It is nowadays taken for granted that the core radical sceptical arguments all pivot upon the principle that the epistemic operator in question is ‘closed’ under known entailments. Accordingly, the standard anti-sceptical project now involves either denying closure or retaining closure by amending how one understands other elements of the sceptical argument. However, there are epistemic principles avail- able to the sceptic which are logically weaker than closure but achieve the same result. Accordingly the contemporary debate fails to engage with (...) the sceptical problem in its strongest form. (shrink)
This paper examines the relevance of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty to the contemporary debate regarding the problem of radical scepticism. In particular, it considers two accounts in the recent literature which have seen in Wittgenstein’s remarks on “hinge propositions” in On Certainty the basis for a primarily epistemological anti-sceptical thesis—viz., the inferential contextualism offered by Michael Williams and the ‘unearned warrant’ thesis defended by Crispin Wright. Both positions are shown to be problematic, both as interpretations of Wittgenstein and as anti-sceptical theses. (...) Indeed, it is argued that on a reading of On Certainty which has Wittgenstein advancing a primarily epistemological thesis, there is in fact strong evidence to suggest that Wittgenstein thought that no epistemic response to the sceptic was available—at best, it seems, only a pragmatic antisceptical thesis is on offer. Such a conclusion is not without import to the present debate regarding radical scepticism, however, since it poses a general challenge for how the sceptical argument is conceived in the contemporary literature. (shrink)
AESTRACT: The recent movement towards virtue-theoretic treatments of epistemological concepts can be understood in terms of the desire to eliminate epistemic luck. Significantly, however, it is argued that the two main varieties of virtue epistemology are responding to different types of epistemic luck. In particular, whilst proponents of reliabilism-based virtue theories have been focusing on the problem of what I call "veritic" epistemic luck, non-reliabilism-based virtue theories have instead been concerned with a very different type of epistemic luck, what I (...) call "reflective" epistemic luck. It is argued that, prima facie at least, both forms.. (shrink)
6 ABSTRACT. I outline GrecoÕs response to the Pyrrhonian challenge to 7 epistemic externalist theories of knowledge and oﬀer two points of criticism. 8 I also argue, however, that there is an account of epistemic luck available 9 which can cast some light on the dispute that Greco is concerned with, and..
Attributer contextualists maintain that the verb 'knows' is context-sensitive in the sense that the truth conditions of a sentence of the form "S knows that p" can be dependent upon the ascriber's context. One natural objection against attributer contextualism is that it confuses the impropriety of certain assertions which ascribe knowledge to agents with the falsity of those assertions. In an influential article, Keith DeRose has defended attributer contextualism against this charge by proposing constraints on what he calls "warranted assertibility (...) manoeuvres" of this sort. This paper argues that, contra DeRose, the warranted assertibility manoeuvre directed at attributer contextualism is able to meet the constraints that DeRose lays down. (shrink)
Perhaps the most dominant anti-sceptical proposal in the recent literatureadvanced by such figures as Stewart Cohen, Keith DeRose and David Lewisis the contextualist response to radical scepticism. Central to the contextualist thesis is the claim that, unlike other non-contextualist anti-sceptical theories, contextualism offers a dissolution of the sceptical paradox that respects our common sense epistemological intuitions. Taking DeRose’s view as representative of the contextualist position, it is argued that instead of offering us an intuitive response to scepticism, contextualism is actually (...) committed to a revisionist stance as regards our everyday usage of epistemic terms. In particular, it is argued that the thesis fails to present a satisfactory explication of a notionthat of ‘epistemic descent’that is pivotal to the anti-sceptical import of the account. On the positive side, however, it is claimed that although the contextualist response to scepticism is ultimately unsatisfying, DeRose’s theory does contain within it the framework for a completely differentand far more persuasiveaccount of the ‘phenomenology’ of scepticism which runs along noncontextualist lines. (shrink)
An overview of Wittgenstein’s remarks on scepticism in On Certainty is offered, especially with regard to the notion of a “hinge proposition”. Several possible interpretations of the anti-sceptical import of this text are then critically assessed, with each view situated within the contemporary literature on scepticism.
Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...) the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
We offer an overview of what we take to be the main themes in Annalisa Coliva’s book, Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense. In particular, we focus on the ‘framework reading’ that she offers of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and its anti-sceptical implications. While broadly agreeing with the proposal that Coliva puts forward on this score, we do suggest one important supplementation to the view—viz., that this way of dealing with radical scepticism needs to be augmented with an account (...) of the meta-sceptical problem which this proposal generates, which we call epistemic vertigo. (shrink)
Reductive intellectualists (e.g., Stanley & Williamson ; Stanley ; ; Brogaard ; ; ) hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. For this thesis to hold water, it is obviously important that knowledge-how and knowledge-that have the same epistemic properties. In particular, knowledge-how ought to be compatible with epistemic luck to the same extent as knowledge-that. It is argued, contra reductive intellectualism, that knowledge-how is compatible with a species of epistemic luck which is not compatible with knowledge-that, and thus (...) it is claimed that knowledge-how and knowledge-that come apart. (shrink)
A certain conception of the relevance of virtue epistemology to the philosophy of education is set out. On this conception, while the epistemic goal of education might initially be promoting the pupil's cognitive success, it should ultimately move on to the development of the pupil's cognitive agency. A continuum of cognitive agency is described, on which it is ultimately cognitive achievement, and thus understanding, which is the epistemic goal of education. This is contrasted with a view on which knowledge is (...) the epistemic goal. (shrink)
We revisit an important exchange on the problem of radical skepticism between Richard Rorty and Michael Williams. In his contribution to this exchange, Rorty defended the kind of transcendental approach to radical skepticism that is offered by Donald Davidson, in contrast to Williams’s Wittgenstein-inspired view. It is argued that the key to evaluating this debate is to understand the particular conception of the radical skeptical problem that is offered in influential work by Barry Stroud, a conception of the skeptical problem (...) which generates metaepistemological ramifications for anti-skeptical theories. In particular, we argue that, contra Williams, Rorty’s view that Davidson was offering a theoretical diagnosis of radical skepticism can be consistently maintained with his transcendental approach. (shrink)
According to robust virtue epistemology, knowledge is a cognitive achievement, where this means that the agent's cognitive success is because of her cognitive ability. One type of objection to robust virtue epistemology that has been put forward in the contemporary literature is that this view has problems dealing with certain kinds of testimonial knowledge, and thus that it is in tension with standard views in the epistemology of testimony. We build on this critique to argue that insofar as agents epistemically (...) depend on third-party members of their epistemic community as many social epistemologists contend, then there will be cases where two agents differ epistemically despite being virtue-theoretic duplicates. This means that robust virtue epistemology, at least insofar as it is understood along standard lines such that it endorses epistemic individualism, is also in tension with a central commitment of contemporary social epistemology. (shrink)
A popular form of virtue epistemology—defended by such figures as Ernest Sosa, Linda Zagzebski and John Greco—holds that knowledge can be exclusively understood in virtue-theoretic terms. In particular, it holds that there isn't any need for an additional epistemic condition to deal with the problem posed by knowledge-undermining epistemic luck. It is argued that the sustainability of such a proposal is called into question by the possibility of epistemic twin earth cases. In particular, it is argued that such cases demonstrate (...) the need for virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge to appeal to an independent epistemic condition which excludes knowledge-undermining epistemic luck. (shrink)
Philosophers of information, according to Luciano Floridi (The philosophy of information. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010, p 32), study how information should be “adequately created, processed, managed, and used.” A small number of epistemologists have employed the concept of information as a cornerstone of their theoretical framework. How this concept can be used to make sense of seemingly intractable epistemological problems, however, has not been widely explored. This paper examines Fred Dretske’s information-based epistemology, in particular his response to radical epistemological (...) skepticism. We discuss the relationship between information, evidence and knowledge in relation to the problem of skepticism and the options available to an information-based epistemology for dealing with it. (shrink)
In his final notebooks, published as On Certainty , Wittgenstein offers a distinctive conception of the nature of reasons. Central to this conception is the idea that at the heart of our rational practices are essentially arational commitments. This proposal marks a powerful challenge to the standard picture of the structure of reasons. In particular, it has been thought that this account might offer us a resolution of the traditional scepticism/anti-scepticism debate. It is argued, however, that some standard ways of (...) filling out the details of this proposal ultimately lead to an epistemology which is highly problematic. The goal here is to present a more compelling version of Wittgenstein’s account of the structure of reasons which can evade these difficulties. (shrink)
