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Profile: Joseph Adam Carter (University of Edinburgh)
  1. J. Adam Carter & Martin Peterson (forthcoming). The Modal Account of Luck Revisited. Synthese:1-10.
    According to the canonical formulation of the modal account of luck (e.g. Pritchard (2005, 128)), an event is lucky just when that event occurs in the actual world but not in a wide class of the nearest possible worlds where the relevant conditions for that event are the same as in the actual world. This paper argues, with reference to a novel variety of counterexample, that it is a mistake to focus, when assessing a given event for luckiness, on events (...)
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  2. J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard (2015). Knowledge‐How and Epistemic Luck. Noûs 49 (3):440-453.
    Reductive intellectualists hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. For this thesis to hold water, it is obviously important that knowledge-how and knowledge-that have the same epistemic properties. In particular, knowledge-how ought to be compatible with epistemic luck to the same extent as knowledge-that. It is argued, contra reductive intellectualism, that knowledge-how is compatible with a species of epistemic luck which is not compatible with knowledge-that, and thus it is claimed that knowledge-how and knowledge-that come apart.
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  3.  84
    Patrick Bondy & J. Adam Carter (forthcoming). The Basing Relation and the Impossibility of the Debasing Demon. American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Descartes’ demon is a deceiver: the demon makes things appear to you other than as they really are. However, as Descartes famously pointed out in the Second Meditation, not all knowledge is imperilled by this kind of deception. You still know you are a thinking thing. Perhaps, though, there is a more virulent demon in epistemic hell, one from which none of our knowledge is safe. Jonathan Schaffer (2010) thinks so. The “Debasing Demon” he imagines threatens knowledge not via the (...)
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  4. J. Adam Carter, Jesper Kallestrup, S. Orestis Palermos & Duncan Pritchard (2014). Varieties of Externalism. Philosophical Issues 24 (1):63-109.
    Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...)
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  5.  68
    J. Adam Carter, James Henry Collin & S. Orestis Palermos (forthcoming). Semantic Inferentialism as (a Form of) Active Externalism. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.
    Within contemporary philosophy of mind, it is taken for granted that externalist accounts of meaning and mental content are, in principle, orthogonal to the matter of whether cognition itself is bound within the biological brain or whether it can constitutively include parts of the world. Accordingly, Clark and Chalmers (1998) distinguish these varieties of externalism as ‘passive’ and ‘active’ respectively. The aim here is to suggest that we should resist the received way of thinking about these dividing lines. With reference (...)
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  6. J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard (2014). Knowledge‐How and Cognitive Achievement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):181-199.
    According to reductive intellectualism, knowledge-how just is a kind of propositional knowledge (e.g., Stanley & Williamson 2001; Stanley 2011a, 2011b; Brogaard, 2008a, 2008b, 2009, 2011, 2009, 2011). This proposal has proved controversial because knowledge-how and propositional knowledge do not seem to share the same epistemic properties, particularly with regard to epistemic luck. Here we aim to move the argument forward by offering a positive account of knowledge-how. In particular, we propose a new kind of anti-intellectualism. Unlike neo-Rylean anti-intellectualist views, according (...)
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  7. J. Adam Carter & Philip J. Nickel (2014). On Testimony and Transmission. Episteme 11 (02):145-155.
    Jennifer Lackey’s case “Creationist Teacher,” in which students acquire knowledge of evolutionary theory from a teacher who does not herself believe the theory, has been discussed widely as a counterexample to so-called transmission theories of testimonial knowledge and justification. The case purports to show that a speaker need not herself have knowledge or justification in order to enable listeners to acquire knowledge or justification from her assertion. The original case has been criticized on the ground that it does not really (...)
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  8.  45
    J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard (2016). Perceptual Knowledge and Relevant Alternatives. Philosophical Studies 173 (4):969-990.
