The Gettierproblem has stymied epistemologists. But whether or not this problem is resolvable, we still must face an important question: Why does the Gettierproblem arise in the first place? So far, philosophers have seen it as either a problem peculiar to the concept of knowledge, or else an instance of a general problem about conceptual analysis. But I would like to steer a middle course. I argue that the Gettier (...) class='Hi'>problem arises because knowledge is a thick concept, and a Gettier-like problem is just what we should expect from attempts at analyzing a thick concept. Section 2 is devoted to establishing the controversial claim that knowledge is thick, and, in Sect. 3, I show that there is a general problem for analyzing thick concepts of which the Gettierproblem is a special instance. I do not take a stand on whether the Gettierproblem, or its general counterpart, is resolvable. My primary aim is to bring these problems into better focus. (shrink)
If the history of the GettierProblem has taught us anything, it is to be skeptical regarding purported solutions. Nevertheless, in “Manifest Failure: The GettierProblem Solved” (2011), that is precisely what John Turri offers us. For nearly fifty years, epistemologists have been chasing a solution for the GettierProblem but with little to no success. If Turri is right, if he has actually solved the GettierProblem, then he has done something (...) that is absolutely groundbreaking and really quite remarkable. Regrettably, however, while Turri’s account is both intuitive and elegant—improving upon many seminal projects within contemporary epistemology—I argue in this paper that any success against Gettier counterexamples it affords is merely fleeting. Straightforwardly, this is done in two sections. In §1, I briefly sketch Turri’s proposed solution to the GettierProblem. Then, in §2, I level a counterexample against it. Unfortunately for Turri and his solution, in this paper we will see history repeat itself. (shrink)
David Lewis maintained that epistemological contextualism (on which the truth-conditions for utterances of “S knows p” change in different contexts depending on the salient “alternative possibilities”) could solve the problem of skepticism as well as the Gettierproblem. Contextualist approaches to skepticism have become commonplace, if not orthodox, in epistemology. But not so for contextualist approaches to the Gettierproblem: the standard approach to this has been to add an “anti-luck” condition to the analysis of (...) knowledge. (shrink)
The contextualist epistemological theories proposed by David Lewis and othersoffer a view of knowledge which awards a central role to the contexts ofknowledge attributions. Such contexts are held to determine how strong anepistemic position must be in order to count as knowledge. Lewis has suggestedthat contextualism so construed can be used both to ward off the skeptic and tosolve the Gettierproblem. A person knows P, he says, just in case her evidenceeliminates every possibility that not-P, where the (...) domain of `every' is determinedby the context. Lewis provides a list of rules that can tell us, for a given context,which not-P possibilities must be eliminated and which can properly be ignored.But his account entails, counterintuitively, that knowledge can truly be attributedeven to a person in a Gettier situation provided only that the attributor is ignorantof the fact that the person is gettiered. It has been criticized on those grounds byS. Cohen. In this paper I shall argue that most other forms of contextualism sufferthe same fate as Lewis's. The allies of contextualism haven't yet shown us whethercontextualism can succeed in maintaining a notion of ordinary knowledge whileresisting the absurdity that knowledge can be a matter of sheer good luck. At theend of the paper I shall suggest a possible solution to the problem by showing howCohen's line of criticism leads to a modified conception of what sort of justificationa belief must have to count as knowledge in ordinary contexts. (shrink)
This paper provides a principled and elegant solution to the Gettierproblem. The key move is to draw a general metaphysical distinction and conscript it for epistemological purposes. Section 1 introduces the Gettierproblem. Sections 2–5 discuss instructively wrong or incomplete previous proposals. Section 6 presents my solution and explains its virtues. Section 7 answers the most common objection.
The tripartite account of propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p as justified true belief can become adequate only if it can solve the GettierProblem. However, the latter can be solved only if the problem of a successful coordination of the resources (at least truth and justification) necessary and sufficient to deliver propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p can be solved. In this paper, the coordination problem is proved to be insolvable by showing that it is equivalent to (...) the ''''coordinated attack'''' problem, which is demonstrably insolvable in epistemic logic. It follows that the tripartite account is not merely inadequate as it stands, as proved by Gettier-type counterexamples, but demonstrably irreparable in principle, so that efforts to improve it can never succeed. (shrink)
On the “Russellian” solution to the Gettierproblem, every Gettier case involves the implicit or explicit use of a false premise on the part of the subject. We distinguish between two senses of “justification” ---“legitimation” and “justification proper.” The former does not require true premises, but the latter does. We then argue that in Gettier cases the subject possesses “legitimation” but not “justification proper,” and we respond to many attempted counterexamples, including several variants of the Nogot (...) scenario, a case involving induction, and the case of the sight-seer and the barn. Finally, we show that, given our analysis, any challenge to a belief’s justification on the grounds that it might be “Gettierized” only requires an argument that one’s premises are themselves likely to be true, moving backwards along the object-Ievel regress. Hence, a move to externalism is neither useful nor necessary in response to the Gettierproblem. (shrink)
When it comes to second-order knowledge (i.e. knowing that one knows), internalists typically contend that when we know that p, we can, by reflecting, directly know that we are knowing it. Gettier considerations are employed to challenge this internalistic contention and to make out a prima facie case for internalistic metaepistemological skepticism, the thesis that no one ever intemalistically knows that one internalistically knows that p. In particular, I argue that at the metaepistemological second-order level, the Gettier (...) class='Hi'>problem generates three distinct problems which, taken together, seriously undermine the possibility of anyone possessing second-order internalistic knowledge. (shrink)
lnfallibilism is the view that a belief cannot be at once warranted and false. In this essay we assess three nonpartisan arguments for infallibilism, arguments that do not depend on a prior commitment to some substantive theory of warrant. Three premises, one from each argument, are most significant: (1) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then the Geltier Problem cannot be solved; (2) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then its warrant (...) can be transferred to an accidentally true belief; (3) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then it can be warranted and accidentally true. We argue that each of these is either false or no more plausible than its denial. Along the way, we offer a solution to the GettierProblem that is compatible with fallibilism. (shrink)
