Arbib et al.'s comprehensive review of neural organization, over-relies on modernist concepts and restricts our understanding of brain and behavior. Reliance on terms like coding, transformation, and representation perpetuates a “black-box approach” to the study of the brain. Recognition is due to the authors for attempting to introduce postmodern concepts such as chaos and self-organization to the study of neural organization. However, confusion occurs in the implementation of “biologically rooted” schema theory in which schemas are viewed as computer programs. The (...) inclusion of an additional functional level between structure and dynamics is unnecessary in a postmodernist perspective of brain and behavior. (shrink)
For the dynamical hypothesis to be defended as a viable alternative to a computational perspective on natural cognition, the role of biological constraints needs to be considered. This task requires a detailed understanding of the structural organization and function of the dynamic nervous system, as well as a theoretical approach that grounds cognitive activity within the constraints of organism and ecological context.
In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases (...) show that it is the justification (rather than the belief) that must be based in the evidence. We compare Lehrer’s account of basing with some alternative accounts that have been offered, and show why Lehrer’s own account is more plausible. (shrink)
I thank the commentators for their extremely rich and stimulating discussions of Thought and World.1 Their commentaries show that a number of TW’s claims are in need of clarification and defense, and that some of its arguments contain substantial lacunae. I am very pleased to have these flaws called to my attention, and to have an opportunity to try to correct them. Also, I am grateful for the commentators’ endorsements. As is perhaps inevitable in a symposium of this kind, the (...) commentaries contain more questions and objections than expressions of agreement; but even so, each of the com- mentators conveys the impression that he found TW to be worth reading. It is an honor to receive endorsements, even qualified endorsements, from such a distinguished company. (shrink)
In this paper I reply to Keith Yandell's recent charge that Anselmian theists cannot also be Trinitarians. Yandell's case turns on the contention that it is impossible to individuate Trinitarian members, if they exist necessarily. Since the ranks of Anselmian Trinitarians includes the likes of Alvin Plantinga, Robert Adams, and Thomas Flint, Yandell's claim is of considerable interest and import. I argue, by contrast, that Anselmians can appeal to what Plantinga calls an essence or haecceity – a property essentially (...) unique to an object – to distinguish Trinitarian members. I go on to show that the main Yandellian objection to this individuative strategy is not successful. (shrink)
Keith Donnellan (1931 – ) began his studies at the University of Maryland, and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. He stayed on at Cornell, earning a Master’s and a PhD in 1961. He also taught at there for several years before moving to UCLA in 1970, where he is currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy. Donnellan’s work is mainly in the philosophy of language, with an emphasis on the connections between semantics and pragmatics. His most influential work was (...) his 1966 paper “Reference and Definite Descriptions”. In this paper, he challenges the canonical view, due to Bertrand Russell, about definite descriptions. Russell had argued that the proper semantic treatment of a definite description such as “the present king of France” was quantificational. Thus, a sentence like “the present king of France is bald” should be analyzed as “There exists one and only one entity x that is the present king of France, and x is bald”. Donnellan argues that in natural languages, there are actually two different kinds of uses of definite descriptions. Russell’s analysis picks out the “attributive” use of definite descriptions. When we use a definite description (“the F”) this way, we mean to make statements about the unique entity x that is F. However, Donnellan notes that we also sometimes use definite descriptions “referentially” to pick out a given entity and say something about it. To see this, imagine you are at a party where virtually everyone is drinking beer. However, you and your friend are observing a man in a corner of the room holding a martini glass. Unbeknownst to you, the man’s glass is filled with water. You turn to your friend and ask, “who is the man drinking a martini?” Suppose further that your friend knows that the man in question is Fred and that Fred’s glass is filled with water. According to the Russellian attributive analysis, such a question would amount to asking for the identity of the one and only one man drinking a martini. But the presupposition that there is a man drinking a martini is false, and so there should be no answer to the question.. (shrink)