    A very natural view about perceptual knowledge is articulated, one on which perceptual knowledge is closely related to perceptual discrimination, and which fits well with a relevant alternatives account of knowledge. It is shown that this kind of proposal faces a problem, and various options for resolving this difficulty are explored. In light of this discussion, a two-tiered relevant alternatives account of perceptual knowledge is offered which avoids the closure problem. It is further shown how this proposal can: accommodate our (...)
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  9. J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (2014). On Cognitive and Moral Enhancement: A Reply to Savulescu and Persson. Bioethics 28 (1):153-161.
    In a series of recent works, Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson insist that, given the ease by which irreversible destruction is achievable by a morally wicked minority, (i) strictly cognitive bio-enhancement is currently too risky, while (ii) moral bio-enhancement is plausibly morally mandatory (and urgently so). This article aims to show that the proposal Savulescu and Persson advance relies on several problematic assumptions about the separability of cognitive and moral enhancement as distinct aims. Specifically, we propose that the underpinnings of (...)
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  10. J. Adam Carter (forthcoming). Group Knowledge and Epistemic Defeat. Ergo.
    If individual knowledge and justification can be vanquished by epistemic defeaters, then the same should go for group knowledge. Lackey (2014) has recently argued that one especially strong conception of group knowledge defended by Bird (2010) is incapable of preserving how it is that (group) knowledge is ever subject to ordinary mechanisms of epistemic defeat. Lackey takes it that her objections do not also apply to a more moderate articulation of group knowledge--one that is embraced widely in collective (...)
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  11. J. Adam Carter (2013). Extended Cognition and Epistemic Luck. Synthese 190 (18):4201-4214.
    When extended cognition is extended into mainstream epistemology, an awkward tension arises when considering cases of environmental epistemic luck. Surprisingly, it is not at all clear how the mainstream verdict that agents lack knowledge in cases of environmental luck can be reconciled with principles central to extended cognition.
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  12. J. Adam Carter, Benjamin Jarvis & Katherine Rubin (2013). Knowledge: Value on the Cheap. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):249-263.
    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 Gettier problem 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 (...)
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  13. J. Adam Carter (2014). Robust Virtue Epistemology As Anti‐Luck Epistemology: A New Solution. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2):140-155.
    Robust Virtue Epistemology maintains that knowledge is achieved just when an agent gets to the truth through, or because of, the manifestation of intellectual virtue or ability. A notorious objection to the view is that the satisfaction of the virtue condition will be insufficient to ensure the safety of the target belief; that is, RVE is no anti-luck epistemology. Some of the most promising recent attempts to get around this problem are considered and shown to ultimately fail. Finally, a new (...)
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  14. J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (2013). A New Maneuver Against the Epistemic Relativist. Synthese (8):1-13.
    Epistemic relativists often appeal to an epistemic incommensurability thesis. One notable example is the position advanced by Wittgenstein in On certainty (1969). However, Ian Hacking’s radical denial of the possibility of objective epistemic reasons for belief poses, we suggest, an even more forceful challenge to mainstream meta-epistemology. Our central objective will be to develop a novel strategy for defusing Hacking’s line of argument. Specifically, we show that the epistemic incommensurability thesis can be resisted even if we grant the very insights (...)
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  15. J. Adam Carter (2013). A Problem for Pritchard's Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology. Erkenntnis 78 (2):253-275.
    Duncan Pritchard has, in the years following his (2005) defence of a safety-based account of knowledge in Epistemic Luck, abjured his (2005) view that knowledge can be analysed exclusively in terms of a modal safety condition. He has since (Pritchard in Synthese 158:277–297, 2007; J Philosophic Res 34:33–45, 2009a, 2010) opted for an account according to which two distinct conditions function with equal importance and weight within an analysis of knowledge: an anti-luck condition (safety) and an ability condition-the latter being (...)
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  16. J. Adam Carter & Martin Peterson (2015). On the Epistemology of the Precautionary Principle. Erkenntnis 80 (1):1-13.
