Horgan and Mahtani (2013) present a new argument for the 1/3 answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem resting on a principle for updating probabilities which they call “generalized conditionalization.” They allege that this new argument is immune to two attacks which I have recently leveled at other arguments for thirdism. I argue (1) that their new principle does not clearly favor the thirder over the halfer and (2) that generalized conditionalization cannot be applied in the manner suggested, given the cogency (...) of the aforementioned attacks on thirder arguments. Hence, the new argument fails to advance the case for the 1/3 answer. (shrink)
Hilary Kornblith's On Reflection is a sustained and detailed criticism of philosophical appeals to reflection. Kornblith argues, on both conceptual and empirical grounds, that a large number of appeals to reflective belief and desire in philosophical theorizing about knowledge and justification, reasoning, free will and normativity are deeply flawed. In this paper, I discuss Kornblith's arguments, finding some quite compelling and some wanting. Moreover, I argue that an important ambiguity about the nature of reflection renders the book less clear than (...) it ought to be and undermines some of the book's criticisms. (shrink)
Moderate rationalism is the view a person's having a rational intuition that p prima facie justifies them in believing that p. It has recently been argued that moderate rationalism requires empirical support and, furthermore, that suitable empirical support would suffice to convince empiricists to abandon their opposition to rationalism. According to one argument, the causal requirement argument, empirical evidence is necessary in order to justify the claim that any actual token belief is based on rational intuition and moderate rationalism requires (...) such a claim for its justification. According to a second argument, the reliability argument, empirical evidence is necessary in order to justify the claim that a putative source of evidence is reliable and moderate rationalism requires such a claim for its justification. According to a third argument, the empirical case argument, certain sorts of empirical evidence would be dialectically sufficient to resolve the traditional dispute between empiricists and rationalists in the rationalists' favor. Against the causal requirement argument, I maintain that the core doctrines of moderate rationalism are not hostage to causal claims and that such causal claims as may be plausibly part of other recognizably rationalist doctrines can be justified on broadly non-empirical grounds. Against the reliability argument, I show that no empirical evidence is required to justify belief in the reliability of rational intuition. Against the empirical case argument, I argue that the envisioned empirical support for moderate rationalism should not convince any traditional empiricist. (shrink)
The traditional problems of epistemology have often been thought to be properly solved only by the provision of an argument, with premises justified by rational intuition and introspection, for the probable truth of our beliefs in the problematic domains. Following the lead of Thomas Reid, a sizable number of contemporary epistemologists, including many proponents of so-called "Reformed epistemology" regarding religious belief, reject as arbitrary the preferential treatment of reason and introspection implicit in the traditional view of the problems. These "Reidians" (...) insist that the traditional problems cannot be solved in the expected manner, but they go on to suggest that this result is of little significance because similar skeptical questions can be raised regarding a priori and introspective justification. After making clear the significance of the Reidian objection, I endeavor to defend the traditional preference for rational intuition over our other sources of belief by demonstrating that the usual skeptical worries cannot be equally raised against a priori justification. Then, after a brief consideration of some unduly neglected passages in Reid's writings in which he appears to concede that the traditional partiality to reason and introspection is not, in fact, arbitrary, I argue that it is the Reidians who are guilty of arbitrary partiality. (shrink)
Terence Horgan defends the thirder position on the Sleeping Beauty problem, claiming that Beauty can, upon awakening during the experiment, engage in “synchronic Bayesian updating” on her knowledge that she is awake now in order to justify a 1/3 credence in heads. In a previous paper, I objected that epistemic probabilities are equivalent to rational degrees of belief given a possible epistemic situation and so the probability of Beauty’s indexical knowledge that she is awake now is necessarily 1, precluding such (...) updating. In response, Horgan maintains that the probability claims in his argument are to be taken, not as claims about possible rational degrees of belief, but rather as claims about “quantitative degrees of evidential support.” This paper argues that the most plausible account of quantitative degree of support, when conjoined with any of the three major accounts of indexical thought in such a way as to plausibly constrain rational credence, contradicts essential elements of Horgan’s argument. (shrink)
One can have no prior credence whatsoever (not even zero) in a temporally indexical claim. This fact saves the principle of conditionalization from potential counterexample and undermines the Elga and Arntzenius/Dorr arguments for the thirder position and Lewis' argument for the halfer position on the Sleeping Beauty Problem, thereby supporting the double-halfer position. -/- .