In response to criticisms made by Keith Dowding (hereafter KD) of `Capitalists Rule OK', this article argues (1) that there is a genuine structural conflict of interest between consumers and producers, voters and politicians, and capitalists and governments, and (2) that only by ad hoc and arbitrary limitations on the scope of the concept of power can it be denied that consumers collectively have power over producers and capitalists (collectively) have power over government. KD accepts that voters (collectively) have (...) power over governments. Ironically, however, this is by far the most tenuous and generally problematic of the three putative power relations. Furthermore, there is no plausible way of conceding that voters (collectively) have power over politicians without also having to accept the validity of a power relation in the other two cases. The implication is that the thesis that is supposed to justify the standard North American or western European politico-economic system, according to which consumers and voters have power but capitalists do not, is nothing more than ideology, in Marx's sense of a fantastical picture of the world designed by the beneficiaries of the status quo to protect their privileged positions against legitimate demands for revolutionary change. The article concludes by taking up KD's primary objection to `Capitalists Rule', which is its rejection of the proposal to equate power with resources. According to KD's official definition, `resources' are the means of raising and lowering others' utilities. I pointed out in `Capitalists Rule' that KD himself acknowledges the inadequacy of this definition, since he almost immediately goes on to say that people do not necessarily have the power that is attributed to them. Obviously, `power' in this new sense must be something different, and is, in fact, the ability to get people to do what you want them to do or to refrain from doing things you do not want them to do. This is precisely my own proposed definition in `Capitalists Rule'. The only remaining disagreement arises from KD's wish to turn everything that lies between power in his first sense and power in his second (and my) sense into a further `resource'. I argue that this is obfuscatory and, in any case, infeasible. Key Words: power democracy capitalism. (shrink)
Keith Lehrer is one of the leading proponents of a coherence theory of knowledge that seeks to explain what it means to know in a characteristically human way. Central to his account are the pivotal role played by a principle of self-trust and his insistence that a sound epistemology must ultimately be ecumenical in nature, combining elements of internalism and externalism. The present book is an extensive, self-contained, up-to-date study of Lehrer's epistemological work. Covering all major aspects, it contains (...) original contributions by some of the most distinguished specialists in the field, outgoing from the latest, significantly revised version of Lehrer's theory. All basic ideas are explained in an introductory chapter. Lehrer's extensive replies in a final chapter give unique access to his current epistemological thinking. (shrink)
Commenting on recent articles by Keith Sawyer and Julie Zahle, the author questions the way in which the debate between methodological individualists and holists has been presented and contends that too much weight has been given to metaphysical and ontological debates at the expense of giving attention to methodological debates and analysis of good explanatory practice. Giving more attention to successful explanatory practice in the social sciences and the different underlying epistemic interests and motivations for providing explanations or reducing (...) theories (which ask for different kinds of explanatory information to be found on the social or on the individual level) might lead to real progress in the debate on methodological individualism, and away from the unending battles of (metaphysical) intuitions. Key Words: methodological individualism • nonreductive materialism • pluralism • pragmatics of explanation. (shrink)
R. Keith Sawyer rightly claimed that the formulation of several cross-level regularities does not disprove the “autonomy” of sciences. Nevertheless, first, this autonomy becomes gradual because cross-level regularities narrow the scope for strong emergence and, second, these examples do not disprove the metaphysical premises of Kim’s critique. Sawyer and I concur on the thesis according to which the proof of strong emergence is in part an empirical question. However, it also depends on the concept of individualism applied whether a (...) description or explanation can count as reducible or not. Even if some of the examples given might leave open the possibility of strong emergence, to generalize, to consider relations or to point to the unpredictability of social processes do not prove the existence of irreducible multiple realization. (shrink)
