While almost all of Kant's contemporaries agreed that the Critique of Pure Reason effected a philosophically epochal change, there was far less consensus about what precisely Kant's new critical philosophy had brought about. In large part, this uncertainty was a result of a methodological crisis that Kant's work had sparked: the Critique had shown that traditional dogmatic metaphysics was suspect at best, but what new methods needed to be adopted in the wake of Kant's 'Copernican Revolution'? The Critique stood as (...) the lighting rod at the center of a complicated and especially lively set of debates and disputes that erupted in Germany in the late 1780s and early 1790s: empiricists and rationalists, threatened by the 'all-destroying Kant', leapt to challenge the new critical system; skeptics attacked Kant's claims to have secured a sure footing for empirical knowledge; a few ambitious thinkers sought to complete the critical system by revealing a foundational first principle on which Kant's system could rest. All of these elements conspired to make the early stages in post-Kantian thought one of the richest, most vibrant – and most fascinating – periods in the history of philosophy. The present essay looks at the various figures of the move from Kant to Fichte, and presents some of the excellent new research on the era that has appeared in the last decade or so. The sequel takes up the period from Fichte to Hegel, with an eye toward understanding how Kantian critical philosophy gave way to Hegelian Absolute Idealism. (shrink)
Kant's 'Copernican Revolution', which began in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/1787), had, by the early 1790s, fundamentally altered the terrain of German philosophy – but not entirely in the way that Kant had foreseen. Skeptical challenges to Kant's discursive account of cognition, in which experience arises from the separate faculties of sensibility and understanding, had led thinkers such as K.L. Reinhold and J.G. Fichte to attempt to provide a first, foundational principle for the critical philosophy. These efforts were enormously (...) influential, but by the middle of the 1790s, they too were facing a great deal of critical scrutiny. The central challenge to the Fichtean project came from an unlikely quarter: a group of young thinkers and poets who are collectively known as the early Romantics. For the Romantics, Fichte's project remains too 'subjectivist', for it tries to provide an account of the world by beginning with the conditions that govern subjectivity alone. Rather, the Romantics argue that the world must be understood in terms of a monistic Absolute, akin to Spinoza's substance, in which all dualisms are overcome. It is with this step that Absolute Idealism comes on the scene, and sets the stage for the development of Hegel's system in the early 1800s. This essay, which continues the story of 'Who's Who from Kant to Hegel I', examines the ways in which early Romanticism reacted to the Fichtean project, looks at a variety of anti-foundationalist idealisms that the Romantics – in particular Hölderlin, Novalis, Schlegel, and Schleiermacher – developed, and traces the role that Friedrich Schelling plays in offering the first systematic account of Absolute Idealism. (shrink)
Perceptual entitlement and basic beliefs Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9603-3 Authors Peter J. Graham, University of California, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
The Mind Argument is an argument for the incompatibility of indeterminism and anyone's having a choice about anything that happens. Peter van Inwagen rejects the Mind Argument not because he is able to point out the flaw in it, but because he accepts both that determinism is incompatible with anyone's having a choice about anything that happens and that it is possible for someone to have a choice about something that happens. In this paper I first diagnose and clear (...) up a confusion in recent discussions of the Mind Argument and then go on to show why it is a bad argument. (shrink)
Does epistemic justification aim at truth? The vast majority of epistemologists instinctively answer 'Yes'; it's the textbook response. Joseph Cruz and John Pollock surprisingly say no. In 'The Chimerical Appeal of Epistemic Externalism' they argue that justification bears no interesting connection to truth; justification does not even aim at truth. 'Truth is not a very interesting part of our best understanding' of justification (C&P 2004, 137); it has no 'connection to the truth.' A 'truth-aimed ... epistemology is not entitled to (...) carry the day' (C&P 2004, 138, emphasis added).Pollock and Cruz's argument for this surprising conclusion is of general interest for it is 'out of step with a very common view on the .. (shrink)
