We attack the SSK's rejection of the distinction between discovery and justification (the DJ distinction), famously introduced by Hans Reichenbach and here defended in a "lean" version. Some critics claim that the DJ distinction cannot be drawn precisely, or that it cannot be drawn prior to the actual analysis of scientific knowledge. Others, instead of trying to blur or to reject the distinction, claim that we need an even more fine-grained distinction (e.g. between discovery, invention, prior assessment, test and (...)justification). Adherents of the SSK, however, maintain that the distinction is useless and perhaps nonexistent. We first argue against the assumption that the SSK's objection to the DJ distinction is just the same as Thomas Kuhn's. Second, we point out general weaknesses of the SSK's arguments against the DJ distinction. Finally, we argue that the distinction is useful not only in order to explicate what is meant by an evaluation but even for the empirical explanation of knowledge. We use two case studies from the history of cognitive science to support this point. (shrink)
The regress problem and foundationalism -- Externalist accounts of justification -- In search of coherentism -- Back to foundationalism -- The conceptualization of sensory experience and the problem of the external world -- Knowledge and justification -- Does knowledge have foundation -- Skepticism and the internal/external divide -- A virtue epistemology -- Reply to Sosa -- Reply to Bonjour.
A popular account of epistemic justification holds that justification, in essence, aims at truth. An influential objection against this account points out that it is committed to holding that only true beliefs could be justified, which most epistemologists regard as sufficient reason to reject the account. In this paper I defend the view that epistemic justification aims at truth, not by denying that it is committed to epistemic justification being factive, but by showing that, when we (...) focus on the relevant sense of ‘justification’, it isn’t in fact possible for a belief to be at once justified and false. To this end, I consider and reject three popular intuitions speaking in favor of the possibility of justified false beliefs, and show that a factive account of epistemic justification is less detrimental to our normal belief forming practices than often supposed. (shrink)
I argue against the orthodox view of the relationship between propositional and doxastic justification. The view under criticism is: if p is propositionally justified for S in virtue of S's having reason(s) R, and S believes p on the basis of R, then S's belief that p is doxastically justified. I then propose and evaluate alternative accounts of the relationship between propositional and doxastic justification, and conclude that we should explain propositional justification in terms of doxastic (...) class='Hi'>justification. If correct, this proposal would constitute a significant advance in our understanding of the sources of epistemic justification. (shrink)
It is often taken for granted by writers who propose--and, for that matter, by writers who oppose--'justifications' of inductions, that deduction either does not need, or can readily be provided with, justification. The purpose of this paper is to argue that, contrary to this common opinion, problems analogous to those which, notoriously, arise in the attempt to justify induction, also arise in the attempt to justify deduction.
In at least some cases of justified perceptual belief, our perceptual experience itself, as opposed to beliefs about it, evidences and thereby justifies our belief. While the phenomenon is common, it is also mysterious. There are good reasons to think that perceptions cannot justify beliefs directly, and there is a significant challenge in explaining how they do. After explaining just how direct perceptual justification is mysterious, I considerMichael Huemers (Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, 2001) and Bill Brewers (Perception (...) and Reason, 1999) recent, but radically different, attempts to eliminate it. I argue that both are unsuccessful, though a consideration of their mistakes deepens our appreciation of the mystery. (shrink)
Some philosophers have attempted to utilize the conceptual tools of ethics in order to understand epistemology. One instantiation of this understands justification in terms of having a certain kind of epistemic right, namely, a right to believe. In variations of this theme, some hold that justification involves having the authority to believe, or being entitled to believe. But by examining the putative analogies between different versions of rights and justification, I demonstrate that justification should not be (...) understood as having a right to believe. (shrink)
This chapter is guided by the hypothesis that the point and purpose of using the concept of justification in epistemic evaluation is tied to its role in the practice of critical reflection. In section one, I propose an analysis of justification as the epistemic property in virtue of which a belief has the potential to survive ideal critical reflection. In section two, I use this analysis in arguing for a form of access internalism on which one has (...) class='Hi'>justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. In section three, I distinguish between propositional and doxastic versions of access internalism and argue that the propositional version avoids familiar objections to the doxastic version. In section four, I argue that the propositional version of access internalism also explains and vindicates internalist intuitions about cases. In section five, I conclude with some reflections on the relationship between critical reflection, responsibility and personhood. (shrink)
In virtue of what are we justified in employing the rule of inference Modus Ponens? One tempting approach to answering this question is to claim that we are justified in employing Modus Ponens purely in virtue of facts concerning meaning or concept-possession. In this paper, we argue that such meaning-based accounts cannot be accepted as the fundamental account of our justification.