Sir Keith Thomas is one of the most innovative and influential of English historians, and a scholar of unusual range. These essays, presented to him on his retirement as President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, concentrate on one of the broad themes illuminated by his work - changing notions of civility in the past. From the sixteenth century onwards, civility was a term applied to modes of behaviour as well as to cultural and civic attributes. Its influence extended from (...) styles of language and sexual mores to funeral ceremonies and commercial morality. It was used to distinguish the civil from the barbarous and the English from the Irish and Welsh, and to banish superstition and justify imperialism. The contributors - distinguished historians who have been Keith Thomas's pupils - illustrate the many implications of civility in the early modern period and its shifts of meaning down to the twentieth century. (shrink)
Some authors sustain that historical research is an effect of a specific historiographical context (Jenkins, 1991; González de Oleaga, 2009). An approach to the historiographical debate between constructivism and recontructivism is presented in this paper. Two theses are here defended. The first one affirms that the above mentioned debate is deeply related to epistemological questions (study of mental representations, different conceptions about historical reasoning functions, historical reasoning, cognitive bias, and informal falacies). The second thesis affirms that each historiographical conception can (...) be understood as the effect of assuming a specific perspective about these epistemic questions. As an evidence of this, some connections between historiography and epistemology will be analysed through the analogy between the reconstructivism vs. constructivism debate, and the epistemological debate detectivism vs. constitutivism (Finkelstein, 2003). (shrink)
Keith Lehrer's notion of acceptance and its relation to the notion of belief is analyzed in a way that a person only accepts some proposition p if she decides to believe it in order to reach the epistemic aim. This view of acceptance turns out to be untenable: Under the empirical claim that we don't have the power to decide what to beheve it follows that we cannot accept anything. If reaching the truth is the epistemic aim acceptance proves (...) ill-formed, it is impossible to pursue the aim of truth by believing or accepting something because belief itself is a truth-directed attitude. If the epistemic aim is formulated in a weaker sense, combined with other aims, the danger lurks that accepting a proposition p is in the end loosing any connection with the truth of p. (shrink)
This paper shows how to reconcile epistemic invariantism with the knowledge account of assertion. My basic proposal is that we can comfortably combine invariantism with the knowledge account of assertion by endorsing contextualism about speech acts. My demonstration takes place against the backdrop of recent contextualist attempts to usurp the knowledge account of assertion, most notably Keith DeRose’s influential argument that the knowledge account of assertion spells doom for invariantism and enables contextualism’s ascendancy. The paper’s plan: Section 1 explains (...) contextualism and invariantism. Section 2 recounts a common influential objection to contextualism, to wit, that its proponents confuse warranted assertability with truth. Section 3 reviews DeRose’s response to this objection, wherein he argues that contextualism’s opponent, in leveling this objection, is hoist with his own petard. Sections 4 – 6 develop resources for crafting a version of invariantism that escapes DeRose’s argument. Section 7 introduces us to this freshly equipped version of invariantism, which can be wedded to the knowledge account of assertion. Sections 8 – 11 entertain and respond to objections. Section 12 concludes our discussion by suggesting how our new invariantist could respond to the radical skeptic, in a way that rivals the anti-skeptical contextualist’s response. (shrink)
Recent work on the evidential argument from evil offers us sundry considerations which are intended to weigh against this form of atheological arguments. By far the most provocative is that on a priori grounds alone, evil can be shown to be evidentially impotent. This astonishing thesis has been given a vigorous defense by Keith Yandell. In this paper, we shall measure the prospects for an a priori dismissal of evidential arguments from evil.
