This paper motivates two bases for ascribing propositional semantic knowledge (or something knowledgelike): first, because it’s necessary to rationalize linguistic action; and, second, because it’s part of an empirical theory that would explain various aspects of linguistic behavior. The semantic knowledge ascribed on these two bases seems to differ in content, epistemic status, and cognitive role. This raises the question: how are they related, if at all? The bulk of the paper addresses this question. It distinguishes a variety (...) of answers and their varying philosophical and empirical commitments. (shrink)
I develop an epistemic focal bias account of certain patterns of judgments about knowledge ascriptions by integrating it with a general dual process framework of human cognition. According to the focal bias account, judgments about knowledge ascriptions are generally reliable but systematically fallible because the cognitive processes that generate them are affected by what is in focus. I begin by considering some puzzling patters of judgments about knowledge ascriptions and sketch how a basic focal bias account seeks (...) to account for them. In doing so, I argue that the basic focal bias account should be integrated in a more general framework of human cognition. Consequently, I present some central aspects of a prominent general dual process theory of human cognition and discuss how focal bias may figure at various levels of processing. On the basis of this discussion, I attempt to categorize the relevant judgments about knowledge ascriptions. Given this categorization, I argue that the basic epistemic focal bias account of certain contrast effects and salient alternatives effects can be plausibly integrated with the dual process framework. Likewise, I try to explain the absence of strong intuitions in cases of far-fetched salient alternatives. As a manner of conclusion, I consider some methodological issues concerning the relationship between cognitive psychology, experimental data and epistemological theorizing. (shrink)
Berkeley's idealism started a revolution in philosophy. As one of the great empiricist thinkers he not only influenced British philosophers from Hume to Russell and the logical positivists in the twentieth century, he also set the scene for the continental idealism of Hegel and even the philosophy of Marx. -/- There has never been such a radical critique of common sense and perception as that given in Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge (1710). His views were met with disfavour, and (...) his response to his critics was the Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. -/- This edition of Berkeley's two key works has an introduction which examines and in part defends his arguments for idealism, as well as offering a detailed analytical contents list, extensive philosophical notes and an index. (shrink)
Judging by our folk appraisals, then, knowledge and action are intimately related. The theories of rational action with which we are familiar leave this unexplained. Moreover, discussions of knowledge are frequently silent about this connection. This is a shame, since if there is such a connection it would seem to constitute one of the most fundamental roles for knowledge. Our purpose in this paper is to rectify this lacuna, by exploring ways in which knowing something is related (...) to rationally acting upon it, defending one particular proposal against anticipated objections. (shrink)
In this new volume in the Oxford Psychology Series, the author presents a highly readable account of the cognitive unconscious, focusing in particular on the problem of implicit learning. Implicit learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge that takes place independently of the conscious attempts to learn and largely in the absence of explicit knowledge about what was acquired. One of the core assumptions of this argument is that implicit learning is a fundamental, "root" process, one that (...) lies at the very heart of the adaptive behavioral repertoire of every complex organism. The author's goals are to outline the essential features of implicit learning that have emerged from the many studies that have been carried out in a variety of experimental laboratories over the past several decades; to present the various alternative perspectives on this issue that have been proposed by other researchers and to try to accommodate these views with his own; to structure the literature so that it can be seen in the context of standard heuristics of evolutionary biology; to present the material within a functionalist approach and to try to show why the experimental data should be seen as entailing particular epistemological perspectives; and to present implicit processing as encompassing a general and ubiquitous set of operations that have wide currency and several possible applications. Chapter 1 begins with the core problem under consideration in this book, a characterization of "implicit learning" as it has come to be used in the literature. Reber puts this seemingly specialized topic into a general framework and suggests a theoretical model based on standard heuristics of evolutionary biology. In his account, Reber weaves a capsule history of interest in and work on the cognitive unconscious. Chapter 2 turns to a detailed overview of the experimental work on the acquisition of implicit knowledge, which currently is of great interest. Chapter 3 develops the evolutionary model within which one can see learning and cognition as richly intertwining issues and not as two distinct fields with one dominating the other. Finally, Chapter 4 explores a variety of entailments and speculations concerning implicit cognitive processes and their general role in the larger scope of human performance. (shrink)
In this paper I assume that we have some intuitive knowledge—i.e. beliefs that amount to knowledge because they are based on intuitions. The question I take up is this: given that some intuition makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what does it do so? We can ask a similar question about perception. That is: given that some perception makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what (...) does it do so? A natural idea about perception is that a perception makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you sensorily aware of the concrete objects it is about. The analogous idea about intuition is that an intuition makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you intellectually aware of the abstract objects it is about. I expand both ideas into fuller accounts of perceptual and intuitive knowledge, explain the main challenge to this sort of account of intuitive knowledge (i.e. the challenge of making sense of intellectual awareness), and develop a response to it. (shrink)
This book presents an attempt to develop a theory of knowledge and a philosophy of mind using ideas derived from the mathematical theory of communication developed by Claude Shannon. Information is seen as an objective commodity defined by the dependency relations between distinct events. Knowledge is then analyzed as information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information in analog form (experience) for conceptual utilization by cognitive mechanisms. The final chapters attempt to develop a theory of meaning (or (...) belief content) by viewing meaning as a certain kind of information-carrying role. (shrink)
In “The Myth of Factive Verbs” (Hazlett 2010), I had four closely related goals. The first (pp. 497-99, p. 522) was to criticize appeals to ordinary language in epistemology. The second (p. 499) was to criticize the argument that truth is a necessary condition on knowledge because “knows” is factive. The third (pp. 507-19) – which was the intended means of achieving the first two – was to defend a semantics for “knows” on which <S knows p> can be (...) true even if p isn’t true. The fourth (Ibid.) – which seemed necessary for the success of the third – was to defend a pragmatic account of the fact that utterances of <S knows p> typically imply p, on which the implication in those cases is down to conversational implicature. In this paper I’ll go after these goals again, with an emphasis on the second. Our topic will be whether the factivity of “knows” (whatever this amounts to) supports the truth condition on knowledge. A new goal will be to defend my argument against some criticisms from John Turri (2011) and Savas Tsohatzidis (forthcoming). We’ll first look at the truth condition (§1) and factive presupposition (§§2 – 3), before turning to replies to Turri and Tsohatzidis (§§4 – 7). (shrink)
Self-knowledge is based on several different forms of information, so distinct that each one essentially establishes a different 'self. The ecological self is the self as directly perceived with respect to the immediate physical environment; the interpersonal self, also directly perceived, is established by species-specific signals of emotional rapport and communication; the extended self is based on memory and anticipation; the private self appears when we discover that our conscious experiences are exclusively our own; the conceptual self or 'self-concept' (...) draws its meaning from a network of socially-based assumptions and theories about human nature in general and ourselves in particular. Although these selves are rarely experienced as distinct (because they are held together by specific forms of stimulus information), they differ in their developmental histories, in the accuracy with which we can know them, in the pathologies to which they are subject, and generally in what they contribute to human experience. (shrink)
