A touchstone of much modern theorizing about the mind is the idea, still tac- itly accepted by many, that a state's being mental implies that it's conscious. This view is epitomized in the dictum, put forth by theorists as otherwise di-.
Conscious mental states are states we are in some way aware of. I compare higher-order theories of consciousness, which explain consciousness by appeal to such higher-order awareness (HOA), and first-order theories, which do not, and I argue that higher-order theories have substantial explanatory advantages. The higher-order nature of our awareness of our conscious states suggests an analogy with the metacognition that figures in the regulation of psychological processes and behaviour. I argue that, although both consciousness and (...) metacognition involve higher-order psychological states, they have little more in common. One thing they do share is the possibility of misrepresentation; just as metacognitive processing can misrepresent one’s cognitive states and abilities, so the HOA in virtue of which one’s mental states are conscious can, and sometimes does, misdescribe those states. A striking difference between the two, however, has to do with utility for psychological processing. Metacognition has considerable benefit for psychological processing; in contrast, it is unlikely that there is much, if any, utility to mental states’ being conscious over and above the utility those states have when they are not conscious. (shrink)
Situation theory, as developed by Barwise and his collaborators, is used to demonstrate the possibility of defining teleology (and related notions, like that of proper or biological function) in terms of higher order causation, along the lines suggested by Taylor and Wright. This definition avoids the excessive narrowness that results from trying to define teleology in terms of evolutionary history or the effects of natural selection. By legitimating the concept of teleology, this definition also provides promising new avenues for (...) solving long standing problems in the philosophy of mind, such as the problems of intentionality and mental causation. (shrink)
According to higher-order theories of consciousness, a mental state is conscious only when represented by another mental state. Higher-order theories must predict there to be some brain areas (or networks of areas) such that, because they produce (the right kind of) higher-order states, the disabling of them brings about deficits in consciousness. It is commonly thought that the prefrontal cortex produces these kinds of higher-order states. In this paper, I first argue that this is likely correct, (...) meaning that, if some higher-ordertheory is true, prefrontal lesions should produce dramatic deficits in visual consciousness. I then survey prefrontal lesion data, looking for evidence of such deficits. I argue that no such deficits are to be found, and that this presents a compelling case against higher-order theories. (shrink)
So-called 'dynamic' semantic theories such as Kamp's discourse representation theory and Heim's file change semantics account for such phenomena as cross-sentential anaphora, donkey anaphora, and the novelty condition on indefinites, but compare unfavorably with Montague semantics in some important respects (clarity and simplicity of mathematical foundations, compositionality, handling of quantification and coordination). Preliminary efforts have been made by Muskens and by de Groote to revise and extend Montague semantics to cover dynamic phenomena. We present a new higher-order (...) class='Hi'>theory of discourse semantics which improves on their accounts by incorporating a more articulated notion of context inspired by ideas due to David Lewis and to Craige Roberts. On our account, a context consists of a common ground of mutually accepted propositions together with a set of discourse referents preordered by relative salience. Employing a richer notion of contexts enables us to extend our coverage beyond pronominal anaphora to a wider range of presuppositional phenomena, such as the factivity of certain sentential-complement verbs, resolution of anaphora associated with arbitrarily complex definite descriptions, presupposition 'holes' such as negation, and the independence condition on the antecedents of conditionals. Formally, our theory is expressed within a higher-order logic with natural number type, separation-style subtyping, and dependent coproducts parameterized by the natural numbers. The system of semantic types builds on proposals due to Thomason and to Pollard in which the type of propositions (static meanings of sentential utterances) is taken as basic and worlds are constructed from propositions (rather than the other way around as in standard Montague semantics). (shrink)
Higher-order theories of consciousness posit that a mental state is conscious by virtue of being represented by another mental state, which is therefore a higher-order representation (HOR). Whether HORs are construed as thoughts or experiences, higher-order theorists have generally contested whether such metarepresentations have any significant cognitive function. In this paper, I argue that they do, focusing on the value of conscious thinking, as distinguished from conscious perceiving, conscious feeling, and other forms of conscious mentality. A thinking (...) process is constituted by propositional-attitude states, and during conscious thinking some or all of these states would be targeted by HORs. Since cases of nonconscious thinking are widely accepted, the question arises as to the use of representing one's thoughts during thinking. Contra the views of Armstrong and Rolls, I argue that HORs do not facilitate first-order thinking. Rather, I propose that such representations enable reasoning about one's act of thinking, and I give various examples of this sort of metacognition in support of the theory. I further argue that the general correlation between complex thinking and its being conscious is merely due to the fact that assessing one's mental act is particularly useful during such thinking, not because consciousness somehow facilitates first-order inference-making, as folk psychology implies. My view is thus consistent with recent empirical evidence that complex thinking sometimes yields better results when nonconscious. (shrink)