    In this paper we present two distinctly epistemological puzzles that arise for one who aspires to defend some plausible version of the precautionary principle. The first puzzle involves an application of contextualism in epistemology; and the second puzzle concerns the task of defending a plausible version of the precautionary principle that would not be invalidated by de minimis.
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  17. J. Adam Carter & Benjamin Jarvis (2012). Against Swamping. Analysis 72 (4):690-699.
    The Swamping Argument – highlighted by Kvanvig (2003; 2010) – purports to show that the epistemic value of truth will always swamp the epistemic value of any non-factive epistemic properties (e.g. justification) so that these properties can never add any epistemic value to an already-true belief. Consequently (and counter-intuitively), knowledge is never more epistemically valuable than mere true belief. We show that the Swamping Argument fails. Parity of reasoning yields the disastrous conclusion that nonfactive epistemic properties – mostly saliently justification (...)
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  18.  70
    J. Adam Carter & Martin Peterson (2016). On the Epistemology of the Precautionary Principle: Reply to Steglich-Petersen. Erkenntnis 81 (2):297-304.
    In a recent paper in this journal, we proposed two novel puzzles associated with the precautionary principle. Both are puzzles that materialise, we argue, once we investigate the principle through an epistemological lens, and each constitutes a philosophical hurdle for any proponent of a plausible version of the precautionary principle. Steglich-Petersen claims, also in this journal, that he has resolved our puzzles. In this short note, we explain why we remain skeptical.
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  19. J. Adam Carter & S. Orestis Palermos (2015). Active Externalism and Epistemic Internalism. Erkenntnis 80 (4):753-772.
    Internalist approaches to epistemic justification are, though controversial, considered a live option in contemporary epistemology. Accordingly, if ‘active’ externalist approaches in the philosophy of mind—e.g. the extended cognition and extended mind theses—are _in principle_ incompatible with internalist approaches to justification in epistemology, then this will be an epistemological strike against, at least the _prima facie_ appeal of, active externalism. It is shown here however that, contrary to pretheoretical intuitions, neither the extended cognition _nor_ the extended mind theses are in principle (...)
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  20. J. Adam Carter, Benjamin Jarvis & Katherine Rubin (2013). Knowledge and the Value of Cognitive Ability. Synthese 190 (17):3715-3729.
    We challenge a line of thinking at the fore of recent work on epistemic value: the line (suggested by Kvanvig in The value of knowledge and the pursuit of understanding, 2003 and others) that if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of mere true belief, then we have good reason to doubt its theoretical importance in epistemology. We offer a value-driven argument for the theoretical importance of knowledge—one that stands even if the value of knowledge is “swamped” (...)
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  21. J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (2014). Openmindedness and Truth. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):207-224.
    While openmindedness is often cited as a paradigmatic example of an intellectual virtue, the connection between openmindedness and truth is tenuous. Several strategies for reconciling this tension are considered, and each is shown to fail; it is thus claimed that openmindedness, when intellectually virtuous, bears no interesting essential connection to truth. In the final section, the implication of this result is assessed in the wider context of debates about epistemic value.
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  22. J. Adam Carter (2013). Relativism, Knowledge and Understanding. Episteme (1):1-18.
    The arguments for and against a truth-relativist semantics for propositional knowledge attributions (KTR) have been debated almost exclusively in the philosophy of language. But what implications would this semantic thesis have in epistemology? This question has been largely unexplored. The aim of this paper is to establish and critique several ramifications of KTR in mainstream epistemology. The first section of the paper develops, over a series of arguments, the claim that MacFarlane's (2005, 2010) core argument for KTR ultimately motivates (for (...)