Intuitively, there is a difference between knowledge and mere belief. Contemporary philosophical work on the nature of this difference has focused on scenarios known as “Gettier cases.” Designed as counterexamples to the classical theory that knowledge is justified true belief, these cases feature agents who arrive at true beliefs in ways which seem reasonable or justified, while nevertheless seeming to lack knowledge. Prior empirical investigation of these cases has raised questions about whether lay people generally share philosophers’ (...) intuitions about these cases, or whether lay intuitions vary depending on individual factors (e.g. ethnicity) or factors related to specific types of Gettier cases (e.g. cases that include apparent evidence). We report an experiment on lay attributions of knowledge and justification for a wide range of Gettier Cases and for a related class of controversial cases known as Skeptical Pressure cases, which are also thought by philosophers to elicit intuitive denials of knowledge. Although participants rated true beliefs in Gettier and Skeptical Pressure cases as being justified, they were significantly less likely to attribute knowledge for these cases than for matched true belief cases. This pattern of response was consistent across different variations of Gettier cases and did not vary by ethnicity or gender, although attributions of justification were found to be positively related to measures of empathy. These findings therefore suggest that across demographic groups, laypeople share similar epistemic concepts with philosophers, recognizing a difference between knowledge and justified true belief. (shrink)
The Gettier Problem is the problem of revising the view that knowledge is justified true belief in a way that is immune to Gettier counter-examples. The “Gettier Problem problem”, according to Lycan, is the problem of saying what is misguided about trying to solve the Gettier Problem. In this paper I take up the Gettier Problem problem. I distinguish giving conditions that are necessary and sufficient for knowledge from giving conditions that explain why one knows when one does (...) know. I argue that the problem with the Gettier Problem is that it requires us to articulate conditions that suffice for knowledge even if those conditions are non-explanatory. After defending this view, I take up two related methodological issues, one about the evidence that can be given in favor of an account of knowledge, and one about the role that investigating justification might play in investigating knowledge. (shrink)
What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and (...) phenomenal knowledge and phenomenal concepts--knowledge of consciousness and the associated concepts--have come to play increasingly prominent roles in this debate. Consider Frank Jackson's famous case of Mary, the super-scientist who learns all the physical information while confined in a black-and-white room. According to Jackson, if physicalism is true, then Mary's physical knowledge should allow her to deduce what it's like to see in color. Yet it seems intuitively clear that she learns something when she leaves the room. But then how can consciousness be physical? Arguably, whether this sort of reasoning is sound depends on how phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge are construed. For example, some argue that the Mary case reveals something about phenomenal concepts but has no implications for the nature of consciousness itself. Are responses along these lines adequate? Or does the problem arise again at the level of phenomenal concepts? The papers in this volume engage with the latest developments in this debate. The authors' perspectives range widely. For example, Daniel Dennett argues that anti-physicalist arguments such as the knowledge argument are simply confused; David Papineau grants that such arguments at least reveal important features of phenomenal concepts; and David Chalmers defends the anti-physicalist arguments, arguing that the "phenomenal concept strategy" cannot succeed. (shrink)
This collection of essays by eminent philosopher Fred Dretske brings together work on the theory of knowledge and philosophy of mind spanning thirty years. The two areas combine to lay the groundwork for a naturalistic philosophy of mind. The fifteen essays focus on perception, knowledge, and consciousness. Together, they show the interconnectedness of Dretske's work in epistemology and his more contemporary ideas on philosophy of mind, shedding light on the links which can be made between the two. The (...) first section of the book argues the point that knowledge consists of beliefs with the right objective connection to facts; two essays discuss this conception of knowledge's implications for naturalism. The next section articulates a view of perception, attempting to distinguish conceptual states from phenomenal states. A naturalized philosophy of mind, and thus a naturalized epistemology, is articulated in the third section. This collection will be a valuable resource for a wide range of philosophers and their students, and will also be of interest to cognitive scientists, psychologists, and philosophers of biology. (shrink)
What is the normative role of knowledge? I argue that knowledge plays an important role as a norm of assertion and action, which is explained and unified by its more fundamental role as a norm of belief. Moreover, I propose a distinctive account of what this normative role consists in. I argue that knowledge is the aim of belief, which sets a normative standard of correctness and a corresponding normative standard of justification. According to my proposal, it (...) is correct to believe, assert and act on a proposition if and only if one is in a position to know it, but one has justification to believe, assert and act on a proposition if and only if one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know it. (shrink)
According to G.E.M. Anscombe, an agent’s knowledge of his own intentional actions differs from his knowledge of his unintended behaviors as well as the knowledge others can have of what he intentionally does, in being secured “without observation”. I begin by posing a problem for any conception of this theory according to which non-observational knowledge must be independent of sense-perception, and criticize several recent attempts to get around the problem. Having done this, I develop an alternative (...) account of non-observational knowledge according to which its special character consists in the particular causal role of an agent’s self-awareness in bringing his intentional actions about. (shrink)
In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers--with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson-- have not. The disagreement is traced back (...) to a difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution. (shrink)
I defend Frank Jackson's knowledge argument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more than (...) her acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant (in spite of her exhaustive knowledge of truths about the physical world). I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities. (shrink)
My review of Boghossian's book, Fear of Knowledge, is generally sympathetic toward his rejection of epistemic relativism and turns toward an examination of "constructivist" themes in light of an anti-nominalist perspective. In general terms, this is a fine little book, tightly argued, and well worth considerable attention--especially from the friends of relativism and those supporting versions of constructivism. (Constructivism + radical nominalism = relativism.).
In this illuminating study Craig argues that the standard practice of analyzing the concept of knowledge has radical defects--arbitrary restriction of the subject matter and risky theoretical presuppositions. He proposes a new approach similar to the "state-of-nature" method found in political theory, building the concept up from a hypothesis about its social function and the needs it fulfills. Shedding light on much that philosophers have written about knowledge, its analysis and the obstacles to its analysis, and the debate (...) over skepticism, this compelling work will be of interest to students and scholars of epistemology and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
The Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA) has received added support recently from data on prompting assertion (Turri 2010) and from a refinement suggesting that assertions ought to express knowledge (Turri 2011). This paper adds another argument from parenthetical positioning, and then argues that KAA’s unified explanation of some of the earliest data (from Moorean conjunctions) adduced in its favor recommends KAA over its rivals.
