Plutôt que de rouvrir l'éternel débat entre tenants d'une histoire analytique de la philosophie et tenants d'une approche « authentiquement historique », il vaut mieux se demander si les premiers sont réellement condamnés à la trahison historique, et les seconds à la myopie historique. La démarche consistant à aborder le passé de la philosophie d'aval en amont est compatible avec une fidélité historique dès lors qu'on est prêt à reconnaître que ce ne sont pas seulement des textes qui se transmettent (...) à l'intérieur d'une tradition, mais des arguments, et que ceux-ci peuvent passer d'une tradition à l'autre. Instead of reopening the eternal debate between the partisans of an « analytical » approach to the history of philosophy and the partisans of an « genuinely historical » approach, let us rather ask ourselves whether the former are necessarily condemned to betray history and the latter condemned to historical myopia. Approaching the past of philosophy from downstream to upstream is compatible with a fidelity to history once we acknowledge the fact that not only texts, but also arguments are passed on within a tradition and outside it. (shrink)
Normative accounts of the correctness of belief have often been misconstrued. The norm of truth for belief is a constitutive norm which regulates our beliefs through ideals of reason. I try to show that this kind of account can meet some of the main objections which have been raised against normativism about belief: that epistemic reasons enjoy no exclusivity, that the norm of truth does not guide, and that normativism cannot account for suspension of judgement.
There are mental actions, and a number of epistemic attitudes involve activity. But can there be epistemic agency? I argue that there is a limit to any claim that we can be epistemic agents, which is that the structure of reasons for epistemic attitudes differs fundamentally from the structure of reasons for actions. The main differences are that we cannot act for the wrong reasons although we can believe for the wrong reasons, and that reasons for beliefs are exclusive in (...) a sense in which our reasons for actions are not. Epistemic agency is possible in the weak sense that we can be active, but not in the strong one in which we could have some elbow room for our epistemic reasons in reasoning leading to beliefs and other epistemic states. (shrink)
Sosa takes epistemic normativity to be kind of performance normativity: a belief is correct because a believer sets a positive value to truth as an aim and performs aptly and adroitly. I object to this teleological picture that beliefs are not performances, and that epistemic reasons or beliefs cannot be balanced against practical reasons. Although the picture fits the nature of inquiry, it does not fit the normative nature of believing, which has to be conceived along distinct lines.
Pascal Engel | : À partir d’une typologie des formes de connaissance, je soutiens qu’il y a trois formes principales de connaissance littéraire : cognitive propositionnelle, affective et pratique. La conception propositionnelle est erronée : la littérature ne fournit pas directement une forme de savoir que. La conception affective ou expressiviste peut au mieux dire qu’il y a des effets cognitifs des oeuvres littéraires. La conception pratique a le plus de chances d’être correcte, mais seulement si l’on accepte l’idée que (...) le savoir pratique est en partie basé sur le savoir propositionnel. | : Starting from a typology of kinds of knowledge, I argue that there are three basic conceptions of literary knowledge : cognitive propositional, affective , and practical. The cognitive conception is misguided : literary knowledge cannot be directly a form of knowledge that. The affective or expressivist conception is too weak : it can at best amount to the idea that there are cognitive effects of literary works. The practical conception is the most promising, but only if one accepts that knowing how is partly based on knowing that and propositional knowledge. (shrink)
“Pragmatic Encroachment and Epistemic Value”. Some philosopherswho defend “pragmatic encroachment” and “sensitive invariantism” argue thatchanges in the importance of being right and signiicant increases of the costsof error in given contexts can alter the standards of knowledge. If this view werecorrect, it could explain to some extent the practical value of knowledge. Thispaper argues that the pragmatic encroachment thesis is wrong. It discusses threepossible sources of encroachment on epistemic notions: on belief, on justiication,and on knowledge, and rejects the idea that (...) the epistemic standards change withpractical stakes. Pragmatic factors can be relevant to the formation of belief andto the context of inquiry, although they are not relevant to epistemic evaluation.Epistemic value cannot depend upon such factors. (shrink)
This article examines Keith Lehrer's distinction between belief and acceptance and how it differs from other accounts of belief and of the family of doxastic attitudes. I sketch a different taxonomy of doxastic attitudes. Lehrer's notion of acceptance is mostly epistemic and at the service of his account of the "loop of reason", whereas for other writers acceptance is mostly a pragmatic attitude. I argue, however, that his account of acceptance underdetermines the role that the attitude of trust plays in (...) his analysis of reason. (shrink)
Cette revue critique marque un contraste entre deux ouvrages récents sur les concepts : une approche psychologique cohérente qui met l'accent sur le développement des concepts et une approche philosophique superficielle qui se veut « contextualiste » et débouche sur l'affirmation que tous les concepts sont vagues et indéterminés. A critical review of two recent books on concepts. A contrast is made between a powerful psychological approach, which emphasises the developmental profile of concepts, and a shallow philosophical approach which calls (...) itself « contextualist » and implausibly leads to the claim that all concepts are vague or indeterminate. (shrink)
As part of the conference commemorating Theoria's 75th anniversary, a round table discussion on philosophy publishing was held in Bergendal, Sollentuna, Sweden, on 1 October 2010. Bengt Hansson was the chair, and the other participants were eight editors-in-chief of philosophy journals: Hans van Ditmarsch (Journal of Philosophical Logic), Pascal Engel (Dialectica), Sven Ove Hansson (Theoria), Vincent Hendricks (Synthese), Søren Holm (Journal of Medical Ethics), Pauline Jacobson (Linguistics and Philosophy), Anthonie Meijers (Philosophical Explorations), Henry S. Richardson (Ethics) and Hans Rott (Erkenntnis).