Viele Philosophen Glauben, daß die sogenannte „klassische” Definition des Wissens: -/- (W)Das Subjekt S weiß, daß p =Df. (i) S glaubt (ist überzeugt), daß p; (ii) S hat eine Begründung (eine epistemische Rechtferigung) für seine Überzeugung, daß p; und (iii) es ist der Fall, daß p. -/- durch das berühmte Gegenbeispiel Gettiers endgültig demoliert wurde: Gettier hat die folgende Situation konstruiert: -/- (G)(1) Das Subjekt S hat eine gute induktive Begründung für die Überzeugung, daß p. (2) S hat die (...) Überzeugung vom Inhalt p oder q. (3) S hat demgemäß die Begründung für seine Überzeugung, daß p oder q; und zwar kraft der Begründung, die es für die Überzeugung, daß p, hat. (4) Was q betrifft, so hat S gar keine epistemischen Gründe (weder für noch gegen q). (5) p erweist sich als falsch, q ist dagegen (dank eines Zufalls) wahr. -/- Wir argumentieren, daß die philosophische Bedeutung des Rätsels von Gettier in der Regel stark überschätzt wird. Das Subjekt S hat eine gute Begründung für die Überzeugung, daß p. Trotzdem ist der Inhalt seiner Überzeugung nicht einfach p, sondern stattdessen p oder q. Eine solche Über¬zeu¬gung wäre verständlich, wenn S für q noch eine unabhängige Begründung hätte. Kraft der Voraussetzung hat es jedoch keine solche Begründung. Das Gettiersche Subjekt hat in diesem Sinne gratis abgeschwächte Überzeugungen. Wir argumentieren, daß solche Überzeugungen nicht nur aus den psychologischen, sondern auch aus gewissen im weiten Sinne logischen Gründen ausgeschloßen werden soll, und versuchen die Regeln zu formulieren, die solche gratis abgeschwächten Überzeugungen ausschließen. (shrink)
According to the deontological view on justification, being justified in believing some proposition is a matter of having done one's epistemic duty with respect to that proposition. The present paper argues that, given a proper articulation of the deontological view, it is defensible that knowledge is justified true belief, pace virtually all epistemologists since Gettier. One important claim to be argued for is that once it is appreciated that it depends on contextual factors whether a person has done her (...) epistemic duty with respect to a given proposition, many so-called Gettier cases, which are supposed to be cases of justified true belief that are not cases of knowledge, will be seen to be not really cases of justified belief after all. A second important claim is that the remaining alleged Gettier cases can be qualified as cases of knowledge. This requires that we countenance a notion of epistemic luck, but the requisite kind of luck is of a quite benign nature. (shrink)
How can a person avoid being Gettiered? This paper provides the first answer to that question that is both fallibilist and purely internalist. It is an answer that allows the justified-true-belief analysis of knowledge to survive Gettier’s attack (albeit as a nonreductionist analysis of knowledge).
The GettierProblem is the problem of revising the view that knowledge is justified true belief in a way that is immune to Gettier counter-examples. The “GettierProblemproblem”, according to Lycan, is the problem of saying what is misguided about trying to solve the GettierProblem. In this paper I take up the GettierProblemproblem. I distinguish giving conditions that are necessary and sufficient for knowledge (...) from giving conditions that explain why one knows when one does know. I argue that the problem with the GettierProblem is that it requires us to articulate conditions that suffice for knowledge even if those conditions are non-explanatory. After defending this view, I take up two related methodological issues, one about the evidence that can be given in favor of an account of knowledge, and one about the role that investigating justification might play in investigating knowledge. (shrink)
This paper argues that for someone to know proposition p inferentially it is not enough that his belief in p and his justification for believing p covary with the truth of p through a sphere of possibilities. A further condition on inferential knowledge is that p's truth-maker is identical with, or causally related to, the state of affairs the justification is grounded in. This position is dubbed ‘identificationism.’.
Professional philosophers say it’s obvious that a Gettier subject does not know. But experimental philosophers and psychologists have argued that laypeople and non-Westerners view Gettier subjects very differently, based on experiments where they tend to ascribe knowledge to Gettier subjects. I argue that when effectively probed, laypeople and non-Westerners unambiguously agree that Gettier subjects do not know.
Nós tentamos mostrar neste ensaio que as propostas anulabilistas de Peter Klein e de Marshall Swain não resolvem o problema de Gettier. Klein postula que, para qualquer contra-exemplo de tipo-Gettier, há uma proposição verdadeira que, ao ser conjugada com a evidência e de S, anula de modo legítimo a justificação de p para S. Swain postula que, para qualquer contra-exemplo de tipo-Gettier, há uma proposição verdadeira que, ao ser conjugada com o conjunto de razões R de S, (...) anula de modo ulterior a justificação de S para crer que p. Para provarmos que essas propostas não resolvem aquele problema, apresentamos dois contra-exemplos de tipo-Gettier para os quais não há anuladores legítimos da justificação de p por e para S, nem anuladores da justificação da crença de S de que p por R que não sejam ulteriormente anulados. Após a discussão em torno dos anulabilismos de Klein e de Swain, tentamos mostrar que as conclusões nela obtidas podem ser corretamente aplicadas a qualquer proposta anulabilista de conhecimento. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2010v14n2p175. (shrink)
Gettier problems or cases are named in honor of the American philosopher Edmund Gettier, who discovered them in 1963. They function as challenges to the philosophical tradition of defining knowledge of a proposition as justified true belief in that proposition. The problems are actual or possible situations in which someone has a belief that is both true and well supported by evidence, yet which — according to almost all epistemologists — fails to be knowledge. Gettier’s original article (...) had a dramatic impact, as epistemologists began trying to ascertain afresh what knowledge is, with almost all agreeing that Gettier had refuted the traditional definition of knowledge. They have made many attempts to repair or replace that traditional definition of knowledge, resulting in several new conceptions of knowledge and of justificatory support. In this respect, Gettier sparked a period of pronounced epistemological energy and innovation — all with a single two-and-a-half page article. There is no consensus, however, that any one of the attempts to solve the Gettier challenge has succeeded in fully defining what it is to have knowledge of a truth or fact. So, the force of that challenge continues to be felt in various ways, and to various extents, within epistemology. Sometimes, the challenge is ignored in frustration at the existence of so many possibly failed efforts to solve it. Often, the assumption is made that somehow it can — and will, one of these days — be solved. Usually, it is agreed to show something about knowledge, even if not all epistemologists concur as to exactly what it shows. (shrink)
The presence of luck in our cognitive as in our moral lives shows that the quality of our intellectual character may not be entirely up to us as individuals, and that our motivation and even our ability to desire the truth, like our moral goodness, can be fragile. This paper uses epistemologists'responses to the problem of “epistemic luck” as a sounding board and locates the source of some of their deepest disagreements in divergent, value-charged “interests in explanation,” which epistemologists (...) bring with them to discussions of knowledge and justification. In so doing, I delineate both the commonalities and key differences between those authors I describe as virtue reliabilists and those I describe as virtue responsibilists. (shrink)
This work explores the conceptual and empirical issues of the concept of knowledge and its relation to the pattern of our belief change, from formal and experimental perspectives. Part I gives an analysis of knowledge (called Sustainability) that is formally represented and naturalistically plausible at the same time, which is claimed to be a synthesized view of knowledge, covering not only empirical knowledge, but also knowledge of future, practical knowledge, mathematical knowledge, knowledge of general facts. Part II tries to formalize (...) the natural pattern of belief change assumed in Sustainability in terms of a specific formal theory of belief change, after carefully examining the notions of belief, belief change, and Information, from which the cognitive function F in Chapter 3 is actually constructed, which is later implemented by a computer program and its behavior against random input is demonstrated. In Part III we proceed to examine the analysis empirically. In particular, we will investigate Sustainability from the developmental point of view. We first justify experimental approach in philosophy as a legitimate method of philosophical investigation, and then developmental approach in particular. The specific proposal of experiment here is what we call the Gettier Task, an analogue of the famous false-belief task in developmental psychology, which has been much discussed in philosophy of mind. Two versions of the Gettier Task were tested on children aged from 6 to 12, and we claim that the data obtained empirically supports our analysis of knowledge, or Sustainability. (shrink)