In the present paper we propose a system of propositional logic for reasoning about justification, truthmaking, and the connection between justifiers and truthmakers. The logic of justification and truthmaking is developed according to the fundamental ideas introduced by Artemov. Justifiers and truthmakers are treated in a similar way, exploiting the intuition that justifiers provide epistemic grounds for propositions to be considered true, while truthmakers provide ontological grounds for propositions to be true. This system of logic is then applied (...) both for interpreting the notorious definition of knowledge as justified true belief and for advancing a new solution to Gettier counterexamples to this standard definition. (shrink)
Adequate epistemic justification is best conceived as the appearance, over time, of knowledge to the subject. ‘Appearance’ is intended literally, not as a synonym for belief. It is argued through consideration of examples that this account gets the extension of ‘adequately justified belief’ at least roughly correct. A more theoretical reason is then offered to regard justification as the appearance of knowledge: If we have a knowledge norm for assertion, we do our best to comply with this norm (...) when we express as assertions only beliefs that appear to us to be knowledge. If we are doing our best, there is little point in further sanctions. So a norm of knowledge for assertion would lead to a secondary norm of justified belief as the appearance of knowledge, marking a point at which our assertions may be corrected but should not be blamed. (shrink)
As I use the term, ‘entitlement’ is any warrant one has by default—i.e. without acquiring it. Some philosophers not only affirm the existence of entitlement, but also give it a crucial role in the justification of our perceptual beliefs. These philosophers affirm the Entitlement Thesis: An essential part of what makes our perceptual beliefs justified is our entitlement to the proposition that I am not a brain-in-a-vat. Crispin Wright, Stewart Cohen, and Roger White are among those who endorse this (...) controversial claim. In this paper, I argue that the Entitlement Thesis is false. (shrink)
An essay on Kant's theory of justification, where by “justification” is meant the evaluative concept that specifies conditions under which a propositional attitude is rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence. Kant employs both epistemic and non-epistemic concepts of justification: an epistemic concept of justification sets out conditions under which a propositional attitude is rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence and a candidate (if true and Gettier-immune) for knowledge. A non-epistemic concept of (...) class='Hi'>justification, by contrast, sets out conditions under which attitudes are rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence but not candidates for knowledge (even if true). The latter conditions will typically be “pragmatic” or “practical,” and thus license acceptance from a “practical” point of view. For Kant, only broadly-speaking practical reasons can provide adequate motivation for adopting a positive attitude towards a proposition (rather than suspending judgment) in the absence of sufficient epistemic grounds. -/- . (shrink)
A moral-pragmatic argument for a proposition is an argument intended to establish that believing the proposition would be morally beneficial. Since such arguments do not adduce epistemic reasons, i.e., reasons that support the truth of a proposition, they can seem at best to be irrelevant epistemically. At worst, believing on the basis of such reasoning can seem to involve wishful thinking and intellectual dishonesty of a sort that that precludes such beliefs from being epistemically unjustified. Inspired by an argument from (...) William James’ classic, “The Will to Believe”, I argue that there is a way of making sense of moral-pragmatic arguments such that they are epistemically relevant. I develop and argue for a theory of epistemic justification that I dub the “moral encroachment theory” (emphasizing its connection to recent pragmatic encroachment views). According to the theory, moral considerations can raise or lower epistemic standards from where they would be in morally neutral settings. The moral encroachment theory, I contend, denotes a normative property that is at once distinctively epistemic and valuable. The theory also allows a legitimate role for moral-pragmatic reasoning under certain conditions. The upshot is that moral-pragmatic reasoning can be epistemically as well as morally appropriate. (shrink)
The lottery paradox can be solved if epistemic justification is assumed to be a species of permissibility. Given this assumption, the starting point of the paradox can be formulated as the claim that, for each lottery ticket, I am permitted to believe that it will lose. This claim is ambiguous between two readings, depending on the scope of ‘permitted’. On one reading, the claim is false; on another, it is true, but, owing to the general failure of permissibility to (...) agglomerate, does not generate the paradox. The solution generalizes to formulations of the paradox in terms of rational acceptability and doxastic rationality. (shrink)
This paper argues that justification is accessible in the sense that one has justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. I argue that the accessibility of justification is required for explaining what is wrong with believing Moorean conjunctions of the form, ‘p and I do not have justification to believe that p.’.