Among recent theories of the nature of self-knowledge, the rationalistic view, according to which self-knowledge is not a cognitive achievement—perceptual or inferential—has been prominent. Upon this kind of view, however, self-knowledge becomes a bit of a mystery. Although the rationalistic conception is defended in this article, it is argued that it has to be supplemented by an account of the transparency of belief: the question whether to believe that P is settled when one asks oneself whether P.
This article discusses the arguments against associating epistemic responsibility with the ordinary notion of agency. I examine the various 'Kantian' views which lead to a distinctive conception of epistemic agency and epistemic responsibility. I try to explain why we can be held responsible for our beliefs in the sense of obeying norms which regulate them without being epistemic agents.
The knowledge account of assertion (KAA) is the view that assertion is governed by the norm that the speaker should know what s/he asserts. It is not the purpose of this article to examine all the criticisms nor to try to give a full defence of KAA, but only to defend it against the charge of being normatively incorrect. It has been objected that assertion is governed by other norms than knowledge, or by no norm at all. It seems to (...) me, however, that a number of these criticisms are based on a number of misunderstandings of the notion of a norm and of the way it can regulated a given practice. Once we spell out in what sense knowledge can play a normative role in this context, the KAA appears much more plausible. (shrink)
What is the relationship between logic and reasoning? How do logical norms guide inferential performance? This paper agrees with Gilbert Harman and most of the psychologists that logic is not directly relevant to reasoning. It argues, however, that the mental model theory of logical reasoning allows us to harmonise the basic principles of deductive reasoning and inferential perfomances, and that there is a strong connexion between our inferential norms and actual reasoning, along the lines of Peacocke’s conception of inferential role.
Simon Blackburn has shown that there is an analogy between the problem of moral motivation in ethics (how can moral reasons move us?) and the problem of what we might call the power of logical reasons (how can logical reasons move us, what is the force of the 'logical must?'). In this paper, I explore further the parallel between the internalism problem in ethics and the problem of the power of logical reasons, and defend a version of psychologism about reasons, (...) although not one of the Humean form. I discuss two forms of cognitivism: (i) a pure cognitivism and 'hard' realism modelled after Dancy's parallel conception in ethics: when we grasp logical reasons we grasp facts, which are directly known to us; (ii) a Kantian form of cognitivism, based on the idea that compulsion by reason goes with the capacity of reflection. I argue that (i) is implausible, and that (ii) fails to meet the internalist requirement. One would then seem to be left with what Dancy calls, about practical reasoning, psychologism about reasons. I sketch what might be such a psychologism. But it fails to account for the objectivity of logical reasons. I argue that the relevant state here is a form of dispositional knowledge of logical reasons. (shrink)
A commonplace in contemporary philosophy is that mental content has normative properties. A number of writers associate this view to the idea that the normativity of content is essentially connected to its social character. I agree with the first thesis, but disagree with the second. The paper examines three kinds of views according to which the norms of thought and content are social: Wittgensteinâs rule following considerations, Davidsonâs triangulation argument, and Brandomâs inferential pragmatics, and criticises each. It is argued that (...) there are objective conceptual norms constitutive of mental content, but that these are not essentially social. (shrink)
This paper attempts to clarify some issues about what is usually called “doxastic voluntarism”. This phrase often hides a confusion between two separate (although connected) issues: whether beliefis or can be, as a matter of psychological fact, under the control of the will, on the one hand, and whether we can have practical reasons to believe something, or whether our beliefs are subject to any sort of “ought”, on the other hand. The first issue -- which I prefer to call (...) the issue of volitionism about belief -- is psychological, and I take the answer to be negative, along the lines of the conceptual arguments against believing at will adduced by writers such as Bernard Williams. The second issue -- which I call voluntarism proper -- is normative, and the answer that I give is a qualified yes. Belief is not a matter of the will, although there are certain things that we ought to believe. (shrink)
The identity theory of truth, according to which true thoughts are identical with facts, is very hard to formulate. It oscillates between substantive versions, which are implausible, and a merely truistic version, which is difficult to distinguish from deflationism about truth. This tension is present in the form of identity theory that one can attribute to McDowell from his views on perception, and in the conception defended by Hornsby under that name.