The GettierProblem (henceforth GP) is a milestone in contemporary epistemology. Half a century after the philosophical earthquake caused by the well-known Gettier article (1963), solutions continue to appear and the discussion resurfaces. Because we, like many, choose to adopt an optimistic stance towards the possibility of finding a plausible answer to the GP, in this paper we present an unconventional solution to solve it. Crucially, we argue that the only plausible and non-falsifiable definition of the propositional (...) knowledge is the one given by an “open” formula that contains a placeholder or a “variable” – on the third necessary condition – which takes a value according to which, depending on the circumstances, is necessary and sufficient for epistemic success. (shrink)
Philosophers have recognized for some time the usefulness of semantic conceptions of truth and belief. That the third member of the knowledge triad, evidence, might also have a useful semantic version seems to have been overlooked. This paper corrects that omission by defining a semantic conception of evidence for science and mathematics and then developing a semantic conception of knowledge for these fields, arguably mankind’s most important knowledge repository. The goal is to demonstrate the advantages of having an answer to (...) the more modest question “What is necessary and sufficient for introducing a knowledge predicate into scientific and mathematical languages?” – as contrasted with the ambitious Platonic question “What is knowledge?” After presenting the theory, the paper responds to a wide range of objections stemming from traditional philosophical concerns. (shrink)
This article argues that justified true beliefs in Gettier cases often are not true due to luck. I offer two ‘unlucky’ Gettier cases, and it's easy enough to generate more. Hence even attaching a broad ‘anti-luck’ codicil to the tripartite account of knowledge leaves the Gettierproblem intact. Also, two related questions are addressed. First, if epistemic luck isn't distinctive of Gettier cases, what is? Second, what do Gettier cases reveal about knowledge?
: In this paper I add credence to Linda Zagzebski's (1994) diagnosis of Gettier problems (and the current trend to abandon the standard analysis) by analyzing the nature of luck. It is widely accepted that the lesson to be learned from Gettier problems is that knowledge is incompatible with luck or at least a certain species thereof. As such, understanding the nature of luck is central to understanding the Gettierproblem. Thanks by and large to Duncan (...) Pritchard's seminal work, Epistemic Luck, a great deal of literature has been developed recently concerning the nature of luck and anti-luck epistemology. The literature, however, has yet to explore the very intuitive idea that luck comes in degrees. I propose that once luck is recognized to admit degrees even the slightest non-zero degree (of the relevant sort) precludes knowledge. Connecting this to Zagzebski's thesis, I propose that a given theory of warrant must guarantee truth in order to avoid Gettier counterexamples (or subsequently deny that warrant bears any relationship to the truth whatsoever), simply because a sufficient standard analysis of knowledge cannot allow for knowledge that is even marginally lucky. (shrink)
Taking his conceptual cue from Ernest Sosa, John Turri has offered a putative conceptual solution to the Gettierproblem: Knowledge is cognitively adept belief, and no Gettiered belief is cognitively adept. At the core of such adeptness is a relation of manifestation. Yet to require that relation within knowing is to reach for what amounts to an infallibilist conception of knowledge. And this clashes with the spirit behind the fallibilism articulated by Gettier when stating his challenge. So, (...) Turri’s form of response is irrelevant to that challenge, which was intended to pose a conceptual problem within fallibilist conceptions of knowledge. (And that failure on Turri’s part needs to be highlighted to remind epistemologists of the need to assess Gettier cases by a fallibilist standard. Although that need was described earlier by Robert Almeder, apparently his advice is being overlooked. This paper develops it anew, in a more general form.). (shrink)
Infallibilism is the view that a belief cannot be at once warranted and false. In this essay we assess three nonpartisan arguments for infallibilism, arguments that do not depend on a prior commitment to some substantive theory of warrant. Three premises, one from each argument, are most significant: (1) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then the GettierProblem cannot be solved; (2) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then its (...) warrant can be transferred to an accidentally true belief; (3) if a belief can be at once warranted and false, then it can be warranted and accidentally true. We argue that each of these is either false or no more plausible than its denial. Along the way, we offer a solution to the GettierProblem that is compatible with fallibilism. (shrink)
Where is the justificatory boundary between a true belief’s not being knowledge and its being knowledge? Even if we put to one side the Gettierproblem, this remains a fundamental epistemological question, concerning as it does the matter of whether we can provide some significant defence of the usual epistemological assumption that a belief is knowledge only if it is well justified. But can that question be answered non-arbitrarily? BonJour believes that it cannot be – and that epistemology (...) should therefore abandon the concept of knowledge. More optimistically, this paper does attempt to answer that question, by applying – and thereby refining – a non-absolutist theory of knowledge. (shrink)
The Gettierproblem concerns the definition of knowledge as justified true belief. In the paper I argue that Gettier's cases are not cases of justified true belief because Gettier's examples rely on some problematic assumptions. The first is rather elementary definition of justification and the other is that justification is preserved by entailment, that is, (A) for all agents X, if X is justified in believing that p , and X realizes that the truth of p (...) entails the truth of q , then X would also be justified in believing that q . For the simplistic conception of justification has some alarming consequences we pursue more adequate definition of justification which would satisfy the idea that a necessary condition of justification is to entail or to be entailed by a true proposition. We also show that the (A) is not necessary to provide an elegant counter-example to the definition of knowledge if the elementary definition of justification is adopted. (shrink)
J.L. Mackie’s version of the logical problem of evil is a failure, as even he came to recognize. Contrary to current mythology, however, its failure was not established by Alvin Plantinga’s Free Will Defense. That’s because a defense is successful only if it is not reasonable to refrain from believing any of the claims that constitute it, but it is reasonable to refrain from believing the central claim of Plantinga’s Free Will Defense, namely the claim that, possibly, every essence (...) suffers from transworld depravity. (shrink)
One version of virtue epistemology defines knowledge as belief whose truth arises from, or is explained by, the motives that produced it. This version is also intended to solve the Gettierproblem, by shielding properly caused beliefs from double accidents. Unfortunately, there is no notion of "explains" or "arises from" which explains in the intended sense the truth of true beliefs.