Among our conscious states are conscious thoughts. The question at the center of the recent growing literature on cognitive phenomenology is this: In consciously thinking P, is there thereby any phenomenology—is there something it’s like? One way of clarifying the question is to say that it concerns whether there is any proprietary phenomenology associated with conscious thought. Is there any phenomenology due to thinking, as opposed to phenomenology that is due to some co-occurring sensation or mental image? In this paper (...) we will present two arguments that a “yes” answer to this question of cognitive phenomenology can be obtained via appeal to the HOT theory of consciousness, especially the version articulated and defended by David Rosenthal. (shrink)
Following a short introduction, this chapter begins by contrasting two different forms of higher-order perception (HOP) theory of phenomenal consciousness - inner sense theory versus a dispositionalist kind of higher-order thought (HOT) theory - and by giving a brief statement of the superiority of the latter. Thereafter the chapter considers arguments in support of HOP theories in general. It develops two parallel objections against both first-order representationalist (FOR) theories and actualist forms of HOT theory. (...) First, neither can give an adequate account of the distinctive features of our recognitional concepts of experience. And second, neither can explain why there are some states of the relevant kinds that are phenomenal and some that aren. (shrink)
It is usually taken as given that consciousness involves superior or more elaborate forms of information processing. Contemporary models equate consciousness with global processing, system complexity, or depth or stability of computation. This is in stark contrast with the powerful philosophical intuition that being conscious is more than just having the ability to compute. I argue that it is also incompatible with current empirical findings. I present a model that is free from the strong assumption that consciousness predicts superior performance. (...) The model is based on Bayesian decision theory, of which signal detection theory is a special case. It reflects the fact that the capacity for perceptual decisions is fundamentally limited by the presence and amount of noise in the system. To optimize performance, one therefore needs to set decision criteria that are based on the behaviour, i.e. the probability distributions, of the internal signals. One important realization is that the knowledge of how our internal signals behave statistically has to be learned over time. Essentially, we are doing statistics on our own brain. This ‘higherorder’ learning, however, may err, and this impairs our ability to set and maintain optimal criteria for perceptual decisions, which I argue is central to perception consciousness. I outline three possibilities of how conscious perception might be affected by failures of ‘higher-order’ representation. These all imply that one can have a dissociation between consciousness and performance. This model readily explains blindsight and hallucinations in formal terms, and is beginning to receive direct empirical support. I end by discussing some philosophical implications of the model. (shrink)
David Rosenthal's higher-order thought (HOT) theory is one of the most widely argued for of the higher-order accounts of consciousness. I argue that Rosenthal vacillates between two models of the HOT theory. First, I argue that these models employ different concepts of 'state consciousness'; the two concepts each refer to mental state tokens, but in virtue of different properties. In one model, the concept of 'state consciousness' is more consistent with how the term is typically used, (...) both by philosophers and scientists, and in commonsense usage. This model, however, also has its problems. In the second part of the paper, I develop a modified version of Rosenthal's transitivity principle, thereby avoiding some complications that stem from the original transitivity principle. I suggest that Rosenthal occasionally employs this modified model himself, and that the inconsistency identified in the first section of this paper might really reflect Rosenthal's vacillation between these two versions of the transitivity principle. I offer one explanation for how this equivocation may have occurred. These two versions would result if articulations of the transitivity principle employed the term 'mental state' inconsistently, to refer on some occasions merely to mental state types, and on others, to tokened mental states. I conclude by arguing, contrary to Rosenthal and others, that the theory is not incompatible with view that conscious states are uniquely casual efficacious. (shrink)
Theories of what it is for a mental state to be conscious must answer two questions. We must say how we're conscious of our conscious mental states. And we must explain why we seem to be conscious of them in a way that's immediate. Thomas Natsoulas (1993) distinguishes three strategies for explaining what it is for mental states to be conscious. I show that the differences among those strategies are due to the divergent answers they give to the foregoing questions. (...) Natsoulas finds most promising the strategy that amounts to the higher-order-thought hypothesis that I've defended elsewhere. But he raises a difficulty for it, which he thinks probably can be met only by modifying that strategy. I argue that this is unnecessary. The difficulty is a special case of a general question, the answer to which is independent of any issues about consciousness. So it's no part of a theory of consciousness to address the problem, much less solve it. Moreover, the difficulty seems to have intuitive force only given the picture that underlies the other two explanatory strategies, which both Natsoulas and I reject. (shrink)
Through the utilization of a descriptive illustration and detailed referencing of Carruthers (2000), a comparison of Hierarchical Systems theory (Pharoah, 2007) with Dispositional Higher-Order Thought theory identifies and reinforces their complementary status. However, this also determines some key distinctions, particularly with regard to the conclusions each make regarding the mentality of animals and the autistic, and regarding the moral consequences of these conclusions.
