Where most discussions of trust focus on the rationality of trust, in this paper I explore the doxastic justification of beliefs formed through trust. I examinetwo forms of trust: the self-trust that is involved when one trusts one’s own basic cognitive faculties, and the interpersonal trust that is involved when one trusts another speaker. Both cases involve regarding a source of information as dependable for the truth. In thinking about the epistemic significance regarding a source in this way, I call (...) upon Process Reliabilism (PR). With its core idea that the epistemic goodness of a belief tracks the reliability of the process through which the belief was formed, PR suggests one way to think about the (potential) epistemic benefits and risks of trust: in cases of trust the process through which belief is formed includes reliance on an information source, where the reliability with which the source produced its information is the main determinant of the epistemic status of the beliefs formed through trusting that source. While it is much more common to find something like this picture endorsed in connection withcases of self-trust, I argue that it ought to be endorsed for cases of interpersonal trust as well. The failure to do so, I submit, reflects a commitment to an individualistic orientation that proponents of PR need not, and should not, endorse. (shrink)
The process of education, and in particular that involving very young children, often involves students' taking their teachers' word on a good many things. At the same time, good education at every level ought to inculcate, develop, and support students' ability to think for themselves. While these two features of education need not be regarded as contradictory, it is not clear how they relate to one another, nor is it clear how (when taken together) these features ought to bear on (...) educational practice itself. This article, which is largely programmatic, aims to provide tentative answers to these questions. (shrink)
This paper addresses how the anonymity of an assertion affects the epistemological dimension of its production by speakers, and its reception by hearers. After arguing that anonymity does have implications in both respects, I go on to argue that at least some of these implications derive from a warranted diminishment in speakers' and hearers' expectations of one another when there are few mechanisms for enforcing the responsibilities attendant to speech. As a result, I argue, anonymous assertions do not carry the (...) same of the speaker's relevant epistemic authoritativeness that ordinary assertions do. If this is correct, the phenomenon of anonymity provides us with a lesson regarding ordinary assertions: their aptness for engendering belief in others, and so for communicating knowledge, depends in general on the very publicness of the act of assertion itself. (shrink)
This paper discusses the epistemic outcomes of following a belief-forming policy of inclusiveness under conditions in which one anticipates systematic disagreement with one’s interlocutors. These cases highlight the possibility of distinctly epistemic costs of inclusiveness, in the form of lost knowledge of or a diminishment in one’s rational confidence in a proposition. It is somewhat controversial whether following a policy of inclusiveness under such circumstances will have such costs; this will depend in part on the correct account of the epistemic (...) significance of disagreement (a topic over which there is some disagreement). After discussing this matter at some length, I conclude, tentatively, that inclusiveness under disagreement can have such epistemic costs. Still, I go on to argue, such costs by themselves would not rationalize substantial limitations on a broad policy of inclusiveness. Insofar as there are grounds for restricting how inclusive one should be in belief-formation, these grounds will not be epistemic, but instead will reflect the practical costs—the time, effort, and resource costs to the subject—of following such a policy. (shrink)
A variant 'evil demon' case is used to argue against internalism about doxastic justification. The argument is not merely novel but surprising, since evil demon cases have long been used by internalists against externalist accounts of doxastic justification.
While Process Reliabilism has long been regarded by many as a version of Foundationalism, this paper argues that there is a version of Process Reliabilism that can also been seen as at least a partial vindication of Coherentism as well. The significance of this result lies in what it tells us both about the prospects for a plausible Process Reliabilism, but also about the old-school debate between Foundationalists and Coherentists.
In Relying on others [Goldberg, S. 2010a. Relying on others: An essay in epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press], I argued that, from the perspective of an interest in epistemic assessment, the testimonial belief-forming process should be regarded as interpersonally extended. At the same time, I explicitly rejected the extendedness model for beliefs formed through reliance on a mere mechanism, such as a clock. In this paper, I try to bolster my defense of this asymmetric treatment. I argue that a crucial (...) assumption lying behind the argument I used to establish interpersonal extendedness in testimony cases does not apply to beliefs formed through reliance on instruments. In this respect, at least, there appears to be something epistemically distinctive about relying on another epistemic agent. (shrink)
In this paper I formulate the thesis of the Division of Epistemic Labor as a thesis of epistemic dependence, illustrate several ways in which individual subjects are epistemically dependent on one or more of the members of their community in the process of knowledge acquisition, and draw conclusions about the cognitively distributed nature of some knowledge acquisition.