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  23. J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (forthcoming). On Pritchard, Objectual Understanding and the Value Problem. American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Duncan Pritchard (2008, 2009, 2010, forthcoming) has argued for an elegant solution to what have been called the value problems for knowledge at the forefront of recent literature on epistemic value. As Pritchard sees it, these problems dissolve once it is recognized that that it is understanding-why, not knowledge, that bears the distinctive epistemic value often (mistakenly) attributed to knowledge. A key element of Pritchard’s revisionist argument is the claim that understanding-why always involves what he calls strong cognitive achievement—viz., cognitive (...)
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  24.  86
    J. Adam Carter & Bolesław Czarnecki (2016). Extended Knowledge-How. Erkenntnis 81 (2):259-273.
    According to reductive intellectualists about knowledge-how :147–190, 2008; Philos Phenomenol Res 78:439–467, 2009) knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. To the extent that this is right, then insofar as we might conceive of ways knowledge could be extended with reference to active externalist :7–19, 1998; Clark in Supersizing the mind: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008) approaches in the philosophy of mind, we should expect no interesting difference between the two. However, (...)
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  25.  99
    J. Adam Carter, Emma C. Gordon & S. Orestis Palermos (2015). Extended Emotion. Philosophical Psychology 29 (2):198-217.
    Recent thinking within philosophy of mind about the ways cognition can extend has yet to be integrated with philosophical theories of emotion, which give cognition a central role. We carve out new ground at the intersection of these areas and, in doing so, defend what we call the extended emotion thesis: the claim that some emotions can extend beyond skin and skull to parts of the external world.
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  26. J. Adam Carter (2013). Disagreement, Relativism and Doxastic Revision. Erkenntnis 1 (S1):1-18.
    I investigate the implication of the truth-relativist’s alleged ‘ faultless disagreements’ for issues in the epistemology of disagreement. A conclusion I draw is that the type of disagreement the truth-relativist claims to preserve fails in principle to be epistemically significant in the way we should expect disagreements to be in social-epistemic practice. In particular, the fact of faultless disagreement fails to ever play the epistemically significant role of making doxastic revision rationally required for either party in a disagreement. That the (...)
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  27.  78
    J. Adam Carter & Ben Kotzee (forthcoming). Epistemology of Education. Oxford Bibliographies Online.
  28.  59
    J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (2011). Norms of Assertion: The Quantity and Quality of Epistemic Support. Philosophia 39 (4):615-635.
    We show that the contemporary debate surrounding the question “What is the norm of assertion?” presupposes what we call the quantitative view, i.e. the view that this question is best answered by determining how much epistemic support is required to warrant assertion. We consider what Jennifer Lackey ( 2010 ) has called cases of isolated second-hand knowledge and show—beyond what Lackey has suggested herself—that these cases are best understood as ones where a certain type of understanding , rather than knowledge, (...)
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  29. J. Adam Carter, Benjamin W. Jarvis & Katherine Rubin (2015). Varieties of Cognitive Achievement. Philosophical Studies 172 (6):1603-1623.
    According to robust virtue epistemology , knowledge is type-identical with a particular species of cognitive achievement. The identification itself is subject to some criticism on the grounds that it fails to account for the anti-luck features of knowledge. Although critics have largely focused on environmental luck, the fundamental philosophical problem facing RVE is that it is not clear why it should be a distinctive feature of cognitive abilities that they ordinarily produce beliefs in a way that is safe. We propose (...)
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  30. J. Adam Carter & S. Orestis Palermos (forthcoming). Epistemic Internalism, Content Externalism and the Subjective/Objective Justification Distinction. American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Two arguments against the compatibility of epistemic internalism and content externalism are considered. Both arguments are shown to fail, because they equivocate on the concept of justification involved in their premises. To spell out the involved equivocation, a distinction between subjective and objective justification is introduced, which can also be independently motivated on the basis of a wide range of thought experiments to be found in the mainstream literature on epistemology. The subjective/objective justification distinction is also (...)
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  31. J. Adam Carter & Matthew Chrisman (2012). Is Epistemic Expressivism Incompatible with Inquiry? Philosophical Studies 159 (3):323-339.
