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)
This paper addresses an argument offered by John Hawthorne gainst the propriety of an agent’s using propositions she does not know as premises in practical reasoning. I will argue that there are a number of potential structural confounds in Hawthorne’s use of his main example, a case of practical reasoning about a lottery. By drawing these confounds out more explicitly, we can get a better sense of how to make appropriate use of such examples in theorizing about norms, (...)knowledge, and practical reasoning. I will conclude by suggesting a prescription for properly using lottery propositions to do the sort of work that Hawthorne wants from them. (shrink)
It is largely agreed that if constructivism contributes anything to meta-ethics it is by proposing that we understand ethical objectivity “in terms of a suitably constructed point of view that all can accept” (Rawls 1980/1999: 307). Constructivists defend this “practical” conception of objectivity in contrast to the realist or “ontological” conception of objectivity, understood as an accurate representation of an independent metaphysical order. Because of their objectivist but not realist commitments, Kantian constructivists place their theory “somewhere in the space (...) between realist and relativist accounts of ethics” (O’Neill 1988: 1). Furthermore, they argue that their practical conception of objectivity succeeds in making sense of certain features of morality, such as its categorical authority and its relation to rational agency, which escape rival theories (Korsgaard 1996b, Korsgaard 2003b). To this extent, constructivism claims a privileged place in meta-ethics. The legitimacy of this claim is widely challenged. Precisely because of its practical conception of objectivity, many – including some constructivists — regard constructivism as a first-order normative theory, rather than as a meta-ethical position, hence not on a par with realism. Some critics object that constructivism fails to offer a distinct meta-ethics because it is structurally incomplete and thus must be combined with a fully-fledged meta-ethics (Hussain and Shah 2006); others argue that it tacitly relies on realism (Timmons 2003; Shafer-Landau 2003; Larmore 2008). Thus far, the debate about the prospects of constructivism as a meta-ethical theory has been driven by the conviction that the case for or against constructivism depends on its ontological commitments. In this chapter, I propose a change in perspective. My aim is to defend constructivism as an objectivist account of practicalknowledge. Its defining feature is the claim that practicalknowledge is knowledge by principles. Its task is to establish a constitutive relation between knowledge of oneself as a practical subject and knowledge about what one ought to do. By focusing on the issue of practicalknowledge I hope to show that the difficulty in situating Kantian constructivism firmly on the meta-ethical map, along with other meta-ethical theories, reflects ambiguities and oscillations about the practical significance of ethics. Even though the term is ambiguous, I retain the qualification “Kantian” for the constructivist theory I outline, and for two reasons. First, while the theory I outline differs from current agnostic or anti-realist variants, it is closer to its origins, since Kant treats practical reason as a cognitive capacity and takes moral judgments to be objective moral cognitions, which importantly differ from other sorts of rational cognitions because they bind us in the first person. Practical cognitions are common knowledge because they are such that all subjects endowed with rationality can arrive at them by reasoning and find them authoritative. Thus understood, Kantian constructivism carves a distinct logical space in the meta-ethical debate that other sorts of constructivism fail to identify. This is the second reason for keeping the qualification “Kantian”. On this formulation, constructivism is antagonistic to non-cognitivist theories denying that moral judgments have cognitive contents, because they deny that there is something to be known; but it is also a rival to cognitivist theories denying that knowledge can be practical in itself. How constructivism differs over the realist theories of practical reason is the least understood aspect of this debate. This essay aims to make the case that practical reason is both discursive and emotional. In contrast to foundational and anti-realist accounts of practical reasoning, it attempts to show that the moral feeling of respect plays a cognitive but non-evidential role in the account of the cognitive and practical powers of reason. The argument proceeds as follows. In section 1, I consider some prominent constructivist arguments against the model of applied knowledge and show that they are driven by non-cognitivist assumptions about the practicality of ethics and the legitimacy of epistemological claims. In section 2, I argue that these arguments do not succeed in disposing of the idea of practicalknowledge as incoherent, because they trade on an ambiguity regarding the proper object of practicalknowledge. To solve this ambiguity, I turn to Anscombe’s contrast between “practical” and “speculative” knowledge as models for understanding action. I thus suggest that Anscombe’s account of practicalknowledge as knowledge of oneself as an agent is an important resource for Kantian constructivism. This finding prompts us to reset the current dispute about the ontological and epistemological commitments of Kantian constructivism, as illustrated in section 3. While constructivism does not postulate any moral ontology prior to reasoning, it attributes to reasoning the cognitive powers to establish a distinctive relation between the agent and her action. The task of sections 4-7 is to account for the distinctive features of Kantian constructivism understood as an objectivist account of practicalknowledge. In section 4, I argue that in order