Miranda Fricker's Epistemic Injustice is a wide-ranging and important book on a much-neglected topic: the injustice involved in cases in which distrust arises out of prejudice. Fricker has some important things to say about this sort of injustice: its nature, how it arises, what sustains it, and the unhappy outcomes associated with it for the victim and the society in which it takes place. In the course of developing this account, Fricker also develops an account of the epistemology of testimony. (...) Focusing my attention on that account, my central claims are two. First, at least some of Fricker's arguments against existing (inferentialist and non-inferentialist) views in the epistemology of testimony are less than fully persuasive, and the (non-inferentialist) view she ends up endorsing is not all that different from the views she criticizes. Second, her reasons for harboring doubts regarding the role of a principle of default entitlement within a non-inferentialist account are not persuasive. Neither of these claims affects the overall argument Fricker is trying to run. Rather, they suggest that Fricker may have picked more fights than she needed to in the epistemology of testimony. If so, we have reason to detach Fricker's important work on epistemic injustice from some of the details of the story she tells regarding the epistemology of testimony. (shrink)
In Sven Bernecker’s excellent new book, Memory, he proposes an account of what we might call the metasemantics of memory: the conditions that determine the contents of the mental representations employed in memory. Bernecker endorses a pastist externalist view, according to which the content of a memory-constituting representation is fixed, in part, by the external conditions prevalent at the (past) time of the tokening of the original representation (the one from which the memory-constituting one is causally derived). Bernecker argues that (...) the best version of a pastist externalism about memory contents will have the result that there can be semantically-induced memory losses in cases involving unwitting world-switching . The burden of this paper is to show that Bernecker’s argument for this conclusion does not succeed. My arguments on this score have implications for our picture of mind-world relations, as these are reflected in a subject’s attempts to recall her past thoughts. (shrink)
This essay represents a reflection on the nature of shufa, the Chinese “art of writing,” and its ontological grounding as a continuous, “durational transcription,” of an inscriptional event, producing a phenomenology of “viewing.” This distinguishes it from ordinary writing (xiezi) in which attention is focused on the lexical meaning of the written characters (i.e., an experience of “reading”). Viewing a calligraphic inscription actually unfolding in time (i.e., as a dynamical structure or “temporal object event”), however, raises an interesting theoretical question (...) concerning the two complementary aspects of temporal consciousness of calligraphy as both duration and unity. This will be addressed in terms of recent discussions of a dynamical approach to Edmund Husserl’s theory of time consciousness. (shrink)
Social (epistemic) virtues are the virtues bound up with those forms of inquiry involved in social routes to knowledge. A thoroughly individualistic account of the social virtues endorses two claims: (1) we can fully characterize the nature of the social virtues independent of the social factors that are typically in play when these virtues are exemplified, and (2) even when a subject’s route to knowledge is social, the only epistemic virtues that are relevant to her acquisition of knowledge are those (...) she herself possesses. A social (or anti-individualistic) account of the social virtues, by contrast, denies one or both of these claims. I will offer some reasons for thinking that the individualistic account is not acceptable, and that one or the other social account provides a better understanding of the social virtues. The argument is not decisive, but it does suggest that the social dimension of social epistemic virtues is not fully characterizable in individualistic terms. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the tendency to defer in matters semantic is rationalized by our reliance on the say-so of others for much of what we know about the world. The result, I contend, is a new and distinctly epistemic source of support for the doctrine of attitude anti-individualism.
The following three propositions appear to be individually defensible but jointly inconsistent: (1) reliability is a necessary condition on epistemic justification; (2) on contested matters in philosophy, my beliefs are not reliably formed; (3) some of these beliefs are epistemically justified. I explore the nature and scope of the problem, examine and reject some candidate solutions, compare the issue with ones arising in discussions about disagreement, and offer a brief assessment of our predicament.