Dienes & Perner offer us a theory of explicit and implicit knowledge that promises to systematise a large and diverse body of research in cognitive psychology. Their advertised strategy is to unpack this distinction in terms of explicit and implicit representation. But when one digs deeper one finds the “Higher-Order Thought” theory of consciousness doing much of the work. This reduces both the plausibility and usefulness of their account. We think their strategy is broadly correct, but that (...) consensus on the explicit/implicit knowledge distinction is still a fair way off. (shrink)
Martin-Löf's constructive type theory forms the basis of this paper. His central notions of category and set, and their relations with Russell's type theories, are discussed. It is shown that addition of an axiom - treating the category of propositions as a set and thereby enabling higher order quantification - leads to inconsistency. This theorem is a variant of Girard's paradox, which is a translation into type theory of Mirimanoff's paradox (concerning the set of all well-founded sets). The (...) occurrence of the contradiction is explained in set theoretical terms. Crucial here is the way a proof-object of an existential proposition is understood. It is shown that also Russell's paradox can be translated into type theory. The type theory extended with the axiom mentioned above contains constructive higher order logic, but even if one only adds constructive second order logic to type theory the contradictions arise. (shrink)
Higher Order theories of consciousness have their fair share of sympathisers, but the arguments mustered in their support are—to my mind—unduly persuasive. My aim in this paper is to show that Higher Order theories cannot accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation without either falling into contradiction, or collapsing into a First-Order theory. If this diagnosis is on the right track, then Higher Order theories—at least in the specific versions here considered—fail to give an account of what they set out to (...) explain: what is distinctive of ‘conscious’ phenomena. (shrink)
Higher-order theories of consciousness, such as those of Armstrong, Rosenthal and Lycan, typically distinguish sharply between consciousness and phenomenal character, or qualia. The higher-order states posited by these theories are intended only as explanations of consciousness, and not of qualia. In this paper I argue that the positing of higher-order perceptions may help to explain qualia. If we are realists about qualia, conceived as those intrinsic properties of our experience of which we are introspectibly aware, then (...) class='Hi'>higher-order perception might have an explanatory role as the means by which we are aware of these properties. This would also allow us to treat qualia as the inner appearances resulting from inner perceptions, and therefore to treat them as intentional objects. (shrink)
This article presents a characterization of higher-order risk preferences such as prudence or temperance in terms of statistical moments. Our results, which are generalizations of Roger (Theory Decis, 70(1):27–44, 2011) and Ekern (Econ Lett, 6(4), 329–333, 1980), give a better understanding of how higher-order risk preferences relate to skewness preference and kurtosis aversion. While they are not based on expected utility theory, an implication within that theory is that all commonly used utility functions exhibit skewness (...) preference and kurtosis aversion. (shrink)
In general, the idea is that what makes a mental state conscious is that it is the object of some kind of higher-order representation (HOR). A mental state M becomes conscious when there is a HOR of M. A HOR is a “meta-psychological” state, i.e. a mental state directed at another mental state. So, for example, my desire to do a good powerpoint presentation becomes conscious when I am (non-inferentially) “aware” of the desire. Intuitively, it seems that conscious states, (...) as opposed to unconscious ones, are mental states that I am “aware of” in some sense. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to challenge some widespread assumptions about the role of the modal axiom S4 in a theory of vagueness. In the context of vagueness, S4 usually appears as the principle ‘If it is clear (determinate, definite) that A, then it is clear (determinate, definite) that it is clear (determinate, definite) that A’, or, more formally, CA → CCA. We show how in the debate over S4 two different notions of clarity are in play (Williamson-style (...) "luminosity" or self-revealing clarity and concealeable clarity) and what their respective functions are in accounts of higher-order vagueness. On this basis, we argue first that, contrary to common opinion, higher-order vagueness and S4 are perfectly compatible. This is in response to claims like that by Williamson that, if vagueness is defined with the help of a clarity operator that obeys S4, higher-order vagueness disappears. Second, we argue that, contrary to common opinion, (i) bivalence-preservers (e.g. epistemicists) can without contradiction condone S4 (by adopting what elsewhere we call columnar higher-order vagueness), and (ii) bivalence-discarders (e.g. open-texture theorists, supervaluationists) can without contradiction reject S4. Third, we rebut a number of arguments that have been produced by opponents of S4, in particular those by Williamson. (The paper is pitched towards graduate students with basic knowledge of modal logic.). (shrink)
The paper presents a new theory of higher-order vagueness. This theory is an improvement on current theories of vagueness in that it (i) describes the kind of borderline cases relevant to the Sorites paradox, (ii) retains the ‘robustness’ of vague predicates, (iii) introduces a notion of higher-order vagueness that is compositional, but (iv) avoids the paradoxes of higher-order vagueness. The theory’s central building-blocks: Borderlinehood is defined as radical unclarity. Unclarity is defined by means of (...) competent, rational, informed speakers (‘CRISPs’) whose competence, etc., is indexed to the scope of the unclarity operator. The unclarity is radical since it eliminates clear cases of unclarity and, that is, clear borderline cases. This radical unclarity leads to a (bivalence-compatible, non-intuitionist) absolute agnosticism about the semantic status of all borderline cases. The corresponding modal system would be a non-normal variation on S4M. (shrink)
In The Consciousness Paradox, Rocco Gennaro aims to solve an underlying paradox, namely, how it is possible to hold a number of seemingly inconsistent views, including higher-order thought (HOT) theory, conceptualism, infant and animal ...
The naive theory of vagueness holds that the vagueness of an expression consists in its failure to draw a sharp boundary between positive and negative cases. The naive theory is contrasted with the nowadays dominant approach to vagueness, holding that the vagueness of an expression consists in its presenting borderline cases of application. The two approaches are briefly compared in their respective explanations of a paramount phenomenon of vagueness: our ignorance of any sharp boundary between positive and negative (...) cases. These explanations clearly do not provide any ground for choosing the dominant approach against the naive theory. The decisive advantage of the former over the latter is rather supposed to consist in its immunity to any form of sorites paradox. But another paramount phenomenon of vagueness is higher-order vagueness: the expressions (such as ‘borderline’ and ‘definitely’) introduced in order to express in the object language the vagueness of the object language are themselves vague. Two highly plausible claims about higher-order vagueness are articulated and defended: the existence of “definitely ω ” positive and negative cases and the “radical” character of higher-order vagueness itself. Using very weak logical principles concerning vague expressions and the ‘definitely’-operator, it is then shown that, in the presence of higher-order vagueness as just described, the dominant approach is subject to higher-order sorites paradoxes analogous to the original ones besetting the naive theory, and therefore that, against the communis opinio , it does not fare substantially better with respect to immunity to any form of sorites paradox. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is show that second-order logic, as understood through standard semantics, is intimately bound up with set theory, or some other general theory of interpretations, structures, or whatever. Contra Quine, this does not disqualify second-order logic from its role in foundational studies. To wax Quinean, why should there be a sharp border separating mathematics from logic, especially the logic of mathematics?