One of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Sir Karl Popper here examines the problems connected with human freedom, creativity, rationality and the relationship between human beings and their actions. In this illuminating series of papers, Popper suggests a theory of mind-body interaction that relates to evolutionary emergence, human language and what he calls "the three worlds." Rene; Descartes first posited the existence of two worlds--the world of physical bodies and the world of mental states. Popper argues for (...) the existence of "world 3" which comprises the products of our human minds. He examines the interaction between mental states--hopes, needs, plans, ideologies or hypotheses--and the physical states of our brain. Popper forcefully argues against the materialism forwarded by many philosophers which denies the existence of mental states. Instead, he demonstrates that the problem of the interaction between mental and physical states remains unresolved. Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem is based on Popper's never-before published lectures at Emory University in 1969. Popper has extensively revised the lectures but has retained their accessible format. He has also incorporated some of the discussions which followed the lectures, providing an engaging exchange between the philosopher and his audience. (shrink)
In this paper I will offer a novel understanding of a priori knowledge. My claim is that the sharp distinction that is usually made between a priori and a posteriori knowledge is groundless. It will be argued that a plausible understanding of a priori and a posteriori knowledge has to acknowledge that they are in a constant bootstrapping relationship. It is also crucial that we distinguish between a priori propositions that hold in the actual world and merely (...) possible, non-actual a priori propositions, as we will see when considering cases like Euclidean geometry. Furthermore, contrary to what Kripke seems to suggest, a priori knowledge is intimately connected with metaphysical modality, indeed, grounded in it. The task of a priori reasoning, according to this account, is to delimit the space of metaphysically possible worlds in order for us to be able to determine what is actual. (shrink)
In this paper I present a new argument against internalist theories of practical reason. My argument is inpired by Frank Jackson's celebrated Knowledge Argument. I ask what will happen when an agent experiences pain for the first time. Such an agent, I argue, will gain new normative knowledge that internalism cannot explain. This argument presents a similar difficulty for other subjectivist and constructivist theories of practical reason and value. I end by suggesting that some debates in meta-ethics and (...) in the philosophy of mind might be more closely intertwined than philosophers in either area would like to believe. (shrink)
The main claim of this essay is that knowledge is no more valuable than lasting true belief. This claim is surprising. Doesn't knowledge have a unique and special value? If the main claim is correct and if, as it seems, knowledge is not lasting true belief, then knowledge does not have a unique value: in whatever way knowledge is valuable, lasting true belief is just as valuable. However, this result does not show that knowledge is worthless, nor does it (...) undermine our knowledge gathering practices. There is, rather, a positive philosophical payoff: skepticism about knowledge is defused. Assuming one can have lasting true belief, then even if one cannot have knowledge, one can have something just as valuable. . (shrink)
Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument (KA) aims to prove, by means of a thought experiment concerning the hypothetical scientist Mary, that conscious experiences have non-physical properties, called qualia. Mary has complete scientific knowledge of colours and colour vision without having had any colour experience. The central intuition in the KA is that, by seeing colours, Mary will learn what it is like to have colour experiences. Therefore, her scientific knowledge is incomplete, and conscious experiences have qualia. In this (...) paper I consider an objection to the KA raised by Daniel Dennett. He maintains that the KA is vitiated by Jackson’s account of Mary’s scientific knowledge. While endorsing this criticism, I will defend the plausibility and relevance of the type of strategy involved in the KA by offering an account of Mary’s scientific knowledge. This account involves formulating a reasonable and not immediately false version of the physicalist thesis with regard to colour experiences. Whether this version of the KA is successful against this type of physicalism is not investigated here. (shrink)
Relativist and constructivist conceptions of truth and knowledge have become orthodoxy in vast stretches of the academic world in recent times. In his long-awaited first book, Paul Boghossian critically examines such views and exposes their fundamental flaws. Boghossian focuses on three different ways of reading the claim that knowledge is socially constructed--one as a thesis about truth and two about justification. And he rejects all three. The intuitive, common-sense view is that there is a way the world is (...) that is independent of human opinion; and that we are capable of arriving at beliefs about how it is that are objectively reasonable, binding on anyone capable of appreciating the relevant evidence regardless of their social or cultural perspective. Difficult as these notions may be, it is a mistake to think that philosophy has uncovered powerful reasons for rejecting them. This short, lucid, witty book shows that philosophy provides rock-solid support for common sense against the relativists. It will prove provocative reading throughout the discipline and beyond. (shrink)
This classic remains one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history.
Hobbes denies in Leviathan that we have an idea of God. He does think, though, that God exists, and does not even deny that we can think about God, even though he says we have no idea of God. There is, Hobbes thinks, another cognitive mechanism by means of which we can think about God. That mechanism allows us only to think a few things about God though. This constrains what Hobbes can say about our knowledge of God, and (...) grounds his belief in a fairly strong version of the thesis that God is incomprehensible. (shrink)
The new Chomskian orthodoxy denies that our linguistic competence gives us knowledge *of* a language, and that the representations in the language faculty are representations *of* anything. In reply, I have argued that through their intuitions speaker/hearers, (but not their language faculties) have knowledge of language, though not of any externally existing language. In order to count as knowledge, these intuitions must track linguistic facts represented in the language faculty. I defend this idea against the objections Collins (...) has raised to such an account. (shrink)
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)
Several authors have argued that, assuming we have apriori knowledge of our own thought-contents, semantic externalism implies that we can know apriori contingent facts about the empirical world. After presenting the argument, I shall respond by resisting the premise that an externalist can know apriori: If s/he has the concept water, then water exists. In particular, Boghossian's Dry Earth example suggests that such thought-experiments do not provide such apriori knowledge. Boghossian himself rejects the Dry Earth experiment, however, since (...) it would imply that externalism is true of empty concepts as well as non-empty concepts. Yet in this paper I respond by defending empty-concept externalism, from criticisms suggested by Boghossian and Brown, and recently developed further by Besson. My contention is that an externalist can give a non-ad hoc descriptivist account of empty concepts. Accordingly, apriori self-knowledge does not enable an externalist to know contingent features of the external world. (shrink)
Is it ethical to deceive the individuals who participate in psychological experiments for methodological reasons? We argue against an absolute ban on the use of deception in psychological research. The potential benefits of many psychological experiments involving deception consist in allowing individuals and society to gain morally significant self-knowledge that they could not otherwise gain. Research participants gain individual self-knowledge which can help them improve their autonomous decision-making. The community gains collective self-knowledge that, once shared, can play (...) a role in shaping education, informing policies and in general creating a more efficient and just society. (shrink)
What is involved in the consciousness of a conscious, "occurrent" propositional attitude, such as a thought, a sudden conjecture or a conscious decision? And what is the relation of such consciousness to attention? I hope the intrinsic interest of these questions provides sufficient motivation to allow me to start by addressing them. We will not have a full understanding either of consciousness in general, nor of attention in general, until we have answers to these questions. I think there are constitutive (...) features of these states which can be identified by broadly philosophical investigation, and in the early part of this paper I will try to do some of that identification. -/- Beyond the intrinsic interest of the topic, the nature of such conscious attitudes is highly pertinent to a philosophical account of psychological self-knowledge. So I will also say something about the significance of the constitutive features of these conscious attitudes for a philosophical account of how it can be that a thinker has a distinctive kind of knowledge of some of his mental states. The general challenge in this area is to find anything intermediate between the unexceptionable but uninformative, on the one hand, and the absolutely unbelievable on the other. (shrink)
