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Profile: Ruth Weintraub (Tel Aviv University)
Profile: Ruth-Claire Weintraub
  1. Ruth Weintraub (2013). Induction and Inference to the Best Explanation. Philosophical Studies 166 (1):203-216.
    In this paper I adduce a new argument in support of the claim that IBE is an autonomous form of inference, based on a familiar, yet surprisingly, under-discussed, problem for Hume’s theory of induction. I then use some insights thereby gleaned to argue for the claim that induction is really IBE, and draw some normative conclusions.
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  2. Ruth Weintraub (2004). Sleeping Beauty: A Simple Solution. Analysis 64 (1):8–10.
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  3.  75
    Ruth Weintraub (2008). How Probable is an Infinite Sequence of Heads? A Reply to Williamson. Analysis 68 (299):247–250.
    It is possible that a fair coin tossed infinitely many times will always land heads. So the probability of such a sequence of outcomes should, intuitively, be positive, albeit miniscule: 0 probability ought to be reserved for impossible events. And, furthermore, since the tosses are independent and the probability of heads (and tails) on a single toss is half, all sequences are equiprobable. But Williamson has adduced an argument that purports to show that our intuitions notwithstanding, the probability of an (...)
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  4.  34
    Ruth Weintraub (2013). Can Steadfast Peer Disagreement Be Rational? Philosophical Quarterly 63 (253):740-759.
    According to conciliatory views about peer disagreement, both peers must accord their disagreeing peer some weight, and move towards him. Non‐conciliatory views allow one peer, the one who responded correctly to the evidence, to remain steadfast. In this paper, I consider the suggestion that it may be rational for both disagreeing peers to hold steadfastly to their opinion. To this end, I contend with arguments adduced against the permissiveness the supposition involves, and identify some ways in which different responses for (...)
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  5.  62
    Ruth Weintraub (2007). Desire as Belief, Lewis Notwithstanding. Analysis 67 (294):116–122.
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  6. Ruth Weintraub (1995). What Was Hume's Contribution to the Problem of Induction? Philosophical Quarterly 45 (181):460-470.
    There are very few philosophical issues which are so intimately associated with one single philosopher as is the problem of induction with Hume. This paper argues against this received opinion. It shows that Hume was neither the first to think induction problematic, nor the originator of the argument he adduced in support of the (sceptical) position. It then explains his (more modest) contribution. Its primary concern, however, is not historical. By considering Hume’s contribution to the problem of induction, it is (...)
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  7.  17
    Ruth Weintraub (2015). Evidentialism and the Will to Believe by Scott F. Aikin. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 68 (4):833-834.
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  8. Ruth Weintraub (1991). Epistemology Without Knowledge? Ratio 4 (2):157-169.
    Epistemologists have traditionally been concerned with two issues: the justification of particular beliefs or sets of beliefs, and claims to knowledge. I propose to examine the relative import of these questions by comparing the gravity of the threat posed by two sceptics: one who questions the justifiability of our beliefs, and one who doubts our knowledge claims.
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  9. Ruth Weintraub (2003). The Time of a Killing. Analysis 63 (3):178–182.
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  10.  31
    Ruth Weintraub (1997). The Sceptical Challenge. Routledge.
    Skepticism gives a pessimistic reply to questions on whether we really know the things we think we know, and whether our beliefs are reasonable. The theoretical and practical difficulties presented by the skeptical challenge--in that the skeptical life cannot be lived, and the doctrine seems self-defeating--are in fact superficial, according to Ruth Weintraub. Her study looks at several famous skeptical arguments of Descartes, Hume, and the ancient Greek skeptic, Sextus Empiricus. She argues that by drawing on philosophy, rather than science, (...)
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  11.  24
    Ruth Weintraub (2011). Logic For Expressivists. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):601 - 616.
    In this paper I offer solutions to two problems which our moral practice engenders for expressivism, the meta-ethical doctrine according to which ethical statements aren't propositional, susceptible of truth and falsity, but, rather, express the speaker's non-cognitive attitudes. First, the expressivist must show that arguments which are valid when interpreted propositionally are valid when construed expressivistically, and vice versa. The second difficulty is the Frege-Geach problem. Moral arguments employ atomic sentences, negations, disjunctions, etc., and, by expressivist lights, the meaning of (...)
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  12.  14
    Ruth Weintraub (2001). A Bayesian Paradox. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):51-66.
    A seemingly plausible application of Bayesian decision-theoretic reasoning to determine one's rational degrees of belief yields a paradoxical conclusion: one ought to jettison one's intermediate credences in favour of more extreme (opinionated) ones. I discuss various attempts to solve the paradox, those involving the acceptance of the paradoxical conclusion, and those which attempt to block its derivation.