This paper advances the thesis that we can justifiably believe philosophically interesting possibility statements. The first part of the paper critically discusses van Inwagens skeptical arguments while at the same time laying some of the foundation for a positive view. The second part of the paper advances a view of conceivability in terms of imaginability, where imaginging can be propositional, pictorial, or a combination of the two, and argues that conceivability can, and often does, provide us with justified beliefs of (...) what is metaphysically possible. The notion of scenarios is developed, as is an account of how filling out scenarios can uncover a defeater or, in many cases, strengthen the justification for the relevant possibility statement. (shrink)
According to the bootstrapping problem, any view that allows for basic knowledge (knowledge obtained from a reliable source prior to one’s knowing that that source is reliable) is forced to accept that one can utilize a track-record argument to acquire justification for believing that one’s belief source is reliable; yet, we tend to think that acquiring justification in this way is too easy. In this paper I argue, first, that those who respond to the bootstrapping problem by denying (...) basic knowledge succumb to over-intellectualizing epistemology, and secondly, reliabilist views avoid over-intellectualization only at the expense of sanctioning bootstrapping as a benign procedure. Both of these outcomes are difficult to bear. To ward off each of these unsavory outcomes, I propose an alternative solution that draws on a distinction between two separate epistemic concepts: entitlement and justification. (shrink)
In this chapter, I argue for the thesis that phenomenal consciousness is the basis of epistemic justification. More precisely, I argue for the thesis of phenomenal mentalism, according to which epistemic facts about which doxastic attitudes one has justification to hold are determined by non-epistemic facts about one’s phenomenally individuated mental states. I begin by providing intuitive motivations for phenomenal mentalism and then proceed to sketch a more theoretical line of argument according to which phenomenal mentalism provides the (...) best explanation of the independently motivated thesis of access internalism. The result is a theory of epistemic justification that brings intuition and theory into reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
The author takes up three metaphysical conceptions of morality — realism, projectivism, constructivism — and the account of justification or reason that makes these pictures possible. It is argued that the right meta-ethical conception should be the one that entails the most plausible conception of reason-giving, rather than by any other consideration. Realism and projectivism, when understood in ways consistent with their fundamental commitments, generate unsatisfactory models of justification; constructivism alone does not. The author also argues for a (...) particular interpretation of how “objective moral obligation” is to be understood within constructivism. (shrink)
This collection of papers (including three completely new ones) by one of the foremost philosophers in epistemology transcends two of the most widely misunderstood positions in philosophy--foundationalism and coherentism. Audi proposes a distinctively moderate, internalist foundationalism that incorporates some of the virtues of both coherentism and reliabilism. He develops important distinctions between positive and negative epistemic dependence, substantively and conceptually naturalistic theories, dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe, episodically and structurally inferential beliefs, first and second order internalism, and rebutting as (...) opposed to refuting skepticism. These contrasts are applied not only to rational belief, but to rational action and the rationality of desires and intentions. The overall position is a pluralist, moderately rationalistic, internalist theory of justification and a partly externalist conception of knowledge. However, by virtue of offering a theory of rationality as well as an account of knowledge and justified belief, it will interest philosophers of ethics, science, and the social sciences and teachers and students of epistemology. (shrink)
The paper addresses the possibility of providing a meta-justification of what appears to be crucial epistemic desiderata involved in the method of reflective equilibrium. I argue that although the method of reflective equilibrium appears to be widely in use in moral theorising, the prospects of providing a meta-justification of crucial epistemic desiderata are rather bleak. Nor is the requirement that a meta-justification be provided obviously misguided. In addition, I briefly note some of the implications of these results (...) for our use of the method of reflective equilibrium and for the best interpretation of the method. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne offers an original treatment of a question at the heart of epistemology: what makes a belief rational, or justified in holding? He maps the rival accounts of philosophers on epistemic justification ("internalist" and "externalist"), arguing that they are really accounts of different concepts. He distinguishes between synchronic justification (justification at a time) and diachronic justification (synchronic justification resulting from adequate investigation)--both internalist and externalist. He also argues that most kinds of justification are (...) worth having because they are indicative of truth; however, it is only justification of internalist kinds that can guide a believer's actions. Swinburne goes on to show the usefulness of the probability calculus in elucidating how empirical evidence makes beliefs probably true. (shrink)
Today it is generally assumed that epistemic justification comes in degrees. The consequences, however, have not been adequately appreciated. In this paper we show that the assumption invalidates some venerable attacks on infinitism: once we accept that epistemic justification is gradual, an infinitist stance makes perfect sense. It is only without the assumption that infinitism runs into difficulties.