One of the reasons why most of us feel puzzled about the problem of abortion is that we want, and do not want, to allow to the unborn child the rights that belong to adults and children. When we think of a baby about to be born it seems absurd to think that the next few minutes or even hours could make so radical a difference to its status; yet as we go back in the life of the fetus (...) we are more and more reluctant to say that this is a human being and must be treated as such. No doubt this is the deepest source of our dilemma, but it is not the only one. For we are also confused about the general question of what we may and may not do where the interests of human beings conflict. We have strong intuitions about certain cases; saying, for instance, that it is all right to raise the level of education in our country, though statistics allow us to predict that a rise in the suicide rate will follow, while it is not all right to kill the feeble-minded to aid cancer research. It is not easy, however, to see the principles involved, and one way of throwing light on the abortion issue will be by setting up parallels involving adults or children once born. So we will be able to isolate the “equal rights” issue and should be able to make some advance... (shrink)
Many have thought that there is a problem with causal commerce between immaterial souls and material bodies. In Physicalism or Something Near Enough, Jaegwon Kim attempts to spell out that problem. Rather than merely posing a question or raising a mystery for defenders of substance dualism to answer or address, he offers a compelling argument for the conclusion that immaterial souls cannot causally interact with material bodies. We offer a reconstruction of that argument that hinges on two premises: (...) Kim’s Dictum and the Nowhere Man principle. Kim’s Dictum says that causation requires a spatial relation. Nowhere Man says that souls can’t be in space. By our lights, both premises can be called into question. We’ll begin our evaluation of the argument by pointing out some consequences of Kim’s Dictum. For some, these will be costs. We will then present two defeaters for Kim’s Dictum and a critical analysis of Kim’s case for Nowhere Man. The upshot is that Kim’s argument against substance dualism fails. (shrink)
The existence of evil and suffering in our world seems to pose a serious challenge to belief in the existence of a perfect God. If God were all-knowing, it seems that God would know about all of the horrible things that happen in our world. If God were all-powerful, God would be able to do something about all of the evil and suffering. Furthermore, if God were morally perfect, then surely God would want to do something about it. And yet (...) we find that our world is filled with countless instances of evil and suffering. These facts about evil and suffering seem to conflict with the orthodox theist claim that there exists a perfectly good God. The challenged posed by this apparent conflict has come to be known as the problem of evil. (shrink)
A philosophical standard in the debates concerning material constitution is the case of a statue and a lump of clay, Lumpl and Goliath respectively. According to the story, Lumpl and Goliath are coincident throughout their respective careers. Monists hold that they are identical; pluralists that they are distinct. This paper is concerned with a particular objection to pluralism, the Grounding Problem . The objection is roughly that the pluralist faces a legitimate explanatory demand to explain various differences she alleges (...) between Lumpl and Goliath, but that the pluralistâ€™s theory lacks the resources to give any such explanation. In this paper, I explore the question of whether there really is any problem of this sort. I argue (i) that explanatory demands that are clearly legitimate are easy for the pluralist to meet; (ii) that even in cases of explanatory demands whose legitimacy is questionable the pluralist has some overlooked resources; and (iii) there is some reason for optimism about the pluralistâ€™s prospects for meeting every legitimate explanatory demand. In short, no clearly adequate statement of a Grounding Problem is extant, and there is some reason to believe that the pluralist can overcome any Grounding Problem that we havenâ€™t thought of yet. (shrink)
To what extent should we trust our natural instincts about knowledge? The question has special urgency for epistemologists who want to draw evidential support for their theories from certain intuitive epistemic assessments while discounting others as misleading. This paper focuses on the viability of endorsing the legitimacy of Gettier intuitions while resisting the intuitive pull of skepticism – a combination of moves that most mainstream epistemologists find appealing. Awkwardly enough, the “good” Gettier intuitions and the “bad” skeptical intuitions (...) seem to be equally strong. This chapter argues that it is not a coincidence that these two types of intuition register with equal force: they are generated by a common mechanism. However, the input to this mechanism is interestingly different in the two types of case, and different in a way that can support the mainstream view that Gettier cases tell us something about knowledge where skeptical intuitions involve systematic error. (shrink)
Judith Jarvis Thomson has recently proposed a new argument for the thesis that killing the one in the Trolley Problem is not permissible. Her argument relies on the introduction of a new scenario in which the bystander may also sacrifice herself to save the five. Thomson argues that those not willing to sacrifice themselves if they could may not kill the one to save the five. Bryce Huebner and Marc Hauser have recently put Thomson’s argument to the empirical test (...) by asking people what they should do in the new trilemma case in which they may also sacrifice themselves. They found that the majority judge that they should either kill the one or sacrifice themselves; Huebner and Hauser argue that those numbers speak against Thomson’s argument. But Thomson’s argument was about the dialectical effect of the new trilemma on the traditional dilemma, rather than about the trilemma itself. Here I present the results of a study in which I asked subjects first what they should do in the trilemma and then what they should do in the traditional Trolley Problem. I found that, if asked first about the trilemma, subjects then have the intuition that killing the one in the traditional Bystander at the Switch is not permissible – exactly what Thomson’s argument had predicted. (shrink)
Expressivists, such as Blackburn, analyse sentences such as 'S thinks that it ought to be the case that p' as S hoorays that p'. A problem is that the former sentence can be negated in three different ways, but the latter in only two. The distinction between refusing to accept a moral judgement and accepting its negation therefore cannot be accounted for. This is shown to undermine Blackburn's solution to the Frege-Geach problem.
In “Why the generality problem is everybody’s problem,” Michael Bishop argues that every theory of justification needs a solution to the generality problem. He contends that a solution is needed in order for any theory to be used in giving an acceptable account of the justificatory status of beliefs in certain examples. In response, first I will describe the generality problem that is specific to process reliabilism and two other sorts of problems that are essentially the (...) same. Then I will argue that the examples that Bishop presents pose no such problem for some theories. I will illustrate the exempt theories by describing how an evidentialist view can account for the justification in the examples without having any similar problem. It will be clear that other views about justification are likewise unaffected by anything like the generality problem. (shrink)
Necessity holds that, if a proposition A supports another B, then it must support B. John Greco contends that one can resolve Hume's Problem of Induction only if she rejects Necessity in favor of reliabilism. If Greco's contention is correct, we would have good reason to reject Necessity and endorse reliabilism about inferential justification. Unfortunately, Greco's contention is mistaken. I argue that there is a plausible reply to Hume's Problem that both endorses Necessity and is at least as (...) good as Greco's alternative. Hence, Greco provides a good reason for neither rejecting Necessity nor endorsing inferential reliabilism. (shrink)
Scepticism is sometimes expressed about whether there is any interesting problem of other minds. In this paper I set out a version of the conceptual problem of other minds which turns on the way in which mental occurrences are presented to the subject and situate it in relation to debates about our knowledge of other people's mental lives. The result is a distinctive problem in the philosophy of mind concerning our relation to other people.