for reasoning to accomplish its normative tasks, it should be conceived as a self-legislating activity. I respond to some objections to the idea of self-legislation as the form of rational willing by offering a dialogical view of practical reason. In section 5, I propose a non-standard interpretation of Kant’s argument of “the fact of reason” to show that the constructivist account of self-legislation does not build on realism about value, as its detractors claim. The “basis of construction” is the subjective experience of respect for the self-legislative capacity itself. This moral feeling conveys our awareness of rational agency and shows our responsiveness to the demands of practical reason. It is an emotional mode of practicalknowledge of oneself as an agent (in the sense specified in section 2), but not as a mode of moral discernment. In section 6, I show how practicalknowledge of oneself as an agent relates to practicalknowledge about what one ought to do. I thus account for the relation between respect as emotional moral consciousness and respect as a deliberative constraint. Finally, in section 7, I reply to the objection of subjectivism. I explain how the complex sort of objectivity that Kantian constructivism affords is at the same time more ambitious and more modest than is generally assumed. (shrink)
[Jennifer Hornsby] The central claim is that the semantic knowledge exercised by people when they speak is practicalknowledge. The relevant idea of practicalknowledge is explicated, applied to the case of speaking, and connected with an idea of agents' knowledge. Some defence of the claim is provided. /// [Jason Stanley] The central claim is that Hornsby's argument that semantic knowledge is practicalknowledge is based upon a false premise. I argue, (...) contra Hornsby, that speakers do not voice their thoughts directly. Rather, our actions of voicing our thoughts are justified by decisions we make (albeit rapidly) about what words to use. Along the way, I raise doubts about other aspects of the thesis that semantic knowledge is practicalknowledge. (shrink)
Argues that the view propounded in "PracticalKnowledge" (Ethics 118: 388-409) survives objections made by Sarah Paul ("Intention, Belief, and Wishful Thinking," Ethics 119: 546-557). The response gives more explicit treatment to the nature and epistemology of knowing how.
One of the main challenges in the philosophy of language is determining the form of knowledge of the rules of language. Michael Dummett has put forth the view that knowledge of the rules of language is a kind of implicit knowledge; some philosophers have mistakenly conceived of this type of knowledge as a kind of knowledge-that . In a recent paper in this journal, Patricia Hanna argues against Dummett’s knowledge-that view and proposes instead a (...)knowledge-how view in which knowledge of the rules of language is a kind of practicalknowledge, like an agent’s non-propositional knowledge of counting. In this paper I argue, first, that Hanna misunderstands Dummett’s conception of knowledge of linguistic rules, and, second, that Dummett’s considerations of practicalknowledge of language pose a problem for Hanna’s knowledge-how view. At the end of the paper, I briefly sketch an account of practicalknowledge of language that meets the requirements set by Dummett. (shrink)
Among the legacies of Elizabeth Anscombe's 1957 monograph Intention are the introduction of the notion of 'practicalknowledge' into contemporary philosophical discussion of action, and her claim, pursued throughout the book, that an agent's knowledge of what he is doing is characteristically not based on observation.' Each idea by itself has its own obscurities, of course, but my focus here will be on the relation between the two ideas, how it is that the discussion of action may (...) lead us to speak of non-observational knowledge at all, and how this notion can be part of the understanding of a kind of ordinary knowledge that we have reason to consider practical rather than speculative. Anscombe mentions several quite different things under the heading of 'non-observational knowledge', and she first introduces the notion of the nonobservational for purely dialectical purposes, associated with the task of setting out the field she wants to investigate, in a way that ... (shrink)
In his original essay, The Form of PracticalKnowledge, Stephen Engstrom argues for placing Kant’s ethics in the tradition of practical cognitivism. My remarks are intended to highlight the merits of his interpretation in contrast to intuitionism and constructivism, understood as ways of appropriating Kant’s legacy. In particular, I will focus on two issues: ﬁrst, the special character of practicalknowledge—as opposed to theoretical knowledge and craft expertise; and second, the apparent tension between the (...) demands of morality and the requirements of instrumental reason, when this is understood as driven by concerns for happiness, prudence, and personal integrity. (shrink)
Abstract An important strand of theories of practice stress that individuals' practicalknowledge, i.e., their ability to act in appropriate and/or effective ways, is mainly tacit. This means that the social scientist cannot find out about this knowledge by simply asking the individuals she studies to articulate how it is appropriate and/or effective to act in various circumstances. In this paper, I pursue the proposal that the method of participant observation may be used to find out about (...) individuals' practicalknowledge. Surprisingly, the literature does not contain any systematic and comprehensive discussion of this suggestion. I distinguish and exemplify four types of observation that are indicative of individuals' practicalknowledge. The observations may serve as a basis for the social scientist's formulations of this knowledge. Further, I point to two main ways in which things may go wrong when the social scientist uses participant observation to find out about individuals' practicalknowledge. I argue that the social scientist can make reasonably sure to avoid these two potential difficulties. Accordingly, I conclude that these difficulties do not undermine the effectiveness of the method. In this sense, social scientists are right to use the method of participant observation to find out about individuals' practicalknowledge. (shrink)
