Virtually all philosophers agree that for a belief to be epistemically justified, it must satisfy certain conditions. Perhaps it must be supported by evidence. Or perhaps it must be reliably formed. Or perhaps there are some other "good-making" features it must have. But does a belief's justification also require some sort of awareness of its good-making features? The answer to this question has been hotly contested in contemporary epistemology, creating a deep divide among its practitioners. Internalists, who tend to focus (...) on scientific or theoretical beliefs as the ideal, insist that such awareness is required for justification. Externalists, who think children's ordinary beliefs in obvious facts are paradigm cases of justified belief, say it isn't required. Michael Bergmann's book offers a decisive refutation of internalism and a sustained defense of externalism. (shrink)
Some evidential arguments from evil rely on an inference of the following sort: 'If, after thinking hard, we can't think of any God-justifying reason for permitting some horrific evil then it is likely that there is no such reason'. Sceptical theists, us included, say that this inference is not a good one and that evidential arguments from evil that depend on it are, as a result, unsound. Michael Almeida and Graham Oppy have argued (in a previous issue of this journal) (...) that Michael Bergmann's way of developing the sceptical theist response to such arguments fails because it commits those who endorse it to a sort of scepticism that undermines ordinary moral practice. In this paper, we defend Bergmann's sceptical theist response against this charge. (shrink)
Skeptical theists endorse the skeptical thesis (which is consistent with the rejection of theism) that we have no good reason for thinking the possible goods we know of are representative of the possible goods there are. In his newest formulation of the evidential arguments from evil, William Rowe tries to avoid assuming the falsity of this skeptical thesis, presumably because it seems so plausible. I argue that his new argument fails to avoid doing this. Then I defend that skeptical thesis (...) against objections, thereby supporting my contention that relying on its falsity is a weakness in an argument. (shrink)
The question I consider is this: The Question: Can two people – who are, and realize they are, intellectually virtuous to about the same degree – both be rational in continuing knowingly to disagree after full disclosure (by each to the other of all the relevant evidence they can think of) while at the same time thinking that the other may well be rational too? I distinguish two kinds of rationality – internal and external – and argue in section 1 (...) that, whichever kind we have in mind, the answer to The Question is ‘yes’ (though that positive answer is less wholehearted in the case of external rationality). Then, in section 2, I briefly make some more general remarks about when discovering a disagreement provides a defeater and when it doesn't. In the final section, I consider an important objection to the answer given in section 1 to The Question. (shrink)
One thing all forms of foundationalism have in common is that they hold that a belief can be justified noninferentially--i.e., that its justification need not depend on its being inferred from some other justified (or unjustified) belief. In some recent publications, Peter Klein argues that in virtue of having this feature, all forms of foundationalism are infected with an unacceptable arbitrariness that makes it irrational to be a practicing foundationalist. In this paper, I will explain why his objections to foundationalism (...) fail. (shrink)
Preprinted in God and the Problem of Evil(Blackwell 2001), ed. William Rowe. Many people deny that evil makes belief in atheism more reasonable for us than belief in theism. After all, they say, the grounds for belief in God are much better than the evidence for atheism, including the evidence provided by evil. We will not join their ranks on this occasion. Rather, we wish to consider the proposition that, setting aside grounds for belief in God and relying only on (...) the background knowledge shared in common by nontheists and theists, evil makes belief in atheism more reasonable for us than belief in theism. Our aim is to argue against this proposition. We recognize that in doing so, we face a formidable challenge. It’s one thing to say that evil presents a reason for atheism that is, ultimately, overridden by arguments for theism. It’s another to say that it doesn’t so much as provide us with a reason for atheism in the first place. In order to make this latter claim seem initially more plausible, consider the apparent design of the mammalian eye or the apparent fine-tuning of the universe to support life. These are often proposed as reasons to believe in theism. Critics commonly argue not merely that these supposed reasons for theism are overridden by arguments for atheism but rather that they aren’t good reasons for theism in the first place. Our parallel proposal with respect to evil and atheism is, initially at least, no less plausible than this proposal with respect to apparent design and theism. (shrink)
This paper is a response to Peter Klein's “Human Knowledge and the Infinite Progress of Reasoning” (also in this issue of this journal). After briefly discussing what Klein says about the requirement, for doxastic justification, that a belief be formed in the right way, I'll make the following three points: Klein's solution to the regress problem isn't an infinitist solution, Klein's position on doxastic justification faces a troubling dilemma, and Klein's objection to foundationalism fails.