Epiphenomenalism is a theory concerning the relation between the mental and physical realms, regarded as radically different in nature. The theory holds that only physical states have causal power, and that mental states are completely dependent on them. The mental realm, for epiphenomenalists, is nothing more than a series of conscious states which signify the occurrence of states of the nervous system, but which play no causal role. For example, my feeling sleepy does not cause my yawning — rather, both (...) the feeling and the yawning are effects of an underlying neural state. (shrink)
Recently, new life has been breathed into the ancient philosophical topic of skepticism. The subject of some of the best and most provocative work in contemporary philosophy, skepticism has been addressed not only by top epistemologists but also by several of the world's finest philosophers who are most known for their work in other areas of the discipline. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader brings together the most important recent contributions to the discussion of skepticism. Covering major approaches to the skeptical problem, (...) it features essays by Anthony Brueckner, Keith DeRose, Fred Dretske, Graeme Forbes, Christopher Hill, David Lewis, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, Hilary Putnam, Ernest Sosa, Gail Stine, Barry Stroud, Peter Unger, and Ted Warfield. The book opens with a thorough introduction that outlines the skeptical problem, explains the dominant responses to skepticism, and discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and unresolved issues of each response, providing undergraduate students and nonphilosophers with the background and context necessary to understand the essays. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader serves as an ideal text for courses in epistemology and skepticism and will also appeal to professional philosophers and interested general readers. (shrink)
The lecture that we have heard consists of excerpts from Professor Stanley’s forthcoming book Knowledge and Interest, and it consists of two parts, a messy part and a clean part; the messy part is from the book’s introduction, which describes the “central data that is at issue in this debate,” and the clean part is from Chapter 7, which presents an interesting criticism of a semantical theory of knowledge-attribution sentences that makes their truth-conditions relative to non-time-world circumstances of evaluation, e.g. (...) to a judgment-maker at a time. There is a nice discussion of Peter Lasersohn’s semantical views, with kudos, bricks, and bats to Mark Richard, Jeff King, Gareth Evans, John Hawthorne, David Kaplan, and David Lewis. Though I found this discussion of great interest and would have welcomed more discussion of an earlier view of Jason Stanley’s in which “what is said” and “what is believed” can be used to refer to entities that are not propositional, e.g. semantic values that are neutral with respect to time and place, a view of Stanley’s of which I am a fan, I was more provoked by the messy part: the appeal to intuitive linguistic data employed by supporters of epistemological contextualism, e.g. Stewart Cohen, Keith De Rose, a time-slice of David Lewis, among others. I will focus on what Professor Stanley says about the data in his paper and not worry the scholarly question about their relation to other views. (shrink)
David Lewis's book 'On the Plurality of Worlds' mounts an extended defense of the thesis of modal realism, that the world we inhabit the entire cosmos of which we are a part is but one of a vast plurality of worlds, or cosmoi, all causally and spatiotemporally isolated from one another. The purpose of this article is to provide an accessible summary of the main positions and arguments in Lewis's book.
author. University Professor in the School of Law, Columbia University. (From July 2006, Professor of Law, New York University.) Earlier versions of this Essay were presented at the Colloquium in Legal and Social Philosophy at University College London, at a law faculty workshop at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at a constitutional law conference at Harvard Law School. I am particularly grateful to Ronald Dworkin, Ruth Gavison, and Seana Shiffrin for their formal comments on those occasions and also to (...) James Allan, Aharon Barak, Richard Bellamy, Aileen Cavanagh, Arthur Chaskalson, Michael Dorf, Richard Fallon, Charles Fried, Andrew Geddis, Stephen Guest, Ian Haney-Lopez, Alon Harel, David Heyd, Sam Issacharoff, Elena Kagan, Kenneth Keith, Michael Klarman, John Manning, Andrei Marmor, Frank Michelman, Henry Monaghan, Véronique Munoz-Dardé, John Morley, Matthew Palmer, Richard Pildes, Joseph Raz, Carol Sanger, David Wiggins, and Jo Wolff for their suggestions and criticisms. Hundreds of others have argued with me about this issue over the years: This Essay is dedicated to all of them, collegially and with thanks. (shrink)
How do the arts give us pleasure? Covering a very wide range of artistic works, from Auden to David Lynch, Rembrandt to Edward Weston, and Richard Strauss to Keith Jarrett, Pleasure and the Arts offers us an explanation of our enjoyable emotional engagements with literature, music, and painting. The arts direct us to intimate and particularized relationships, with the people represented in the works, or with those we imagine produced them. When we listen to music, look at a purely (...) abstract painting, or drink a glass of wine, can we enjoy the experience without verbalizing our response? Do our interpretative assumptions, our awareness of technique, and our attitudes to fantasy, get in the way of our appreciation of art, or enhance it? Examining these questions and more, we discover how curiosity drives us to enjoy narratives, ordinary jokes, metaphors, and modernist epiphanies, and how narrative in all the arts can order and provoke intense enjoyment. Pleasurable in its own right, Pleasure and the Arts presents a sparkling explanation of the enduring interest of artistic expression. (shrink)