When I am asked “What are you doing?”, I answer e.g. “I am making coffee”. Anscombe called the knowledge that this kind of answer involves “practicalknowledge”. Practicalknowledge is knowledge not involving observation and inference. In this presentation I would like to apply this concept to the collectiveaction of many persons. Given that we are playing soccer if someone comes here and asks “What are you doing now?”, we can answer immediately “We are (...) playing soccer”. I would like to claim that the above answer “We are playing soccer” is ‘our’ knowledge of ‘our’ intentional action and the subject of this intention is ‘we’ and there is a collective intention and the subject of knowledge of this intentional action is also ‘we’ and this is collective knowledge, i.e. common knowledge. We anticipate the following objection against this claim: Who utters “We are playing soccer” is an individual and who answers is not “we” but an individual person and she is describing “our” action. I reply to this objection. Furthermore I consider the background knowledge of ‘our’ practicalknowledge and try to extend the concept of ‘practicalknowledge’. (shrink)
In Quandaries and Virtues, Edmund Pincoffs maintains that we observe a multiplicity of moral norms. A common life in which we participate supplies a context in which many virtues play diverse functional roles. He suggests, without developing the idea, that such a common life provides us with a structure for organizing and harmonizing the many moral norms we attempt to pursue. This essay explores that idea. Bodies of shared practicalknowledge, such as medicine and scientific research, provide examples (...) of empirically grounded practices in which people simultaneously observe a plurality of norms that guide them in right practice. The essay develops the idea that morality is in important ways Iike these bodies of technical practicalknowledge. It maintains that the origin and source of authority of moral norms is appreciably Iike that of technical norms and that the motivation for observing such norms is fundamentaIly similar. (shrink)
Yves R. Simon (1903-1961) was one of this century’s greatest students of the virtue of practical wisdom. Simon’s interest in this virtue ranged from ultimate theoretical and foundational concerns, such as the relationship between practicalknowledge and science, to the most concrete and immediate questions regarding the role of practical wisdom in personal and social decision-making. These concerns occupied Simon from his earliest published writing to the final notes and correspondence he was working on at the (...) moment of his untimely death. Throughout his life, practical wisdom and its related philosophical ramifications emerge time and again at critical junctures, throwing into bold relief some of the deeper dimensions of questions as diverse as the nature of democracy, the concept of law, and the theory of work. Practicalknowledge constitutes a unifying motif of Simon’s entire encyclopedic effort. This volume reconstructs what would have been Simon’s final sustained writing on practicalknowledge. It includes reworking of some previously published material, especially the landmark 1961 essay, "Introduction to the Study of Practical Wisdom," possibly the best treatment of the concept of "command" in recent philosophical writing. But it also reproduces, in a form closely corresponding to Simon’s intention, material drawn from notes and schemata, concerning issues such as the relationship between moral science and wisdom, the nature of practical judgment, and the relationship between practicalknowledge and Christian moral philosophy. Also included are previously unpublished letters to Jacques Maritain on the controversy surrounding the theoretical-practical and practico-practical syllogisms, as well as Maritain’s responses. The volume concludes with applications of Simon’s general theory to a critique of the concept of a social science and to the notion of Christian humanism. This volume will appeal to moral philosophers interested in a range of normative issues, as well as social scientists and readers concerned with the philosophical foundations of modern culture. Virtue moralist, in particular, will find in Simon one of the profoundest commentators on this tradition in normative ethics. (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)
This thesis proposes that an account of first-person reference and first-person thinking requires an account of practicalknowledge. At a minimum, first-person reference requires at least a capacity for knowledge of the intentional act of reference. More typically, first-person reasoning requires deliberation and the ability to draw inferences while entertaining different 'I' thoughts. Other accounts of first-person reference--such as the perceptual account and the rule-based account--are criticized as inadequate. An account of practicalknowledge is provided (...) by an interpretation of GEM Anscombe's account in her landmark monograph "Intention". (shrink)