In 1955, Goodman set out to 'dissolve' the problem of induction, that is, to argue that the old problem of induction is a mere pseudoproblem not worthy of serious philosophical attention. I will argue that, under naturalistic views of the reflective equilibrium method, it cannot provide a basis for a dissolution of the problem of induction. This is because naturalized reflective equilibrium is -- in a way to be explained -- itself an inductive method, and thus renders (...) Goodman's dissolution viciously circular. This paper, then, examines how the old problem of induction crept back in while nobody was looking. (shrink)
A difficulty is exposed in Allan Gibbard's solution to the embedding/Frege-Geach problem, namely that the difference between refusing to accept a normative judgement and accepting its negation is ignored. This is shown to undermine the whole solution.
It is sometimes held that rules of inference determine the meaning of the logical constants: the meaning of, say, conjunction is fully determined by either its introduction or its elimination rules, or both; similarly for the other connectives. In a recent paper, Panu Raatikainen (2008) argues that this view - call it logical inferentialism - is undermined by some "very little known" considerations by Carnap (1943) to the effect that "in a definite sense, it is not true that the standard (...) rules of inference" themselves suffice to "determine the meanings of [the] logical constants" (p. 2). In a nutshell, Carnap showed that the rules allow for non-normal interpretations of negation and disjunction. Raatikainen concludes that "no ordinary formalization of logic ... is sufficient to `fully formalize' all the essential properties of the logical constants" (ibid.). We suggest that this is a mistake. Pace Raatikainen, intuitionists like Dummett and Prawitz need not worry about Carnap's problem. And although bilateral solutions for classical inferentialists - as proposed by Timothy Smiley and Ian Rumfitt - seem inadequate, it is not excluded that classical inferentialists may be in a position to address the problem too. (shrink)
The, so called, ‘conceptual problem of other minds’ has been articulated in a number of different ways. I discuss two, drawing out some constraints on an adequate account of the grasp of concepts of mental states. Distinguishing between behaviour-based and identity-based approaches to the problem, I argue that the former, exemplified by Brewer and Pickard, are incomplete as they presuppose, but do not provide an answer to, what I shall call the conceptual problem of other bodies. I (...) end with some remarks on identity-based approaches, pointing out related problems for versions of this approach held by Cassam and Peacocke. (shrink)
I resolve the major challenge to an Expressivist theory of the meaning of normative discourse: the Frege–Geach Problem. Drawing on considerations from the semantics of directive language (e.g., imperatives), I argue that, although certain forms of Expressivism (like Gibbard’s) do run into at least one version of the Problem, it is reasonably clear that there is a version of Expressivism that does not.
: A key consideration in favour of animalism—the thesis that persons like you and me are identical to the animals we walk around with—is that it avoids a too many thinkers problem that arises for non-animalist positions. The problem is that it seems that any person-constituting animal would itself be able to think, but if wherever there is a thinking person there is a thinking animal distinct from it then there are at least two thinkers wherever there is (...) a thinking person. Most find this result unacceptable, and some think it provides an excellent reason for accepting animalism. It has been argued, however, that animalists face an analogous problem of too many thinkers, the so-called corpse problem, as they must accept both 1) that we are distinct from our bodies, as our bodies can and we cannot persist through death as corpses and 2) that our bodies can think. I argue that the best reasons animalists have for accepting the two claims that generate the distinctness part of the problem double up as reasons to reject the claim that our bodies can think, and vice versa. I argue further that Lockeans cannot similarly get around their problem of too many thinkers. (shrink)
Kilimanjaro is a paradigmatic mountain, if any is. Consider atom Sparky, which is neither determinately part of Kilimanjaro nor determinately not part of it. Let Kilimanjaro(+) be the body of land constituted, in the way mountains are constituted by their constituent atoms, by the atoms that make up Kilimanjaro together with Sparky, and Kilimanjaro(–) the one constituted by those other than Sparky. On the one hand, there seems to be just one mountain in the vicinity of Kilimanjaro. On the other (...) hand, both Kilimanjaro(+) and Kilimanjaro(–)—and indeed many other similar things—seem to have an equal claim to be a mountain: all of them exhibit the grounds for something being a mountain—like being an elevation of the earth’s surface rising abruptly and to a large height from the surrounding level,1 or whathaveyou—; and there seems to be nothing in the vicinity with a better claim. Hence, the problem of the many. (shrink)
For centuries tradition had it that knowledge is justified true belief. Then Edmund Gettier produced cases that refute that traditional view – or so most philosophers think. I disagree. The widespread intuition lying behind the so-called ‘Gettier Cases’ is that there is epistemic bad luck (we can unluckily fail to know), but no epistemic good luck (we cannot luckily know). I reject this puritanical intuition. I also question the externalist or reliabilist views of knowledge and/or justification that the (...)Gettier Cases have spawned. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between scepticism and epistemic relativism in the context of recent history and philosophy of science. More specifically, it seeks to show that significant treatments of epistemic relativism by influential figures in the history and philosophy of science draw upon the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. The paper begins with a presentation of the problem of the criterion as it occurs in the work of Sextus Empiricus. It is then shown that significant treatments of (...) epistemic relativism in recent history and philosophy of science (critical rationalism, historical philosophy of science and the strong programme) draw upon the problem of the criterion. It is briefly suggested that a particularist response to the problem of the criterion may be put to good use against epistemic relativism. (shrink)
Daniel Dennett (1996) has disputed David Chalmers' (1995) assertion that there is a "hard problem of consciousness" worth solving in the philosophy of mind. In this paper I defend Chalmers against Dennett on this point: I argue that there is a hard problem of consciousness, that it is distinct in kind from the so-called easy problems, and that it is vital for the sake of honest and productive research in the cognitive sciences to be clear about the difference. (...) But I have my own rebuke for Chalmers on the point of explanation. Chalmers (1995, 1996) proposes to "solve" the hard problem of consciousness by positing qualia as fundamental features of the universe, alongside such ontological basics as mass and space-time. But this is an inadequate solution: to posit, I will urge, is not to explain. To bolster this view, I borrow from an account of explanation by which it must provide "epistemic satisfaction" to be considered successful (Rowlands, 2001; Campbell, 2009), and show that Chalmers' proposal fails on this account. I conclude that research in the science of consciousness cannot move forward without greater conceptual clarity in the field. (shrink)
According to David Chalmers, the hard problem of consciousness consists of explaining how and why qualitative experience arises from physical states. Moreover, Chalmers argues that materialist and reductive explanations of mentality are incapable of addressing the hard problem. In this chapter, I suggest that Chalmers’ hard problem can be usefully distinguished into a ‘how question’ and ‘why question,’ and I argue that evolutionary biology has the resources to address the question of why qualitative experience arises from brain (...) states. From this perspective, I discuss the different kinds of evolutionary explanations (e.g., adaptationist, exaptationist, spandrel) that can explain the origins of the qualitative aspects of various conscious states. This argument is intended to clarify which parts of Chalmers’ hard problem are amenable to scientific analysis. (shrink)
Watkins proposes a neo-Popperian solution to the pragmatic problem of induction. He asserts that evidence can be used non-Inductively to prefer the principle that corroboration is more successful over all human history than that, Say, Counter-Corroboration is more successful either over this same period or in the future. Watkins's argument for rejecting the first counter-Corroborationist alternative is beside the point, However, As whatever is the best strategy over all human history is irrelevant to the pragmatic problem of induction (...) since we are not required to act in the past, And his argument for rejecting the second presupposes induction. (shrink)
According to orthodox quantum mechanics, state vectors change in two incompatible ways: "deterministically" in accordance with Schroedinger's time-dependent equation, and probabilistically if and only if a measurement is made. It is argued here that the problem of measurement arises because the precise mutually exclusive conditions for these two types of transitions to occur are not specified within orthodox quantum mechanics. Fundamentally, this is due to an inevitable ambiguity in the notion of "meawurement" itself. Hence, if the problem of (...) measurement is to be resolved, a new, fully objective version of quantjm mechanics needs to be developed which does not incorporate the notion of measurement in its basic postuolates at all. (shrink)
It is shown that the Fodor's interpretation of the frame problem is the central indication that his version of the Modularity Thesis is incompatible with computationalism. Since computationalism is far more plausible than this thesis, the latter should be rejected.