David Lewis claims that his theory of modality successfully reduces modal items to nonmodal items. This essay will clarify this claim and argue that it is true. This is largely an exercise within ‘Ludovician Polycosmology’: I hope to show that a certain intuitive resistance to the reduction and a set of related objections misunderstand the nature of the Ludovician project. But these results are of broad interest since they show that would-be reductionists have more formidable argumentative resources than is often (...) thought. Lewis’s reduction depends on a set of methodological commitments each of which is fairly plausible or at least currently popular, and none of which is particular to modality. The choice of which of these commitments to reject I leave to the discerning antireductionist. The essay proceeds as follows: §1 discusses reduction generally and one or two relevant puzzles; §2 discusses Lewis’s reduction in particular; the longest section, §3 replies to four objections. (shrink)
My research work title is “A Philosophical Study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle).” In this study we have discussed three conceptions of mind presented by Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle. All the three thinkers are related to different philosophical traditions known as Rationalism, Empiricism and Analytical Philosophy respectively. Each of these various approaches can be seen as at least partly successful, each provides answers to questions regarded as (...) especially pressing, each apparently solved certain problems. Notoriously, however, each leaves unanswered and unsolved a host of distinct problems as well. (shrink)
David Lewis, Stewart Cohen, and Keith DeRose have proposed that sentences of the form S knows P are indexical, and therefore differ in truth value from one context to another.1 On their indexical contextualism, the truth value of S knows P is determined by whether S meets the epistemic standards of the speakers context. I will not be concerned with relational forms of contextualism, according to which the truth value of S knows P is determined by the standards of (...) the subject Ss context, regardless of the standards applying to the speaker making the knowledge claim. Relational contextualism is a form of normative relativism. Indexical contextualism is a semantic theory. When the subject is the speaker, as when S is the first person pronoun I, the two forms of contextualism coincide. But otherwise, they diverge. I critically examine the principal arguments for indexicalism, detail linguistic evidence against it, and suggest a pragmatic alternative. (shrink)
The recent popularity of contextualist treatments of the key epistemic concepts has tended to obscure the differences that exist between the various kinds of contextualist theses on offer. The aim of this paper is to contribute towards rectifying this problem by exploring two of the main formulations of the contextualist position currently on offer in the literature—the 'semantic' contextualist thesis put forward by Keith DeRose and David Lewis, and the 'inferential' contextualist thesis advanced by Michael Williams. It is argued (...) that by evaluating these theses in the light of each other one can gain a deeper understanding of the contextualist position. In particular, it is argued that this relative evaluation highlights one interesting way in which contextualism might be developed. (shrink)
The concept of the self is a highly contested topic. Traditionally it belonged to speculative metaphysics. Almost every philosopher, whether Western or Indian, has tried to explore the nature of self. Generally, the self is taken as a substance which has permanent existence, which is eternal and non-specio-temporal. In some traditions, like the Hindu tradition, it is believed to take rebirth as the body perishes. Many Western philosophers also think that it is immortal. The nature of the self also has (...) then ethical implications. The views of David Hume and Gautama Buddha on the self, which I have chosen to discuss here, are similar. Though both belong to different traditions, both are skeptical of any permanent existence of self. This is not to say that one has borrowed from the other. For the nature and purpose of denial of the self in both the philosophers is different. So a comprehensive and comparative study of their views is very interesting. It is the intention of this article to analyze and compare the philosophical positions of Gautama and Hume on the self—a problem which was of central concern to both and which has since exercised a continuing fascination for philosophers, both of the East and the West. (shrink)
Primary Works -/- Hume, David(1997) An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, from Philosophical Classics from Plato to Nietzsche, Ed. By Forrest E. Baired & Walter Kaufmann, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. -/- ___________ (1978) A Treatise of Human Nature, Edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge Oxford University Press, London. -/- :___________( 2006) The Understanding(Treatise :Book I), Ed. by Bennettt, Jonathan , The, Radical Academy, -/- Link:http;//www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/humebig.pdf.Citation:20-10-2006 -/- Flew, Antony(1962) Hume on Human Nature and the Understanding, Edi. ,Collier Books, New York.