Recently, some philosophers have defended the idea that knowledge is an interest-relative notion. According to this thesis, whether an agent knows P may depend on the practical costs of her being wrong about P. This perspective marks a radical departure from traditional accounts that take knowledge to be a purely intellectual concept. I think there is much to say on behalf of the interest-relative notion. In this paper, I report on some new evidence which strongly suggests that (...) ordinary people’s attributions of knowledge are in fact sensitive to practical interests. This is noteworthy because recent experiments have been interpreted by many to support the opposite conclusion. I also argue that the new results support an invariantist but interest-relativist account of knowledge, a thesis known as Interest Relative Invariantism (IRI). I do not make the case here that IRI gives us the very best explanation of the results presented here. Any such attempt would require an in-depth survey of the last few decades of work in epistemology. I only want to argue here that IRI gives us a simple and elegant explanation of the new data, and that the same cannot be said about traditional contextualism, a leading competitor to IRI. (shrink)
Argues that we know without observation or inference at least some of what we are doing intentionally and that this possibility must be explained in terms of knowledge-how. It is a consequence of the argument that knowing how to do something cannot be identified with knowledge of a proposition.
In defending his interest-relative account of knowledge in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley relies heavily on intuitions about several bank cases. We experimentally test the empirical claims that Stanley seems to make concerning our common-sense intuitions about these bank cases. Additionally, we test the empirical claims that Jonathan Schaffer seems to make in his critique of Stanley. We argue that our data impugn what both Stanley and Schaffer claim our intuitions about such cases are. To (...) account for these results, one must develop a better conception of the connection between a subject's interests and her body of knowledge than those offered by Stanley and Schaffer. (shrink)
Introduction -- Part I: Willing as practical knowing -- The will and practical judgment -- Fundamental practical judgments : the wish for happiness -- Part II: From presuppositions of judgment to the idea of a categorical imperative -- The formal presuppositions of practical judgment -- Constraints on willing -- Part III: Interpretation -- The categorical imperative -- Applications -- Conclusion.
It has become recently popular to suggest that knowledge is the epistemic norm of practical reasoning and that this provides an important constraint on the correct account of knowledge, one which favours subject-sensitive invariantism over contextualism and classic invariantism. I argue that there are putative counterexamples to both directions of the knowledge norm. Even if the knowledge norm can be defended against these counterexamples, I argue that it is a delicate issue whether it is true, (...) one which relies on fine distinctions among a variety of relevant notions of propriety which our intuitions may reflect. These notions variously apply to the agent herself, her character traits, her beliefs, her reasoning and any resultant action. Given the delicacy of these issues, I argue that the knowledge norm is not a fixed point from which to defend substantive and controversial views in epistemology. Rather, these views need to be defended on other grounds. (shrink)
Ryle’s account of practical knowing is much controverted. The paper seeks to place present disputations in a larger context and draw attention to the connection between Ryle’s preoccupations and Aristotle’s account of practical reason, practical intelligence, and the way in which human beings enter into the way of being and acting that Aristotle denominates ethos . Considering matters in this framework, the author finds inconclusive the arguments that Stanley and Williamson offer for seeing knowing how to as (...) a special case of knowing that. The paper then explores certain implications of the author’s position for the philosophy of mind and the grammatical analysis of constructions involving ‘know how to’. It ends with a neo-Rylean remark about Aristotelian nous. (shrink)
Defenders of pragmatic encroachment in epistemology (or what I call practicalism) need to address two main problems. First, the view seems to imply, absurdly, that knowledge can come and go quite easily—in particular, that it might come and go along with our variable practical interests. We can call this the stability problem. Second, there seems to be no fully satisfying way of explaining whose practical interests matter. We can call this the “whose stakes?” problem. I argue that (...) both problems can be addressed in roughly the same terms. More exactly, I argue that by first clarifying the whose stakes? problem an answer to the stability problem naturally falls out. (shrink)
Defenders of pragmatic theories of knowledge (such as contextualism and sensitive invariantism) argue that these theories, unlike those that invoke a single standard for knowledge, comport with the intuitively compelling thesis that knowledge is the norm of assertion and practical reason. In this paper, I dispute this thesis, and argue that, therefore, the prospects for both “high standard” approach, and contend that if one abandons the thesis that knowledge is the norm of assertion and (...) class='Hi'>practical reason, the most serious arguments against it lose force. (shrink)
In Knowledge and Lotteries, Hawthorne argues for a view on which whether a speaker knows that p depends on whether her practical environment makes it appropriate for her to use p in practical reasoning. It may seem that this view yields a straightforward account of why knowledge is important, based on the role of knowledge in practical reasoning. I argue that this is not so; practical reasoning does not motivate us to care about (...)knowledge in itself. At best, practical reasoning motivates us to care about several other concepts in themselves, and ascriptions of knowledge provide economical summaries of these independently important desiderata. (shrink)
: This paper defends the knowledge rule of informative speech acts. It is argued that Edward Craig's insightful practical explication of the concept of knowledge can be extended to motivate the knowledge rule. A number of problem cases for the knowledge rule are addressed and accommodated.
