In a recent exchange, Vaesen (Synthese 181: 515–529, 2011; Erkenntnis 78:963–970, 2013) and Kelp (Erkenntnis 78:245–252, 2013a) have argued over whether cases of extended cognition pose (part of) a problem for robust virtue epistemology. This paper responds to Vaesen’s (Erkenntnis 78:963–970, 2013) most recent contribution to this exchange. I argue that Vaesen latest argument against the kind of virtue epistemology I favour fails.
Traditionally, epistemologists have held that only truth-related factors matter in the question of whether a subject can be said to know a proposition. Various philosophers have recently departed from this doctrine by claiming that the answer to this question also depends on practical concerns. They take this move to be warranted by the fact that people’s knowledge attributions appear sensitive to contextual variation, in particular variation due to differing stakes. This paper proposes an alternative explanation of the aforementioned fact, one (...) that allows us to stick to the orthodoxy. The alternative applies the conceptual spaces approach to the concept of knowledge. With knowledge conceived of spatially, the variability in knowledge attributions follows from recent work on identity, according to which our standards for judging things (including concepts) to be identical are context-dependent. On the proposal to be made, it depends on what is at stake in a context whether it is worth distinguishing between knowing and being at least close to knowing. (shrink)
According to a much discussed argument, reliabilism is defective for making knowledge too easy to come by. In a recent paper, Weisberg aims to show that this argument relies on a type of reasoning that is rejectable on independent grounds. We argue that the blanket rejection that Weisberg recommends of this type of reasoning is both unwarranted and unwelcome. Drawing on an older discussion in the philosophy of science, we show that placing some relatively modest restrictions on the said type (...) of reasoning suffices to block the anti-reliabilist argument. (shrink)
: This paper defends the knowledge rule of informative speech acts. It is argued that Edward Craig's insightful practical explication of the concept of knowledge can be extended to motivate the knowledge rule. A number of problem cases for the knowledge rule are addressed and accommodated.
Pritchard (Synthese 175,133–51, 2010) and Vaesen (Synthese forthcoming) have recently argued that robust virtue epistemology does not square with the extended cognition thesis that has enjoyed an increasing degree of popularity in recent philosophy of mind. This paper shows that their arguments fail. The relevant cases of extended cognition pose no new problem for robust virtue epistemology. It is shown that Pritchard’s and Vaesen’s cases can be dealt with in familiar ways by a number of virtue theories of knowledge.
According to virtue epistemology, knowledge involves cognitive success that is due to cognitive competence. This paper explores the prospects of a virtue theory of knowledge that, so far, has no takers in the literature. It combines features from a couple of different virtue theories: like Pritchard's [forthcoming; et al. 2010] view, it qualifies as what I call an ?impure? version of virtue epistemology, according to which the competence condition is supplemented by an additional (safety) condition; like Sosa's 2007, 2010 view, (...) it construes the ?because? relation at issue in the competence condition in terms of competence manifestation. I argue that this virtue epistemology can steer clear of a number of old and new problems that arise for its rivals on both sides. (shrink)
This paper addresses the argument from ‘contextualist cases’—such as for instance DeRose’s Bank cases—to attributor contextualism. It is argued that these cases do not make a decisive case against invariantism and that the debate between contextualists and invariantists will have to be settled on broader theoretical grounds.
Much recent discussion in social epistemology has focussed on the question of whether peers can rationally sustain a disagreement. A growing number of social epistemologists hold that the answer is negative. We point to considerations from the history of science that favor rather the opposite answer. However, we also explain how the other position can appear intuitively attractive.
This paper highlights some connections between work on truth approximation and work in social epistemology, in particular work on peer disagreement. In some of the literature on truth approximation, questions have been addressed concerning the efficiency of research strategies for approximating the truth. So far, social aspects of research strategies have not received any attention in this context. Recent findings in the field of opinion dynamics suggest that this is a mistake. How scientists exchange and take into account information about (...) each othersâ€™ beliefs may greatly influence the accuracy and speed with which the scientific community as a whole approximates the truth. On the other hand, social epistemologists concerned with peer disagreement have so far neglected the question of how practices of responding to disagreements with peers fare with respect to the goal of approximating the truth. Again, work on opinion dynamics shows that this may be a mistake, and that how we ought to respond to disagreements with our peers may depend on the specific purposes of our investigations. (shrink)
In a number of recent papers Duncan Pritchard argues that virtue epistemology's central ability condition—one knows that p if and only if one has attained cognitive success (true belief) because of the exercise of intellectual ability—is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge. This paper discusses and dismisses a number of responses to Pritchard's objections and develops a new way of defending virtue epistemology against them.
