Dualism in the Epistemology of Testimony and the Ability Intuition Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11406-010-9291-4 Authors Spyridon Orestis Palermos, Department of Philosophy, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS), The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK Journal Philosophia Online ISSN 1574-9274 Print ISSN 0048-3893.
Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...) the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
We very often grant that a person can gain knowledge on the basis of epistemic artifacts such as telescopes, microscopes and so on. However, this intuition threatens to undermine virtue reliabilism according to which one knows that p if and only if one’s believing the truth that p is the product of a reliable cognitive belief-forming process; in an obvious sense epistemic artifacts are not parts of one’s overall cognitive system. This is so, unless the extended cognition hypothesis (HEC) is (...) true. According to HEC when parts of the environment become properly coupled to the agent’s brain then they too can be considered constitutive parts of the overall cognitive mechanism—i.e. cognition potentially extends to the world surrounding the agent. Interestingly, HEC and the broader framework of virtue reliabilism share some intriguing similarities, which render these two views mutually supportive. Making these similarities explicit provides a principled account of the way in which our knowledge-conducive cognitive characters may extend beyond our natural cognitive capacities by incorporating epistemic artifacts. (shrink)
The aim of the present paper is to argue that robust virtue epistemology is correct. That is, a complete account of knowledge is not in need for an additional modal criterion in order to account for knowledge-undermining epistemic luck. I begin by presenting the problems facing robust virtue epistemology by examining two prominent counterexamples—the Barney and ‘epistemic twin earth’ cases. After proposing a way in which virtue epistemology can explain away these two problematic cases, thereby, implying that cognitive abilities are (...) also safe, I offer a naturalistic explanation in support of this last claim, inspired by evolutionary epistemology. Finally, I argue that naturalized epistemology should not be thought of as being exclusively descriptive. On the contrary, the evolutionary story I offer in support of the claim that reliability implies safety can provide us with a plausible epistemic norm. (shrink)
The aim of the present thesis is to reconcile two opposing intuitions; one originating from mainstream individualistic epistemology and the other one from social epistemology. In particular, conceiving of knowledge as a cognitive phenomenon, mainstream epistemologists focus on the individual as the proper epistemic subject. Yet, clearly, knowledge-acquisition many times appears to be a social process and, sometimes, to such an extent—as in the case of scientific knowledge—that it has been argued there might be knowledge that is not possessed by (...) any individual alone. In order to make sense of such contradictory claims, I combine virtue reliabilism in mainstream epistemology with two hypotheses from externalist philosophy of mind, viz., the extended and distributed cognition hypotheses. Reading virtue reliabilism along the lines suggested by the hypothesis of extended cognition allows for a weak anti-individualistic understanding of knowledge, which has already been suggested on the basis of considerations about testimonial knowledge: knowledge, many times, has a dual nature; it is both social and individual. Provided, however, the possibility of distributed cognition and group agency, we can go even further by making a case for a robust version of antiindividualism in mainstream epistemology. This is because knowledge may not always be the product of any individual’s cognitive ability and, thereby, not creditable to any individual alone. Knowledge, instead, might be the product of an epistemic group agent’s collective cognitive ability and, thus, attributable only to the group as a whole. Still, however, being able—on the basis of the hypothesis of distributed cognition—to recognize a group as a cognitive subject in itself allows for proponents of virtue reliabilism to legitimately apply their individualistic theory of knowledge to such extreme cases as well. Put another way, mainstream individualistic epistemologists now have the means to make sense of the claim that p is known by S, even though it is not known by any individual alone. (shrink)
Cognitive integration is a defining yet overlooked feature of our intellect that may nevertheless have substantial effects on the process of knowledge-acquisition. To bring those effects to the fore, I explore the topic of cognitive integration both from the perspective of virtue reliabilism within externalist epistemology and the perspective of extended cognition within externalist philosophy of mind and cognitive science. On the basis of this interdisciplinary focus, I argue that cognitive integration can provide a minimalist yet adequate epistemic norm of (...) subjective justification: so long as the agent’s belief-forming process has been integrated in his cognitive character, the agent can be justified in holding the resulting beliefs merely by lacking any doubts there was something wrong in the way he arrived at them. Moreover, since both externalist philosophy of mind and externalist epistemology treat the process of cognitive integration in the same way, we can claim that epistemic cognitive characters may extend beyond our organismic cognitive capacities to the artifacts we employ or even to other agents we interact with. This move is not only necessary for accounting for advanced cases of knowledge that is the product of the operation of epistemic artifacts or the interactive activity of research teams, but it can further lead to interesting ramifications both for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
In this paper we intend to examine whether there are examples for emergence to be found in physics. The answer depends on the concept of emergence one invokes. We distinguish two such concepts, those of Broad and Kim. We will argue that it is unlikely that there will be examples with respect to the former because it runs counter to an explanatory strategy that is both well entrenched in physical practice and to a certain degree flexible. On the other hand (...) we will argue that all those physical systems that provide an example for supervenience are at the same time examples for emergence - at least if one defines emergence the way Kim does. (shrink)
In this paper we examine whether the sense of agency represents an obstacle to the project of naturalizing the mental. On the basis of a thought experiment we suggest that the sense of agency is not an epiphenomenon. We also examine Frith's attempt to explain in functionalist terms the sense of agency through the comparator and metarepresentational mechanisms. Through a variety of arguments we try to show that explanation by recourse to these mechanisms is inadequate. We conclude by suggesting that (...) one possible reason for the failure of the functionalist approaches is that they begin from the assumption that thought is a form a of willed action. (shrink)