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Profile: Brian Talbot (University of Colorado, Boulder)
  1. Brian Talbot (2014). Truth Promoting Non-Evidential Reasons for Belief. Philosophical Studies 168 (3):599-618.
    Sometimes a belief that p promotes having true beliefs, whether or not p is true. This gives reasons to believe that p, but most epistemologists would deny that it gives epistemic reasons, or that these reasons can epistemically justify the belief that p. Call these reasons to believe “truth promoting non-evidential reasons for belief.” This paper argues that three common views in epistemology, taken together, entail that reasons of this sort can epistemically justify beliefs. These three claims are: epistemic oughts (...)
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  2. Brian Talbot (2014). Why so Negative? Evidence Aggregation and Armchair Philosophy. Synthese 191 (16):3865-3896.
    This paper aims to clarify a debate on philosophical method, and to give a probabilistic argument vindicating armchair philosophy under a wide range of plausible assumptions. The use of intuitions by so-called armchair philosophers has been criticized on empirical grounds. The debate between armchair philosophers and their empirical critics would benefit from greater clarity and precision in our understanding of what it takes for intuition-based approaches to philosophy to make sense. This paper discusses a set of rigorous, probability-based tools for (...)
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  3. Brian Talbot (2013). Reforming Intuition Pumps: When Are the Old Ways the Best? Philosophical Studies 165 (2):315-334.
    One mainstream approach to philosophy involves trying to learn about philosophically interesting, non-mental phenomena—ethical properties, for example, or causation—by gathering data from human beings. I call this approach “wide tent traditionalism.” It is associated with the use of philosophers’ intuitions as data, the making of deductive arguments from this data, and the gathering of intuitions by eliciting reactions to often quite bizarre thought experiments. These methods have been criticized—I consider experimental philosophy’s call for a move away from the use of (...)
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  4. Brian Talbot (2012). Interest as a Starting Place for Philosophy. Essays in Philosophy 13 (1):8.
    This paper discusses a puzzle about philosophical beliefs. Core philosophical beliefs that are widely shared among philosophers, such as the belief that skepticism is false, are often held with extreme confidence. However, this confidence is not justified if these beliefs are based on what are traditionally seen as the sources of philosophical evidence, such as intuitions or observation . Charity requires that we should look for some other basis for these beliefs. I argue that these beliefs are based on our (...)
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  5. Brian Talbot (2012). Student Relativism. Teaching Philosophy 35 (2):171-187.
    I present a novel approach to teaching ethics to students who are moral relativists. I argue that we should not try to convince students to abandon moral relativism; while we can and should present arguments against the view, we should not try to use these arguments to change students’ minds. Attempts to convince student relativists to change their minds can be disrespectful, and often overlook the reasons why students are relativists. I explain how instead to show moral relativists that their (...)
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  6. Brian Talbot (2012). Student Relativism: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Teaching Philosophy 35 (2):171-187.
    I present a novel approach to teaching ethics to students who are moral relativists. I argue that we should not try to convince students to abandon moral relativism; while we can and should present arguments against the view, we should not try to use these arguments to change students’ minds. Attempts to convince student relativists to change their minds can be disrespectful, and often overlook the reasons why students are relativists. I explain how instead to show moral relativists that their (...)
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  7. Brian Talbot (2012). The Irrelevance of Folk Intuitions to the “Hard Problem” of Consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):644-650.
    Recently, a number of philosophers have turned to folk intuitions about mental states for data about qualia and phenomenal consciousness. In this paper I argue that current research along these lines does not tell us about these subjects. I focus on a series of studies, performed by Justin Sytsma and Edouard Machery, to make my argument. Folk judgments studied by these researchers are mostly likely generated by a certain cognitive system – System One – that will generate the same data (...)
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  8. Brian Talbot (2012). The Irrelevance of Dispositions and Difficulty to Intuitions About the “Hard Problem” of Consciousness: A Response to Sytsma, Machery, and Huebner. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):661-666.
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  9. Brian Talbot (2009). Psychology and the Use of Intuitions in Philosophy. Studia Philosophica Estonica 2 (2):157-176.
    There is widespread controversy about the use of intuitions in philosophy. In this paper I will argue that there are legitimate concerns about this use, and that these concerns cannot be fully responded to using the traditional methods of philosophy. We need an understanding of how intuitions are generated and what it is they are based on, and this understanding must be founded on the psychological investigation of the mind. I explore how a psychological understanding of intuitions is likely to (...)
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