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  13.  50
    Ruth Weintraub (1996). The Impossibility of Interpersonal Utility Comparisons: A Critical Note. Mind 105 (420):661-665.
    Hausman has recently provided an argument against identifying well-being with preference-satisfaction. I will focus on two of his premises. Hausman’s arguments for the first, I will suggest, fail. If the third premise is correct, I shall then argue, it can be used to undermine other plausible conceptions of the good.
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  14.  64
    Ruth Weintraub (1993). Fallibilism and Rational Belief. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (2):251-261.
    Fallibilism is an attractive epistemological position, avoiding the Scylla of rationalism, and the Charybdis of scepticism. Acknowledging, on the one hand, human imperfection, yet claiming that science and rational inquiry are possible. Fallibilism is a thesis, but equally importantly – an epistemological recommendation. that we should never be absolutely sure of anything. My aim in this paper is to drive a wedge between the thesis and the recommendation. The (eminently plausible) doctrine, I shall argue, cannot be used to ground the (...)
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  15.  67
    Ruth Weintraub (2008). A Problem for Hume's Theory of Induction. Hume Studies 34 (2):169-187.
    According to Hume, the paradigm type of inductive reasoning, or—to use his terminology 1—"the inference we draw from cause to effect", involves a constant conjunction. "We remember to have had frequent instances of the existence of one species of objects; and also remember, that the individuals of another species of objects have always attended them.... Thus we remember to have seen that species of object we call flame, and to have felt that species of sensation we call heat. We likewise (...)
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  16.  14
    Ruth Weintraub (1998). Do Utility Comparisons Pose a Problem? Philosophical Studies 92 (3):307-319.
    Comparisons between utilities pose a pressing problem if, while incapable of being grounded, they are required in ethical deliberation. My aim is to consider whether there are epistemological impediments to implementing such ethical choices. Can we find ourselves being persuaded of the ethical need to compare utilities of different individuals, yet unable to do so because the comparisons cannot be warranted? I argue that the problem cannot arise; no plausible moral principle will invoke magnitudes which are inscrutable.
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  17.  33
    Ruth Weintraub (2012). What Can We Learn From Buridan's Ass? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):281-301.
    The mythical1 hungry ass, facing two identical bundles of hay equidistant from him, has engendered two related questions. Can he choose one of the bundles, there seemingly being nothing to incline him one way or the other? If he can, the second puzzle — pertaining to rational choice — arises. It seems the ass cannot rationally choose one of the bundles, because there is no sufficient reason for any choice.2In what follows, I will argue that choice is possible even when (...)
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  18.  19
    Ruth Weintraub (2003). The Naturalistic Response to Scepticism. Philosophy 78 (3):369-386.
    Hume is sometimes thought to provide a ‘naturalistic’ response to the sceptic. I consider two ways in which this response may be construed. According to the first, the fact that we are psychologically determined to hold a belief provides it with justification. According to the second, ‘natural’ beliefs provide limits within which reason can legitimately be employed, limits which the sceptic transgresses when he attempts to defend his position. Both versions of the naturalistic response to scepticism, I will argue, aren't (...)
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  19.  18
    Ruth Weintraub (1995). Practical Solutions to the Surprise-Examination Paradox. Ratio 8 (2):161-169.
    In this paper I consider the surprise examination paradox from a practical perspective, paying special attention to the communicative role of the teacher’s promise to the students. This perspective, which places the promise within a practice, rather than viewing it in the abstract, imposes constraints on adequate solutions to the paradox. In the light of these constraints, I examine various solutions which have been offered, and suggest two of my own.
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  20.  48
    Ruth Weintraub (1988). A Paradox of Confirmation. Erkenntnis 29 (2):169 - 180.
    I present a puzzle which seems simple, but is found to have interesting implications for confirmation. Its dissolution also helps us to throw light on the relationship between first- and second-order probabilities construed as rational degrees of belief.
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  21.  63
    Ruth Weintraub (2009). A Solution to the Cable Guy Paradox. Erkenntnis 71 (3):355 - 359.
    The Cable Guy will definitely come between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and I can bet on one of two possibilities: that he will arrive between 8 and 12, or between 12 and 4. Since I have no more information, it seems (eminently) plausible to suppose the two bets are equally attractive. Yet Hajek has presented a tantalising argument that purports to show that the later interval is, initial appearances to the contrary, more choice worthy. In this paper, I rebut (...)
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  22.  39
    Ruth Weintraub (2008). A Problem for Hume's Theory of Induction. Hume Studies 34 (2):169-187.