In an earlier paper we have shown that a proposition can have a well-defined probability value, even if its justification consists of an infinite linear chain. In the present paper we demonstrate that the same holds if the justification takes the form of a closed loop. Moreover, in the limit that the size of the loop tends to infinity, the probability value of the justified proposition is always well-defined, whereas this is not always so for the infinite linear (...) chain. This suggests that infinitism sits more comfortably with a coherentist view of justification than with an approach in which justification is portrayed as a linear process. (shrink)
Introduction: the foundation of justice -- Practical reason and justifying reasons: on the foundation of morality -- Moral autonomy and the autonomy of morality: toward a theory of normativity after Kant -- Ethics and morality -- The justification of justice: Rawls's political liberalism and Habermas's discourse theory in dialogue -- Political liberty: integrating five conceptions of autonomy -- A critical theory of multicultural toleration -- The rule of reasons: three models of deliberative democracy -- Social justice, justification, and (...) power -- The basic right to justification: toward a constructivist conception of human rights -- Constructions of transnational justice: comparing John Rawls's the law of peoples and Otfried Höffe's democracy in an age of globalisation -- Justice, morality, and power in the global context -- Toward a critical theory of transnational justice. (shrink)
Abstract: In this article the author develops the view, held by some, that political constructivism is best interpreted as a pragmatic enterprise aiming to solve political problems. He argues that this interpretation's structure of justification is best conceived in terms of two separate investigations—one develops a normative solution to a particular political problem by working up into a coherent whole certain moral conceptions of persons and society; and the other is an empirically based analysis of the political problem. The (...) author argues that the empirically based analysis can generate criteria for assessing whether the normative theory successfully works out a solution, thereby developing a functionalist structure of justification. He further argues that this interpretation overcomes a longstanding criticism of constructivism, namely, that the use of substantive moral concepts in the hypothetical choice procedure biases the defense of principles in a particular direction and therefore begs important philosophical questions. (shrink)
Alexander Bird and Darrell Rowbottom have argued for two competing accounts of the concept of scientific progress. For Bird, progress consists in the accumulation of scientific knowledge. For Rowbottom, progress consists in the accumulation of true scientific beliefs. Both appeal to intuitions elicited by thought experiments in support of their views, and it seems fair to say that the debate has reached an impasse. In an attempt to avoid this stalemate, we conduct a systematic study of the factors that underlie (...) judgments about scientific progress. Our results suggest that (internal) justification plays an important role in intuitive judgments about progress, questioning the intuitive support for the claim that the concept of scientific progress is best explained in terms of the accumulation of true scientific belief. (shrink)
This work, written from a neo-Pyrrhonian perspective, is an examination of contemporary theories of knowledge and justification. It takes ideas primarily found in Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism, restates them in a modern idiom, and then asks whether any contemporary theory of knowledge meets the challenges they raise. The first part, entitled "Gettier and the Problem of Knowledge," attempts to rescue our ordinary concept of knowledge from those philosophers who have assigned burdens to it that it cannot bear. Properly (...) understood, Fogelin shows that the concept of knowledge is unproblematic. The second part of this study, called "Agrippa and the Problem of Justification," examines Agrippa's contribution to Pyrrhonism, a systematic reduction of its procedures which came to be known as the "Five Modes Leading to the Suspension of Belief." These modes present a completely general procedure for refuting any claim a dogmatist might make. Though largely unnoticed, there is, according to Fogelin, an uncanny resemblance between problems posed by Agrippa's "Five Modes" and those that contemporary epistemologists address under the heading of a theory of justification. Fogelin examines the strongest contemporary theories of justification--in both foundationalist and anti-foundationalist forms. The conclusion is that recent philosophical writings on justification have made no significant progress in responding to the Pyrrhonian problems these writings have addressed. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that what underlies internalism about justification is a rationalist conception of justification, not a deontological conception of justification, and I argue for the plausibility of this rationalist conception of justification. The rationalist conception of justification is the view that a justified belief is a belief that is held in a rational way; since we exercise our rationality through conscious deliberation, the rationalist conception holds that a belief is justified iff a (...) relevant possible instance of conscious deliberation would endorse the belief. The importance of conscious deliberation stems from its role in guiding us in acquiring true beliefs: whereas the externalist holds that if we wish to acquire true beliefs, we have to begin by assuming that some of our usual methods of belief formation generally provide us with true beliefs, the internalist holds that if we form beliefs by conscious deliberation, we can be conscious of reasons for thinking that our beliefs are true. Conscious deliberation can make us conscious of reasons because it proceeds via rational intuitions. I argue that despite the fallibility of rational intuition, rational intuitions do enable us to become conscious of reasons for belief. (shrink)