    Expressivist views of an area of discourse encourage us to ask not about the nature of the relevant kinds of values but rather about the nature of the relevant kind of evaluations. Their answer to the latter question typically claims some interesting disanalogy between those kinds of evaluations and descriptions of the world. It does so in hope of providing traction against naturalism-inspired ontological and epistemological worries threatening more ‘realist’ positions. This is a familiar position regarding ethical discourse; however, some (...)
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  32.  15
    J. Adam Carter, Martin Peterson & Bart van Bezooijen (forthcoming). Not Knowing a Cat is a Cat: Analyticity and Knowledge Ascriptions. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-18.
    It is a natural assumption in mainstream epistemological theory that ascriptions of knowledge of a proposition p track strength of epistemic position vis-à-vis p. It is equally natural to assume that the strength of one’s epistemic position is maximally high in cases where p concerns a simple analytic truth. For instance, it seems reasonable to suppose that one’s epistemic position vis-à-vis “a cat is a cat” is harder to improve than one’s position vis-à-vis “a cat is on the mat”, and (...)
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  33.  16
    J. Adam Carter, Benjamin W. Jarvis & Katherine Rubin (forthcoming). Belief Without Credence. Synthese:1-29.
    One of the deepest ideological divides in contemporary epistemology concerns the relative importance of belief versus credence. A prominent consideration in favor of credence-based epistemology is the ease with which it appears to account for rational action. In contrast, cases with risky payoff structures threaten to break the link between rational belief and rational action. This threat poses a challenge to traditional epistemology, which maintains the theoretical prominence of belief. The core problem, we suggest, is that belief may not be (...)
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  34.  59
    J. Adam Carter (forthcoming). Assertion, Uniqueness and Epistemic Hypocrisy. Synthese:1-14.
    Pascal Engel (2008) has insisted that a number of notable strategies for rejecting the knowledge norm of assertion are put forward on the basis of the wrong kinds of reasons. A central aim of this paper will be to establish the contrast point: I argue that one very familiar strategy for defending the knowledge norm of assertion—viz., that it is claimed to do better in various respects than its competitors (e.g. the justification and the truth norms)— relies on a presupposition (...)
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  35.  7
    J. Adam Carter (2016). Robust Virtue Epistemology As Anti‐Luck Epistemology: A New Solution. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (1):140-155.
    Robust Virtue Epistemology maintains that knowledge is achieved just when an agent gets to the truth through, or because of, the manifestation of intellectual virtue or ability. A notorious objection to the view is that the satisfaction of the virtue condition will be insufficient to ensure the safety of the target belief; that is, RVE is no anti-luck epistemology. Some of the most promising recent attempts to get around this problem are considered and shown to ultimately fail. Finally, a new (...)
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  36. Guy Axtell & J. Adam Carter (2008). Just the Right Thickness: A Defense of Second-Wave Virtue Epistemology. Philosophical Papers 37 (3):413-434.
    Abstract Do the central aims of epistemology, like those of moral philosophy, require that we designate some important place for those concepts located between the thin-normative and the non-normative? Put another way, does epistemology need ?thick? evaluative concepts? There are inveterate traditions in analytic epistemology which, having legitimized a certain way of viewing the nature and scope of epistemology's subject matter, give this question a negative verdict; further, they have carried with them a tacit commitment to what we argue to (...)
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  37.  48
    J. Adam Carter & S. Orestis Palermos (forthcoming). Active Externalism and Epistemology. Oxford Bibliographies Online.
  38.  18
    J. Adam Carter (2015). Group Knowledge and Epistemic Defeat. Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2.
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  39. J. Adam Carter (2011). Radical Skepticism, Closure, and Robust Knowledge. Journal of Philosophical Research 36:115-133.