    According to Hume, the paradigm type of inductive reasoning involves a constant conjunction. But, as Price points out, Hume misrepresents ordinary induction: we experience very few constant conjunctions. In this paper, I examine several ways of defending Hume’s (psychological) account of our practice against Price’s objection, and conclude that the theory cannot be upheld.
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  23.  5
    Ruth Weintraub (2009). A Solution to the Cable Guy Paradox. Erkenntnis 71 (3):355-359.
    The Cable Guy will definitely come between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and I can bet on one of two possibilities: that he will arrive between 8 and 12, or between 12 and 4. Since I have no more information, it seems (eminently) plausible to suppose the two bets are equally attractive. Yet Hajek has presented a tantalising argument that purports to show that the later interval is, initial appearances to the contrary, more choice-worthy. In this paper, I rebut the (...)
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  24.  66
    Ruth Weintraub (1987). Unconscious Mental States. Philosophical Quarterly 37 (October):423-32.
    The nature of consciousness has long been a central concern for philosophers of the mind. My purpose in this paper is to argue that it is the existence of some unconscious mental states which poses problems for the action theory of belief. Showing their existence to be compatible with theory is not straightforward, and requires an account of unconscious belief and desire which is at odds with that favoured by many action-theorists.
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  25.  28
    Ruth Weintraub (1996). The Credibility of Miracles. Philosophical Studies 82 (3):359 - 375.
    Hume’s famous argument against the credibility of testimony about miracles invokes two premises: 1) The reliability of the witness (the extent to which he is informed and truthful) must be compared with the intrinsic probability of the miracle. 2) The initial probability of a miracle is always small enough to outweigh the improbability that the testimony is false (even when the witness is assumed to be reliable). I defend the first premise of the argument, showing that Hume’s argument can be (...)
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  26.  36
    Ruth Weintraub (2006). What Descartes' Demon Can Do and His Dream Cannot. Theoria 72 (4):319-335.
    The reason Descartes cites for invoking the demon argument in addition to the dream argument is that the demon argument is intended to broaden the scope of Descartes’ scepticism, to subsume additional beliefs under it. I present an additional, unfamiliar reason. There is, I argue, an important difference between the two sceptical arguments. It pertains not to their scope, but to their “depth”, to the kind of scepticism they are capable of inducing.
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  27.  28
    Ruth Weintraub (1999). The Spatiality of the Mental and the Mind-Body Problem. Synthese 117 (3):409-17.
    I consider a seemingly attractive strategy for grappling with the mind-body problem. It is often thought that materialists are committed to spatially locating mental events, whereas dualists are barred from so doing. The thought naturally arises, then, that reasons for or against the spatiality of the mental may be wielded to adjudicate between the different positions in the mind-body dispute. Showing that mental events are spatially located, it may be thought, is ipso facto showing the truth of materialism. Conversely, it (...)
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  28.  42
    Ruth Weintraub (2011). A Solution to the Discursive Dilemma. Philosophical Studies 152 (2):181 - 188.
    An impossibility result pertaining to the aggregation of individual judgements is thought by many to have significant implications for political theory, social epistemology and metaphysics. When members of a group hold a rational set of judgments on some interconnected questions, the theorem shows, it isn't always (logically) possible for them to aggregate their judgements into a collective one in conformity with seemingly very plausible constraints. I reject one of the constraints which engender the dilemma. The analogy with the lottery paradox, (...)
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  29.  33
    Ruth Weintraub (2007). Locke Vs. Hume: Who is the Better Concept-Empiricist? Dialogue 46 (3):481-500.
    According to the received view, Hume is a much more rigorous and consistent concept-empiricist than Locke. Hume is supposed to have taken as a starting point Locke’s meaning-empiricism, and worked out its full radical implicalions. Locke, by way of contrast, cowered from drawing his theory’s strange consequences. The received view about Locke’s and Hume’s concept-empiricism is mistaken, I shall argue. Hume may be more uncompromising (although he too falters), but he is not more rigorous than Locke. It is not because (...)
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  30.  43
    Ruth Weintraub (1995). Psychological Determinism and Rationality. Erkenntnis 43 (1):67-79.
    There are arguments which purport to rebut psychological determinism by appealing to its alleged incompatibility with rationality. I argue that they all fail. Against Davidson, I argue that rationality does not preclude the existence of psychological laws. Against Popper, I argue that rationality is compatible with the possibility of predicting human actions. Against Schlesinger, I claim that Newcomb's problem cannot be invoked to show that human actions are unpredictable. Having vindicated the possibility of a rationally-based theory of action, I consider (...)
