The aim of the paper is to propose a way in which believing on trust can ground doxastic justification and knowledge. My focus will be the notion of trust that plays the role depicted by such cases as concerned Hardwig (J Philos 82:335–49, 1985; J Philos 88:693–708, 1991) in his early papers, papers that are often referenced in recent debates in social epistemology. My primary aim is not exegetical, but since it sometimes not so clear what Hardwig’s claims are, I (...) offer some remarks of interpretation that might be of interest. The main purpose of the paper, however, is this: following various cues in Hardwig’s writing, I specify certain epistemic properties of agents in social systems, such that, roughly speaking, for agents to know (or be justified in believing) what the ‘system knows’, social relations of epistemic trust between agents in the system are necessary. I will suggest that we can view this social form of epistemic trust as non-inferential dispositions to believe what some individual or other source of information asserts or transmits. When this disposition is discriminating and defeater-sensitive, it can ground knowledge and justification. Or, more cautiously, we should be sympathetic to this view if we are inclined to accept the core insight of process reliabilism. Finally, I will offer some remarks about how epistemic trust and epistemic reasons may relate on this picture. (shrink)
It seems obvious that informational privacy has an epistemological component; privacy or lack of privacy concerns certain kinds of epistemic relations between a cogniser and sensitive pieces of information. One striking feature of the fairly substantial philosophical literature on informational privacy is that the nature of this epistemological component of privacy is only sparsely discussed. The main aim of this paper is to shed some light on the epistemological component of informational privacy.
This paper explores in detail an argument for epistemic expressivism, what we call the Argument from Motivation. While the Argument from Motivation has sometimes been anticipated, it has never been set out in detail. The argument has three premises, roughly, that certain judgments expressed in attributions of knowledge are intrinsically motivating in a distinct way (P1); that motivation for action requires desire-like states or conative attitudes (HTM); and that the semantic content of knowledge attributions cannot be specified without reference to (...) the intrinsically motivating judgments that such attributions express (P2). We argue that these premises entail a version of ecumenical expressivism. Since the argument from motivation has not been explicitly stated before, there is no current discussion of the argument. In this paper we therefore consider and reject various objections that one might propose to the argument, including some that stem from the idea that knowledge is factive, or that knowledge involves evidence that rules out relevant alternatives. Other objections to (P1) specifically might be derived from cases of apparent lack of epistemic motivation considered in in Kvanvig (The value of knowledge and the pursuit of understanding, 2003) and Brown (Nous 42(2):167–189, 2008), as well as from general forms of externalism about epistemic motivation. We consider these and find them wanting. Finally, the paper offers some critical remarks about the prospect of denying (P2). (shrink)
Subjective probabilities play a significant role in the assessment of evidence: in other words, our background knowledge, or pre-trial beliefs, cannot be set aside when new evidence is being evaluated. Focusing on homeopathy, this paper investigates the nature of pre-trial beliefs in clinical trials. It asks whether pre-trial beliefs of the sort normally held only by those who are sympathetic to homeopathy can legitimately be disregarded in those trials. The paper addresses several surprisingly unsuccessful attempts to provide a satisfactory justification (...) for ignoring the pre-trial beliefs of the homeopathic community. The ensuing diagnosis of the difficulties here emphasizes that the reason the arguments for choosing the pre-trial beliefs of the conventional community seem insufficient is not the arguments per se. It is rather that there is no cogent argument for choosing the conventional stance which would at the same time rationally persuade a member of the homeopathic community. The paper concludes that, once we understand that this is the predicament, there is no genuine reason to doubt the reasoning that leads us to reject the pre-trial beliefs of the homeopathic community. (shrink)
We sometimes disagree not only about facts, but also about how best to acquire evidence or justified beliefs within the domain of facts that we disagree about. And sometimes we have no dispute-independent ways of settling what the best ways of acquiring evidence in these domains are. Following Michael Lynch, I call this phenomenon deep disagreement. In the paper, I outline various forms of deep disagreement, following but also in certain respects revising and expanding Lynch’s exposition in (2010, 2012). As (...) is well known, for the externalist about knowledge and epistemic justification deep disagreements may be nothing more than an unfortunate failure of communication. Yet, though he grants this, Lynch argues that deep disagreement points to a sort of practical problem. I agree. In my paper I propose a revised account of the sort of practical problem that deep disagreement may pose. In short, my claim is that deep disagreement may be a problem due to the role that shared factual beliefs may have in common decision-making. I discuss and assess various reactions to the problem of deep disagreement, including the one proposed by Lynch. I argue that none of the solutions discussed in the paper are satisfactory. (shrink)
Commercial food health branding is a challenging branch of marketing because it might, at the same time, promote healthy living and be commercially viable. However, the power to influence individuals’ health behavior and overall health status makes it crucial for marketing professionals to take into account the ethical dimensions of health branding: this article presents a conceptual analysis of potential ethical problems in health branding. The analysis focuses on ethical concerns related to the application of three health brand elements (functional (...) claims, process claims, and health symbols) as well as a number of general concerns that apply to health branding as such. Being a pioneering analysis, this article advances the academic understanding of health branding and provides practitioners with knowledge of important concerns to take into account when marketing health brands. (shrink)