When making an assessment of animal welfare, it is important to take environmental (housing) or animal-based parameters into account. An alternative approach is to focus on the behavior and appearance of the animal, without making actual measurements or quantifying this. None of these tell the whole story. In this paper, we suggest that it is possible to find common ground between these (seemingly) diametrically opposed positions and argue that this may be the way to deal with the complexity of animal (...) welfare. The model will have to be acceptable for the different parties that will be affected by it and real benefits for the animal should result from it. This will be the basis of a practical ethical approach. All this can be condensed into a model that essentially is made up out of three basic elements: the classical welfare analysis with an existing welfare assessment tool, an assessment of the stockholder, and an implementation of the Free Choice Profiling technique. This new framework does not pretend to be a different or better animal welfare matrix; it is intended to integrate existing knowledge and to provide a practical tool to improve animal welfare. It identifies whether there are welfare problems on a farm, if present whether these problems are caused by the housing system or the stockholder, and what can be done to improve the situation. (shrink)
If knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning, then we should be able to alter people's behavior by affecting their knowledge as well as by affecting their beliefs. Thus, as Roy Sorensen (2010) suggests, we should expect to find people telling lies that target knowledge rather than just lies that target beliefs. In this paper, however, I argue that Sorensen's discovery of “knowledge-lies” does not support the claim that knowledge is the norm of (...) class='Hi'>practical reasoning. First, I use a Bayesian framework to show that in each of Sorensen's examples, knowledge-lies alter people's behavior by affecting their beliefs. Second, I show that while we can imagine lies that target knowledge without targeting beliefs, they cannot alter people's behavior. In other words, knowledge-lies actually work (i.e., manipulate behavior) by targeting beliefs or they do not work at all. (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)
Igal Kvart RATIONAL ASSERTIBILITY, THE STEERING ROLE OF KNOWLEDGE, AND PRAGMATIC ENCROACHMENT Abstract In the past couple of decades, there were a few major attempts to establish the thesis of pragmatic encroachment – that there is a significant pragmatic ingredient in the truth-conditions for knowledge-ascriptions. Epistemic contextualism has flaunted the notion of a conversational standard, and Stanley's subject-sensitive invariantism (SSI) promoted stakes, each of which, according to their proponents, play a major role as pragmatic components in the truth (...) conditions of knowledge ascriptions. These conceptions were propelled first and foremost by examples of knowledge ascriptions with obvious pragmatic aspects that seemed to require a pragmatic component in the truth-conditions of knowledge ascriptions in order to be accounted for. However, if such examples can be adequately explained not by pragmatic encroachment purely pragmatically, the central role that such examples play in supporting these accounts will be undermined. I lay out here a new pragmatic account, offering a different, purely pragmatic picture that explains such examples, and much more. If such an account and its associated explanations are adequate, then much of a need or a motivation for pragmatic encroachment is undermined. Specifically, I will develop the notion of rational assertibility, appealing to rational norms (which are not Gricean) as interfacing with semantic and epistemic (and other) norms to yield assertibility simpliciter. More importantly, I will argue for a well-entrenched pragmatic profile of knowledge, the so-called steering role of knowledge. Knowledge ascriptions, or simple assertions (that don't invoke the notion of knowledge), it will be argued, play a pragmatic role of steering audiences in joint deliberational setups to the speaker's preferred action by invoking an impending practical inference leading to that preferred action, and of ignoring incompatible alternatives. The recognition of rational forces as affecting, sometimes strongly and predominantly, intuitions associated with knowledge ascriptions, has important implications to philosophical methodology regarding what count as evidence for semantic features. One such lesson calls for securing examples with no significant rational forces at play in order to establish semantic features. Another calls attention to the ill-suitability of employing assertibility by figures in examples featuring deliberational setups for such a purpose in view of the role that such assertibility plays in reflecting rational aspects of such figures, in addition to their epistemic and semantic characteristics. Still another lesson points to a specific role that audiences play in such deliberational setups. (shrink)
This paper explores how the purpose of the concept of knowledge affects knowledge ascriptions in natural language. I appeal to the idea that the role of the concept of knowledge is to flag reliable informants, and I use this idea to illuminate and support contextualism about ‘knows’. I argue that practical pressures that arise in an epistemic state of nature provide an explanatory basis for the emergence of a particular brand of contextualism that I call ‘ (...) class='Hi'>practical interests contextualism’. I also use this practical explication of knowledge to answer some questions that contextualism leaves open, particularly why knowledge attributions are valuable, why ‘knows’ exhibits context-variability, and why this term enjoys such widespread use. Finally, I show how my contextualist framework accommodates plausible ideas from two rival views: subject-sensitive invariantism and insensitive invariantism. This provides new support for contextualism and develops this view in a way that improves our understanding of the concept of knowledge. (shrink)
