A critique of conversational epistemic contextualism focusing initially on why pragmatic encroachment for knowledge is to be avoided. The data for pragmatic encroachment by way of greater costs of error and the complementary means to raise standards of introducing counter-possibilities are argued to be accountable for by prudence, fallibility and pragmatics. This theme is sharpened by a contrast in recommendations: holding a number of factors constant, when allegedly higher standards for knowing hold, invariantists still recommend assertion (action), while contextualists do (...) not. Given the knowledge norm of assertion, if one recommendation is preferable to the other, the result favors the preferred recommendation's account of knowledge. In the final section, I offer a unification of these criticisms centering on the contextualist use of 'epistemic position'. Their use imposes on threshold notions of justification, warrant, or knowledge tests that are suitable only to unlimited comparative or scalar notions like confidence or certainty and places them at one with an important strand of sceptical reasoning. (shrink)
This interdisciplinary work is a collection of major essays on reasoning: deductive, inductive, abductive, belief revision, defeasible (non-monotonic), cross cultural, conversational, and argumentative. They are each oriented toward contemporary empirical studies. The book focuses on foundational issues, including paradoxes, fallacies, and debates about the nature of rationality, the traditional modes of reasoning, as well as counterfactual and causal reasoning. It also includes chapters on the interface between reasoning and other forms of thought. In general, this last set of essays represents (...) growth points in reasoning research, drawing connections to pragmatics, cross-cultural studies, emotion and evolution. (shrink)
A teoria das virtudes epistêmicas (VE) sustenta que as virtudes dos agentes, tais como a imparcialidade ou a permeabilidade intelectual, ao invés de crenças específicas, devem estar no centro da avaliação epistêmica, e que os indivíduos que possuem essas virtudes estão mais bem-posicionados epistemicamente do que se não as tivessem, ou, pior ainda, do que se tivessem os vícios correspondentes: o preconceito, o dogmatismo, ou a impermeabilidade intelectual. Eu argumento que a teoria VE padece de um grave defeito, porque fracassa (...) ao se ajustar à natureza social dos questionamentos (epistêmicos) típicos. Esse e outros defeitos relacionados a esse infectam o paralelo que os teóricos VE traçam entre virtudes epistêmicas e morais. Ao prometer o incremento na proporção de crenças verdadeiras sobre crenças falsas, ou ignorância, as virtudes epistêmicas não podem desempenhar um papel paralelo àquele que Aristóteles reserva às virtudes morais ao prometer o incremento em nossa felicidade e no bem-estar da comunidade. A minha rota para essas críticas é feita das razões sobre por que os agentes (sociais) devem buscar a obtenção de seus objetivos morais e epistêmicos diferentemente nos papéis que atribuem às virtudes. PALAVRAS-CHAVES – Virtude epistêmica. Divisão de trabalho epistêmico. Diversidade. Conhecimento. Falibilidade. Virtude moral. ABSTRACT Epistemic Virtue (EV) theory holds that virtues of agents, like impartiality or openmindedness, rather than specific beliefs, should be at the center of epistemological evaluation, and that individuals with those virtues are better positioned epistemically than if they lacked them or, worse, if they instead had the corresponding vices: prejudice, dogmatism, or close-mindedness. I argue that EV theory suffers from a serious flaw because it fails to accommodate to the social nature of typical (epistemic) inquiries. This and related flaws infect the parallel that EV theorists allege between epistemic and moral virtues. In promising to improve our ratio of true beliefs to either false beliefs or ignorance, the epistemic virtues cannot play a roll parallel to that which Aristotle claims for the moral virtues in promising to increase our happiness and the well-being of the community. The path to these criticisms I introduce by offering reasons for why (social) agents should seek to realize their epistemic and moral goals very differently in the respective roles they accord to the virtues. KEY WORDS – Epistemic virtue. Division of epistemic labor. Diversity. Knowledge. Fallibility. Moral virtue. (shrink)
Fair lotteries offer familiar ways to pose a number of epistemological problems, prominently those of closure and of scepticism. Although these problems apply to many epistemological positions, in this paper I develop a variant of a lottery case to raise a difficulty with the reliabilist's fundamental claim that justification or knowledge is to be analyzed as a high truth-ratio (of the relevant belief-forming processes). In developing the difficulty broader issues are joined including fallibility and the relation of reliability to understanding.