Knowledge ascriptions seem context sensitive. Yet it is widely thought that epistemic contextualism does not have a plausible semantic implementation. We aim to overcome this concern by articulating and defending an explicit contextualist semantics for ‘know,’ which integrates a fairly orthodox contextualist conception of knowledge as the elimination of the relevant alternatives, with a fairly orthodox “Amherst” semantics for A-quantification over a contextually variable domain of situations. Whatever problems epistemic contextualism might face, lack of an orthodox semantic implementation (...) is not among them. (shrink)
Intuitively, the knowledge of one’s own intentional actions is different from the knowledge of actions of other sorts, including those of other people and unintentional actions of one's own. But how are we to understand this phenomenon? Does it pertain to all actions, under every description under which they are known? If so, then how is this possible? If not, then how should we think about cases that are exceptions to this principle? This paper is a critical survey (...) of recent attempts to answer these questions. I consider views under three headings: "special source" views, which hold that the knowledge of one's intentional actions has a non-perceptual source; "special domain" views, which hold that some but not all aspects of one's intentional actions are known in a special way; and "special character" views, which hold that the knowledge of intentional actions is special not because of where it comes from, but because of some other respect in which it is different in kind from the knowledge of other things. (shrink)
Plato on Knowledge and Forms brings together a set of connected essays by Gail Fine, in her main area of research since the late 1970s: Plato's metaphysics and epistemology. She discusses central issues in Plato's metaphysics and epistemology, issues concerning the nature and extent of knowledge, and its relation to perception, sensibles, and forms; and issues concerning the nature of forms, such as whether they are universals or particulars, separate or immanent, and whether they are causes. A specially (...) written introduction draws together the themes of the volume, which will reward the attention of anyone interested in Plato or in ancient metaphysics and epistemology. (shrink)
What is Knowledge? Where does it come from? Can we know anything at all? This lucid and engaging introduction grapples with these central questions in the theory of knowledge, offering a clear, non-partisan view of the main themes of epistemology. Duncan Pritchard discusses both traditional issues and contemporary ideas in thirteen easily digestible sections which include: *the value of knowledge *the structure of knowledge *virtues and faculties *perception *testimony and memory *induction *scepticism What is this thing (...) called knowledge? contains many helpful student-friendly features, Each chapter concludes with a useful summary of the main ideas discussed, a glossary of important terms, study questions, annotated further reading, and a guide to web resources. Text-boxes provide bite-sized summaries of key concepts and major philosophers, and clear and interesting examples are used throughout. This is an ideal first textbook in the theory of knowledge for undergraduates taking a first course in philosophy. (shrink)
In his latest book, Michael Devitt rejects Chomsky’s mentalist conception of linguistics. The case against Chomsky is based on two principal claims. First, that we can separate the study of linguistic competence from the study of its outputs: only the latter belongs to linguistic inquiry. Second, Chomsky’s account of a speaker’s competence as consisiting in the mental representation of rules of a grammar for his language is mistaken. I shall argue, fi rst, that Devitt fails to make a case for (...) separating the study of outputs from the study of competence, and second, that Devitt mis-characterises Chomsky’s account of competence, and so his objections miss their target. Chomsky’s own views come close to a denial that speaker’s have knowledge of their language. But a satisfactory account of what speakers are able to do will need to ascribe them linguistic knowledge that they use to speak and understand. I shall explore a conception of speaker’s knowledge of language that confi rms Chomsky’s mentalist view of linguistics but which is immune to Devitt’s criticisms. (shrink)
Since the 1970s Barry Stroud has been one of the most original contributors to the philosophical study of human knowledge. This volume presents the best of Stroud's essays in this area. Throughout, he seeks to clearly identify the question that philosophical theories of knowledge are meant to answer, and the role scepticism plays in making sense of that question. In these seminal essays, he suggests that people pursuing epistemology need to concern themselves with whether philosophical scepticism is true (...) or false. Stroud's discussion of these fundamental questions is essential reading for anyone whose work touches on the subject of human knowledge. (shrink)
Scientific consensus is widely deferred to in public debates as a social indicator of the existence of knowledge. However, it is far from clear that such deference to consensus is always justified. The existence of agreement in a community of researchers is a contingent fact, and researchers may reach a consensus for all kinds of reasons, such as fighting a common foe or sharing a common bias. Scientific consensus, by itself, does not necessarily indicate the existence of shared (...) class='Hi'>knowledge among the members of the consensus community. I address the question of under what conditions it is likely that a consensus is in fact knowledge based. I argue that a consensus is likely to be knowledge based when knowledge is the best explanation of the consensus, and I identify three conditions—social calibration, apparent consilience of evidence, and social diversity, for knowledge being the best explanation of a consensus. (shrink)
An account of the source of ﬁrst-person knowledge is essential not just for phenomenology, but for anyone who takes seriously the apparent evidence that we each have a distinctive access to knowing what we experience. One standard way to account for the source of ﬁrst-person knowledge is by appeal to a kind of inner observation of the passing contents of one’s own mind, and phenomenology is often thought to rely on introspection. I argue, however, that Husserl’s method of (...) phenomenological reduction was designed precisely to ﬁnd a route to knowledge of the structures of consciousness that was independent of any appeal to observation of one’s own mental states. The goals of this essay are to explicate Husserl’s method of phenomenological reduction in contemporary terms that (1) show its distance from all inner-observation accounts, (2) exhibit its kinship to and historical inﬂuence on outer-observation accounts of selfknowledge popularized by Sellars, and (3) demonstrate that a contemporary ‘cognitive transformation’ view based on Husserl’s method may provide a viable contribution to contemporary debates about the source of self-knowledge. (shrink)
I investigate two asymmetrical approaches to knowledge of absolute possibility and of necessity--one which treats knowledge of possibility as more fundamental, the other according epistemological priority to necessity. Two necessary conditions for the success of an asymmetrical approach are proposed. I argue that a possibility-based approach seems unable to meet my second condition, but that on certain assumptions--including, pivotally, the assumption that logical and conceptual necessities, while absolute, do not exhaust the class of absolute necessities--a necessity-based approach may (...) be able to do so. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for a priori conjectural scientific knowledge about the world. Physics persistently only accepts unified theories, even though endlessly many empirically more successful disunified rivals are always available. This persistent preference for unified theories, against empirical considerations, means that physics makes a substantial, persistent metaphysical assumption, to the effect that the universe has a (more or less) unified dynamic structure. In order to clarify what this assumption amounts to, I solve the problem of what it (...) means to say of a theory that it is unified. There are, I argue, eight different kinds of unity important in theoretical physics, all varieties of one basic idea. This provides us with a precise way of partially ordering physical theories with respect to their degree of unity. It also leads to a hierarchical view of physics, according to which physics makes a number of increasingly insubstantial metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe. Two of these are identified as constituting a priori conjectures. I conclude by arguing that the view developed in the paper resolves the traditional clash between empiricism and rationalism in the philosophy of science, and has important implications for science, and for academic inquiry more generally. (shrink)