Adherents of traditional western Theism have espoused CONJUNCTION: God is essentially perfectly good and God is thankworthy for the good acts he performs . But suppose that (i) God’s essential perfect goodness prevents his good acts from being free, and that (ii) God is not thankworthy for an act that wasn’t freely performed.
Despite various attempts to rectify matters, the internalism-externalism (I-E) debate in epistemology remains mired in serious confusion. I present a new account of this debate, one which fits well with entrenched views on the I-E distinction and illuminates the fundamental disagreements at the heart of the debate. Roughly speaking, the I-E debate is over whether or not certain of the necessary conditions of positive epistemic status are internal. But what is the sense of internal here? And of which conditions of (...) which positive epistemic status are we speaking? I argue that an adequate answer to these questions requires reference to what I call the no-defeater condition which is satisfied by a subjects belief B just in case she does not believe that B is defeated. I close by stating succinctly the main positions taken in the I-E debate, identifying the basic points of disagreement and suggesting fruitful courses for future discussion. (shrink)
Internalists tend to impose on justification higher-level requirements, according to which a belief is justified only if the subject has a higher-level belief (i.e., a belief about the epistemic credentials of a belief). I offer an error theory that explains the appeal of this requirement: analytically, a belief is not justified if we have a defeater for it, but contingently, it is often the case that to avoid having defeaters, our beliefs must satisfy a higher-level requirement. I respond to the (...) objection that externalists who endorse this error theory will be forced to accept a radical form of scepticism. (shrink)
What distinguishes Reidian externalism from other versions of epistemic externalism about justification is its proper functionalism and its commonsensism, both of which are inspired by the 18th century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid. Its proper functionalism is a particular analysis of justification; its commonsensism is a certain thesis about what we are noninferentially justified in believing.
Preprinted in God and the Problem of Evil (Blackwell 2001), ed. William Rowe. In this article, we reply to Bill Rowe's "Evil is Evidence Against Theistic Belief" in Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion (Blackwell 2003).
This volume is an accessible introduction to the subject of many-valued and fuzzy logic suitable for use in relevant advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. The text opens with a discussion of the philosophical issues that give rise to fuzzy logic – problems arising from vague language – and returns to those issues as logical systems are presented. For historical and pedagogical reasons, three-valued logical systems are presented as useful intermediate systems for studying the principles and theory behind fuzzy logic.
When one depends on a belief source in sustaining a belief that that very belief source is trustworthy, then that belief is an epistemically circular belief (EC-belief).Â A number of philosophers have objected to externalism in epistemology on the grounds that it commits one to thinking EC-beliefs can be justified, something they view as..
It is currently fashionable to hold that deontology induces internalism. That is, those who think that epistemic justification is essentially a matter of duty fulfillment are thought to have a good reason for accepting internalism in epistemology. I shall argue that no deontological conception of epistemic justification provides a good reason for endorsing internalism. My main contention is that a requirement having to do with epistemic defeat-a requirement that many externalists impose on knowledge-guarantees the only sorts of deontological justification that (...) have a chance at inducing internalism. Given this compatibility of externalism and deontology, we may safely conclude that deontology by itself doesn't lend support to internalism. (shrink)
The first part of this paper argues that the various contending positions in the contemporary Theory of Value share one tacit presupposition, namely that the world of facts is value?neutral. Some of the sources of this premise are identified and a critique attempts to show that it cannot be defended. The second part delineates the general implications that the abandonment of this premise would have for the Theory of Value and outlines an alternative position.
A three-valued propositional logic is presented, within which the three values are read as ?true?, ?false? and ?nonsense?. A three-valued extended functional calculus, unrestricted by the theory of types, is then developed. Within the latter system, Bochvar analyzes the Russell paradox and the Grelling-Weyl paradox, formally demonstrating the meaninglessness of both.