    The Neo-Moorean response to the radical skeptical challenge boldly maintains that we can know we’re not the victims of radical skeptical hypotheses; accordingly, our everyday knowledge that would otherwise be threatened by our inability to rule out such hypotheses stands unthreatened. Given the leverage such an approach has against the skeptic from the very start, the Neo-Moorean line is an especially popular one; as we shall see, though, it faces several commonly overlooked problems. An initial problem is that this particular (...)
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  40.  23
    J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (2013). Intelligence, Wellbeing and Procreative Beneficence. Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (2):122-135.
    If Savulescu's (2001, 2009) controversial principle of Procreative Beneficence (PB) is correct, then an important implication is that couples should employ genetic tests for non-disease traits in selecting which child to bring into existence. Both defenders as well as some critics of this normative entailment of PB have typically accepted the comparatively less controversial claim about non-disease traits: that there are non-disease traits such that testing and selecting for them would in fact contribute to bringing about the child who is (...)
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  41.  46
    J. Adam Carter (2011). Radical Skepticism, Closure, and Robust Knowledge. Journal of Philosophical Research 36:115-133.
    The Neo-Moorean response to the radical skeptical challenge boldly maintains that we can know we’re not the victims of radical skeptical hypotheses; accordingly, our everyday knowledge that would otherwise be threatened by our inability to rule out such hypotheses stands unthreatened. Given the leverage such an approach has against the skeptic from the very start, the Neo-Moorean line is an especially popular one; as we shall see, though, it faces several commonly overlooked problems. An initial problem is that this particular (...)
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  42.  62
    J. Adam Carter (2014). Group Peer Disagreement. Ratio 27 (3):11-28.
    A popular view in mainstream social epistemology maintains that, in the face of a revealed peer disagreement over p, neither party should remain just as confident vis-a-vis p as she initially was. This ‘conciliatory’ insight has been defended with regard to individual epistemic peers. However, to the extent that (non-summativist) groups are candidates for group knowledge and beliefs, we should expect groups (no less than individuals) to be in the market for disagreements. The aim here will be to carve out (...)
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  43.  24
    Eric T. Kerr & J. Adam Carter (2015). Richard Rorty and Epistemic Normativity. Social Epistemology 30 (1):3-24.
    The topic of epistemic normativity has come to the fore of recent work in epistemology, and so naturally, theories of knowledge, truth and justification have been increasingly held accountable to preserving normative epistemological platitudes. Central to discussions of epistemic normativity are questions about epistemic agency and epistemic value. Here, our aim is to take up some of these issues as they come to bear on the rather unconventional brand of epistemology that was defended by Richard Rorty. Our purpose is to (...)
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  44.  14
    J. Adam Carter (2012). On Stanley's Intellectualism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):749-762.
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  45.  52
    J. Adam Carter (2012). Recent Work on Moores Proof. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 2 (2):115-144.
    Recently, much work has been done on G.E. Moore's proof of an external world with the aim of diagnosing just where the Proof `goes wrong'. In the mainstream literature, the most widely discussed debate on this score stands between those who defend competing accounts of perceptual warrant known as dogmatism (i.e. Pryor and Davies) and conservativism (i.e. Wright). Each account implies a different verdict on Moore's Proof, though both share a commitment to supposing that an examination of premise-conclusion dependence relations (...)
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  46.  30
    J. Adam Carter (2013). The Inquiring Mind: On Intellectual Virtues and Virtue Epistemology. By Jason Baehr. (Oxford UP, 2011. Pp. Viii + 235. Price £35.00.). [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):184-187.
  47.  14
    J. Adam Carter (2013). The Inquiring Mind: On Intellectual Virtues and Virtue Epistemology. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):184-187.
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  48.  11
    J. Adam Carter (2013). Faulkner, Paul, Knowledge on Trust. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):409-413.
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  49.  44
    J. Adam Carter, Emma C. Gordon & Benjamin Jarvis (eds.) (forthcoming). Knowledge First. Oxford University Press.
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  50. J. Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, Orestis Palermos & Duncan Pritchard (eds.) (forthcoming). Socially Extended Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
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