Recently, some philosophers have argued that we should take quantification of any (finite) order to be a legitimate and irreducible, sui generis kind of quantification. In particular, they hold that a semantic theory for higher-order quantification must itself be couched in higher-order terms. Øystein Linnebo has criticized such views on the grounds that they are committed to general claims about the semantic values of expressions that are by their own lights inexpressible. I show that Linnebo’s objection rests (...) on the assumption of a notion of semantic value or contribution which both applies to expressions of any order, and picks out, for each expression, an extra-linguistic correlate of that expression. I go on to argue that higher-orderists can plausibly reject this assumption, by means of a hierarchy of notions they can use to describe the extra-lingustic correlates of expressions of different orders. (shrink)
In this commentary I criticize David Rosenthal’s higher order thought theory of consciousness (HOT). This is one of the best articulated philosophical accounts of consciousness available. The theory is, roughly, that a mental state is conscious in virtue of there being another mental state, namely, a thought to the effect that one is in the first state. I argue that this account is open to the objection that it makes “HOT-zombies” possible, i.e., creatures that token higher order mental (...) states, but not the states that the higher order states are about. I discuss why none of the ways to accommodate this problem within HOT leads to viable positions. (shrink)
The pace of change in the world is accelerating, yet educational institutions have not kept pace. Indeed, schools have historically been the most static of social institutions, uncritically passing down from generation to generation outmoded didactic, lecture-and-drill-based, models of instruction. Predictable results follow. Students, on the whole, do not learn how to work by, or think for, themselves. They do not learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize and assess information. They do not learn how to analyze the diverse logic of (...) the questions and problems they face and hence how to adjust their thinking to those problems. They do not learn how to enter sympathetically into the thinking of others, nor how to deal rationally with conflicting points of view. They do not learn to become critical readers, writers, speakers and listeners. They do not learn how to use their native languages clearly, precisely, or persuasively. They do not, therefore, become ‘literate’, in the proper sense of the word. Neither do they gain much in the way of genuine knowledge since, for the most part, they could not explain the basis for what they believe. They would be hard pressed to explain, for example, which of their beliefs were based on rational assent and which on simple conformity to what they have been told. They have little sense as to how they might critically analyze their own experience, or identify national or group bias in their own thinking. They are much more apt to learn on the basis of irrational than rational modes of thought. They lack the traits of mind of a genuinely educated person: intellectual humility, courage, integrity, perseverance, and faith in reason.Happily, there is a movement in education today striving to address these problems in a global way, with strategies and materials for the modification of instruction at all levels of education. At its foundation is an emerging new theory of knowledge, learning, and literacy, one which recognizes the centrality of independent critical thinking to all substantial learning, one which recognizes that higher-order, multilogical thinking is as important to childhood as to adult learning, and as important to foundational learning in monological as in multilogical disciplines. This educational reform movement is not proposing an educational miracle cure, for its leading proponents recognize that many social and historical forces must come together before the ideals of the critical thinking movement will become a full academic reality. Schools do not exist in a social vacuum. To the extent that the broader society is uncritical so, on the whole, will be society's schools. Nevertheless, the social conditions necessary for fundamental changes in schooling are increasingly apparent. The pressure for fundamental change is growing. Whether and to what extent these needed basic changes will be delayed or side-tracked, thus requiring new periodic resurgences of this movement, with new, more elaborate articulations of its ideals, goals, and methods — only time will tell. (shrink)
The same-order representation theory of consciousness holds that conscious mental states represent both the world and themselves. This complex representational structure is posited in part to avoid a powerful objection to the more traditional higher-order representation theory of consciousness. The objection contends that the higher-ordertheory fails to account for the intimate relationship that holds between conscious states and our awareness of them--the theory 'divides the phenomenal labor' in an illicit fashion. This 'failure of (...) intimacy' is exposed by the possibility of misrepresentation by higher-order states. In this paper, I argue that despite appearances, the same-order theory fails to avoid the objection, and thus also has troubles with intimacy. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Hierarchical higher-order vagueness leads to incoherence when used as a means to avoid a sharp boundary in the Sorites paradox (Sainsbury 1990, Wright 1992, Shapiro 2006). The challenge is to provide (i) a compositional notion of higher-order vagueness that (ii) allows infinite higher orders, (iii) retains the desired relevance to the Sorites, (iv) allows for a model-theoretic representation that reflects such relevance, but (v) does not run into paradox. The recently introduced alternative of columnar higher-order vagueness (...) meets this challenge. The present paper explains what columnar higher-order vagueness is; gives a formalization of its core properties in terms of an axiomatic modal system; produces a modal semantics for its simplest (bivalent & classical) form and identifies its characteristic axiom; and supplies a philosophical interpretation of the semantics that utilizes both viewpoint sensitivity and extensional context sensitivity. The paper adds an illustration of how the semantics can be used as an infrastructure for epistemicist (and non-epistemicist) bivalent theories of vagueness and touches upon possible modifications for three-valued logics. It concludes with listing the considerable advantages columnar higher-order vagueness has over other theories of higher-order vagueness. (shrink)