I argue that logical understanding is not propositional knowledgebut is rather a species of practicalknowledge. I further arguethat given the best explanation of logical understanding someversion or another of inferential role semantics must be the correct account of the determinants of logical content.
The latest newcomer on the epistemology scene is Subject-Sensitive Invariantism (SSI), which is the view that even though the semantics of the verb “know” is invariant, the answer to the question of whether someone knows something is sensitive to factors about that person. Factors about the context of the purported knower are relevant to whether he knows some proposition p or not. In this paper I present Jason Stanley's version of SSI, a theory Stanley calls Interest-Relative Invariantism (IRI). The core (...) epistemological claim of IRI is that knowledge is conceptually connected to practical interests. Stanley's defence of IRI is closely connected to practical reasoning, but unfortunately, I argue, IRI leads to bad practical reasoning. I furthermore show that Stanley's IRI cannot accommodate all of Stanley's five test cases for knowledge attribution, test cases that are supposed to (more or less) make or break theories of knowledge attribution. IRI also has some quite counterintuitive results and derives much of its appeal from one-sidedness of Stanley's examples. The net effect, I claim, is that IRI should be resisted. (shrink)
It is increasingly argued that there is a single unified constitutive norm of both assertion and practical reasoning. The most common suggestion is that knowledge is this norm. If this is correct, then we would expect that a diagnosis of problematic assertions should manifest as problematic reasons for acting. Jennifer Lackey has recently argued that assertions epistemically grounded in isolated second-hand knowledge (ISHK) are unwarranted. I argue that decisions epistemically grounded in premises based on ISHK also seem (...) inappropriate. I finish by suggesting that this finding has important implications for the debates regarding the norms of assertion and practical reasoning. (shrink)
This paper recounts the efforts of a Bioethics student to understand the experience of human subjects of medical research in Kenya. Although the endeavor resulted in more questions than answers, it served to highlight areas where the current system of protections has failed to secure the well-being of those involved. It concludes that, in addition to existing considerations, ethical review ought to include another kind of information: that which can be gained only from listening to the feelings and experiences related (...) by subjects themselves. (shrink)
Leading philosophical accounts presume that Thomas H. Morgan’s transmission theory can be understood independently of experimental practices. Experimentation is taken to be relevant to confirming, rather than interpreting, the transmission theory. But the construction of Morgan’s theory went hand in hand with the reconstruction of the chief experimental object, the model organism Drosophila melanogaster . This raises an important question: when a theory is constructed to account for phenomena in carefully controlled laboratory settings, what knowledge, if any, indicates the (...) theory’s relevance to phenomena outside highly controlled settings? The answer, I argue, is found within the procedural knowledge embedded within laboratory practice. †To contact the author, please write to: Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota, Department of Philosophy, 831 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455‐0310; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
The quest to foretell the future is omnipresent in human affairs. A potential solution to this epistemological conundrum has emerged through mass collaboration. Motored by the Internet, prediction markets allow a multitude of individuals to assume a stake in a security whose value is tied to a future event. The resulting prices offer a continuously updated probability estimate of the event actually taking place. This paper gives a survey of prediction markets, their history, mechanics, uses, and theoretical foundation. We also (...) review the literature surrounding their efficacy. Though there are shortcomings with prediction markets, as well as practical constraints, they hold out the prospect of improving the quality of organizational decisions and increasing the level of participation in the deliberative process. We also note that lessons can be drawn from these markets to guide the epistemological practices of disciplines and inquiries in which empirical methods are difficult to apply. (shrink)