This paper explores the ramifications of the extended cognition thesis in the philosophy of mind for contemporary epistemology. In particular, it argues that all theories of knowledge need to accommodate the ability intuition that knowledge involves cognitive ability, but that once this requirement is understood correctly there is no reason why one could not have a conception of cognitive ability that was consistent with the extended cognition thesis. There is thus, surprisingly, a straightforward way of developing our current thinking about (...) knowledge such that it incorporates the extended cognition thesis. (shrink)
It has become almost a conventional wisdom to argue that Cartesian scepticism poses a far more radical sceptical threat than its classical Pyrrhonian counterpart. Such a view fails to recognise, however, that there is a species of sceptical concern that can only plausibly be regarded as captured by the Pyrrhonian strategy. For whereas Cartesian scepticism is closely tied to the contentious doctrine of epistemological internalism, it is far from obvious that Pyrrhonian scepticism bears any such theoretical commitments. It is argued (...) here that by viewing the Pyrrhonian style of sceptical argument in terms of this contemporary epistemological externalist/internalist distinction one can gain a new insight into some of the more problematic elements of this variety of classical thought and also get a handle on certai contemporary worries that have been raised regarding the anti-sceptical efficacy of externalist theories of knowledge. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between perceptual knowledge and discrimination in the light of the so-called ‘relevant alternatives’ intuition. It begins by outlining an intuitive relevant alternatives account of perceptual knowledge which incorporates the insight that there is a close connection between perceptual knowledge and the possession of relevant discriminatory abilities. It is argued, however, that in order to resolve certain problems that face this view, it is essential to recognise an important distinction between favouring and discriminating epistemic support that (...) is often overlooked in the literature. This distinction complicates the story regarding how an alternative becomes relevant, and in doing so weakens the connection between perceptual knowledge and discrimination. The theory that results, however—what I term a ‘two-tiered’ relevant alternatives theory of perceptual knowledge—accommodates many of our intuitions about perceptual knowledge and so avoids the revisionism of some recent proposals in the epistemological literature. (shrink)
The value problem -- Unpacking the value problem -- The swamping problem -- fundamental and non-fundamental epistemic goods -- The relevance of epistemic value monism -- Responding to the swamping problem I : the practical response -- Responding to the swamping problem II : the monistic response -- Responding to the swamping problem III : the pluralist response -- Robust virtue epistemology -- Knowledge and achievement -- Interlude : is robust virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Achievement without (...) achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Contra virtue epistemology -- Two master intuitions about knowledge -- Anti-luck virtue epistemology -- Interlude : is anti-luck virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Diagnosing the structure of knowledge -- Back to the value problem -- The final value of achievements -- Understanding -- Understanding and epistemic luck -- Understanding and cognitive achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Two potential implications of the distinctive value of understanding thesis -- The traditional analytical project and the central tension -- Knowledge, evidence, and reasons -- Concepts versus phenomena -- The way ahead -- Perceptual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perpetual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perceptual knowledge and justified belief -- Closure and doxastic responsibility -- Knowledge from indicators -- Recognitional abilities again -- Detached standing knowledge -- Back to knowledge from indicators -- Taking stock -- Why knowledge matters -- Approaching the epistemology of testimony -- Telling and informing -- Acquiring true beliefs and acquiring knowledge through being told -- Access to facts about knowledge -- The modest route -- Fool's knowledge -- The distinctive value of knowledge -- Fool's justification -- Arguing from illusion -- The regress of justifications -- Transparency and knowledge -- Transparency and entitlement -- On trying to do without transparency -- Transparency and luminosity -- Non-sensible knowledge -- Self-knowledge -- Non-sensible knowledge of action -- The two dimensions -- The distinctive value of knowledge of action -- Non-observational knowledge -- Practical knowledge and intention -- Practical knowledge and direction of fit. (shrink)
Recent epistemology has reflected a growing interest in issues about the value of knowledge and the values informing epistemic appraisal. Is knowledge more valuable that merely true belief or even justified true belief? Is truth the central value informing epistemic appraisal or do other values enter the picture? Epistemic Value is a collection of previously unpublished articles on such issues by leading philosophers in the field. It will stimulate discussion of the nature of knowledge and of directions that might be (...) taken by the theory of knowledge. The contributors are Jason Baehr, Michael Brady, Berit Brogaard, Michael DePaul, Pascal Engel, Catherine Elgin, Alvin Goldman, John Greco, Stephen Grimm, Ward Jones, Martin Kusch, Jonathan Kvanvig, Michael Lynch, Erik Olsson, Wayne Riggs and Matthew Weiner. (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)
General introduction -- What is knowledge? -- What is the value of knowledge? -- What evidence do we have? -- How should we distribute our confidence? -- What is it to be justified in believing something? -- What is the structure of justification and knowledge? -- What is the nature of the epistemic 'ought'? -- What are the sources of knowledge? -- What can we know? -- Is knowledge in the eye of the beholder?
It is argued that the debate regarding radical scepticism needs to be conducted in the light of a value-theoretic methodological constraint. It is further shown that such a methodological constraint raises some uncomfortable problems for the main anti-sceptical proposals in the literature.