Some advocates of higher-order theories of consciousness believe that the correct theory of consciousness together with empirical facts about animal intelligence make it highly unlikely that animals are capable of having phenomenally conscious experiences. I will argue that even if the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness is correct, there is good evidence (taken from experiments in mind reading and metacognition, as well as considerations from neurophysiology and evolutionary biology) that at least some nonhuman animals can (...) form the higher-order thoughts and thus will count as phenomenally conscious on HOT theory. (shrink)
In this paper we compare different models of vagueness viewed as a specific form of subjective uncertainty in situations of imperfect discrimination. Our focus is on the logic of the operator “clearly” and on the problem of higher-order vagueness. We first examine the consequences of the notion of intransitivity of indiscriminability for higher-order vagueness, and compare several accounts of vagueness as inexact or imprecise knowledge, namely Williamson’s margin for error semantics, Halpern’s two-dimensional semantics, and the system we call (...) Centered semantics. We then propose a semantics of degrees of clarity, inspired from the signal detection theory model, and outline a view of higher-order vagueness in which the notions of subjective clarity and unclarity are handled asymmetrically at higher orders, namely such that the clarity of clarity is compatible with the unclarity of unclarity. (shrink)
Putnam's ``model-theoretic'' argument against metaphysical realism presupposes that an ideal scientific theory is expressible in a first order language. The central aim of this paper is to show that Putnam's ``first orderization'' of science, although unchallenged by numerous critics, makes his argument unsound even for adequate theories, never mind an ideal one. To this end, I will argue that quantitative theories, which dominate the natural sciences, can be adequately interpreted and evaluated only with the help of so-called theories of (...) measurement whose epistemological and methodological purpose is to justify systematic assignments of quantitative values to objects in the world. And, in order to fulfill this purpose, theories of measurement must have an essentially higher order logical structure. As a result, Putnam's argument fails because much of science turns out to rest on essentially higher order theoretical assumptions about the world. (shrink)
What evolved first: Languages for communicating, or languages for thinking (Generalised Languages: GLs)? (PDF) http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/talks/#glang Presented to Language and Cognition Seminar, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham. 19th Oct 2007..
The fact that we can engage in first-person discourse about our own mental states seems, intuitively, to be bound up with consciousness. David Rosenthal draws upon this intuition in arguing for his higher-order thought theory of consciousness. Rosenthal's argument relies upon the assumption that the truth-conditions for "p" and "I think that p" differ. It is argued here that the truth-conditional schema debars "I think" from playing one of its (expressive) roles and thus is not a good (...) test for what is asserted when "I think" is employed in making an assertoric utterance. The critique of Rosenthal's argument allows us to make explicit the intuitions which shape higher-order representation theories of consciousness in general. Consciousness and first-person mental discourse seem to be connected primarily because consciousness is (and was) an epistemic term, used to denote first-person knowledge of minds. Higher-order thought theories of consciousness draw upon this epistemic notion of consciousness, and because self-knowledge seems to involve higher-order representation, the higher-order theorist can deploy what is in effect an "error theory" about conscious experience disguised as a kind of conceptual analysis of our ordinary concept of a conscious mental state. The conclusion reached is that there is unlikely to be a simple or direct path from considerations about mental discourse to conclusions about the nature of consciousness. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the thesis that a person is justified in believing a proposition iff the person's evidence on balance supports that proposition. In discussing epistemological issues associated with disagreements among epistemic peers, some philosophers have endorsed principles that seem to run contrary to evidentialism, specifying how one should revise one's beliefs in light of disagreement. In this paper, I examine the connection between evidentialism and these principles. I argue that the puzzles about disagreement provide no reason to abandon evidentialism and (...) that there are no true general principles about justified responses to disagreement other than the general evidentialist principle. I then argue that the puzzles about disagreement are primarily puzzles about the evidential impact of higher-order evidence – evidence about the significance or existence of ordinary, or first-order, evidence. I conclude by arguing that such higher-order evidence can often have a profound effect on the justification of first-order beliefs. (shrink)
This paper concerns would-be necessary connections between doxastic attitudes about the epistemic statuses of your doxastic attitudes, or , and the epistemic statuses of those doxastic attitudes. I will argue that, in some situations, it can be reasonable for a person to believe p and to suspend judgment about whether believing p is reasonable for her. This will set the stage for an account of the virtue of intellectual humility, on which humility is a matter of your higher-order epistemic (...) attitudes. Recent discussions in the epistemology of disagreement have assumed that the question of the proper response to disagreement about p concerns whether you ought to change your doxastic attitude towards p. My conclusion here suggests an alternative approach, on which the question of the proper response to disagreement about p concerns the proper doxastic attitude to adopt concerning the epistemic status of your doxastic attitude towards p. (shrink)
Conciliatory views of disagreement maintain that discovering a particular type of disagreement requires that one make doxastic conciliation. In this paper I give a more formal characterization of such a view. After explaining and motivating this view as the correct view regarding the epistemic significance of disagreement, I proceed to defend it from several objections concerning higher-order evidence (evidence about the character of one's evidence) made by Thomas Kelly (2005).