Process reliabilists hold that in order for a belief to be justified, it must result from a reliable cognitive process. They also hold that a belief can be basically justified: justified in this manner without having any justification to believe that belief is reliably produced. Fumerton (1995), Vogel (2000), and Cohen (2002) have objected that such basic justification leads to implausible easy justification by means of either epistemic closure principles or so-called track record arguments. I argue that (...) once we carefully distinguish closure principles from transmission principles, and epistemic consequences from epistemic preconditions, neither version of this objection succeeds. (shrink)
Democracy can be a means to independently valuable ends and/or it can be intrinsically (or non-instrumentally) valuable. One powerful non-instrumental defence of democracy is based on the idea that only it can publicly justify political authority. I contend that this is an argument about the reasonable acceptability of political authority and about the requirements of publicity and that satisfying these requirements has nothing to do with whether a society is democratic or not. Democracy, then, plays no role in publicly justifying (...) political authority. I also show that any non-instrumental defence of democracy must make claims about what justice requires and make several further claims that require substantial justification. (shrink)
This paper describes a formal measure of epistemic justification motivated by the dual goal of cognition, which is to increase true beliefs and reduce false beliefs. From this perspective the degree of epistemic justification should not be the conditional probability of the proposition given the evidence, as it is commonly thought. It should be determined instead by the combination of the conditional probability and the prior probability. This is also true of the degree of incremental confirmation, and I (...) argue that any measure of epistemic justification is also a measure of incremental confirmation. However, the degree of epistemic justification must meet an additional condition, and all known measures of incremental confirmation fail to meet it. I describe this additional condition as well as a measure that meets it. The paper then applies the measure to the conjunction fallacy and proposes an explanation of the fallacy. (shrink)
Much of present-day epistemology is divided between internalists and externalists. Different as these views are, they have in common that they strip justification from its dialectical component in order to block the skeptic’s argument from disagreement. That is, they allow that one may have justified beliefs even if one is not able to defend it against challenges and resolve the disagreements about them. Lammenranta (2008, 2011a) recently argued that neither internalism nor externalism convinces if we consider the argument in (...) its most interesting format. In this paper I zoom in on this debate, and fix further details of Lammenranta’s lead. Specifically, I will side with skepticism that justification is dialectical, yet only if certain conditions are in place. (shrink)
So far no known measure of confirmation of a hypothesis by evidence has satisfied a minimal requirement concerning thresholds of acceptance. In contrast, Shogenji’s new measure of justification (Shogenji, Synthese, this number 2009) does the trick. As we show, it is ordinally equivalent to the most general measure which satisfies this requirement. We further demonstrate that this general measure resolves the problem of the irrelevant conjunction. Finally, we spell out some implications of the general measure for the Conjunction Effect; (...) in particular we give an example in which the effect occurs in a larger domain, according to Shogenji justification, than Carnap’s measure of confirmation would have led one to expect. (shrink)
We all have beliefs, even strong convictions, about what is just and fair in our social arrangements. How should these beliefs and the theories of justice that incorporate them guide our thinking about practical matters of justice? This wide-ranging collection of essays by one of the foremost medical ethicists in the USA explores the claim that justification in ethics, whether of matters of theory or practice, involves achieving coherence between our moral and non-moral beliefs. Amongst the practical issues addressed (...) in the volume are the design of health-care institutions, the distribution of goods between the old and the young, and fairness in hiring and firing. In combining ethical theory and practical ethics this volume will prove especially valuable to philosophers concerned with ethics and applied ethics, political theorists, bioethicists, and others involved in the study of public policy. (shrink)
This volume gathers eleven new and three previously unpublished essays that take on questions of epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue. It contains the best recent work in this area by major figures such as Ernest Sosa, Robert Audi, Alvin Goldman, and Susan Haak.
