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Profile: Joseph Adam Carter (University of Edinburgh)
  1. J. Adam Carter (forthcoming). Group Peer Disagreement. Ratio.
    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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  2. J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (forthcoming). Openmindedness and Truth. Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    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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  3. 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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  4. J. Adam Carter, Benjamin Jarvis & Katherine Rubin (forthcoming). Varieties of Cognitive Achievement. Philosophical Studies.
    According to robust virtue epistemology (RVE), knowledge is type-identical with a particular species of cognitive achievement. The identification itself is subject to some criticism on the (alleged) 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 (...)
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  5. J. Adam Carter, Jesper Kallestrup, S. Orestis Palermos & Duncan Pritchard (forthcoming). Varieties of Externalism. Philosophical Issues.
    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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  6. J. Adam Carter & S. Orestis Palermos (forthcoming). Active Externalism and Epistemic Internalism. Erkenntnis.
    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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  7. J. Adam Carter & Martin Peterson (forthcoming). On the Epistemology of the Precautionary Principle. Erkenntnis:1-13.
    In this paper we present two distinctly epistemological puzzles that arise for one who aspires to defend 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 the de minimis principle.
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  8. J. Adam Carter (2014). Robust Virtue Epistemology As Anti‐Luck Epistemology: A New Solution. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2).
    Robust Virtue Epistemology (RVE) 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 (...)
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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).
    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 & 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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  11. J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard (2014). Knowledge‐How and Cognitive Achievement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1).
    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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  12. 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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  13. J. Adam Carter (2013). Disagreement, Relativism and Doxastic Revision. Erkenntnis (1):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 (as a key advantage over the contextualist) 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 (at least sometimes) rationally (...)
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  14. 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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  15. J. Adam Carter (2013). Faulkner, Paul, Knowledge on Trust. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):409-413.
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  16. J. Adam Carter (2013). Relativism, Knowledge and Understanding. Episteme: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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  17. J. Adam Carter (2013). The Inquiring Mind: On Intellectual Virtues and Virtue Epistemology. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):184-187.
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  18. 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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  19. 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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  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, 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 more epistemic value (...)
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  22. J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard (2013). Knowledge‐How and Epistemic Luck. Noûs 47 (4).
    Reductive intellectualists (e.g., Stanley & Williamson ; Stanley ; ; Brogaard ; ; ) hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. For this thesis to hold water, it is obviously important that knowledge-how and knowledge-that have the same epistemic properties. In particular, knowledge-how ought to be compatible with epistemic luck to the same extent as knowledge-that. It is argued, contra reductive intellectualism, that knowledge-how is compatible with a species of epistemic luck which is not compatible with knowledge-that, and thus (...)
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  23. J. Adam Carter (2012). On Stanley's Intellectualism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):749-762.
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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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. 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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