Someone who knew everything about the world’s physical nature could, apparently, suffer from ignorance about various aspects of conscious experience. Someone who knew everything about the world’s physical and mental nature could, apparently, suffer from moral ignorance. Does it follow that there are ways the world is, over and above the way it is physically or psychophysically? This paper defends a negative answer, based on a distinction between knowing the fact that p and knowing that p. This distinction is made (...) intelligible by reference to criterial connections between the possession of moral or phenomenal knowledge, and the satisfaction of cognitively neutral conditions of desire and experiential history. The existence of such connections in the moral case makes for an efficient dissolution of the so-called moral problem. (shrink)
The paper deals with the question of the structure of knowledge and the precise relationship between propositional "knowledge that" and dispositional "knowledge how." In the first part of my essay, I provide an analysis of the term 'knowing how' and argue that the usual alternatives in the recent epistemological debate – knowing how is either a form of propositional or dispositional knowledge – are misleading. In fact it depends on the semantic and pragmatic context of the (...) usage of this term whether 'knowing how' refers to a type of dispositional knowledge, to propositional knowledge, or to a hybrid form of both. Only in the first case, can one say that dispositional know how cannot be reduced to any form of propositional knowledge. Yet, this case is the most interesting one to consider in the investigation of the nature of knowledge, if one assumes that knowing that p presupposes "having found out that p." Having found something out, however, presupposes certain acts of epistemic inquiry and corresponding epistemic abilities. Examined more carefully, it is shown that the dispositional knowledge-how is a necessary condition for propositional knowledge-that, hence propositional knowledge-that is a species of the dispositional knowledge-how. Accordingly, dispositional knowledge has to be understood as being at the very core of our notion of knowledge, including propositional knowledge. (shrink)
Can humans acquire knowledge of ultimate reality, even significant or comprehensive knowledge? I argue that for all we know we can, and that is so whether ultimate reality is divine or non-divine. My strategy involves arguing that we are ignorant, in the sense of lacking public or shared knowledge, about which possibilities, if any, obtain for humans to acquire knowledge of ultimate reality. This follows from a deep feature of our epistemic situation—that our current psychology strongly (...) constrains what we can conceive about the extent to which human intellectual and other psychological capacities might develop in the future. This mean that many possibilities for such development remain open to us epistemically, including the possibility that we might come to understand vastly more about ultimate reality than we currently do, even if ultimate reality is divine. I also argue that there is room to rationally hope that that is so. (shrink)
The problem of self-knowledge is one of the most fascinating in all of philosophy and has crucial significance for the philosophy of mind and epistemology. Gertler assesses the leading theoretical approaches to self-knowledge, explaining the work of many of the key figures in the field: from Descartes and Kant, through to Bertrand Russell and Gareth Evans, as well as recent work by Tyler Burge, David Chalmers, William Lycan and Sydney Shoemaker. -/- Beginning with an outline of the distinction (...) between self-knowledge and self-awareness and providing essential historical background to the problem, Gertler addresses specific theories of self-knowledge such as the acquaintance theory, the inner sense theory, and the rationalist theory, as well as leading accounts of self-awareness. The book concludes with a critical explication of the dispute between empiricist and rationalist approaches. (shrink)
Two concepts of utmost importance for the analytic philosophy of the twentieth century, “sense-data” and “knowledge by acquaintance”, were introduced by Bertrand Russell under the influence of two idealist philosophers: F. H. Bradley and Alexius Meinong. This paper traces the exact history of their introduction. We shall see that between 1896 and 1898, Russell had a fully-elaborated theory of “sense-data”, which he abandoned after his analytic turn of the summer of 1898. Furthermore, following a subsequent turn of August 1900—-after (...) he became acquainted with the works of Peano and later of Frege—-Russell gradually developed another theory of sense-data. With the collaboration of G. E. Moore, Russell reintroduced the term “sense-data” in 1911. Concomitantly with this move, Russell introduced the epistemological term “knowledge by acquaintance”, which came to designate the grasping of sense-data and universals. (shrink)
Starting in the middle -- Epistemic possibilities and the knowledge argument -- Locating ourselves in the world -- Notes on models of self-locating belief -- Phenomenal and epistemic indistinguishability -- Acquaintance and essence -- Knowing what one is thinking -- After the fall.
In his paper ‘Scmantic Theory and Tacit Knowlcdgc’, Gareth Evans uscs a familiar kind of cxamplc in ordcr to render vivid his account of tacit knowledge. We arc to consider a finite language, with just one hundrcd scntcnccs. Each scntcncc is made up of a subjcct (a name) and a prcdicatc. The names are ‘a’, ‘b’, . . ., T. The prcdicatcs arc ‘F’, ‘G’, . . ., ‘O’. Thc scntcnccs have meanings which dcpcnd in a systematic way upon (...) their construction. Thus, all scntcnccs containing ‘a’ mean something about john; all scntcnccs containing ‘b’ mean something about Harry; all scntcnccs containing ‘F’ mean something about being bald; all scntcnccs containing ‘G’ mean something about being happy; and so 011. For this vcry simple language L, wc arc to consider various semantic theories. We could consider thcorics whosc dclivcranccs about wholc scntcnccs are of.. (shrink)
The self-notion is an essential constituent of any self-belief or self-knowledge. But what is the self-notion? In this paper, I tie together several themes from the philosophy of John Perry to explain how he answers this question. The self-notion is not just any notion that happens to be about the person in whose mind that notion appears, because it's possible to have ways of thinking about oneself that one doesn't realize are about oneself. Characterizing the self-notion properly (and hence (...) self-belief and self-knowledge) requires understanding the role of that notion in tracking agent-relative information and motivating normally self-effecting ways of acting. [Note: the file here is an uncorrected proof. Please see the final book, now called _Identity, Language, and Mind_, for citation purposes.]. (shrink)
Many contemporary epistemologists hold that a subject S’s true belief that p counts as knowledge only if S’s belief that p is also, in some important sense, safe. I describe accounts of this safety condition from John Hawthorne, Duncan Pritchard, and Ernest Sosa. There have been three counterexamples to safety proposed in the recent literature, from Comesaña, Neta and Rohrbaugh, and Kelp. I explain why all three proposals fail: each moves fallaciously from the fact that S was at epistemic (...) risk just before forming her belief to the conclusion that S’s belief was formed unsafely. In light of lessons from their failure, I provide a new and successful counterexample to the safety condition on knowledge. It follows, then, that knowledge need not be safe. Safety at a time depends counterfactually on what would likely happen at that time or soon after in a way that knowledge does not. I close by considering one objection concerning higher-order safety. (shrink)
In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge,the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination (...) and concludes that external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game.This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation. (shrink)
Defined and formalized several decades ago, widely used in philosophy and game theory, the concept of common knowledge is still considered as problematic, although not always for the right reasons. I suggest that the epistemic status of a group of human agents in a state of common knowledge has not been thoroughly analyzed. In particular, every existing account of common knowledge, whether formal or not, is either too strong to fit cognitively limited individuals, or too weak to (...) adequately describe their state. I provide a realistic definition of common knowledge, based on a formalization of David Lewisâ€™ seminal account and show that it is formally equivalent to probabilistic common belief. This leads to a philosophical analysis of common knowledge which answers several common criticisms and sheds light on its nature. (shrink)
Is linguistic understanding a form of knowledge? I clarify the question and then consider two natural forms a positive answer might take. I argue that, although some recent arguments fail to decide the issue, neither positive answer should be accepted. The aim is not yet to foreclose on the view that linguistic understanding is a form of knowledge, but to develop desiderata on a satisfactory successor to the two natural views rejected here.
