I discuss Richard Swinburne’s account of religious experience in his probabilistic case for theism. I argue, pace Swinburne, that even if cosmological considerations render theism not too improbable, religious experience does not render it more probable than not.
In a series of recent papers John Martin Fischer argues that the Molinist solution to the problem of reconciling divine omniscience with human freedom does not offer such a solution at all. Instead, he maintains, Molina simply presupposes theological compatibilism. However, Fischer construes the problem in terms of sempiternalist omniscience, whereas classical Molinism adopts atemporalism. I argue that, moreover, an atemporalist reformulation of Fischer’s argument designed to show that Molinism is not even consistent is unsuccessful as well, since it employs (...) a transfer principle about causal inaccessibility that Molina rightfully rejects. (shrink)
I critically examine two features of Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology. (i) If basic theistic beliefs are threatened by defeaters (of various kinds) and thus must be defended by higher-order defeaters in order to remain rational and warranted, are they still “properly basic”? (ii) Does Plantinga’s overall account offer an argument that basic theistic beliefs actually are warranted? I answer both questions in the negative.
I discuss two accounts of rational religious faith that have recently been proposed by Peter Rohs and Volker Gerhardt, and critically explore the relations between (i) faith and knowledge and (ii) faith and hope. I argue that, if faith essentially involves some form of eschatological hope, then a theory of rational faith will have to include an analysis of rational hope.
There are many psychic mechanisms by which people engage with their selves. We argue that an important yet hitherto neglected one is self-appraisal via meta-emotions. We discuss the intentional structure of meta-emotions and explore the phenomenology of a variety of examples. We then present a pilot study providing preliminary evidence that some facial displays may indicate the presence of meta-emotions. We conclude by arguing that meta-emotions have an important role to play in higher-order theories of psychic harmony.
One of the key tenets of Linda Zagzebski’s book " Epistemic Authority" is the Preemption Thesis. It says that, when an agent learns that an epistemic authority believes that p, the rational response for her is to adopt that belief and to replace all of her previous reasons relevant to whether p by the reason that the authority believes that p. I argue that such a “Hobbesian approach” to epistemic authority yields problematic results. This becomes especially virulent when we apply (...) Preemption to cases in which the agent and the authority share their belief, maybe even for the same reasons, or in which both have either a positive or a negative graded doxastic attitude toward a given proposition. As an alternative I propose a “Socratic account”, according to which the authority will not only motivate us to adopt her belief, but also provide us with higher-order reasons for re-assigning our own considerations their proper place in the web of reasons for and against the view in question. (shrink)
In ‘A reductio of coherentism’ (Analysis 67, 2007) Tom Stoneham offers a novel argument against epistemological coherentism. ‘On the face of it’, he writes, ‘the argument gives a conclusive reductio ad absurdum of any coherence theory of justification. But that cannot be right, can it?’ (p. 254). It could be right, but it isn’t. I argue that coherentists need not accept the central premises of Stoneham’s argument and that, even if these premises were acceptable and true, Stoneham’s reductio would not (...) follow. (shrink)
I discuss Alston's theory of religious experience and maintain that his argument to the effect that it is rational to suppose that the 'mystical doxastic practice' is epistemically reliable does not stand up to scrutiny. While Alston's transitions from practical to epistemic rationality don't work here, his arguments may be taken to show that, under certain conditions, it is not epistemically irresponsible to trust one's religious experiences.