There is a debate in normative ethics about whether or not our moral obligations depend solely on either our evidence concerning, or our beliefs about, the world. Subjectivists maintain that they do and objectivists maintain that they do not. I shall offer some arguments in support of objectivism and respond to the strongest argument for subjectivism. I shall also briefly consider the significance of my discussion to the debate over whether one’s future voluntary actions are relevant to one’s current moral (...) obligations. (shrink)
Reductionism about testimony holds that testimonial warrant or entitlement is just a species of inductive warrant. Anti-Reductionism holds that it is different from inductive but analogous to perceptual or memorial warrant. Perception receives much of its positive epistemic status from being reliably truthconducive in normal conditions. One reason to reject the epistemic analogy is that testimony involves agency – it goes through the will of the speaker – but perception does not. A speaker might always choose to lie or otherwise (...) deliberately mislead. It is argued that the force of this derives (in part) from Libertarianism about agency, and that Libertarianism, if it undermines the Anti-Reductionist explanation of why we are entitled to rely upon testimony, undermines the Reductionist explanation as.. (shrink)
In this paper I sketch an account of moral blame and blameworthiness. I begin by clarifying what I take blame to be and explaining how blameworthiness is to be analyzed in terms of it. I then consider different accounts of the conditions of blameworthiness and, in the end, settle on one according to which a person is blameworthy for φ-ing just in case, in φ-ing, she violates one of a particular class of moral requirements governing the attitudes we bear, and (...) our mental orientation, toward people and other objects of significant moral worth. These requirements embody the moral stricture that we accord to these others a sufficient level of respect, one that their moral worth demands. This is a familiar theme which has its roots in P. F. Strawson’s pioneering views on moral responsibility. My development of it leads me to the conclusion that acting wrongly is not a condition of blameworthiness: violating a moral requirement to perform, or refrain from performing, an action is neither necessary nor sufficient for being blameworthy. All we are ever blameworthy for, I will argue, are certain aspects of our mental bearing toward others. We can be said to be blameworthy for our actions only derivatively, in the sense that those actions are the natural manifestations of the things for which we are strictly speaking blameworthy. (shrink)
David Lewis has offered a reply to the standard argument for the claim that the truth of determinism is incompatible with anyone’s being able to do otherwise than she in fact does. Helen Beebee has argued that Lewis’s compatibilist strategy is untenable. In this paper I show that one recent attempt to defend Lewis’s view against this argument fails and then go on to offer my own defense of Lewis’s view.
What is the biological function of perception? I hold perception, especially visual perception in humans, has the biological function of accurately representing the environment. Tyler Burge argues this cannot be so in Origins of Objectivity (Oxford, 2010), for accuracy is a semantical relationship and not, as such, a practical matter. Burge also provides a supporting example. I rebut the argument and the example. Accuracy is sometimes also a practical matter if accuracy partly explains how perception contributes to survival and reproduction.
The standard taxonomy of theories of epistemic justification generates four positions from the Foundationalism v. Coherentism and Internalism v. Externalism disputes. I develop a new taxonomy driven by two other distinctions: Fundamentalism v. Non-Fundamentalism and Actual-Result v. Proper-Aim conceptions of epistemic justification. Actual-Result theorists hold that a belief is justified only if, as an actual matter of fact, it is held or formed in a way that makes it more likely than not to be true. Proper-Aim theorists hold that a (...) belief is justified only if it is held or formed in a way that it proper or correct insofar as truth is the aim or norm. Fundamentalists hold that which particular ways of holding or forming beliefs that confer justification is knowable a priori; epistemic principles are a priori necessary truths. Non- Fundamentalists disagree; epistemic principles are empirical contingent truths. The new taxonomy generates four positions: Cartesianism, Reliabilism, Intuitionism, and Pragmatism. The first two are Actual-Result; the second two are Proper-Aim. The first and third are Fundamentalist, the second and fourth are Non-Fundamentalist. The new taxonomy illuminates much of the current debate in the theory of epistemic justification. (shrink)