Frege’s ‘differential dubitability’ test is a test for differences in cognitive value: if one can rationally believe that p while simultaneously doubting that q, then the contents p and q amount to different ‘cognitive values’. If subject S is rational, does her simultaneous adoption of different attitudes towards p and q require that the difference between p and q (as cognitive values) be transparent to her? It is natural to think so. But I argue that, if attitude anti-individualism is true, (...) then rational differential dubitability does not presuppose that differences in cognitive value are transparent. The significance of this argument lies in what it tells us, both about the notion of cognitive value and its relation to the differential dubitability test, but also about the prospects for a Burge-type position which aims to combine attitude anti-individualism with a (qualified) reliance on the differential dubitability test. (shrink)
Many epistemologists agree that even very young children sometimes acquire knowledge through testimony. In this paper I address two challenges facing this view. The first (building on a point made in Lackey (2005)) is the defeater challenge, which is to square the hypothesis that very young children acquire testimonial knowledge with the fact that children (whose cognitive immaturity prevents them from having or appreciating reasons) cannot be said to satisfy the No-Defeaters condition on knowledge. The second is the extension challenge, (...) which is to give a motivated, extensionally-adequate account of the conditions on testimonial knowledge in early childhood. Neither challenge can be met merely by endorsing externalism about knowledge; but we can meet both by reconceiving the process that eventuates in the child’s consumption of testimony. My central thesis is that this process should be seen as implicating features of the child's social environment. The result is a novel anti-individualistic externalism about knowledge. (shrink)
Sanford Goldberg argues that a proper account of the communication of knowledge through speech has anti-individualistic implications for both epistemology and the philosophy of mind and language. In Part 1 he offers a novel argument for anti-individualism about mind and language, the view that the contents of one's thoughts and the meanings of one's words depend for their individuation on one's social and natural environment. In Part 2 he discusses the epistemic dimension of knowledge communication, arguing that the epistemic characteristics (...) of communication-based beliefs depend on features of the cognitive and linguistic acts of the subject's social peers. In acknowledging an ineliminable social dimension to mind, language, and the epistemic categories of knowledge, justification, and rationality, his book develops fundamental links between externalism in the philosophy of mind and language, on the one hand, and externalism is epistemology, on the other. (shrink)
In this paper, I apply Duncan Pritchard’s anti-luck epistemology to the case of knowledge through testimony. I claim (1) that Pritchard’s distinction between veritic and reflective luck provides a nice taxonomy of testimony cases, (2) that the taxonomic categories that emerge can be used to suggest precisely what epistemic statuses are transmissible through testimony, and (3) that the resulting picture can make clear how testimony can actually be knowledge-generating.
Most explorations of the epistemic implications of Semantic Anti- Individualism (SAI) focus on issues of self-knowledge (first-person au- thority) and/or external-world skepticism. Less explored has been SAIs implications forthe epistemology of reasoning. In this paperI argue that SAI has some nontrivial implications on this score. I bring these out by reflecting on a problem first raised by Boghossian (1992). Whereas Boghos- sians main interest was in establishing the incompatibility of SAI and the a priority of logical abilities (Boghossian 1992: 22), (...) I argue that Boghossians argument is better interpreted as pointing to SAIs implications for the na- ture of discursive justification. (shrink)
Several authors (Boghossian 1998; Segal 2000) allege that 'empty' would-be natural kind terms are a problem for anti-individualistic semantics. In this paper I rebut the charge by providing an anti-individualistic semantics for such terms.
In her recent book Anti-Individualism and Knowledge, Jessica Brown has presented a novel answer to the self-knowledge achievement problem facing the proponent of anti-individualism. She argues that her answer is to be preferred to the traditional answer (based on Burge, 1988a). Here I present three objections to the claim that her proposed answer is to be preferred. The significance of these objections lies in what they tell us about the nature of the sort of knowledge that is in dispute. Perhaps (...) the most important lesson I draw from this discussion is that, given the nature of knowledge of one's own thoughts, discriminability (from relevant alternatives) is not a condition on knowledge as such. (shrink)
Regarding testimony as evidence fails to predict the sort of epistemic support testimony provides for testimonial belief. As a result, testimony-based belief should not be assimilated into the category of epistemically inferential, evidence-based belief.
Many people agree that a proper epistemological treatment of testimonial knowledge will regard testimonial warrant—the total truth-conducive support enjoyed by a belief grounded on a piece of testimony —as socially diffuse, in the sense that it is not something that supervenes on the proper functionality of the hearer’s cognitive resources together with the reasons she has for accepting the testimony. After arguing for such a view, I go on to identify a challenge many people think flows from an acknowledgment of (...) the social diffusion of warrant. In particular, such an acknowledgment appears to preclude a happy account of the rationality of testimony-based belief. After identifying the nature of this challenge and the various positions that one can take on it, I develop a response according to which rationality itself (like warrant) is socially diffuse. (shrink)
One of the central points of contention in the epistemology of testimony concerns the uniqueness (or not) of the justification of beliefs formed through testimony--whether such justification can be accounted for in terms of, or 'reduced to,' other familiar sort of justification, e.g. without relying on any epistemic principles unique to testimony. One influential argument for the reductionist position, found in the work of Elizabeth Fricker, argues by appeal to the need for the hearer to monitor the testimony for credibility. (...) Fricker (1994) argues, first, that some monitoring for trustworthiness is required if the hearer is to avoid being gullible, and second, that reductionism but not anti-reductionism is compatible with ascribing an important role to the process of monitoring in the course of justifiably accepting observed testimony. In this paper we argue that such an argument fails. (shrink)
It is argued that, given certain reasonable premises, an infinite number of qualitatively identical but numerically distinct minds exist per functioning brain. The three main premises are (1) mental properties supervene on brain properties; (2) the universe is composed of particles with nonzero extension; and (3) each particle is composed of continuum many point-sized bits of particle-stuff, and these points of particlestuff persist through time.