Moral non-cognitivists hope to explain the nature of moral agreement and disagreement as agreement and disagreement in non-cognitive attitudes. In doing so, they take on the task of identifying the relevant attitudes, distinguishing the non-cognitive attitudes corresponding to judgments of moral wrongness, for example from attitudes involved in aesthetic disapproval or the sports fan’s disapproval of her team’s performance. We begin this paper by showing that there is a simple recipe for generating apparent counterexamples to any informative specification of the (...) moral attitudes. This may appear to be a lethal objection to non-cognitivism, but a similar recipe challenges attempts by non-cognitivism’s competitors to specify the conditions underwriting the contrast between genuine and merely apparent moral disagreement. Because of its generality, this specification problem requires a systematic response, which, we argue, is most easily available for the non-cognitivist. Building on premisses congenial to the non-cognitivist tradition, we make the following claims: (1) In paradigmatic cases, wrongness-judgements constitute a certain complex but functionally unified state, and paradigmatic wrongness-judgments form a functional kind, preserved by homeostatic mechanisms. (2) Because of the practical function of such judgements, we should expect judges’ intuitive understanding of agreement and disagreement to be accommodating, treating states departing from the paradigm in various ways as wrongness-judgements. (3) This explains the intuitive judgements required by the counterexample-generating recipe, and more generally why various kinds of amoralists are seen as making genuine wrongness-judgements. (shrink)
The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is overdetermined by (...) its mental and physical causes, or they can accept that the physical effect is overdetermined but claim that this is unproblematic because the case is sufficiently dissimilar to prototypical cases of overdetermination. (shrink)
The general drive in epistemology is to deliver necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge with the use of exceptionless general epistemic principles. There is another way, however, to approach the phenomenon of knowledge – by particularistic beautiful patterns. David Lewis in his paper „Elusive Knowledge” provides a nice contextual epistemology. We also think that contextualism is the right way to go and that the epistemic context plays an important role in our endeavors to gain knowledge. But, we disagree with Lewis (...) on two points of his account, namely that we can talk of knowledge without justification and that a set of exceptionless rules determines relevant alternatives. We retain the overall notion of knowledge as justified true belief and try to work out a contextualist account of knowledge within this notion, at the same time pointing to an alternative, particularistic view on relevance and relevant alternatives. We briefly sketch our proposal building upon the distinction between the local and global justification and we put forward some suggestions how this approach tackles skeptical scenarios, the lottery problem and Gettier cases. (shrink)
We show how an epistemology informed by cognitive science promises to shed light on an ancient problem in the philosophy of mathematics: the problem of exactness. The problem of exactness arises because geometrical knowledge is thought to concern perfect geometrical forms, whereas the embodiment of such forms in the natural world may be imperfect. There thus arises an apparent mismatch between mathematical concepts and physical reality. We propose that the problem can be solved by emphasizing the (...) ways in which the brain can transform and organize its perceptual intake. It is not necessary for a geometrical form to be perfectly instantiated in order for perception of such a form to be the basis of a geometrical concept. (shrink)
The traditional Bayesian qualitative account of evidential support (TB) takes assertions of the form ‘E evidentially supports H’ to affirm the existence of a two-place relation of evidential support between E and H. The analysans given for this relation is C(H,E)=def Pr(H|E) > Pr(H). Now it is well known that when a hypothesisHentails evidence E, not only is it the case that C(H,E), but it is also the case that C(H&X,E) for any arbitrary X. There is a widespread feeling that (...) this is a problematic result for TB. Indeed, there are a number of cases in which many feel it is false to assert ‘E evidentially supports H&X’, despite H entailing E. This is known, by those who share that feeling, as the ‘tacking problem’ for Bayesian confirmation theory. After outlining a generalization of the problem, I argue that the Bayesian response has so far been unsatisfactory. I then argue the following: (i) There exists, either instead of, or in addition to, a two-place relation of confirmation, a three-place, ‘contrastive’ relation of confirmation, holding between an item of evidence E and two competing hypotheses H1 and H2. (ii) The correct analysans of the relation is a particular probabilistic inequality, abbreviated C(H1, H2, E). (iii) Those who take the putative counterexamples to TB discussed to indeed be counterexamples are interpreting the relevant utterances as implicitly contrastive, contrasting the relevant hypothesis H1 with a particular competitor H2. (iv) The probabilistic structure of these cases is such that ∼C(H1, H2, E). This solves my generalization of the tacking problem. I then conclude with some thoughts about the relationship between the traditional Bayesian account of evidential support and my proposed account of the three-place relation of confirmation. (shrink)
The article argues that theorists who try to justify 'ought'-claims, i.e., who try to show that a standard of behavior has normative authority, will run into a regress problem. The problem is similar in structure to the familiar regress in the justification of belief. The point of the paper is not skeptical. Rather, the aim is to help theorists better understand the challenges associated with formulating a theory of normative authority.
