Instead, it is a theory of what one should do, and assesses decisions based on probabilities and utilities. ... Adopting the plan of applying modern decision theory to one's choices might have lower expected utility than using other ...
Alan Millar's paper (2011) involves two parts, which I address in order, first taking up the issues concerning the goal of inquiry, and then the issues surrounding the appeal to reflective knowledge. I argue that the upshot of the considerations Millar raises count in favour of a more important role in value-driven epistemology for the notion of understanding and for the notion of epistemic justification, rather than for the notions of knowledge and reflective knowledge.
Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion is an annual volume offering a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this longstanding area of philosophy that has seen an explosive growth of interest over the past half century. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board, it publishes exemplary papers in any area of philosophy of religion.
The paradox of ’Buridan’s ass’ involves an animal facing two equally adequate and attractive alternatives, such as would happen were a hungry ass to confront two bales of hay that are equal in all respects relevant to the ass’s hunger. Of course, the ass will eat from one rather than the other, because the alternative is to starve. But why does this eating happen? What reason is operative, and what explanation can be given as to why the ass eats from, (...) say, the left bale rather than the right bale? Why doesn’t the ass remain caught between the options, forever indecisive and starving to death? Religious pluralists face a similar dilemma, a dilemma that I will argue is more difficult to address than the paradox just described. (shrink)
Contextualists claim two important virtues for their view. First, contextualism is a non-skeptical epistemology, given the plausible idea that not all contexts invoke the high standards for knowledge needed to generate the skeptical conclusion that we know little or nothing. Second, contextualism is able to preserve closure concerning knowledge – the idea that knowledge is extendable on the basis of competent deduction from known premises. As long as one keeps the context fixed, it is plausible to think that some closure (...) principle can be articulated that will survive scrutiny. Opponents of contextualism often try to gain an advantage over it by claiming that their view mimics these virtues of contextualism as well as having other virtues. A recent example of the same is termed ‘contrastivism," as presented by Jonathan Schaffer. I will argue that the representation made is chimerical, that in fact contrastivism has no hope of mirroring these twin virtues of contextualism. (shrink)
There is a great divide between two approaches to epistemology over the past thirty to forty years. Some label the divide that between internalists and externalists, and that characterization may be accurate on some account of the distinction. I will pursue the divide from a different direction, in part because the literature on the distinction between internalism and externalism has become a mess, and I don’t want to clean up the mess here.
Nozick’s contribution to the epistemology of the last half of the twentieth century includes addressing the question of whether knowledge is closed under known implication. I argue that the question of closure provides a serious obstacle to Nozickian approaches to epistemology.
Epistemology has for a long time focused on the concept of knowledge and tried to answer questions such as whether knowledge is possible and how much of it there is. Missing from this inquiry, however, is a discussion on the value of knowledge. In The Pursuit of Knowledge and the Value of Understanding Jonathan Kvanvig argues that epistemology properly conceived cannot ignore the question of the value of knowledge. He also questions one of the most fundamental assumptions in epistemology, namely (...) that knowledge is always more valuable than the value of its subparts. Taking Platos' Meno as a starting point of his discussion, Kvanvig tackles the different arguments about the value of knowledge and comes to the conclusion that knowledge is less valuable than generally assumed. Clearly written and well argued, the book will appeal to students and professionals in epistemology. (shrink)
Finkish dispositions, those dispositions that are lost when their conditions of realization occur, pose deep problems for counterfactual accounts of dispositions. David Lewis has argued that the counterfactual approach can be rescued, offering such an account that purports to handle finkish as well as other dispositions. The paper argues that Lewis's account fails to account for several kinds of dispositions, one of which involves failure to distinguish parallel processes from unitary processes.
Van Fraassen's epistemology is forged from two commitments, one to a type of Bayesianism and the other to what he terms voluntarism. Van Fraassen holds that if one is going to follow a rule in belief-revision, it must be a Bayesian rule, but that one does not need to follow a rule in order to be rational. It is argued that van Fraassen's arguments for rejecting non-Bayesian rules is unsound, and that his voluntarism is subject to a fatal dilemma arising (...) from the non-monotonic character of reasoning. (shrink)
Coherence theorists have universally defined justification as a relation only among (the contents of) belief states, in contradistinction to other theories, such as some versions of foundationalism, which define justification as a relation on belief states and appearance states.