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  31.  23
    Ruth Weintraub (2009). The Doomsday Argument Revisited (a Stop in the Shooting-Room Included). Polish Journal of Philosophy 3 (2):109-122.
    Leslie’s doomsday argument purports to show that the likelihood of the human race perishing soon is greater than we think. The probability we attach to it, based on our estimate of the chance of various calamities which might bring extinction about , should be adjusted as follows. If the human race were to survive for a long time, we, livingnow, would be atypical. So our living now increases the probability that the human race will end shortly. In this paper, I (...)
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  32.  21
    Ruth Weintraub (2005). A Humean Conundrum. Hume Studies 31 (2):211-224.
    Hume’s Copy Principle, which accords precedence to impressions over ideas, is restricted to simple perceptions. Yet in all the conceptual analyses Hume conducts by attempting to fit an impression to a (putative) idea, he never checks for simplicity. And this seems to vitiate the analyses: we cannot conclude from the lack of a preceding impression that a putative idea is bogus, unless it is simple. In this paper I criticise several attempts to account for Hume’s seemingly cavalier attitude, and offer (...)
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  33.  29
    Ruth Weintraub (2003). Verificationism Revisited. Ratio 16 (1):83–98.
    I aim to stand the received view about verificationism on its head. It is commonly thought that verificationism is a powerful philosophical tool, which we could deploy very effectively if only it weren’t so hopelessly implausible. On the contrary, I argue. Verificationism - if properly construed - may well be true. But its philosophical applications are chimerical.
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  34.  21
    Ruth Weintraub (1997). The Cartesian Circle and Two Forms of Scepticism. History of Philosophy Quarterly 14 (4):365 - 377.
    Descartes’ circle has been extensively discussed, and I do not wish to add another paper to that literature. Rather, I use the circle to facilitate our understanding of two types of scepticism and the proper attitude to them. Descartes’ text is especially apt for this purpose, because a case can be made for attributing to him both types. Although I will touch on the interpretative question, that is not my main aim. My contention is that one brand - whether or (...)
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  35.  10
    Ruth Weintraub (2013). A New Humean Criticism of Our Inductive Practice. The European Legacy 18 (4):420-431.
    Hume?s familiar sceptical argument against induction brands as irrational our practice of generalising from observed regularities because of its reliance on the assumption that nature is uniform, an assumption which is unjustifiable. The argument which I wish to consider focuses instead on the observed regularities that are required if we are legitimately to extrapolate from experience. According to Hume, the paradigm type of inductive reasoning involves a constant conjunction. But in fact we do not encounter such invariable uniformities: our experience (...)
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  36.  15
    Ruth Weintraub (1990). Decision-Theoretic Epistemology. Synthese 83 (1):159 - 177.
    In this paper, I examine the possibility of accounting for the rationality of belief-formation by utilising decision-theoretic considerations. I consider the utilities to be used by such an approach, propose to employ verisimilitude as a measure of cognitive utility, and suggest a natural way of generalising any measure of verisimilitude defined on propositions to partial belief-systems, a generalisation which may enable us to incorporate Popper's insightful notion of verisimilitude within a Bayesian framework. I examine a dilemma generated by the decision-theoretic (...)
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  37.  26
    Ruth Weintraub (2007). Separability and Concept-Empiricism: Hume Vs. Locke. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (4):729 – 743.
    Hume invokes the separability of perceptions to derive some of his most contentious pronouncements. To assess the cogency of the arguments, the notion must first be clarified. The clarification reveals that sic different separability claims must be distinguished. Of these, I consider the three that are rarely discussed. They turn out to be unacceptable. Locke espouses none of them.This Article does not have an abstract.
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  38.  7
    Ruth Weintraub (1994). The Basis of Justification. Philosophical Papers 23 (1):19-29.
    Many epistemologists agree with the intuition that “there is no exit from the circle of one’s beliefs”. I shall construe this vague intuition as the claim that justification supervenes on the totality of one’s beliefs: two agents with identical beliefs will be indistinguishable with respect to which of their beliefs are justified and to what degree. My central purpose in this paper is to undermine the supervenience thesis. To this end I shall consider the role(s) of the concept of justification.
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  39.  22
    Joseph Agassi, Dorit Bar-on, D. S. Clarke, Paul Sheldon Davies, Anthony J. Graybosch, Lila Luce, Paul K. Moser, Saul Smilansky, Roger Smook, William Sweet, John J. Tilley & Ruth Weintraub (1994). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 23 (1-4):359-362.
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  40.  19
    Ruth Weintraub (2001). Logical Knowledge. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (1):3 – 18.