The swamping problem is the problem of explaining why reliabilist knowledge (reliable true belief) has greater value than mere true belief. Swamping problem advocates see the lack of a solution to the swamping problem (i.e., the lack of a value-difference between reliabilist knowledge and mere true belief) as grounds for rejecting reliabilism. My aims here are (i) to specify clear requirements for a solution to the swamping problem that are as congenial to reliabilism's critics as (...) possible, (ii) to clear away various existing reliabilist solutions on the basis of these requirements, and (iii) to present a reliabilist solution that succeeds in meeting all of them. To meet all the requirements, my solution develops a more nuanced understanding of the epistemic end than is currently discussed, and with it a novel way of individuating beliefs. I close with a brief discussion of the question whether reliabilism's critics might impose further demands which reliabilism cannot possibly meet. (shrink)
The problem of the many poses the task of explaining mereological indeterminacy of ordinary objects in a way that sustains our familiar practice of counting these objects. The aim of this essay is to develop a solution to the problem of the many that is based on an account of mereological indeterminacy as having its source in how ordinary objects are, independently of how we represent them. At the center of the account stands a quasi-hylomorphic ontology of ordinary (...) objects as material objects with multiple individual forms. (shrink)
In his recent book, A Frightening Love: Recasting the Problem of Evil, Andrew Gleeson challenges a certain conception of justification assumed in mainstream analytic philosophy and argues that analytic philosophy is ill-suited to deal with the most pressing, existential, form of the problem of evil. In this article I examine some aspects of that challenge.
We argue that C. Darwin and more recently W. Hennig worked at times under the simplifying assumption of an eternal biosphere. So motivated, we explicitly consider the consequences which follow mathematically from this assumption, and the infinite graphs it leads to. This assumption admits certain clusters of organisms which have some ideal theoretical properties of species, shining some light onto the species problem. We prove a dualization of a law of T.A. Knight and C. Darwin, and sketch a decomposition (...) result involving the internodons of D. Kornet, J. Metz and H. Schellinx. A further goal of this paper is to respond to B. Sturmfels’ question, “Can biology lead to new theorems?”. (shrink)
Philosophers have worried that research on animal mind-reading faces a “logical problem”: the difficulty of experimentally determining whether animals represent mental states (e.g. seeing) or merely the observable evidence for those states (e.g. line-of-gaze). The most impressive attempt to confront this problem has been mounted recently by Robert Lurz (2009, 2011). However, Lurz’ approach faces its own logical problem, revealing this challenge to be a special case of the more general problem of distal content. Moreover, participants (...) in this debate do not appear to agree on criteria for representation. As such, future debate on this question should either abandon the representational idiom or confront differences in underlying semantics. (shrink)
Edited book containing the following essays: 1 Getting over Gettier, Alan Musgrave.- 2 Justified Believing: Avoiding the Paradox Gregory W. Dawes.- Chapter 3! Literature and Truthfulness,Gregory Currie.- 4 Where the Buck-passing Stops, Andrew Moore.- 5 Universal Darwinism: Its Scope and Limits, James Maclaurin, - 6 The Future of Utilitarianism,Tim Mulgan. 7 Kant on Experiment, Alberto Vanzo.- 8 Did Newton ʻFeignʼ the Corpuscular Hypothesis? Kirsten Walsh.- 9 The Progress of Scotland: The Edinburgh Philosophical Societies and the Experimental Method, Juan Gomez.- (...) 10 Propositions: Truth vs. Existence, Heather Dyke.- 11 Against Advanced Modalizing, Josh Parsons.- 12 Spread Worlds, Plenitude and Modal Realism: A Problem for DavidLewis, Charles R. Pigden and Rebecca E. B. Entwisle.- 13 Defending Quine on Ontological Commitment. 14. The Scandal of Platonism, Vladimír Svoboda.- 15 A Neglected Reply to Prior's Dilemma J. C. Beall. 16 Mathematical and Empirical Concepts, Pavel Materna.- 17 Post-Fregean Thoughts on Propositional Unity, Bjørn Jespersen.- 18 Best-path Theorem Proving: Compiling Derivations, Martin Frické.- 19 Is Imperative Inference Impossible?, Hannah Clark-Younger. . (shrink)
On the one hand, Pavel Tichý has shown in his Transparent Intensional Logic (TIL) that the best way of explicating meaning of the expressions of a natural language consists in identification of meanings with abstract procedures. TIL explicates objective abstract procedures as so-called constructions. Constructions that do not contain free variables and are in a well-defined sense ´normalized´ are called concepts in TIL. On the second hand, Kolmogorov in (Mathematische Zeitschrift 35: 58–65, 1932 ) formulated a theory of problems, using (...) NL expressions. He explicitly avoids presenting a definition of problems. In the present paper an attempt at such a definition (explication)—independent of but in harmony with Medvedev´s explication—is given together with the claim that every concept defines a problem. The paper treats just mathematical concepts, and so mathematical problems, and tries to show that this view makes it possible to take into account some links between conceptual systems and the ways how to replace a noneffective formulation of a problem by an effective one. To show this in concreto a wellknown Kleene’s idea from his (Introduction to metamathematics. D. van Nostrand, New York, 1952 ) is exemplified and explained in terms of conceptual systems so that a threatening inconsistence is avoided. (shrink)
This paper challenges (in a shorter version than the also listed 2002 LSE discussion paper) the first Gettier counterexample to the tripartite account of knowledge. Noting that 'the man who will get the job' is a description and invoking Donnellan's distinction between their 'referential' and 'attributive' uses, I argue that Smith does not actually believe that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket. Smith's ignorance about who will get the job shows that the (...) belief cannot be understood referentially, his ignorance of the coins in his pocket shows that it cannot be understood attributively. An explanation for why Smith appeared to have justified true belief is given by distinguishing between 'belief' and 'belief in truth'. Smith believes the sentence 'the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pocket' to be true (he mistakenly believes that Jones will get the job, of whom he knows that he has ten coins in his pocket) (hence his 'belief'), the sentence is true (hence 'truth'), and he has sufficient reason to assent to it (hence his 'justification'). But he does not believe the proposition expressed. Hence he does not know it either. (shrink)
Why are the conditions for propositional knowledge so difficult to discover or devise in this post-Gettier age? Why do not most epistemologists agree on roughly the same analysis as they appear to have done in the pre-Gettier paradise? I argue that the problem lies in that fact that the epistemologists' intuitive concept of knowledge appeals to desiderata that probably cannot be satisfied. Unfortunately, if we abandon some of these desiderata, it is difficult to settle on a concept (...) of knowledge which is not too remote from our initial intuitions. I suggest that epistemology may be better off without the concept of knowledge. There are plenty of other interesting notions for us to be going on with. (shrink)
I argue that the personhood of a fetus is analogous to the the heap. If this is correct, then the moral status or intrinsic value of a fetus would be supervenient upon the fetus's biological development. Yet to compare its claim vis-a-vis its mother's, we need to consider not only their moral status, but also the type of claim they each have. Thus we have to give weight to the two factors or variables of the mother's moral status and her (...) claim to some lesser good (assuming that this is not the kind of case in which the mother would suffer some great harm, such as death). And then we have to consider the fetus's lesser moral status and its claim to some greater good, namely, life. I argue that we do not know how to compare these two-variable claims. This also explains why the central cases of abortion have been so difficult to resolve. I suggest that the problem of animal rights has a similar structure. (shrink)