In this paper we survey some main arguments for and against epistemological contextualism. We distinguish and discuss various kinds of contextualism, such as attributer contextualism (the most influential version of which is semantic, conversational, or radical contextualism); indexicalism; proto-contextualism; Wittgensteinian contextualism; subject, inferential, or issue contextualism; epistemic contextualism; and virtue contextualism. Starting with a sketch of Dretske's Relevant Alternatives Theory and Nozick's Tracking Account of Knowledge, we reconstruct the history of various forms of contextualism and the ways contextualists try to (...) handle some notorious epistemological quandaries, especially skepticism and the lottery paradox. Then we outline the most important problems that contextualist theories face, and give overviews of their criticisms and defenses as developed in this issue. (shrink)
According to one of the most influential views in the philosophy of self-knowledge each person enjoys some special cognitive access to his or her own current mental states and episodes. This view faces two fundamental tasks. First, it must elucidate the general conceptual structure of apparent asymmetries between beliefs about one’s own mind and beliefs about other minds. Second, it must demarcate the mental territory for which first-person-special-access claims can plausibly be maintained. Traditional candidates include sensations, experiences (of various kinds), (...) thoughts, beliefs, desires, and also affective states such as emotions. I reconstruct five prominent privileged access claims that have traditionally been maintained for emotions and discuss logical relations among them. I then argue that none of these claims stands up to scrutiny. The truth is that we often suffer from affective ignorance, and that third-person ascriptions of emotional states should often be credited with more rather than less authority than corresponding self-ascriptions. I conclude by considering, and rejecting, five potential objections to my argument. (shrink)
In “Process Reliabilism and the Value Problem” I argue that Erik Olsson and Alvin Goldman's conditional probability solution to the value problem in epistemology is unsuccessful and that it makes significant internalist concessions. In “Kinds of Learning and the Likelihood of Future True Beliefs” Olsson and Martin Jönsson try to show that my argument does “not in the end reduce the plausibility” of Olsson and Goldman's account. Here I argue that, while Olsson and Jönsson clarify and amend the conditional probability (...) approach in a number of helpful ways, my case against it remains intact. I conclude with a constructive proposal as to how their account may be steered in a more promising direction. (shrink)
According to Fred Dretske's externalist theory of knowledge a subject knows that p if and only if she believes that p and this belief is caused or causally sustained by the information that p. Another famous feature of Dretske's epistemology is his denial that knowledge is closed under known entailment. I argue that, given Dretske's construal of information, he is in fact committed to the view that both information and knowledge are closed under known entailment. Hence, if it is true (...) that, as Dretske also believes, accepting closure leads to skepticism, he must either embrace skepticism or abandon his information theory of knowledge. (shrink)
Keith DeRose has argued that ‘the knowledge account of assertion – according to which what one is in a position to assert is what one knows – ... provides a ... powerful positive argument in favor of contextualism’ (2009: 80). The truth is that it yields a powerful argument against contextualism, at least against its most popular, anti-sceptical versions. The following argument shows that, if we conjoin (such versions of) epistemic contextualism with an appropriate meta-linguistic formulation of the knowledge account (...) of assertion, contextualism cannot coherently be stated. (shrink)
John Martin Fischer’s core project in Our Fate (2016) is to develop and defend Pike-style arguments for theological incompatibilism, i. e., for the view that divine omniscience is incompatible with human free will. Against Ockhamist attacks on such arguments, Fischer maintains that divine forebeliefs constitute so-called hard facts about the times at which they occur, or at least facts with hard ‘kernel elements’. I reconstruct Fischer’s argument and outline its structural analogies with an argument for logical fatalism. I then point (...) out some of the costs of Fischer’s reasoning that come into focus once we notice that the set of hard facts is closed under entailment. (shrink)
This paper explores the phenomenon of meta-emotions. Meta-emotions are emotions people have about their own emotions. We analyze the intentional structure of meta-emotions and show how psychological findings support our account. Acknowledgement of meta-emotions can elucidate a number of important issues in the philosophy of mind and, more specifically, the philosophy and psychology of emotions. Among them are (allegedly) ambivalent or paradoxical emotions, emotional communication, emotional self-regulation, privileged access failure for repressed emotions, and survivor guilt.