I hold that epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Evolution by natural selection is the central source of etiological functions. This leads many to think that on my view warrant requires a history of natural selection. What then about learning? What then about Swampman? Though functions require history, natural selection is not the only source. Self-repair and trial-and-error learning are both sources. Warrant requires (...) history, but not necessarily that much. (shrink)
Orthodoxy in epistemology maintains that some sources of belief, e.g. perception and introspection, generate knowledge, while others, e.g. testimony and memory, preserve knowledge. An example from Jennifer Lackey B the Schoolteacher case B purports to show that testimony can generate knowledge. It is argued that Lackey's case fails to subvert the orthodox view, for the case does not involve the generation of knowledge by testimony. A modified version of the case does. Lackey's example illustrates the orthodox view; the revised case (...) refutes it. The theoretical explanation of knowledge from testimony as information transmission explains how testimony transfers knowledge and why it can generate knowledge. It also reveals the real difference between so-called generative"" and so-called ""preservative"" sources. The former extract information. (shrink)
Many hold that perception is a source of epistemically basic (direct) belief: for justification, perceptual beliefs do not need positive inferential support from other justified beliefs, especially from beliefs about one’s current sensory episodes. Perceptual beliefs can, however, be defeated or undermined by other things one believes, and so to be justified in the end there must be no undefeated undermining grounds. Similarly for memory and introspection.1..
I argue that Fischer’s attempts to undermine the “Ought” Implies “Can” principle (OIC) fail. I argue both against his construal of the natural motivation for OIC and against his argument for the falsity of OIC. I also consider some attempts to salvage Fischer’s arguments and argue that they can work only if the true moral theory is motive determinative--i.e., it is such that, necessarily, any action performed from a motive which renders one of the blame emotions appropriate is morally impermissible, (...) no matter what other features it has. But, as motive-determinative moral theories are implausible, Fischer’s arguments are not salvageable. (shrink)
In the early steps of the Transcendental Deduction in the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant briefly addresses the threat posed by usurpatory concepts such as 'fate' and 'fortune'. Commentators have largely passed over these remarks, but in this paper I argue that a careful analysis of the reasons why 'fate' and 'fortune' are usurpatory reveals an important point about the relation between the Deduction and the Principles chapters of the Critique. In particular, I argue that 'fate' and 'fortune' are usurpatory (...) because they are unable to discriminate between the particular contents of experience, and that this requires that Kant provide an account of how the categories are able to accomplish this task. And this in turn shows that the justificatory work begun in the Deduction can be completed only in the Schematism and Principles. (shrink)
Radical skepticism about the external implies that no belief about the external is even prima facie justified. A theoretical reply to skepticism has four stages. First, show which theories of epistemic justification support skeptical doubts (show which theories, given other reasonable assumptions, entail skepticism). Second, show which theories undermine skeptical doubts (show which theories, given other reasonable assumptions, do not support the skeptic’s conclusion). Third, show which of the latter theories (which non-skeptical theory) is correct, and in so doing show (...) that all of the rival theories of justification, skeptical and non-skeptical alike, are mistaken. Fourth, explain why skeptical doubts are sometimes (or sometimes merely seem) intuitive, and thereby accommodate skeptical doubts without capitulation. Michael Williams has pioneered the very idea of a theoretical reply. A theoretical diagnosis consists in just the first two stages. An adequate reply, which is correct at each stage, would rebut the skeptic entirely. Williams’ own reply, I argue, is inadequate. I offer in its place an exhaustive and accurate diagnosis of skepticism. I distinguish four kinds of skepticism and five theories of justification. I then show which theories do, and which theories do not, support which kinds of skepticism. (shrink)
The paper examines the way in which Salomon Maimon (1753-1800) combines Humean skepticism and Leibnizian rationalism to mount an innovative challenge to Kant. Maimon’s position can be described as an “apostate rationalism,” which holds that reason makes unavoidable demands on us that are nonetheless not satisfied in experience. An appreciation of Maimon’s arguments also sheds new and interesting light on the surprising role that this apostate rationalism plays as a component of Hume’s skeptical naturalism.
