This book offers a causal-explanatory account of knowledge as true belief caused by the worldly state of affairs that explains its existence. It also defends a contextual account of epistemic reasons, arguing that both foundationalism and coherentism cannot provide a satisfactory account of such reasons. Skeptical arguments are answered against a historical background from Plato to the present day.
I argue that a modern gloss on Aristotle’s notions of Form and Matter not only allows us to escape a dualism of the psychological and the physical, but also results in a plausible sort of materialism. This is because Aristotle held that the essential nature of any psychological state, including perception and human thought, is to be some physical property. I also show that Hilary Putnam and Martha Nussbaum are mistaken in saying that Aristotle was not a materialist, but a (...) functionalist. His functionalism should instead be given a materialistic interpretation, since he holds that only the appropriate sort of matter can realize the human psyche. Aristotle’s functionalism is therefore best viewed as a “causal functionalism,” in which functional descriptions enable us to find the right sort of material embodiment. By sidestepping dualistic assumptions, Aristotle also avoids having to deal with any further notion of consciousness. (shrink)
I argue that Robert Almeder's "Blind Realism," although instructive, fails to show that recourse to completely justified belief defuses Gettier counterexamples. This is because Almeder's notion of complete justification involves conflating truth with "warranted assertibility," thus making truth relative to what was scientifically fashionable at the time.
I argue that Davidson's anti-skeptical thesis can survive objections made against it by treating skepticism as logically possible, but not epistemically possible. That is, the skeptical hypothesis of massive error conflicts with what we must take ourselves to know if we are to have coherent thought and speech.
I defend the view that propositional knowledge can be defined as follows: A knows that p if and only if A believes that p because p. Spelling out the meaning of 'because' in this formula results in a causal-explanatory view of knowledge.
I argue for the following analysis of a freely willed action: an act is done of one's own free will, if and only if, it is an intentional act performed by one acting as a rational agent from unobstructed reasons, and so situated that he or she has the capacity to forbear from performing it.
I argue that sentences ascribing beliefs to non-human animals have the same logical form as sentences of the "perceives that" variety. Pace D.M. Armstrong, I argue that animal belief sentences can be referentially opaque, just as perception sentences containing a propositional clause are. In both cases, referential opacity requires our assuming that the animal believer and the human perceiver has each identified the object of the belief or perception.
In this article it is argued that it is impossible to give a reductive analysis of knowledge, given that knowledge is an "epistemic" concept with these marks: (1) like necessity, it is only partially truth-functional; and, (2) unlike necessity, it includes an "intentional" component (belief) which is completely non-truth-functional. a reductive analysis would have to contain at least one extensional component, one intentional component, and none that is itself epistemic. but any plausible analysis then turns out either to be non-reductive, (...) e.g., causal, or else falls prey to "gettier" counterexamples. my positive suggestion is that we eschew reductive analyses of epistemic concepts in favor of non-reductive analyses. (shrink)
I argue that there are perverse actions, in the sense that they are acts performed in the belief that they are wrong. They are also, however, acts done in the belief that they are right. What makes them perverse is, not only that they have conflicting motivations, but that the motivation that wins out is not in accord with reason. That is, a perverse act is one resulting from one's strongest motivation but not based on all one's available reasons.
I argue that the time-gap argument poses no objection to Direct Realism. In the case of exploded stars many light years from us, what we see is no longer the star, but its light. I argue that in all cases of seeing we see light, but only when physical objects exist at the time of our seeing do we see them.