This paper raises a problem for contrastivist accounts of knowledge. It is argued that contrastivism fails to succeed in providing a modest solution to the sceptical paradox—i.e. one according to which we have knowledge of a wide range of ordinary empirical propositions whilst failing to know the various anti-sceptical hypotheses entailed by them—whilst, at the same time, retaining a contrastivist version of the closure principle for knowledge.
In this paper I take issue with Jonathan Sutton's attempt at defending the thesis that knowledge is justified belief. I argue, first, that the arguments he adduces in support of it fail. Second, I provide independent reason to believe that knowledge and justified belief come apart.
In Knowledge and the State of Nature Edward Craig defends the thesis that the function of the concept of knowledge is to flag good informants. This paper aims to show that Craig’s thesis (CT) is false. In order to establish this, I will point to some data that CT fails to explain in a satisfactory manner. I will then introduce an alternative thesis that is not only able to secure the acclaimed benefits of CT, but also provides a neat explanation (...) of the recalcitrant data. (shrink)
This paper raises a problem for so-called safety-based conceptions of knowledge: It is argued that none of the versions of the safety condition that can be found in the literature succeeds in identifying a necessary condition on knowledge. Furthermore, reason is provided to believe that the argument generalises at least in the sense that there can be no version of the safety condition that does justice to the considerations motivating a safety condition whilst, at the same time, being requisite for (...) knowledge. (shrink)
This paper considers two deflationary responses to the Fitch argument on behalf of the semantic anti-realistthat is, two responses which aim to evade the conclusion of that argument by, on a principled basis, weakening one of the principles essentially employed. The first deflationary approach that is consideredwhich proceeds by weakening the factivity principle for knowledgeis shown to be ultimately unpromising, but a second approachwhich proceeds by weakening the knowability principle that is at the heart of semantic anti-realismis shown to have (...) considerable prima facie appeal. It is then argued that some key objections that one might raise for this approach are on closer inspection ineffective. (shrink)
This paper revisits a puzzle that arises for theories of knowledge according to which one can know on the basis of merely inductive grounds. No matter how strong such theories require inductive grounds to be if a belief based on them is to qualify as knowledge, there are certain beliefs (namely, about the outcome of fair lotteries) that are based on even stronger inductive grounds, while, intuitively, they do not qualify as knowledge. This paper discusses what is often regarded as (...) the most promising classical invariantist solution to the puzzle, namely, that beliefs about the outcomes of fair lotteries do not qualify as knowledge because they are too lucky to do so (or, relatedly, because they do not satisfy a safety condition on knowledge), while other beliefs based on potentially weaker inductive grounds are not too lucky (or, relatedly, because they are safe). A case is presented that shows that this solution to the puzzle is actually not viable. It is argued that there is no obvious alternative solution in sight and that therefore the puzzle still awaits a classical invariantist solution. (shrink)
This thesis addresses the problem of the analysis of knowledge. The persistent failure of analyses of knowledge in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions is used to motivate exploring alternative approaches to the analytical problem. In parallel to a similar development in the theory of truth, in which the persistent failure to provide a satisfactory answer to the question as to what the nature of truth is has led to the exploration of deflationary and minimalist approaches to the theory of (...) truth, the prospects for deflationary and minimalist approaches to the theory of knowledge are investigated. While it is argued that deflationary approaches are ultimately unsatisfactory, a minimalist approach to epistemology, which characterises the concept of knowledge by a set of platitudes about knowledge, is defended. The first version of a minimalist framework for the theory of knowledge is developed. Two more substantive developments of the minimalist framework are discussed. In the first development a safety condition on knowledge is derived from the minimalist framework. Problems for this development are discussed and solved. In the second development, an ability condition is derived from the minimalist framework. Reason is provided to believe that, arguably, the ability condition can avoid the problems that beset traditional analyses of knowledge. It is also shown that even if this argument fails, minimalist approaches to epistemology may serve to provide a functional definition of knowledge. Reason is thus provided to believe that minimalist approaches to epistemology can make progress towards addressing the problem of the analysis of knowledge. (shrink)