While the early Platonic dialogues have often been explored and appreciated for their ethical content, this is the first book devoted solely to the epistemology of Plato's early dialogues. Author Hugh H. Benson argues that the characteristic features of these dialogues--Socrates' method of questions and answers (elenchos), his fascination with definition, his professions of ignorance, and his thesis that virtue is knowledge--are decidedly epistemological. In this thoughtful study, (...) Benson uncovers the model of knowledge that underlies these distinctively Socratic views. What emerges is unfamiliar, yet closer to a contemporary conception of scientific understanding than ordinary knowledge. (shrink)
Abstract: We challenge a line of thinking at the fore of recent work on epistemic value: the line (suggested by Kvanvig  and others) that if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of mere true belief, then we have good reason to doubt its theoretical importance in epistemology. We offer a value-driven argument for the theoretical importance of knowledge—one that stands even if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of true belief. (...) Specifically, we contend that even if knowledge itself has no special epistemic value, its relationship to other items of value—cognitive abilities—gives ample reason to locate the concept at the very core of epistemology. (shrink)
It is a piece of philosophical commonsense that belief and knowledge are states. Some epistemologists reject this claim in hope of answering certain difficult questions about the normative evaluation of belief. I shall argue, however, that this move offends not only against philosophical commonsense but also against ordinary common sense, at least as far as this is manifested in the semantic content of the words we use to talk about belief and knowledge. I think it is relatively easily (...) to show with some linguistic tests that ordinary belief and knowledge attributions should be classified aspectually as state descriptions. Hence, the move some epistemologists (especially virtue epistemologists like Sosa) to deny that belief and knowledge are states threatens to simply change the topic rather than open up answers to difficult questions in epistemology. I do not know fully how to answer the relevant questions about the normative evaluation of belief, but I pursue this critical point here in service of a positive proposal about the general framework in which they should be answered. In brief, the general framework is one which recognizes an important place for what I call state-norms, beside the action-norms which are more familiar from normative theory. And it locates the epistemic norms that apply to beliefs and are relevant for knowledge on the state-norm side of this divide. This turns out to be not only consistent with but indeed to underwrites the philosophical and ordinary commonsense that belief and knowledge are states. (shrink)
Happiness, like other basic emotions, has visual properties that create the conditions for happiness to be perceived in others. This is to say that happiness is perceivable. Its visual properties are to be identified with those facial expressions that are characteristic of happiness. Yet saying that something is perceivable does not suffice for us to conclude that it is perceived. We therefore need to show that happiness is perceived. Empirical evidence suggests that the visual system functions to perceive happiness as (...) well as other basic emotions. Experiences that can be had simply by virtue of how the perceptual system functions are known as observations. I will thus argue that visual experiences in which we become aware of others’ happiness are observations. This approach will provide the necessary conceptual framework to show that we have perceptual knowledge of others’ happiness. (shrink)
This article deals with the cognitive relationship between a speaker and her internal grammar. In particular, it takes issue with the view that such a relationship is one of belief or knowledge (I call this view the ‘Propositional Attitude View’, or PAV). I first argue that PAV entails that all ordinary speakers (tacitly) possess technical concepts belonging to syntactic theory, and second, that most ordinary speakers do not in fact possess such concepts. Thus, it is concluded that speakers do (...) not literally ‘know’ or ‘believe’ much of the contents of their grammars, and moreover, that these contents can only be attributed at a subpersonal level. (shrink)
I defend my view that scientific progress is constituted by the accumulation of knowledge against a challenge from Rowbottom in favour of the semantic view that it is only truth that is relevant to progress.
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)
"Self-knowledge" is commonly used in philosophy to refer to knowledge of one's particular mental states, including one's beliefs, desires, and sensations. It is also sometimes used to refer to knowledge about a persisting self -- its ontological nature, identity conditions, or character traits. At least since Descartes, most philosophers have believed that self-knowledge is importantly different from knowledge of the world external to oneself, including others' thoughts. But there is little agreement about what precisely distinguishes (...) self-knowledge from knowledge in other realms. Partially because of this disagreement, philosophers have endorsed competing accounts of how we acquire self-knowledge. These accounts have important consequences for the scope of mental content, for mental ontology, and for personal identity. (shrink)
This essay motivates a revised version of the epistemic condition of safety and then employs the revision to (i) challenge the traditional conceptions of apriority, (ii) refute 'strong privileged access', and (iii) resolve a well-known puzzle about externalism and self-knowledge.
Knowledge and its Limits presents a systematic new conception of knowledge as a kind of mental stage sensitive to the knower's environment. It makes a major contribution to the debate between externalist and internalist philosophies of mind, and breaks radically with the epistemological tradition of analyzing knowledge in terms of true belief. The theory casts new light on such philosophical problems as scepticism, evidence, probability and assertion, realism and anti-realism, and the limits of what can be known. (...) The arguments are illustrated by rigorous models based on epistemic logic and probability theory. The result is a new way of doing epistemology and a notable contribution to the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
I argue that Frank Jackson's knowledge argument cannot succeed in showing that qualia are epiphenomenal. The reason for this is that there is, given the structure of the argument, an irreconcilable tension between his support for the claim that qualia are non-physical and his conclusion that they are epiphenomenal. The source of the tension is that his argument for the non-physical character of qualia is plausible only on the assumption that they have causal efficacy, while his argument for the (...) epiphenomenal character of qualia is plausible only on the assumption that they are non-physical. Since these two arguments cannot be combined coherently, the most Jackson's argument can establish is that qualia are non-physical. (shrink)
Most current work in epistemology deals with the evaluation and justification of information already acquired. In this book, Jaakko Hintikka instead discusses the more important problem of how knowledge is acquired in the first place. His model of information-seeking is the old Socratic method of questioning, which has been generalized and brought up-to-date through the logical theory of questions and answers that he has developed.
Abstract The principal aim of this paper is to give a positive analysis of self-deception. I argue that self-deception is a species ?self-emplotment?. Through narrative self-emplotment one groups the events of one's life thematically in order to understand and monitor oneself. I argue that self-emplotment is an unextraordinary feature of mental life that is a precondition of agency. Self-emplotment, however, proceeds according to certain norms, some of which provide apparent justification for self-deceptive activity. A secondary aim of the paper is (...) to sketch the common characteristics between self-deception and self-knowledge. The framework of self-emplotment from which self-deception can emerge is also the framework that delivers self-knowledge; to the extent that the activity of self-emplotment is partially constitutive of what it means to possess self-knowledge, the self-deceiver may be closer to a state of self-knowledge than the person who fails to engage in significant introspective narrative. (shrink)
Hilary Kornblith argues for a naturalistic approach to investigating knowledge. Knowledge, he explains, is a feature of the natural world, and so should be investigated using scientific methods. He offers an account of knowledge derived from the science of animal behavior, and defends this against its philosophical rivals. This controversial and refreshingly original book offers philosophers a new way to do epistemology.
This paper argues that the prominent accounts of logical knowledge have the consequence that they conflict with ordinary reasoning. On these accounts knowing a logical principle, for instance, is having a disposition to infer according to it. These accounts in particular conflict with so-called ‘reasoned change in view’, where someone does not infer according to a logical principle but revise their views instead. The paper also outlines a propositional account of logical knowledge which does not conflict with ordinary (...) reasoning. (shrink)
This second edition of Women, Knowledge and Reality continues to exhibit the ways in which feminist philosophers enrich and challenge philosophy. Essays by twenty-five feminist philosophers, seventeen of them new to the second edition, address fundamental issues in philosophical and feminist methods, metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophies of science, language, religion and mind/body. This second edition expands the perspectives of women of color, of postmodernism and French feminism, and focuses on the most recent controversies in feminist theory and philosophy. (...) The chapters are organized by traditional fields of philosophy, and include introductions which contrast the ideas of feminist thinkers with traditional philosophers. The collected essays illustrate both the depth and breadth of feminist critiques and the range of contemporary feminist theoretical perspectives. (shrink)
Following Burge, many anti-individualists suppose that a subject can possess a concept even if she incompletely understands it. While agreeing that this is possible, I argue that there is a limit on the extent to which a subject can incompletely understand the set of concepts she thinks with. This limit derives from our conception of our ability to reflectively evaluate our own thoughts or, as Burge puts it, our ability to engage in critical reasoning. The paper extends Burge's own work (...) on critical reasoning. He argued that critical reasoning imposes a limit on the extent to which we can be mistaken about what thoughts we are having; in general, we can know non-empirically what we are thinking (Burge, "Our Entitlement to Self-Knowledge", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society XCVI, 1996). He does not explicitly consider whether critical reasoning also imposes a limit on incomplete understanding of thoughts. (shrink)
Externalism holds, and internalism denies, that the individuation of many of an individual's mental states (e.g., thoughts about the physical world) depends necessarily on relations that individual bears to the physical and/or social environment. Many philosophers, externalists and internalists alike, believe that introspection yields knowledge of the contents of our thoughts that is direct and authoritative. It is not obvious, however, that the metaphysical claims of externalism are compatible with this epistemological thesis. Some (e.g., Burge, 1988; Falvey and Owens (...) (F&O), 1994) have sought to dispel the worry that there is a conflict, though they admit that if such a conflict exists, it spells trouble for externalism (see, e.g., F&O, 1994, p. 108). Boghossian has argued that there is indeed a conflict between externalism and introspective knowledge of content. Surprisingly, however, he also argues that there is a conflict between internalism and introspective knowledge of content. I will defend Boghossian's claim that there is a conflict between externalism and knowledge of content, but criticize his claim that there is a conflict between internalism and knowledge of content. (shrink)
Nicholas Maxwell argues that the growth in academic work devoted to policy issues could mark the beginning of a shift from ‘knowledge-inquiry’ to ‘wisdom-inquiry’, leading to importance benefits for society.