Goldman and Olsson ( 2009 ) have responded to the common charge that reliabilist theories of knowledge are incapable of accounting for the value knowledge has beyond mere true belief. We examine their “conditional probability solution” in detail, and show that it does not succeed. The conditional probability relation is too weak to support instrumental value, and the specific relation they describe is inessential to the value of knowledge. At best, they have described conditions in which knowledge indicates that additional (...) epistemic value is likely to be forthcoming in the future. We also argue that their motive analogy breaks down. The problem, we conclude, is that being produced by a reliable process is not sufficient for a belief to be justified. (shrink)
Alvin Goldman and Erik Olsson have recently proposed a novel solution to the value problem in epistemology, i.e., to the question of how to account for the apparent surplus value of knowledge over mere true belief. Their “conditional probability solution” maintains that even simple process reliabilism can account for the added value of knowledge, since forming true beliefs in a reliable way raises the objective probability that the subject will have more true belief of a similar kind in the future. (...) I argue that this proposal confronts significant internal problems and implicitly invokes higher-level epistemic conditions that run against the spirit of externalism. (shrink)
Dient Kunst der Erkenntnis? Vermittelt sie Einsichten oder Wissen? Und wenn ja: auf welche Weise? Sind ästhetische Urteile wahr oder falsch? Beruht unsere Wertschätzung von Kunst auf ihren kognitiven Funktionen? Zu diesen Fragen, die zu den klassischen Themen der Kunstphilosophie gehören, beziehen zehn Philosophen aus dem deutschen Sprachraum in Originalbeiträgen Position. Der Band dokumentiert den gegenwärtigen Stand der Kontroversen zwischen kognitivistischen und nichtkognitivistischen Theorien der Kunst und der Kunstbewertung. Mit Beiträgen von Rüdiger Bittner, Sabine A. Döring, Christoph Jäger, Bernd Kleimann, (...) Dirk Koppelberg, Jens Kulenkampff, Franz von Kutschera, Alexander Piecha, Jakob Steinbrenner und Henning Tegtmeyer. (shrink)
In his recent book Willensfreiheit Geert Keil defends a version of libertarianism. Yet he criticizes a flagship argument for incompatibilism. Van Inwagen's consequence argument, Keil thinks, relies on an irrelevant premise when it claims that agents have no choice about the remote past. I argue that Keil's charge rests on a misunderstanding. I then sketch why discussions of the consequence argument should focus on the question whether or not a certain version of rule Beta is valid.
Contextualism has become one of the leading paradigms in contemporary epistemology. According to this view, there is no context-independent standard of knowledge, and as a result, all knowledge ascriptions are context-sensitive. Contextualists contend that their account of this analysis allows us to resolve some major epistemological problems such as skeptical paradoxes and the lottery paradox, and that it helps us explain various other linguistic data about knowledge ascriptions. The apparent ease with which contextualism seems to solve numerous epistemological quandaries has (...) inspired the burgeoning interest in it. This comprehensive anthology collects twenty original essays and critical commentaries on different aspects of contextualism, written by leading philosophers on the topic. The editors’ introduction sketches the historical development of the contextualist movement and provides a survey and analysis of its arguments and major positions. (shrink)
Verantwortlichkeits-Inkompatibilismus ist die Behauptung, die kausale Determination von Handlungen und Entscheidungen vertrage sich nicht mit der Annahme, ihr Subjekt sei moralisch für sie verantwortlich. Das aussichtsreichste Argument für VI ist eine Form des Konsequenzarguments, die sich weder auf das Prinzip der alternativen Möglichkeiten noch auf van Inwagens Regel Beta beruft. Im vorliegenden Aufsatz verteidige ich ein Konsequenzargument dieses Typs im Rückgriff auf die These, dass sich mangelnde Verantwortlichkeit von den Ursachen menschlichen Handelns und Denkens auf deren notwendige Wirkungen überträgt.
Wann ist es rational, etwas zu glauben? Wann ist ein Glaube gerechtfertigt, vernünftig, intellektuell akzeptabel? Was gilt es zu beachten, um ein Netz von Überzeugungen aus möglichst vielen wahren und möglichst wenig falschen Annahmen zu flechten? Um diese Fragen geht es in Theorien epistemischer Rechtfertigung. Ein Ansatz, der auf diesem Gebiet in jüngerer Zeit viel von sich Reden gemacht hat, ist die von Philosophen wie William Alston, Nicholas Wolterstorff, allen voran jedoch von Alvin Plantinga entwickelte sogenannte "Reformierte Erkenntnistheorie". Hier werden (...) Probleme epistemischer Rechtfertigung speziell im Hinblick auf die Frage verfolgt, ob und unter welchen Bedingungen religiöser Glaube gerechtfertigt, rational oder vernünftig ist. Die gegenwärtigen Diskussionen dieses Themas sind eines der interessantesten Gebiete angewandter Rechtfertigungstheorie. Sie liefern wichtige Einblicke sowohl in allgemeine Fragen epistemischer Rechtfertigung als auch in eine Grundfrage der Religionsphilosophie, die Frage nach dem Verhältnis zwischen Religion und Rationalität. Hier sieht man Erkenntnistheorie an der Arbeit. (shrink)