Our intuitions about whether someone knows that p vary even fixing the intuitively epistemic features of that person’s situation. Sometimes they vary with features of our own situation, and sometimes they vary with features of the putative knower’s situation. If the putative knower is in a risky situation and her belief that p is pivotal in achieving a positive outcome of one of the actions available to her, or avoiding a negative one, we often feel she must be in a (...) particularly good epistemic position to know that p. If however she is not in a risky situation, we tend to be considerably more permissive in our attributions of knowledge. Our intuitions about when someone knows that p and when she doesn’t also fluctuate with what is salient, either to the putative knower or ourselves. If someone claims to know where their car is, and I raise the possibility that it has been stolen, she may retract her claim to know. Which of these tendencies, if any, reveal something about the nature of our epistemic terms or concepts? (shrink)
This paper investigates simple syntactic methods for revising prioritized belief bases, that are semantically meaningful in the frameworks of possibility theory and of Spohn''s ordinal conditional functions. Here, revising prioritized belief bases amounts to conditioning a distribution function on interpretations. The input information leading to the revision of a knowledge base can be sure or uncertain. Different types of scales for priorities are allowed: finite vs. infinite, numerical vs. ordinal. Syntactic revision is envisaged here as a process which transforms (...) a prioritized belief bases into a new prioritized belief base, and thus allows a subsequent iteration. (shrink)
Richard Moran’s Authority and Estrangement develops a compelling explanation of the characteristic features of self-knowledge that involve the use of ‘I’ as subject. Such knowledge is immediate in the sense of non-inferential, is not evidentially grounded and is epistemically authoritative.1 A&E develops its distinctive explanation while also offering accounts of other features of self-knowledge that are often overlooked, such as the centrality of self-knowledge characterised in this way to the concept of the person and its ethical (...) importance. Moran recognises that were an agent to lack the capacity authoritatively to avow his or her own state of mind this would be an ethically damaging defect. Moran’s treatment of these issues is subtle and in places profoundly insightful. I will argue, however, that there is a loose fit between two separate explanations that he gives of self-knowledge. On the one hand Moran argues that the best explanation of self-. (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)
The maturation of the cognitive neurosciences will throw light on many central philosophical issues. Among them: semantic theory, perception, learning, social and moral knowledge, and practical reasoning and decision making. As contemporary medicine cannot do without the achievements of modern biology, philosophy would be pitiful if it disregarded the achievements of brain research.
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)
The question as to the appropriate method of epistemic analysis has always been an issue for epistemologists. In recent years, the traditional method utilized in epistemology - conceptual analysis - has come under attack from various perspectives. Yet, often no replacement method is given in its place. In two works, "A Practical Explication of Knowledge" and Knowledge and the State of Nature, Edward Craig proposes a new way of doing epistemology. Craig's epistemic method eschews traditional conceptual analysis (...) in favor of what he calls "conceptual synthesis". He proposes we start not from the finding of necessary and sufficient conditions that match our intuitions; rather we start from considerations on what the concept of knowledge does for us. Though there is much to discuss in Craig proposal, in this paper I explore one aspect - the good informant. It is this aspect that is central to Craig's epistemic method and perhaps most problematic. In this essay, I evaluate this concept by first articulating three initial worries that some have had about the concept. I show that each of the initial worries can be quelled by looking deeper into the features of what Craig's proposal is. I then assess Craig's proposal on its own terms. Instead of looking to counterexamples for possible problems, I look at the concept of a good informant in light of the criteria for an adequate explication. What I hope to show is that while there is much to be sympathetic with in Craig's proposal, there are some open questions that need to be solved in order to say that an adequate explication has been reached. (shrink)
Ryle’s distinction between knowing that and knowing how has recently been challenged. The paper first briefly defends the distinction and then proceeds to address the question of classifying moral knowledge. Moral knowledge is special in that it is practical, that is, it is essentially a motive. Hence the way we understand moral knowledge crucially depends on the way we understand motivation. The Humean theory of motivation is wrong in saying that reason cannot be a motive, but (...) right in saying that desire is essential for motivating us. The right response to the Humean theory of motivation is to see that moral knowledge is desire-related rationality or thought-related desire. Moral knowledge is neither knowing that nor knowing how but rather a third species of knowledge which we may call “knowing to do.” Knowing to do is to be rationally disposed to do the right thing. This understanding of moral knowledge is exactly what we can learn from Aristotle’s ethics. (shrink)
In this lecture, given on 17 June 2004, the author describes the conditions for proper disclosure of the wisdom of Kabbalah. He explains that today everyone is entitled and indeed is required to know about its true meaning. Expounding on the three past bans - "no need to disclose," "impossible to disclose," and "the Creator's personal secret" - Makaron demonstrates why today they have been (at least partially) lifted.