Knowledge generation can be naturalized by adopting computational model of cognition and evolutionary approach. In this framework knowledge is seen as a result of the structuring of input data (data → information → knowledge) by an interactive computational process going on in the agent during the adaptive interplay with the environment, which clearly presents developmental advantage by increasing agent’s ability to cope with the situation dynamics. This paper addresses the mechanism of knowledge generation, a process that (...) may be modeled as natural computation in order to be better understood and improved. (shrink)
Terence Horgan defends the thirder position on the Sleeping Beauty problem, claiming that Beauty can, upon awakening during the experiment, engage in “synchronic Bayesian updating” on her knowledge that she is awake now in order to justify a 1/3 credence in heads. In a previous paper, I objected that epistemic probabilities are equivalent to rational degrees of belief given a possible epistemic situation and so the probability of Beauty’s indexical knowledge that she is awake now is necessarily 1, (...) precluding such updating. In response, Horgan maintains that the probability claims in his argument are to be taken, not as claims about possible rational degrees of belief, but rather as claims about “quantitative degrees of evidential support.” This paper argues that the most plausible account of quantitative degree of support, when conjoined with any of the three major accounts of indexical thought in such a way as to plausibly constrain rational credence, contradicts essential elements of Horgan’s argument. (shrink)
I shall be mainly concerned with the question ‘What is personal propositional knowledge?’. This question is obviously quite narrowly focused, in three respects. In the first place, there is impersonal as well as personal knowledge. Second, a distinction is often drawn between propositional knowledge and practical knowledge. And third, as well as asking what knowledge is, it is also possible to ask whether and how knowledge of various kinds can be acquired: causal knowledge, (...) a priori knowledge, moral knowledge, and so on. I shall dwell briefly on each of these three points. First, there is the distinction between personal and impersonal knowledge – in other words, between the psychological concept of knowledge and the social one.1 We use the concept of knowledge to describe the cognitive condition of individuals; but we also use it to describe the progress of scientific and historical research. So for example we can speak or enquire about the state of knowledge in a particular field of biology or history. And if we do so, we are evidently not concerned with what anyone in particular knows about, say, the genetics of fruit flies or the career of Charlemagne, but rather with what the scientific or academic community knows. Needless to say, there is a close connection between personal and impersonal knowledge. But ‘It is known that p’ does not simply mean ‘Someone or other.. (shrink)
Epistemology or the theory of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of analytic philosophy, and this book provides a clear and accessible introduction to the subject. It discusses some of the main theories of justification, including foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. Other topics include the Gettier problem, internalism and externalism, skepticism, the problem of epistemic circularity, the problem of the criterion, a priori knowledge, and naturalized epistemology. Intended primarily for students taking a first class in epistemology, this (...) lucid and well-written text would also provide an excellent introduction for anyone interested in knowing more about this important area of philosophy. (shrink)
Jason Stanley presents a startling and provocative claim about knowledge: that whether or not someone knows a proposition at a given time is in part determined by his or her practical interests, i.e. by how much is at stake for that person at that time. In defending this thesis, Stanley introduces readers to a number of strategies for resolving philosophical paradox, making the book essential not just for specialists in epistemology but for all philosophers interested in philosophical methodology. Since (...) a number of his strategies appeal to linguistic evidence, it will be of great interest to linguists as well. (shrink)
I present an account of how agents can know what they are doing when they intentionally execute object-oriented actions. When an agent executes an object-oriented intentional action, she uses perception in such a way that it can fulfil a justificatory role for her knowledge of her own action and it can fulfil this justificatory role without being inferentially linked to the cognitive states that it justifies. I argue for this proposal by meeting two challenges: in an agent's knowledge (...) of her action perception can only play an enabling role (and no justificatory role) for the agent's knowledge and if perception has a justificatory role, then the agent's knowledge must be inferential. (shrink)
Knowledge and Lotteries is organized around an epistemological puzzle: in many cases, we seem consistently inclined to deny that we know a certain class of propositions, while crediting ourselves with knowledge of propositions that imply them. In its starkest form, the puzzle is this: we do not think we know that a given lottery ticket will be a loser, yet we normally count ourselves as knowing all sorts of ordinary things that entail that its holder will not suddenly (...) acquire a large fortune. After providing a number of specific and general characterizations of the puzzle, Hawthorne carefully examines the competing merits of candidate solutions. In so doing, he explores a number of central questions concerning the nature and importance of knowledge, including the relationship of knowledge to assertion and practical reasoning, the status of epistemic closure principles, the merits of various brands of scepticism, the prospects for a contextualist account of knowledge, and the potential for other sorts of salience-sensitive accounts. Along the way, he offers a careful treatment of pertinent issues at the foundations of semantics. His book will be of interest to anyone working in the field of epistemology, as well as to philosophers of language. (shrink)
remarks some lessons about self-knowledge (and some other self-relations) as well as use them to throw some light on what might seem to be a fairly distant area of philosophy, namely, Sartre's view of the person as of a divided nature, divided between what he calls the self-as-facticity and the self-as-transcendence. I hope it will become clear that there is not just perversity on my part in bringing together Wittgenstein and the last great Cartesian. One specific connection that will (...) occupy me here is their shared hostility to the idea of theoretical certainty as our model for the authority of ordinary self-knowledge, and their relating of such a theoretical model to specific forms of self-alienation. This, in turn, is related to another concern they share, a concern with the difficulties, philosophical and otherwise, in conceiving of oneself as but one person in the world among others. (shrink)
The question of whether externalism about mental content is compatible with privileged access is a question of ongoing concern within philosophy of mind. Some philosophers think that Tyler Burge's early work on what he calls "basic self-knowledge" shows that externalism and privileged access are compatible. I critically assess this claim, arguing that Burge's work does not establish the compatbility thesis.