Millianism is the view that all there is to the meaning of a name is its bearer. In a recent paper Bryan Frances seeks to undercut the traditional argument against Millianism as well as offer a new argument in favor of Millianism. I argue that both endeavors fail.
Anti-Reductionists hold that beliefs based upon comprehending (both force and content) of tellings are non-inferentially justified. Comprehension as such, like perceptual representation, confers non-inferential justification on belief. Reductionists, on the other hand, reject this. Comprehension as such is not in itself a warrant for belief. Beliefs based on comprehension are justified only if inferentially supported by other things the subject believes. I discuss an argument from Elizabeth Fricker from her ‘Trusting Others in the Sciences: A Priori or Empirical Warrant?’ She (...) argues that even if the Anti-Reductionist is right in principle, the presence of background inferential support undercuts the significance of the Anti-Reductionist view; for mature knowledgeable adults, justification from comprehension as such plays no active role; it is superseded by inferential warrant. I show her argument is importantly question begging. Inferential and non-inferential support combine to overdetermine the justification of comprehension-based beliefs. (shrink)
Most academic efforts to understand morality and ideology come from theorists who limit the domain of morality to issues related to harm and fairness. For such theorists, conservative beliefs are puzzles requiring non-moral explanations. In contrast, we present moral foundations theory, which broadens the moral domain to match the anthropological literature on morality. We extend the theory by integrating it with a review of the sociological constructs of community, authority, and sacredness, as formulated by Emile Durkheim and others. We present (...) data supporting the theory, which also shows that liberals misunderstand the explicit moral concerns of conservatives more than conservatives misunderstand liberals. We suggest that what liberals see as a non-moral motivation for system justification may be better described as a moral motivation to protect society, groups, and the structures and constraints that are often (though not always) beneficial for individuals. Finally, we outline the possible benefits of a moral foundations perspective for System Justification Theory, including better understandings of 1) why the system-justifying motive is palliative despite some harmful effects, 2) possible evolutionary origins of the motive, and 3) the values and worldviews of conservatives in general. (shrink)
Gabor Forrai has written a very clear and articulate defense of internal realism, the view that the categories and structures of the world are a function of our conceptual schemes. Internal realism is opposed to metaphysical realism, the view that the world’s structure is wholly independent, both causally and ontologically, of the human mind. For the metaphysical realist, the world is one thing and the mind is another. For the internal realist, on the other hand, though the world is causally (...) independent of the human mind, the structure of the world – the individuals, kinds and categories of the world -- is a function of the human mind. (shrink)
Warfield (1997, 2000) argues that divine foreknowledge and human freedom are compatible. He assumes for conditional proof that there is a necessarilyexistent omniscient being. He also assumes that it is possible for there to be a person who both does something and could have avoided doing it. As supportfor this latter premise he points to the fact that nearly every participant to the debate accepts the falsity of logical fatalism. Appealing to this consensus, however, renders the argument question-begging, for that (...) consensus has emerged only against the backdrop of an assumption that there is no necessarily existent omniscient being. (shrink)
One of the Key Questions Facing anyone interested in German Idealism concerns the puzzling transition from Kant to Hegel: how, in the course of a mere two decades, did Kant’s critical idealism, with its emphasis on the need to limit reason’s aspirations, come to be replaced by the seemingly boundless Absolute Idealism of the late 1790s and early 1800s? The traditional—though admittedly caricatured—answer follows an appealingly straightforward path from Kant to the idealist triumvirate of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. The central (...) motivation for the absolute idealists, on this reckoning, is found in the notorious problem of the thing in itself that was taken to plague Kant’s critical idealism, and each of the later .. (shrink)
David Henderson and Terry Horgan argue that doxastic epistemic justification requires the transglobal reliability of the belief-forming process. Transglobal reliability is reliability across a wide range of experientially possible global environments. Focusing on perception, I argue that justification does not require transglobal reliability, for perception is non-accidentally reliable and confers justification but not always transglobally reliable. Transglobal reliability is an epistemically desirable property of belief-forming processes, but not necessary for justification.