Is there a duty to respond to objections in order to present a good argument? Ralph Johnson argues that there is such a duty, which he refers to as the ‘dialectical tier’ of an argument. I deny the (alleged) duty primarily on grounds that it would exert too great a demand on arguers, harming argumentation practices. The valuable aim of responding to objections, which Johnson’s dialectical tier is meant to satisfy, can be achieved in better ways, as argumentation is a (...) social-epistemic activity. (shrink)
Davidson's account of weakness of will depends upon a parallel that he draws between practical and theoretical reasoning. I argue that the parallel generates a misleading picture of theoretical reasoning. Once the misleading picture is corrected, I conclude that the attempt to model akratic belief on Davidson's account of akratic action cannot work. The arguments that deny the possibility of akratic belief also undermine, more generally, various attempts to assimilate theoretical to practical reasoning.
Three fallacies in the rationality debate obscure the possibility for reconciling the opposed camps. I focus on how these fallacies arise in the view that subjects interpret their task differently from the experimenters (owing to the influence of conversational expectations). The themes are: first, critical assessment must start from subjects' understanding; second, a modal fallacy; and third, fallacies of distribution.
This paper argues for the importance of the distinction between internal and external negation over expressions for belief. The common fallacy is to confuse statement like (1) and (2): (1) John believes that the school is not closed on Tuesday; (2) John does not believe that the school is closed on Tuesday. The fallacy has ramifications in teaching, reasoning, and argumentation. Analysis of the fallacy and suggestions for teaching are offered.
The present argument assumes that teaching through modeling attempts to teach the intellectual virtues not primarily as an independent goal of education as, for example, a way to build good character, but for its value to inquiry. I argue that intellectual vices (such as being gullible, dogmatic, pigheaded, or prejudiced)—while harmful to inquiry in certain ways—are essential to its well functioning. Furthermore, to the extent that teaching models critical inquiry, there are educational lessons for which some students ought to take (...) a dogmatic or narrow minded commitment to certain hypotheses or positions; and then, insofar as this modeling works, it will promote these intellectual vices. In Part I of what follows, I develop my argument; in Part II, I respond to the objection that diversity of ideas and attitudes need not—and ought not—call upon the promotion of intellectual vices. (shrink)
Evidentialism implies that, for epistemic purposes, belief should be responsive only to evidence. Focusing on our reactive attitude such as resentment or indignation, I construct an argument that the beliefs or judgments accompanying those attitudes are constrained in advance by circumstances to be full, rather than being open to the whole range of partial beliefs. These judgments or beliefs imply strong claims to justification. But the circumstances in which those attitudes are formed allow only very limited evidence. Nevertheless, we cannot (...) opt out regularly since the formation of such attitudes is so central a feature of a minimally content human social life. (shrink)
In many base rate studies, a judgment is required for which the base rates are relevant, and subjects do not use them. It is inferred that the base rates are ignored; I question this inference. Second, I argue that the base rate fallacy is not less significant for what it reveals about human reasoning, if it occurs less frequently than has been alleged.
An epistemic account of fallacies is one which takes it as a necessary condition for a fallacy that it has a tendency to produce false or unwarranted beliefs. The most sophisticated form of this account occurs in an article by Robert J. Fogelin and Timothy J. Duggan (“Fallacies,”Argumentation 1, 1987, pp. 255–262). I criticize the Fogelin and Duggan proposal, in particular, and epistemic accounts, more generally. Though an epistemic approach is attractive, it enlarges the class of fallacies, beyond what would (...) be permitted by traditional accounts. I also question thenecessity of fallacies leading to unwarranted beliefs. Some fallacies are fallacious due to their expected harm to argument practices. This position touches on a theme in the work of Van Eemeren and Grootendorst, though I criticize their notion of rules of argument as too broad. (shrink)