This article argues that there is a great divide between semantics and metaphysics. Much of what is called metaphysics today is still stuck in the linguistic turn. This is illustrated by showing how Fraser MacBride misunderstands David Armstrong's theory of modality.
It is widely recognised that Australia has produced a number of prominent physicalists, such as D. M. Armstrong, U. T. Place and J. J. C. Smart. It is sometimes forgotten, however, that Australia has also produced a number of prominent dualists. This entry introduces the views of three Australian dualists: Keith Campbell, Frank Jackson and David Chalmers. Their positions differ uniquely from those of traditional dualists because their endorsement of dualism is based on their sympathy with a naturalistic, materialistic (...) worldview rather than with a supernaturalistic, spiritual worldview. (shrink)
Theoria , the international Swedish philosophy journal, was founded in 1935. Its contributors in the first 75 years include the major Swedish philosophers from this period and in addition a long list of international philosophers, including A. J. Ayer, C. D. Broad, Ernst Cassirer, Hector Neri Castañeda, Arthur C. Danto, Donald Davidson, Nelson Goodman, R. M. Hare, Carl G. Hempel, Jaakko Hintikka, Saul Kripke, Henry E. Kyburg, Keith Lehrer, Isaac Levi, David Lewis, Gerald MacCallum, Richard Montague, Otto Neurath, Arthur (...) N. Prior, W. V. Quine, Nicholas Rescher, Ernest Sosa, Robert C. Stalnaker, P. F. Strawson, Patrick Suppes, Johan van Benthem, Georg Henrik von Wright and many others. Hempel's confirmation paradoxes, Ross's deontic paradox, Montague's universal grammar and Lindström's theorem are among the contributions to philosophy that were first published in Theoria. (shrink)
In recent publications, Keith Lehrer developed the intriguing idea of a special mental process– exemplarization – and applied it in a sophisticated manner to different phenomena such as intentionality, representation of the self, the knowledge of ineffable content (of art works) and the problem of (phenomenal) consciousness. In this paper I am primarily concerned with the latter issue. The target of this paper is to analyze whether exemplarization, besides explaining epistemic phenomena such as immediate and ineffable knowledge of experiences, (...) can also solve the ontological problem of consciousness. In particular, Lehrer suggests that if we consider exemplarization, zombies cannot provide an argument for anti-physicalism. I argue that exemplarization offers neither a physicalist explanation of the conceivability of zombies nor a physicalist account of their impossibility. Therefore, exemplarization cannot offer a physicalist solution to the “hard problem” of consciousness. (shrink)
Religious thought often assumes that the principle of physical causal completeness (PCC) is false. But those who explicitly deny or doubt PCC, including William Alston, W. D. Hart, Tim Crane, Paul Moser and David Yandell, Charles Taliaferro, Keith Yandell, Dallas Willard, William Vallicella, Frank Dilley, and, recently, David Chalmers, have ignored not only the explicit but also the implicit grounds for acceptance of PCC. I review the explicit grounds, and extend the hitherto implicit grounds, which together constitute a greater (...) challenge to contemporary religious philosophy than has been realized. Religious philosophers need to find a better way around PCC than has been found, or, if PCC is unavoidable, religious philosophers need to work toward a worldview that both accepts PCC and defends strong forms of religious experience. (shrink)