    It seems obvious that our beliefs are logically imperfect in two ways: they are neither deductively closed nor logically consistent. But this common-sense truism has been judged erroneous by some philosophers in the light of various arguments. In defence of common sense I consider and rebut interpretative arguments for logical perfection and show that the assumption espoused by common sense is theoretically superior, and capable - unlike its rival - of accounting for the informativeness of mathematics. Finally, I suggest that (...)
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  41.  5
    Ruth Weintraub (1996). The Sceptical Life. Dialectica 50 (3):225-234.
    summaryAccording to the radical sceptic we have no reason to believe anything, being unable even to distinguish the more probable from the less. I propose to consider the practical problems engendered by this stance. It seems to require that we suspend judgement, but it is not clear that we can acquiesce to this demand. Is it psychologically possible to suspend belief? And if it is, can the sceptic live and act without believing? The practical difficulties, I shall argue, are genuine (...)
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  42.  17
    R. S. Woolhouse, George N. Schlesinger, Lawrence Udell Fike, Lila Luce, Giora Hon, Ruth Weintraub & Mark Rowlands (1993). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophia 22 (3-4):293-296.
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  43.  3
    Ruth Weintraub (2011). Humean Bodies. History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (4):373.
    The interpretation of the belief in external objects (“bodies”) Hume ascribes to us isn’t often discussed, and this is surprising, because the parallel question, pertaining to Hume’s construal of the belief about necessity, is hotly debated. As in the case of causation, the content Hume ascribes to the belief in “bodies” is susceptible to more than one reading. Indeed, there is here a plethora of interpretations, engendered by the fact that Hume distinguishes between the belief of the ordinary (vulgar) person (...)
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  44.  9
    Ruth Weintraub (1990). Objectivism Without Objective Probabilities. Theoria 56 (1-2):23-41.
    After defending the pluralistic approach to the interpretation of probability statements, I argue that the correctness of objective probability statements is not to be explained in terms of objective probabilities attached to propositions. Such an explanation will enable us to uphold an intuitively appealing connection between probability and action only in indeterministic contexts, whereas the objectivity of probability statements doesn’t depend on the truth of indeterminism. I show how objective probability statements can be interpreted without ascribing objective probabilities to propositions. (...)
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  45.  10
    Ruth Weintraub (2003). A Non-Fideistic Reading of William James's "The Will to Believe". History of Philosophy Quarterly 20 (1):103 - 121.
    William James’ declared intention is to oppose Clifford’s claim that it “is wrong always, everywhere, and for every one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”. But I argue that he is confused about his doxastic prescriptions. He isn’t primarily concerned, as he thinks he is, with the legitimacy of belief in the absence of sufficient evidence. The most important contribution of his essay is a suggestion - a highly insightful and contentious one - as to what it is to believe (...)
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  46.  6
    Ruth Weintraub (2002). Hume's Associations. Hume Studies 28 (2):231-246.
    Hume’s three principles of association, we are led to believe from the way Hume introduces them, are supposed to account for the formation of complex ideas out of simple ones. But the account he gives, I show, is pretty poor. But Hume, in fact, has an additional issue in mind: accounting for thoughts we have with ideas we already possess, e.g.: the way one idea brings to one’s conscious mind an idea previously formed and now lying dormant, so to speak. (...)
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  47. Ruth Weintraub (2008). Skepticism About Induction. In John Greco (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism. Oxford University Press 129.
    This article considers two arguments that purport to show that inductive reasoning is unjustified: the argument adduced by Sextus Empiricus and the (better known and more formidable) argument given by Hume in the Treatise. While Sextus’ argument can quite easily be rebutted, a close examination of the premises of Hume’s argument shows that they are seemingly cogent. Because the sceptical claim is very unintuitive, the sceptical argument constitutes a paradox. And since attributions of justification are theoretical, and the claim that (...)
     
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  48.  4
    Ruth Weintraub (1999). Naturalism, Explanation, and Akrasia. Dialogue 38 (01):63-.
    Hume is sometimes thought to provide a “naturalistic” response to the sceptic. I consider two ways in which this response may be construed. According to the first, the fact that we are psychologically determined to hold a belief provides it with justification. According to the second, “natural” beliefs provide limits within which reason can legitimately be employed, limits which the sceptic transgresses when he attempts to defend his position. Both versions of the naturalistic response to scepticism, I argue, aren’t plausible. (...)
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  49. Ruth Weintraub (1987). Dispositionalism and Decision. Ratio 29 (2):148.
     
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  50. Ruth Weintraub (2012). Hume's Nominalism and the Copy Principle. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (sup1):45-54.
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