Epistemic expressivism is the view that epistemic appraisals are basically non-factual valuations. In this paper I consider recent objections pressed by Terrence Cuneo, Michael Lynch and Jonathan Kvanvig to the effect that whatever the problems of expressivism in general, epistemic expressivism faces certain fatal objections due to the fact that the view is applied to the epistemic domain. The most important of these objections state, roughly, that because of the very content of the doctrine, epistemic expressivism cannot be coherently asserted (...) or argued for. Thus, epistemic expressivism is, as I shall say, dialectically incoherent. Another way to put the objection is this: there is no cogent perspective in which epistemic expressivism can be asserted or argued for. Since these arguments all trade on the idea of a perspective in which epistemic expressivism is to be asserted, I shall, following Terence Cuneo's terminology, refer to the arguments as the perspective objections (Cuneo 2007, 170). I argue that the perspective objections fail. Whatever serious objections there might be to epistemic expressivism, the charge that the view is dialectically incoherent is not one of them. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to explore the impact of commercial marketing on personal autonomy. Several philosophers argue that marketing conflicts with ideals of autonomy or, at best, is neutral to these ideals. After qualifying our concept of marketing and introducing the distinctions between (i) divergent and convergent marketing and (ii) being autonomous and acting autonomously, we demonstrate the heretofore unnoticed positive impact of marketing on autonomy. Specifically, we argue that (i) convergent marketing has a significant potential to reinforce (...) autonomous action and (ii) divergent marketing has a significant potential to reinforce the state of being autonomous. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to state a version of epistemic expressivism regarding knowledge, and to suggest how this expressivism about knowledge explains the value of knowledge. The paper considers how an account of the value of knowledge based on expressivism about knowledge responds to the Meno Problem, the Swamping Problem, and a variety of other questions that pertains to the value of knowledge, and the role of knowledge in our cognitive ecology.
In this article we explore the role evidence ought to play in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). First, we consider the claim that evidence in the form of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) cannot be obtained for CAMs. Second, we consider various claims to the effect that there are ways of obtaining evidence that do not make use of RCTs. We argue that there is no good reason why CAM should be exempted from the general requirement that treatments undergo evaluation by (...) RCT. Third, we consider two implications for health care policy. First, many activities in conventional medicine have never been rigorously evaluated and are widely in use nonetheless. We argue that this fails to provide a reason for exempting CAM from a demand for evidence. Second, CAM use may be compared to a choice of lifestyle, and this has a significant impact on which requirements of evidence can reasonably be imposed. (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)
The purpose of this paper is to offer a diagnosis and a resolution to generality problem. I state the generality problem and suggest a distinction between criteria of relevance and what I call a theory of determination. The generality problem may concern either of these. While plausible criteria of relevance would be convenient for the externalist, he does not need them. I discuss various theories of determination, and argue that no existing theory of determination is plausible. This provides a case (...) for the no determination view: there are no facts that determine relevant types. This is the diagnosis of the generality problem. The externalist, however, may embrace the no determination view. This is what provides a resolution to the generality problem. (shrink)
Robert Audi's ethical intuitionism (Audi, 1997, 1998) deals effectively with standard epistemological problems facing the intuitionist. This is primarily because the notion of self-evidence employed by Audi commits to very little. Importantly, according to Audi we might understand a self-evident moral proposition and yet not believe it, and we might accept a self-evident proposition because it is self-evident, and yet fail to see that it is self-evident. I argue that these and similar features give rise to certain challenges to Audi's (...) intuitionism. It becomes harder to argue that there are any self-evident propositions at all, or more than just a few such propositions. It is questionable whether all moral propositions that we take an interest in are evidentially connected to self-evident propositions. It is difficult to understand what could guide the sort conceptual revision that is likely to take place in our moral theorising. It is hard to account for the epistemic value of the sort of systematicity usually praised in moral theorising. Finally, it is difficult to see what difference the truth of Audi's ethical intuitionism would make to the way in which we (fail to) handle moral disagreement. (shrink)
What I call hegemonism holds that a satisfactory moral theory must in a fairly direct way guide action. This, the hegemonist believes, provides a constraint on moral theorizing. We should not accept moral theories which cannot in the proper sense guide us. There are two alternatives to hegemonism. One is motivational indirection, which is the idea that while agents remain motivated by a moral theory, they may be only indirectly motivated. The other is non-hegemonism, which holds that a correct moral (...) theory need not in any direct or indirect sense guide or motivate actions. In the main part of the paper I discuss widely endorsed objections to motivational indirection and nonhegemonism, and I argue that these objections all fail. Hence, motivational indirection and non-hegemonism remain viable conceptions of moral theory. (shrink)
The lifetime equality view (the view that it is good if people's lives on the whole are equally worth living) has recently been met with the objection that it does not rule out simultaneous inequality: two persons may lead equally good lives on the whole and yet there may at any time be great differences in their level of well-being. And simultaneous inequality, it is held, ought to be a concern of egalitarians. The paper discusses this and related objections to (...) the lifetime equality view. It is argued that rather than leading to a revision of the lifetime equality view, these objections, if taken seriously, should make us account for our egalitarian concerns in terms of the priority view rather than the equality view. The priority view claims that there is a greater moral value to benefiting the worse off. Several versions of the priority view are also distinguished. (shrink)