In this paper, I consider how a general epistemic norm of action that I have proposed in earlier work should be specified in order to govern certain types of acts: assertive speech acts. More specifically, I argue that the epistemic norm of assertion is structurally similar to the epistemic norm of action. First, I argue that the notion of warrant operative in the epistemic norm of a central type of assertion is an internalist one that I call ‘discursive justification.’ (...) This type of warrant is internalist insofar as it requires that the agent is capable of articulating reasons for her belief. The idea, roughly, is that when one asserts that p, one is supposed to be in a position to give reasons for believing that p. Bonjour’s reliable clairvoyant Norman, for example, is not in an epistemic position to make assertions regarding the president’s whereabouts—even if Norman knows the president’s whereabouts. In conclusion, I briefly consider whether a type of skeptical argument—often labeled Agrippa’s Trilemma—is motivated, at least in part, by the fact that responses to it violate the relevant epistemic norm of assertion. (shrink)
Whether empirical givenness has the reliability that foundationalists expect is a point about which some philosophers are highly skeptical. Sellars took the doctrine of givenness as a “myth,” denying the existence of immediate perceptual experience. The arguments in contemporary Western epistemology are concentrated on whether sensory experience has conceptual contents, and whether there is any logical relationship between perceptions and beliefs. In fact, once the elements of words and conceptions in empirical perception are affirmed, the logical relationship between perceptual experience (...) and empirical belief is also affirmed. This relationship takes place through perceptual experience acting as evidence for beliefs. The real problem lies in how one should distinguish between the different relationships with perception of singular beliefs and of universal beliefs, and in how singular beliefs can provide justification for universal beliefs. (shrink)
While epistemic justification is a central concern for both contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science, debates in contemporary epistemology about the nature of epistemic justification have not been discussed extensively by philosophers of science. As a step toward a coherent account of scientific justification that is informed by, and sheds light on, justificatory practices in the sciences, this paper examines one of these debatesâ€”the internalistâ€“externalist debateâ€”from the perspective of objective accounts of scientific evidence. In particular, we focus (...) on Deborah Mayoâ€™s error-statistical theory of evidence because it is a paradigmatically objective theory of evidence that is strongly informed by methodological practice. We contend that from the standpoint of such an objective theory of evidence, justification in science has both externalist and internalist characteristics. In reaching this conclusion, however, we find that the terms of the contemporary debate between internalists and externalists have to be redefined to be applicable to scientific contexts. (shrink)
It’s not implausible to think that whenever I have a justified noninferential belief that p, it is caused by a seeming that p. It’s also tempting to think that something contributes to the justification of my belief only if I hold my belief because of that thing. Thus, given that many of our noninferential beliefs are justified and that we hold them because of seemings, one might be inclined to hold a view like Phenomenal Conservatism, according to which seemings (...) play a crucial role—perhaps the only crucial role—in the justification of our noninferential beliefs. But Phenomenal Conservatism seems to conflict, in a number of ways, with externalist accounts of justification. As a result, the attractiveness of the intuitions appealed to in support of views like Phenomenal Conservatism present something of a challenge to externalism. The purpose of this paper is to deal with that challenge by developing and defending an externalist-friendly account of the role of seemings in the formation and justification of our noninferential beliefs—an account that incorporates what is attractive in views like Phenomenal Conservatism. Because this externalist-friendly account is compatible with both externalist accounts of justification and the plausible elements of views like Phenomenal Conservatism, the challenge to externalism inspired by such views is thereby undermined. (shrink)
David Lewis is associated with the controversial thesis that some properties are more eligible than others to be the referents of our predicates solely in virtue of those properties’ being more natural; independently, that is, of anything to do with our patterns of usage of the relevant predicates. On such a view, the natural properties act as ‘reference magnets’. In this paper I explore (though I do not endorse) a related thesis in epistemology: that some propositions are ‘justification magnets’. (...) According to the doctrine of justification magnetism, we have better justification for some propositions than for others solely in virtue of certain features of those propositions; independently, that is, of anything to do with evidential support or cognitive accomplishment. In the course of discussing an objection to justification magnetism I describe (though I do not endorse) a novel approach to epistemology akin to interpretationism in the theory of reference. (shrink)