It is argued that the so-called minimal statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics does not completely resolve the measurement problem in that this view is unable to show that quantjum mechanics can dispense with classical physics when it comes to a treatment of the measuring interaction. It is suggested that the view that quantum mechanics applies to individual systems should not be too hastily abandoned, in that this view gives perhaps the best hope of leading to a version of quantum (...) mechanics which does provide a complete solution to the measurement problem. (shrink)
Cultural-nationalist and democratic theory both seek to legitimize political power via collective self-rule: their principle of legitimacy refers right back to the very persons over whom political power is exercised. But such self-referential theories are incapable of jointly solving the distinct problems of legitimacy and boundaries, which they necessarily combine, once it is assumed that the self-ruling collectivity must be a pre-political, in-principle bounded, ground of legitimacy. Cultural nationalism claims that political power is legitimate insofar as it expresses the nation’s (...) pre-political culture, but it cannot fix cultural-national boundaries pre-politically. Hence the collapse into ethnic nationalism. Traditional democratic theory claims that political power is legitimized pre-politically, but cannot itself legitimize the boundaries of the people. Hence the collapse into cultural nationalism. Only once we recognize that the demos is in principle unbounded, and abandon the quest for a pre-political ground of legitimacy, can democratic theory fully avoid this collapse of demos into nation into ethnos. But such a theory departs radically from traditional theory. (shrink)
In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...) while maintaining that qualia themselves are non-physical properties. In this case the non-physical nature of qualia may play no role in accounting for the features of acquaintance. But although the account could be used by a dualist, its existence provides support for physicalism. (shrink)
On a widely shared assumption, our mental states supervene on our microphysical properties – that is, microphysical supervenience is true. When this thesis is combined with the apparent truism that human persons have proper parts, a grave difficulty arises: what prevents some of these proper parts from being themselves thinkers as well? How can I know that I am a human person and not a smaller thinker enclosed in a human person? Most solutions to this puzzle make radical, if not (...) absurd, claims. Recently, however, Michael Burke and Howard Robinson proposed conservative solutions that, according to them, do not have such undesired consequences. This paper argues that the conservative solutions tacitly assume at least one of the radical ones, and therefore they provide no alternative to the extreme solutions. (shrink)
Falsehood can preclude knowledge in many ways. A false proposition cannot be known. A false ground can prevent knowledge of a truth, or so we argue, but not every false ground deprives its subject of knowledge. A falsehood that is not a ground for belief can also prevent knowledge of a truth. This paper provides a systematic account of just when falsehood precludes knowledge, and hence when it does not. We present the paper as an approach to the Gettier (...)problem and arrive at a relatively simple theory with virtues linked to several issues at the heart of contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
The case is discussed for the doctrine of hell as posing a unique problem of evil for adherents to the Abrahamic religions who endorse traditional theism. The problem is particularly acute for those who accept retributivist formulations of the doctrine of hell according to which hell is everlasting punishment for failing to satisfy some requirement. Alternatives to retributivism are discussed, including the unique difficulties that each one faces.
Epistemology or the theory of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of analytic philosophy, and this book provides a clear and accessible introduction to the subject. It discusses some of the main theories of justification, including foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. Other topics include the Gettierproblem, internalism and externalism, skepticism, the problem of epistemic circularity, the problem of the criterion, a priori knowledge, and naturalized epistemology. Intended primarily for students taking a first class in (...) epistemology, this lucid and well-written text would also provide an excellent introduction for anyone interested in knowing more about this important area of philosophy. (shrink)
Internalism in epistemology is the view that all the factors relevant to the justification of a belief are importantly internal to the believer, while externalism is the view that at least some of those factors are external. This extremely modest first approximation cries out for refinement (which we undertake below), but is enough to orient us in the right direction, namely that the debate between internalism and externalism is bound up with the controversy over the correct account of the distinction (...) between justified beliefs and unjustified beliefs.1 Understanding that distinction has occasionally been obscured by attention to the analysis of knowledge and to the Gettierproblem, but our view is that these problems, while interesting, should not completely seduce philosophers away from central questions about epistemic justification. A plausible starting point in the discussion of justification is that the distinction between justified beliefs and unjustified beliefs is not the same as the distinction between true beliefs and false beliefs. This follows from the mundane observation that it is possible to rationally believe.. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: We argue that the so-called ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ Value Problems for knowledge are more easily solved than is widely appreciated. Pritchard, for instance, has suggested that only virtue-theoretic accounts have any hopes of adequately addressing these problems. By contrast, we argue that accounts of knowledge that are sensitive to the Gettierproblem are able to overcome these challenges. To first approximation, the Primary Value Problem is a problem of understanding how the property of being knowledge (...) confers more epistemic value on a belief than the property of being true. The Secondary Value is a problem of understanding how, for instance, property of being knowledge confers more epistemic value on a belief than the property of being jointly true and justified. We argue that attending to the fact that beliefs are ongoing states reveals that there is no difficulty in appreciating how knowledge might ordinarily have more epistemic value than mere true belief or mere justified true belief. We also explore in what ways ordinary cases of knowledge might be of distinctive epistemic value. In the end, our proposal resembles the original Platonic suggestion in the Meno that knowledge is valuable because knowledge is somehow tied to the good of truth. (shrink)
I defend a neo-Lewisean form of contextualism about knowledge attributions. Understanding the context-sensitivity of knowledge attributions in terms of the context-sensitivity of universal quantifiers provides an appealing approach to knowledge. Among the virtues of this approach are solutions to the skeptical paradox and the Gettierproblem. I respond to influential objections to Lewisâ€™s account.
The notion of cognitive act is of importance for an epistemology that is apt for constructive type theory, and for epistemology in general. Instead of taking knowledge attributions as the primary use of the verb ‘to know’ that needs to be given an account of, and understanding a first-person knowledge claim as a special case of knowledge attribution, the account of knowledge that is given here understands first-person knowledge claims as the primary use of the verb ‘to know’. This means (...) that a cognitive act is an act that counts as cognitive from a first-person point of view. The method of linguistic phenomenology is used to explain or elucidate our epistemic notions. One of the advantages of the theory is that an answer can be given to some of the problems in modern epistemology, such as the Gettierproblem. (shrink)
This paper argues that Sosa’s virtue perspectivism fails to combine satisfactorily internalist and externalist features in a single theory. Internalism and externalism are reconciled at the price of creating a Gettierproblem at the level of “reflective” or second-order knowledge. The general lesson to be learned from the critique of virtue perspectivism is that internalism and externalism cannot be combined by bifurcating justification and knowledge into an object-level and a meta-level and assigning externalism and internalism to different levels.