With no precise boundaries, always on the move and too complex to be defined by space and time, is it possible to map the human subject? This book attempts to do just this, exploring the places of the subject in contemporary culture. The editors approach this subject from four main aspects--its construction, sexuality, limits and politics--using a wide ranging review of literature on subjectivity across the social and human sciences. The first part of the book establishes the idea that the (...) subject is constructed through detailed histories of the subject. The second part shows that sexuality cannot be assumed to be natural through the contributors' research on the place of sexuality in subjectivity and subjectivity in sexuality. The essays in the third part take issue with the idea of a singular, self-contained identity. Power relations and the effects of power are consistent themes throughout the book and the final section deals explicitly with relations of power, whether organized around gender, race, class or other kinds of difference. Contributors: Steve Pile, Nigel Thrift, Miles Ogborn, Carolyn Steedman, David Matless, David Sibley, David Bell, Julia Cream, Vic Seidler, Hester Parr, Chris Philo, Marcus Doel, Paul Rodaway, Nigel Rapport, Stephen Frosh, Valerie Walkerdine, Gillian Rose and Michael Keith. (shrink)
xxiii + 293. Price £50.00 h/b). Thinking About Knowing. By JAY F. ROSENBERG. (Oxford UP, 2002. Pp. viii + 257. Price £30.00 h/b). Epistemology is currently enjoying a renaissance. To a large extent, this has been sparked by some exciting new proposals, such as the contextualist theories advanced by Stewart Cohen, Keith DeRose, David Lewis and Michael Williams, the modal conceptions of knowledge offered by Fred Dretske and Robert Nozick, and the virtue epistemologies put forward by John Greco, Ernest (...) Sosa and Linda Zagzebski, to name but three currently popular views. Increasingly, however, this rebirth in epistemological theorising has been driven less by the production of new theories and more by the application of the latest batch of novel proposals to other areas of philosophy. A good illustration of this from the selection of books under review here is the contemporary debate regarding the vexed relationship between content externalism and self-knowledge that is the 2 focus of the volume of essays edited by Susana Nuccetelli. Here we have a controversy that has blended some of the most innovative aspects of recent epistemological theorising with issues in the philosophy of mind and language, with the emphasis being on the so-called ‘McKinsey paradox’ concerning the putative incompatibility of content externalism and privileged self-knowledge. Whilst early responses to this supposed paradox concentrated on the formulation of the content externalist thesis whilst treating the epistemic concepts at issue as, essentially, primitives, more recent work in this area has drawn-out some of the epistemological implications of this debate and looked at how these implications fit in with recent movements in epistemology. Many of the articles collected in this volume are instances of this ‘second phase’ of the debate. In particular, it is tremendously useful to have the new articles by Martin Davies and Crispin Wright which revisit a previous exchange between the pair where some of the epistemological morals of the McKinsey debate were first extracted.. (shrink)
Perhaps the most dominant anti-sceptical proposal in the recent literatureadvanced by such figures as Stewart Cohen, Keith DeRose and David Lewisis the contextualist response to radical scepticism. Central to the contextualist thesis is the claim that, unlike other non-contextualist anti-sceptical theories, contextualism offers a dissolution of the sceptical paradox that respects our common sense epistemological intuitions. Taking DeRose’s view as representative of the contextualist position, it is argued that instead of offering us an intuitive response to scepticism, contextualism is (...) actually committed to a revisionist stance as regards our everyday usage of epistemic terms. In particular, it is argued that the thesis fails to present a satisfactory explication of a notionthat of ‘epistemic descent’that is pivotal to the anti-sceptical import of the account. On the positive side, however, it is claimed that although the contextualist response to scepticism is ultimately unsatisfying, DeRose’s theory does contain within it the framework for a completely differentand far more persuasiveaccount of the ‘phenomenology’ of scepticism which runs along noncontextualist lines. (shrink)