Epistemologists often offer theories of justification without paying much attention to the variety and diversity of locutions in which the notion of justification appears. For example, consider the following claims which contain some notion of justification: B is a justified belief, S's belief that p is justified, p is justified for S, S is justified in believing that p, S justifiably believes that p, S's believing p is justified, there is justification for S to believe that p, there is justification (...) for S's believing p, and S has a justification for believing that p. In addition to these passive uses of the notion of justification, there are active uses as well: S justified his belief in p, believing e justifies believing p, etc. The syntactic variety involves semantic difference as well. For example, the proposition S has a justification for believing that p does not entail that S believes p, whereas the proposition S justifiably believes that p does entail that S believes p. Our ultimate goal is to show that this diversity is only superficial by arguing that there is a basic kind of justification. On the way, however, we shall argue that there are three central uses of a notion of justifica- tion in the above list: propositional justification (as in p is justified for S), personal justification (as in S is justified in believing that p) and doxastic justification (as in S's believing p is justified). Our preliminary argument will be that the multiplicity above can be explained in terms of these three locutions, and the substance of our argument will be to show that one of these three is the basic kind of justification. Success in this task will thereby justify, at least in part, the practice of contem- porary epistemologists. Our conclusions, however, shall not be of much comfort to contemporary epistemology, for the way in which the apparent diversity in the uses of the notion of justification is eliminated undermines much of recent epistemology. (shrink)
According to the TDT, no singular propositions about an individual and no "thisnesses" of individuals exist prior to the existence of the individual in question, where a thisness "is the property of being x, or of being identical with x" and a "singular proposition about an individual x is a proposition that involves or refers to x directly, perhaps by having x or the thisness of x as a constituent, and not merely by way of x's qualitative properties or relations (...) to other individuals" (p. 315) The support for this position comes from two sources, according to Adams. (shrink)
THE DOCTRINE OF omniscience has been understood in two ways. Roughly, it has been taken either as the claim that God knows all that is true (Geach, Kvanvig 1986) or as the claim that God knows all that can be known (Swinbume; Mavrodes). The first construal I shall call the traditional construal, and the second I shall call a limited construal. Though the traditional construal would seem to be the natural one to hold, considerations of the analogy between the best (...) construals of the doctrine of omnipotence have suggested to some that a limited construal is prefera)1e. In particular, some have claimed that one should be careful to construe the doctrine of omnipotence, not as the.. (shrink)
Foundationalism came under attack in two areas in the first half of this century. First, some doubted whether the foundations were adequate to support the entire structure of knowledge, and second, the doctrine of the Agiven@ came under serious attack. = However, many epistemologists were not convinced that foundationalism was to be abandoned even if the criticisms were granted. According to these epistemologist, far from having shown that foundationalism itself was at fault, the critics of foundationalism had only been attacking (...) one particular version of foundationalism--that version that included infallibility, incorrigibility,, or some appeal to a Agiven@ at the base of the structure of justification. The claim of these defenders was that there are other possible types of foundationalism than this version of foundationalism, which has come to be called Classical Foundationalism. And thus opened up a new area of philosophical lexicography: the attempt to say what foundationalism itself is, so that Classical Foundationalism turned out to be one instance of foundationalism but not the only possible one. (shrink)
A critical question for epistemologists is whether there are any inter-subjective requirements for having a justified belief C whether there is an >us= in >justification=. One recent epistemologist that has addressed this issue is Keith Lehrer. In Knowledge, Lehrer presents a..
Some recent philosophers of religion have addressed the question of how, and whether it is possible, that the religious experiences some persons have had can give reasons for believing that God exists. Swinburne, for example, claims that what he calls the principle of credulity implies that the religious experiences of those that have them do provide evidence for others that God exists. He formulates the principle as follows: 1 (1) if it seems (epistemically) to a subject that x is present, (...) then probably x is present (all else being equal). (shrink)