I focus on two questions: what is knowledge, and how is knowledge possible? The latter is an example of a how-possible question. I argue that how-possible questions are obstacle-dependent and that they need to be dealt with at three different levels, the level of means, of obstacle-removal, and of enabling conditions. At the first of these levels the possibility of knowledge is accounted for by identifying means of knowing, and I argue that the identification of such means (...) also contributes to a proper understanding of what knowledge is. (shrink)
Since the most promising path to a solution to the problem of skepticism regarding perceptual knowledge seems to rest on a sharp distinction between perceiving and inferring, I begin by clarifying and defending that distinction. Next, I discuss the chief obstacle to success by this path, the difficulty in making the required distinction between merely logical possibilities that one is mistaken and the real (Austin) or relevant (Dretske) possibilities which would exclude knowledge. I argue that this distinction cannot (...) be drawn in the ways Austin and Dretske suggest without begging the questions at issue. Finally, I sketch and defend a more radical way of identifying relevant possibilities that is inspired by Austin's controversial suggestion of a parallel between saying I know and saying I promise: a claim of knowledge of some particular matter is relative to a context in which questions about the matter have been raised. (shrink)
Harold Langsam has recently presented a novel observational account of self-knowledge. I critically discuss this account and argue that it fails to provide a uniform understanding of how we are able to know the contents of our own thoughts.
The Gettier problem has stymied epistemologists. But whether or not this problem is resolvable, we still must face an important question: Why does the Gettier problem arise in the first place? So far, philosophers have seen it as either a problem peculiar to the concept of knowledge, or else an instance of a general problem about conceptual analysis. But I would like to steer a middle course. I argue that the Gettier problem arises because knowledge is a thick (...) concept, and a Gettier-like problem is just what we should expect from attempts at analyzing a thick concept. Section 2 is devoted to establishing the controversial claim that knowledge is thick, and, in Sect. 3, I show that there is a general problem for analyzing thick concepts of which the Gettier problem is a special instance. I do not take a stand on whether the Gettier problem, or its general counterpart, is resolvable. My primary aim is to bring these problems into better focus. (shrink)
When philosophers speak of direct perceptual knowledge, they obviously mean to suggest that such knowledge is unmediated ? but unmediated by what? This is where we find evidence of violent disagreement. To clarify matters, I want to identify and briefly describe several important senses of "direct" that have helped shape our understanding of perceptual knowledge. They are (1) "Direct" as Non-Inferential Perception; (2) "Direct" as Unmediating by Objects of Perception; (3) "Direct" as Conceptually Unmediated Perception; (4) "Direct" (...) as Independent Verification of Perceptual Beliefs; and (5) "Direct" as Perception of What is Epistemically Prior. (shrink)
The tracking theory treats knowledge as counterfactual covariation of belief and truth through a sphere of possibilities. I argue that the tracking theory cannot respect perceptual knowledge, because perceptual belief covaries with truth through a discontinuous scatter of possibilities.
The value problem -- Unpacking the value problem -- The swamping problem -- fundamental and non-fundamental epistemic goods -- The relevance of epistemic value monism -- Responding to the swamping problem I : the practical response -- Responding to the swamping problem II : the monistic response -- Responding to the swamping problem III : the pluralist response -- Robust virtue epistemology -- Knowledge and achievement -- Interlude : is robust virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- (...) Achievement without achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Contra virtue epistemology -- Two master intuitions about knowledge -- Anti-luck virtue epistemology -- Interlude : is anti-luck virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Diagnosing the structure of knowledge -- Back to the value problem -- The final value of achievements -- Understanding -- Understanding and epistemic luck -- Understanding and cognitive achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Two potential implications of the distinctive value of understanding thesis -- The traditional analytical project and the central tension -- Knowledge, evidence, and reasons -- Concepts versus phenomena -- The way ahead -- Perceptual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perpetual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perceptual knowledge and justified belief -- Closure and doxastic responsibility -- Knowledge from indicators -- Recognitional abilities again -- Detached standing knowledge -- Back to knowledge from indicators -- Taking stock -- Why knowledge matters -- Approaching the epistemology of testimony -- Telling and informing -- Acquiring true beliefs and acquiring knowledge through being told -- Access to facts about knowledge -- The modest route -- Fool's knowledge -- The distinctive value of knowledge -- Fool's justification -- Arguing from illusion -- The regress of justifications -- Transparency and knowledge -- Transparency and entitlement -- On trying to do without transparency -- Transparency and luminosity -- Non-sensible knowledge -- Self-knowledge -- Non-sensible knowledge of action -- The two dimensions -- The distinctive value of knowledge of action -- Non-observational knowledge -- Practical knowledge and intention -- Practical knowledge and direction of fit. (shrink)
The recent literature on the theory of knowledge has taken a distinctive turn by focusing on the role of the cognitive and intellectual virtues in the acquisition of knowledge. The main contours and motivations for such virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge are here sketched and it is argued that virtue epistemology in its most plausible form can be regarded as a refined form of reliabilism, and thus a variety of epistemic externalism. Moreover, it is claimed that there is (...) strong empirical support in favour of the virtue epistemic position so understood, and an empirical study regarding the cognitive processes employed by medical experts in their diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy is cited in this regard. In general, it is argued that one can best account for 'expert' knowledge in terms of a virtue-theoretic epistemology that retains key reliabilist features. It is thus shown that understanding knowledge along virtue-theoretic lines has important implications for our understanding of how knowledge is acquired, and thus for the philosophy of education. (shrink)
Many epistemologists treat knowledge as a binary relation that holds between a subject and a proposition. The contrastive account of knowledge developed by Jonathan Schaffer maintains that knowledge is a ternary, contrastive relation that holds between a subject, a proposition, and a set of contextually salient alternative propositions the subject’s evidence must eliminate. For the contrastivist, it is never simply the case that S knows that p; in every case of knowledge S knows that p rather (...) than q. This paper offers a counterexample to the contrastive account of knowledge. Part 1 summarizes the contrastive theory developed by Schaffer in a series of recent papers. Part 2 presents an example from a class of cases characterized by compatibility between the proposition p and each of the alternative propositions that occupy q. In such cases the alternative propositions that partially constitute the ternary contrastive relation play no role in the acquisition of knowledge. Part 3 considers and rejects potential responses to the counterexample. The paper concludes that the contrastive theory is not a general account of knowledge. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy is marked by a setting aside or dissolution of the traditional problems of modern philosophy. Thus the problem of our knowledge of the external world is widely believed to have been disposed of or dissolved by Wittgenstein and others. In this book, Bruce Aune challenges this assumption. In the first half of Knowledge of the External World , Aune considers the history of the problem in the work of the great modern philosophers, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, (...) and Mill. Then turning to current debates, he argues that the problem has re-emerged and that an entirely new approach is needed. By examining the attempted dissolutions, Aune shows that the fundamental problem remains as a serious intellectual issue: one concerning the nature of permissible experimental or `inductive' inference. To resolve this issue, he undertakes a revision of empiricist epistemology and the development of the required theory of inference. Knowledge of the External World is an excellent historical systematic analysis of a central problem of philosophy and a fine introduction to the theory of knowledge. It will be essential reading for students of epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy. (shrink)
What is introspective knowledge of one's own intentional states like? This paper aims to make plausible the view that certain cases of self-knowledge, namely the cogito-type ones, are enough like perception to count as cases of quasi-observation. To this end it considers the highly influential arguments developed by Sydney Shoemaker in his recent Royce Lectures. These present the most formidable challenge to the view that certain cases of self-knowledge are quasi-observational and so deserve detailed examination. Shoemaker's arguments (...) are directed against two models of ordinary perception, the "object perception model" and the "broad perceptual model". I argue that the core theses that Shoemaker associated with them are either dubious in their own right or applicable to certain cases of self-knowledge. Overall the aim is to show that there is such a variety of patterns in each case that simple analogies or disanalogies are unhelpful. (shrink)