The idea that knowledge can be extended by inference from what is known seems highly plausible. Yet, as shown by familiar preface paradox and lottery-type cases, the possibility of aggregating uncertainty casts doubt on its tenability. We show that these considerations go much further than previously recognized and significantly restrict the kinds of closure ordinary theories of knowledge can endorse. Meeting the challenge of uncertainty aggregation requires either the restriction of knowledge-extending inferences to single premises, or eliminating epistemic uncertainty in (...) known premises. The first strategy, while effective, retains little of the original idea—conclusions even of modus ponens inferences from known premises are not always known. We then look at the second strategy, inspecting the most elaborate and promising attempt to secure the epistemic role of basic inferences, namely Timothy Williamson’s safety theory of knowledge. We argue that while it indeed has the merit of allowing basic inferences such as modus ponens to extend knowledge, Williamson’s theory faces formidable difficulties. These difficulties, moreover, arise from the very feature responsible for its virtue- the infallibilism of knowledge. (shrink)
Harman and Lewis credit Kripke with having formulated a puzzle that seems to show that knowledge entails dogmatism. The puzzle is widely regarded as having been solved. In this paper we argue that this standard solution, in its various versions, addresses only a limited aspect of the puzzle and holds no promise of fully resolving it. Analyzing this failure and the proper rendering of the puzzle, it is suggested that it poses a significant challenge for the defense of epistemic closure.
Timothy Williamson has famously argued that the (KK) principle (roughly, that if one knows that p, then one knows that one knows that p) should be rejected. We analyze Williamson’s argument and show that its key premise is ambiguous, and that when it is properly stated this premise no longer supports the argument against (KK). After canvassing possible objections to our argument, we reflect upon some conclusions that suggest significant epistemological ramifications pertaining to the acquisition of knowledge from prior knowledge (...) by deduction. (shrink)
In this paper we set out the context in which experiences of mental distress occur with an emphasis on the contributions of social and structural factors and then make a case for the use of intersectionality as an analytic and methodological framework for understanding these factors. We then turn to the political urgency for taking up the concept of recovery and argue for the importance of research and practice that addresses professional domination of the field, and that promotes ongoing engagement (...) and dialogue about recovery as both a personal and social experience. To this end, we describe a unique project that sought to deepen our understanding of how recovery is being thought about and applied in the current context of mental health care in Vancouver, BC, with a specific focus on how, and whether, people are taking up and addressing dimensions of power that we see as critical to the operationalization of recovery within a social justice framework. Emerging from our research and discussion is a set of critical questions about whether or not the political moment in Canada with respect to re-invigorating recovery should be embraced, versus a rejection of the concept of recovery as too limiting in its scope and too vulnerable to professional co-optation. (shrink)
In this book review, I assess the merits of the book as a whole (it's good!) while focusing in particular on chapters by Claudia Card, Patrick Frierson, Robert Louden, Pablo Muchnik, Jeanine Grenberg, and Allen Wood.
Lloyd's book, Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes , correctly stresses the deductive element in Hobbes's proofs of the laws of nature. She believes that “the principle of reciprocity” is the key to these proofs. This principle is effective in getting ego-centric people to recognize moral laws and their moral obligations. However, it is not, I argue, the basic principle Hobbes uses to derive the laws of nature, from definitions. The principle of reason, which dictates that all similar cases (...) be treated similarly, is. It is important not to diminish the centrality of reason for Hobbes because it is essential to understanding his reply to “the fool” and understanding why the state of nature cannot be a continuum. (shrink)
The question of personal identity—what makes a person the same person over time—is puzzling. Through the course of a life, someone might undergo a dramatic alteration in personality, radically change her values, lose almost all of her memories, and undergo significant changes in her physical appearance. Given all of these potential changes, why should we be inclined to regard her as the same person? Battlestar Galactica presents us with an even bigger puzzle: What makes a Cylon the same Cylon over (...) time? There are only twelve different models, but there are many copies of each. So what makes the resurrected Caprica Six the same Cylon as the one who seduced Gaius Baltar into betraying humanity, and yet a different Cylon from the tortured Gina or Shelly Godfrey? (shrink)