The current neurosciences contribute to the construction of gender/sex to a high degree. Moreover, the subject of gender/sex differences in cognitive abilities attracts an immense public interest. At the same time, the entanglement of gender and science has been shown in many theoretical and empirical analyses. Although the body of literature is very extensive and differentiated with regards to the dimensions of ‘neuroscience of gender’ and ‘gender in neuroscience’, the feeding back of these findings into the field of neuroscience remains (...) a desideratum. Especially, the question of how gender knowledge, i.e. insights from feminist theory on gender/sex and from gender and science studies on knowledge production, may be integrated and applied within the neurosciences has been strongly neglected. Presumably due to their epistemic culture and epistemological presuppositions, these critical engagements are conceived as externalist by critical scholars and neuroscientists alike. In this context, the question arises of how substantiated gender knowledge may be accounted for in neuroscientific research practice? The article outlines methodological considerations for a critical research agenda in the cognitive neurosciences. I present thoughts on how insights and expertise from gender and science studies can be taken into account in the neuroscientific practice of knowledge production. Starting from the assumption that changes in neuroscientific research practices are possible, my aim is to point out possibilities of integrating gender knowledge into the neurosciences. (shrink)
Overgeneralization -- Vague definition -- Post hoc, propter hoc -- False analogy -- Partial selection of the evidence -- Groupthink -- Scams, deceptions, ruses, swindles, hoaxes and gaslights -- Begging the question -- The logic of Alice.
How can we identify and estimate workers’ tacit knowledge? How can we design a personnel mix aimed at improving and speeding up its transfer and development? How is it possible to implement tacit knowledge sustainable projects in remote areas? In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to distinguish between types of tacit knowledge, to establish what they allow for and to consider their sources. It is also essential to find a way of managing the tacit (...)knowledge ‘stock’ and distribution within the workforce. In short, a conceptual framework is needed to manage tacit knowledge. Based on previous works and 2 years of action research, this paper introduces such a framework and describes its partial application to support the pre-operational training and hiring in a large industrial plant in Brazil. Two contributions emerge from the research. First, the concept of ‘levels of similarity’ is introduced as a means to qualify the experience of workers and estimate the associated tacit knowledge. Second, the capability of carrying out three types of judgement properly and speedily is put forward as being a core ability of those who possess what has been called ‘collective tacit knowledge’ (Collins in Organ Stud 28(2):257–262, 2007). In practical terms, the results indicate the opportunity for companies to capitalize on the experience and tacit knowledge of their workers in a systematic way and with due recognition. Ultimately, positive impacts are expected in their absorptive capacity as well as in their management and human resources systems, accident prevention, productivity and the development of sustainable projects in remote areas. (shrink)
The concept of "practices"--whether of representation, of political or scientific traditions, or of organizational culture--is central to social theory. In this book, Stephen Turner presents the first analysis and critique of the idea of practice as it has developed in the various theoretical traditions of the social sciences and the humanities. Understood broadly as a tacit understanding "shared" by a group, the concept of a practice has a fatal difficulty, Turner argues: there is no plausible mechanism by which a "practice" (...) is transmitted or reproduced. The historical uses of the concept, from Durkheim to Kripke's version of Wittgenstein, provide examples of the contortions that thinkers have been forced into by this problem, and show the ultimate implausibility of the idea. Turner's conclusion sketches a picture of what happens when we do without the notion of a shared practice, and how this bears on social theory and philosophy. It explains why social theory cannot get beyond the stage of constructing fuzzy analogies, and why the standard constructions of the contemporary philosophical problem of relativism depend upon this defective notion. This first book-length critique of practice theory is sure to stir discussion and controversy in a wide range of fields, from philosophy and science studies to sociology, anthropology, literary studies, and political and legal theory. (shrink)