Frank is a writer with a strange habit. Every morning, at precisely 7:30 a.m., he wakes up and dumps out whatever is left of the pint of milk he purchased the day before, but places the empty carton back in the fridge until noon. Then, throughout the interval from 7:30 to noon, he always remains in the kitchen, as that is where he writes every morning like clockwork. Finally, at exactly noon, he takes the now-empty milk carton out of the (...) fridge and throws it away – an act which to him symbolizes the end of his day’s writing. Now Mary is unaware of Frank’s milk- dumping practice. One morning, having spent the prior evening at Frank’s house with Frank and her son Sonny, she awakens at 7:40 and goes to the kitchen with Sonny. Upon entering (Frank is already there) she imme- diately goes to the fridge for a glass of OJ, and as she reaches for the OJ she casually observes a small carton of milk. She goes on to tell Sonny (who always has cereal with milk for breakfast) that there is milk in the fridge. As luck would have it, there is indeed milk in the carton on this day (Frank failed to remember that he had bought milk yesterday). When Frank observes Mary’s testimony, he realizes that he forgot to dump the milk; when Sonny observes her testimony, he forms the belief that there is milk in the fridge. (shrink)
Externalism1 is the thesis that some propositional attitudes depend for their individuation on features of the thinker’s (social and/or physical) environment. The doctrine of self-knowledge of thoughts is the thesis that for all thinkers S and occurrent thoughts that p, S has authoritative and non-empirical knowledge of her thought that p. A much-discussed question in the literature is whether these two doctrines are compatible. In this paper I attempt to respond to one argument for an incompatibilist conclusion, Boghossian’s 1989 ‘Memory (...) Argument.’. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that RadicalInterpretation (RI), taken to be a methodological doctrine regarding the conditions under which an interpretation of an utterance is both warranted and correct, has unacceptable implications for the conditions on (ascriptions of) understanding. The notion of understanding at play is that which underwrites the testimonial transmission of knowledge. After developing this notion I argue that, on the assumption of RI, hearers will fail to have such understanding in situations in which we should want to (...) maintain otherwise. The overall effect of the argument is to provide a heretofore unexamined source of motivation for anti-individualistic approaches to the semantics of utterances. (shrink)
Given anti-individualism, a subjectmight have a priori (non-empirical)knowledge that she herself is thinking thatp, have complete and exhaustiveexplicational knowledge of all of the conceptscomposing the content that p, and yetstill need empirical information (e.g.regarding her embedding conditions and history)prior to being in a position to apply herexhaustive conceptual knowledge in aknowledgeable way to the thought that p. This result should be welcomed byanti-individualists: it squares with everythingthat compatibilist-minded anti-individualistshave said regarding e.g. the compatibility ofanti-individualism and basic self-knowledge;and more importantly it (...) contains the crux of aresponse to McKinsey-style arguments againstanti-individualism. (shrink)
Robert Hanna presents a fresh view of the Kantian and analytic traditions that have dominated continental European and Anglo-American philosophy over the last two centuries, and of the relation between them. The rise of analytic philosophy decisively marked the end of the hundred-year dominance of Kant's philosophy in Europe. But Hanna shows that the analytic tradition also emerged from Kant's philosophy in the sense that its members were able to define and legitimate their ideas only by means of an intensive, (...) extended engagement with, and a partial or complete rejection of, the Critical Philosophy. Hanna's book therefore comprises both an interpretative study of Kant's massive and seminal Critique of Pure Reason, and a critical essay on the historical foundations of analytic philosophy from Frege to Quine. Hanna considers Kant's key doctrines in the Critique in the light of their reception and transmission by the leading figures of the analytic tradition--Frege, Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, and Quine. But this is not just a study in the history of philosophy, for out of this emerges Hanna's original approach to two much-contested theories that remain at the heart of conte. (shrink)