knowledge, Action, and Causation. SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):15-28.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads72 ( #23,329 of 1,413,433 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #94,648 of 1,413,433 )
How can I increase my downloads?