In a series of influential papers and in his groundbreaking book Knowledge in a Social World Alvin Goldman argues that sometimes “know” just means “believe truly” (Goldman 1999; 2001; 2002b; Goldman & Olsson 2009). I argue that Goldman's (and Olsson's) case for “weak knowledge”, as well as a similar argument put forth by John Hawthorne, are unsuccessful. However, I also believe that Goldman does put his finger on an interesting and important phenomenon. He alerts us to the fact that sometimes (...) we ascribe knowledge to people even though we are not interested in whether their credal attitude is based on adequate grounds. I argue that when in such contexts we say, or concede, that S knows that p , we speak loosely. What we mean is that S would give the correct answer when asked whether p . But this doesn't entail that S knows that her answer is right or that S knows that p . My alternative analysis of the Hawthorne-Goldman-Olsson examples preserves the view that knowledge requires, even in the contexts in question, true (firm) belief that is based on adequate grounds. (shrink)
The value problem in epistemology is to explain why knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. Or so it is commonly construed. Various solutions to the quandary have been proposed, but so far none has gained wide acceptance. Perhaps, then, we should abandon the idea that knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief. This is what we shall argue, but with one important qualification: Knowledge is not generally more valuable than mere true belief. Certain epistemic contexts, however, are (...) ruled by diachronic aspects of the truth goal of believing. In these contexts the properties that turn a true belief into knowledge add extra value to the belief. For example, in addition to the truth of a belief currently under consideration we are often interested in the subject's future performances as a reliable epistemic agent. According to the contextualist account of epistemic values we propose, epistemological value monism can be preserved. But the value problem should be reformulated. The task is not to explain why, but rather whenknowledge is more valuable than true belief. (shrink)
We discuss the social-epistemic aspects of Catherine Elgin’s theory of reflective equilibrium and understanding and argue that it yields an argument for the view that a crucial social-epistemic function of epistemic authorities is to foster understanding in their communities. We explore the competences that enable epistemic authorities to fulfil this role and argue that among them is an epistemic virtue we call “epistemic empathy”.
The present volume collects papers that were presented at the 34th International Wittgenstein Symposium “Epistemology: Contexts, Values, Disagreement” 2011 in Kirchberg. Contributors include: P. Baumann, A. Beckermann, E. Brendel, J. Bromand, G. Brun, M. David, W. Davis, C. Elgin, E. Fischer, W. Freitag, S. Goldberg, J. Greco, E. Harcourt, A. Kemmerling, M. Kober, D. Koppelberg, A. Koritensky, H. Kornblith, M. Kusch, M. Lee, N. Miscevic, K. Munn, B. Niederbacher, E. J. Olsson, C. Piller, R. Raaatzsch, S. Schmoranzer, S. Schroeder, G. (...) Schurz, N. Shackel, M. Solomon, M. Willaschek. (shrink)
John Martin Fischer’s core project in Our Fate is to develop and defend Pike-style arguments for theological incompatibilism, i. e., for the view that divine omniscience is incompatible with human free will. Against Ockhamist attacks on such arguments, Fischer maintains that divine forebeliefs constitute so-called hard facts about the times at which they occur, or at least facts with hard ‘kernel elements’. I reconstruct Fischer’s argument and outline its structural analogies with an argument for logical fatalism. I then point out (...) some of the costs of Fischer’s reasoning that come into focus once we notice that the set of hard facts is closed under entailment. (shrink)
Die traditionelle Erkenntnistheorie beschäftigte sich vor allem mit drei großen Fragen. (i) Was ist Wissen? (ii) Ist Wissen möglich und in welchen Bereichen und in welchem Umfang können wir es, wenn überhaupt, erwerben? (iii) Was sind die Quellen des Wissens, und spielen womöglich einige von ihnen (etwa Wahrnehmung oder Introspektion) eine besondere Rolle für die Fundierung epistemischer Systeme? Neben der Einbeziehung sozialer Wissensquellen in die Behandlung von Frage (iii) ist in den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten auch ein weiteres Thema in den (...) Fokus erkenntnistheoretischer Debatten gerückt. Wir streben nach Wissen und versuchen, es zu erhalten und zu vermehren. Wenn wir einer Person Wissen zuschreiben, so schwingen außerdem oft Anerkennung, gar Lob oder Bewunderung mit, Einstellungen, die wir Überzeugungen, die kein Wissen sind, vielfach versagen. Nicht zuletzt die anhaltende Beschäftigung der Philosophie selbst seit Platon mit den Fragen (i) bis (iii) scheint zu zeigen, dass wir Wissen als ein wertvolles Gut betrachten. Eine weitere wichtige epistemologische Frage lautet daher (iv): Worin liegt der besondere Wert des Wissens? (shrink)