Abstract The debate in the philosophy of perception between direct realists and representationalists should influence the debate in epistemology between internalists and externalists about justification. If direct realists are correct, there are more consciously accessible justifiers for internalists to exploit than externalists think. Internalists can retain their distinctive internalist identity while accepting this widened conception of internalistic justification: even if they welcome the possibility of cognitive access to external facts, their position is still quite distinct from the typical (...) externalist position. To demonstrate this, Alvin Goldman’s critique of internalism is shown to ignore important lessons from the case for direct realism about perception. In particular, it unjustifiably assumes that internalism entails that only facts simultaneous with the justification of a belief can justify the belief. Goldman’s definition of a “justifier” is also inconsistent with the overall guidance conception of epistemology he takes for granted in his critique of internalism. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0146-4 Authors Benjamin Bayer, Department of Philosophy, Loyola University, New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 046, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150. (shrink)
Liberal societies are characterized by respect for a fundamental value pluralism; i.e., respect for individuals’ rights to live by their own conception of the good. Still, the state must make decisions that privilege some values at the cost of others. When public ethics committees give substantial ethical advice on policy related issues, it is therefore important that this advice is well justified. The use of explicit tools for ethical assessment can contribute to justifying advice. In this article, I will discuss (...) one approach to ethical assessment, the ethical matrix method. This method is a variant of intuitionist balancing. Intuitionism is characterized by stressing the existence of several (at least two) fundamental prima facie moral principles, between which there is no given rank order. For some intuitionist approaches, coherentism has been proposed as a model of justification. This article will discuss justification of ethical advice and evaluate the appropriateness of coherentism as a justificatory approach to intuitionist tools. (shrink)
In this article I distinguish a type of justification that is "epistemic" in pertaining to the grounds of one's belief, and "practical" in its connection to what act(s) one may undertake, based on that belief. Such justification, on the proposed account, depends mainly on the proportioning of "inner epistemic virtue" to the "outer risks" implied by one's act. The resulting conception strikes a balance between the unduly moralistic conception of William Clifford and contemporary naturalist virtue theories.
In contemporary Western biomedical ethics, informed consent practices are commonly justified in terms of the intrinsic value of patient autonomy. James Stacey Taylor maintains that this conception of the moral grounding of medical informed consent is mistaken. On the basis of his reasoning to that effect, Taylor argues that medical informed consent is justified by the instrumental value of personal autonomy. In this article, I examine whether Taylor's justification of medical informed consent is plausible.
In this essay we argue that reasoning can sometimes generate epistemic justification, rather than merely transmitting justification that the subject already possesses to new beliefs. We also suggest a way to account for it in terms of the relationship between epistemic normative requirements, justification and cognitive capacities.
Contextualism has been a prominent epistemological theory for more than twenty years. Its central claim is that standards for justification and of knowledge ascriptions can vary from one context to another context. However this in not the end of the story, for one must subsequently explain these variations of standards in order to avoid arbitrariness. Two strategies offer themselves at this point: generalism and particularism. We argue that the latter could provide a viable support for an overall contextualist approach. (...) David Lewis in his paper “Elusive Knowledge” provides a nice case of contextual epistemology and points to several important aspects of knowledge. But we disagree with Lewis on two points of his account: (i) knowledge without justification and (ii) set of exceptionless rules that determine relevant alternatives. We preserve the overall conception of knowledge as justified true belief and attempt to work out a contextualist account of knowledge by pointing to an alternative, particularistic view of relevance and relevant alternatives. (shrink)