This entry addresses the nature and epistemological role of intuition by considering the following questions: (1) What are intuitions?, (2) What roles do they serve in philosophical (and other “armchair”) inquiry?, (3) Ought they serve such roles?, (4) What are the implications of the empirical investigation of intuitions for their proper roles?, and (5) What is the content of intuitions prompted by the consideration of hypothetical cases?
One argument for the thirder position on the Sleeping Beauty problem rests on direct inference from objective probabilities. In this paper, I consider a particularly clear version of this argument by John Pollock and his colleagues (The Oscar Seminar 2008). I argue that such a direct inference is defeated by the fact that Beauty has an equally good reason to conclude on the basis of direct inference that the probability of heads is 1/2. Hence, neither thirders nor halfers can find (...) direct support in an appeal to objective probabilities. (shrink)
Hitchcock advances a diachronic Dutch Book argument (DDB) for a 1/3 answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem. Bradley and Leitgeb argue that Hitchcock’s DDB argument fails. We demonstrate the following: (a) Bradley and Leitgeb’s criticism of Hitchcock is unconvincing; (b) nonetheless, there are serious reasons to worry about the success of Hitchcock’s argument; (c) however, it is possible to construct a new DDB for 1/3 about which such worries cannot be raised.
With the notable exception of David Lewis, most of those writing on the Sleeping Beauty problem have argued that 1/3 is the correct answer. Terence Horgan has provided the clearest account of why, contrary to Lewis, Beauty has evidence against the proposition that the coin comes up heads when she awakens on Monday. In this paper, I argue that Horgan’s proposal fails because it neglects important facts about epistemic probability.
In this paper, we discuss three probabilistic arguments for the existence of multiple universes. First, we provide an analysis of total evidence and use that analysis to defend Roger White's "this universe" objection to a standard fine-tuning argument for multiple universes. Second, we explain why Rodney Holder's recent cosmological argument for multiple universes is unconvincing. Third, we develop a "Cartesian argument" for multiple universes. While this argument is not open to the objections previously noted, we show that, given certain highly (...) plausible assumptions about evidence and epistemic probability, the proposition which it treats as evidence cannot coherently be regarded as evidence for anything. This raises the question of whether to reject the assumptions or accept that such a proposition cannot be evidence. (shrink)
Bayesian conceptions of evidence have been invoked in recent arguments regarding the existence of God, the hypothesis of multiple physical universes, and the Doomsday Argument. Philosophers writing on these topics often claim that, given a Bayesian account of evidence, our existence or something entailed by our existence (perhaps in conjunction with some background knowledge or assumption) may serve as evidence for each of us. In this paper, I argue that this widespread view is mistaken. The mere fact of one's existence (...) qua conscious creature cannot serve as evidence on the standard Bayesian conception of evidence because knowledge of one's existence is a necessary part of the background knowledge relative to which all epistemic probabilities are defined. It follows that some formulations of the fine-tuning argument (for theism or a multiverse), the argument from consciousness (for theism) and a rejoinder to the Doomsday argument are mistaken. (shrink)
I have recently argued that origin essentialism regarding individual organisms entails that natural selection does not explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do. This paper defends this and related theses against Mohan Matthen's recent objections.
