Miranda Fricker's important study of epistemic injustice is focussed primarily on testimonial injustice and hermeneutic injustice. It explores how agents' capacities to make assertions and provide testimony can be impaired in ways that can involve forms of distinctively epistemic injustice. My paper identifies a wider range of forms of epistemic injustice that do not all involve the ability to make assertions or offer testimony. The paper considers some examples of some other ways in which injustice can prevent someone from participating (...) in inquiry. (shrink)
There are concepts of freedom of mind and freedom of belief which do not depend on the freedom of agency. After discussing some impediments to such freedom of mind, the paper explores some arguments of Dennett, Michael Smith and Philip Pettit, and Josefa Toribio. Borrowing ideas from Schiller, the paper concludes that such freedom has an emotional or aesthetic dimension.
Questions are relevant to epistemology because they formulate cognitive goals, they are used to elicit information, they are used in Socratic reflection and knowledge sentences often have indirect question complements. The paper explores what capacities we must possess if we are to understand questions and identify and evaluate potential answers to them. The later sections explore different ways in which these matters depend upon pragmatic and other contextual considerations.
: T.L. Short's book argues that Peirce's early theory of signs was flawed, and that the development of his mature theories required a new start and the rejection of some fundamental doctrines from the earlier view. While agreeing that Peirce's view of signs changed and agreeing on the new developments that were of most significance, I express some doubts about Short's diagnosis of why such changes were required. I argue that the changes were required, not by internal inconsistencies in the (...) earlier position, but rather by the need to come up with an adequate account of the role of experience in cognition. (shrink)
The paper offers an explanation of what reasons for belief are, following Paul Grice in focusing on the roles of reasons in the goal-directed activity of reasoning. Reasons are particularly salient considerations that we use as indicators of the truth of beliefs and candidates for belief. Reasons are distinguished from enabling conditions by being things that we should be able to attend to in the course of our reasoning, and in assessing how well our beliefs are supported. The final section (...) argues that epistemic virtues have a role in enabling us to identify reasons and explores this by reference to the example of being observant. (shrink)
Ethics studies the evaluation of actions, agents and their mental states and characters from a distinctive viewpoint or employing a distinctive vocabulary. And epistemology examines the evaluation of actions (inquiries and assertions), agents (believers and inquirers), and their states (belief and attitudes) from a different viewpoint. Given this common concern with evaluation, we should surely expect there to be considerable similarities between the issues examined and the ideas employed in the two areas. However, when we examine most textbooks in ethics (...) and epistemology, this expectation is not fulfilled. Of course, the vocabularies of evaluation are different: in ethics, we are concerned with issues of right and wrong, virtue and vice, moral obligation, and so on; and in epistemology, it is most commonly assumed that we are interested in whether states count as knowledge or as justified beliefs, with whether beliefs and strategies of belief formation are rational. (shrink)
Appeal to the idea of an epistemic virtue promises insight into our practices of epistemic evaluation through employing a distinctive view of the ways in which we formulate and respond to reasons. Traits of ‘epistemic character’ guide our reasoning and reflection, and can be responsible for various forms of irrationality. One component of such a view is that emotions, sentiments and other affective states are far more central to questions of epistemic rationality than is commonly supposed. This paper explains why (...) this is so, and then illustrates the value of this way of looking at the matter by considering two particular examples: the role of states of doubt in regulating our deliberations and inquiries; and the character of our response to some distinctive kinds of irrationality. This will involve a brief discussion of some forms of epistemic akrasia. (shrink)
Christopher Hookway presents a series of studies of themes from the work of the great American philosopher and pragmatist, Charles S. Peirce (1839-1913). These themes center on the question of how we are to investigate the world rationally. Hookway shows how Peirce's ideas about this continue to play an important role in contemporary philosophy.
The paper explores Quine's ?naturalized epistemology?, investigating whether its adoption would prevent the description or vindication of normative standards standardly employed in regulating beliefs and inquiries. Quine's defence of naturalized epistemology rejects traditional epistemological questions rather than using psychology to answer them. Although one could persuade those sensitive to the force of traditional epistemological problems only by employing the kind of argument whose philosophical relevance Quine is committed to denying, Quine can support his view by showing how scientific inquiry need (...) not confront any evaluative issues which cannot be addressed in naturalistic terms. A survey of Quine's own epistemological writings supports this account of his position: naturalized epistemology, it is argued, requires acceptance of the shallowness of epistemic reflection, and traditional epistemology employs general epistemic norms and principles which Quine endeavours to show that we can do without. The closing sections of the paper argue that Quine can consistently resist recent criticisms by Alvin Plantinga in spite of the fact that an unsympathetic reader could reasonably be unimpressed by this resistance. Finally, an attempt is made to understand the normative role of Quine's empiricism and of his claim that prediction is the checkpoint of inquiry. (shrink)
This paper examines Honderich's attempt to make sense of the widespread view that acceptance of determinism undermines reason and knowledge. Since I am largely in sympathy with Honderich's approach to these issues, the paper develops a theme suggested by his discussion and disagrees with some details of the focus of his argument rather than challenging the general principles he employs. After introducing the issue and sketching Honderich's version of the argument from determinism to scepticism, I present an alternative which is (...) closer to traditional patterns of sceptical argument. The concluding sections compare the two arguments and the anti?determinist assumptions about agency and the self which each employs: scepticism results from determinism against the background of a conception of rationality and justification which supports a Cartesian approach to epistemology and an internalist theory of justification. (shrink)
This is a volume of original essays written by philosophers and scientists and dealing with philosophical questions arising from work in evolutionary biology and artificial intelligence. In recent years both of these areas have been the focus for attempts to provide a scientific, model of a wide range of human capacities - most prominently perhaps in sociobiology and cognitive psychology. The book therefore examines a number of issues related to the search for a 'naturalistic' or scientific account of human experience (...) and behaviour. Some of the essays deal with the application of such models to particular behaviour, stressing the problems raised by consciousness, and the information to be derived from the differing capacities of animals and people; others consider more general questions about the logic of the explanations provided by these kinds of approach. The volume continues the informal series stemming from meetings sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation. (shrink)