Moderate rationalists maintain that our rational intuitions provide us with prima facie justification for believing various necessary propositions. Such a claim is often criticized on the grounds that our having reliable rational intuitions about domains in which the truths are necessary is inexplicable in some epistemically objectionable sense. In this paper, I defend moderate rationalism against such criticism. I argue that if the reliability of our rational intuitions is taken to be contingent, then there is no reason to think that (...) our reliability is inexplicable. I also suggest that our reliability is, in fact, necessary, and that such necessary reliability neither admits of, nor requires, any explanation of the envisaged sort. (shrink)
In his most recent treatment of a priori knowledge, Philip Kitcher argues against what he takes to be the widespread view that our knowledge and warranted belief is 'tradition-independent'. Furthermore, he argues that defeasible conceptions of a priori warrant entail that it is not tradition-independent, a conclusion which he thinks is contrary to what most epistemologists hold. I argue that knowledge is not widely believed to be tradition-independent, and that, while warrant is widely believed to be tradition-independent, Kitcher's arguments show (...) neither that this widespread view is mistaken nor that it conflicts with defeasible a warrant. I conjecture that Kitcher may be misled by a lack of clarity regarding the analysandum designated by 'warrant'. (shrink)
Does natural selection explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do? According to "the Negative View," natural selection does not explain why any individual organism has the traits that it does. According to "the Positive View," natural selection at least sometimes does explain why an individual organism has the traits that it does. In this paper, I argue that recent arguments for the Positive View fail in virtue of running afoul of the doctrine of origin essentialism and I (...) demonstrate that other recent defenses of the Negative View depend upon my own for their plausibility. (shrink)
Though most of analytic philosophy is based upon intuitions, some philosophers are beginning to question whether intuitions are an appropriate basis for philosophical theory. This paper responds to the arguments of some contemporary philosophers who hold that intuitions should not be treated as evidence for anything other than our contingent psychological constitution. It begins with a demonstration that skeptical arguments by Gilbert Harman and Alvin Goldman are variations on an argument with the potential to undermine the use of intuitions in (...) much philosophical inquiry. After a demonstration that Nicholas Sturgeon’s response to Harman’s argument is inadequate, it argues that all of the instances of the skeptical argument are unsuccessful because they are epistemically self-defeating. (shrink)
This book is concerned with the role of intuitions in the justification of philosophical theory. The author begins by demonstrating how contemporary philosophers, whether engaged in case-driven analysis or seeking reflective equilibrium, rely on intuitions as evidence for their theories. The author then provides an account of the nature of philosophical intuitions and distinguishes them from other psychological states. Finally, the author defends the use of intuitions as evidence by demonstrating that arguments for skepticism about their evidential value are either (...) self-defeating or guilty of arbitrary and unjustified partiality towards non-intuitive modes of knowledge. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga theorizes about an epistemic property he calls "warrant," defined as that which makes the difference "between knowledge and mere true belief." I show that, given this account, Plantinga can have no justification for claiming that a false belief is warranted nor for claiming that warrant comes in degrees.
Stich and Ravenscroft (1994) distinguish between internal and external accounts of folk psychology and argue that this distinction makes a significant difference to the debate over eliminative materialism. I argue that their views about the implications of the internal/external distinction for the debate over eliminativism are mistaken. First, I demonstrate that the first of their two external versions of folk psychology is either not a possible target of eliminativist critique, or not a target distinct from their second version of externalism. (...) Second, I show that whether or not the second of their two external version of folk psychology is open to eliminativist critique depends on ‘internal’ factors. Finally, I argue that they are wrong to claim that eliminativists might, by attacking external versions of folk psychology, escape being put out of business if the simulation theory is correct. (shrink)
Hilary Kornblith (1993) has recently offered a reliabilist defense of the use of the Law of Small Numbers in inductive inference. In this paper I argue that Kornblith's defense of this inferential rule fails for a number of reasons. First, I argue that the sort of inferences that Kornblith seeks to justify are not really inductive inferences based on small samples. Instead, they are knowledge-based deductive inferences. Second, I address Kornblith's attempt to find support in the work of Dorrit Billman (...) and I try to show that close attention to the workings of her computational model reveals that it does not support Kornblith's argument. While the knowledge required to ground the inferences in question is perhaps inductively derived, Billman's work does not support the notion that small samples provide a reliable basis for our generalizing inferences. (shrink)