El propósito de este artículo es ofrecer una reconstrucción de la teoría ética presentada porCalicles en el Gorgias de Platón, con el apoyo de otros textos de la época que contribuyen a explicardicha teoría y a refinarla. El primer paso de esta reconstrucción es mostrar que Calicles ofrece unateoría perspectivista de los juicios morales, de acuerdo a la cual los juicios morales pueden emitirsedesde dos perspectivas radicalmente distintas – la perspectiva contractual, y la natural. El segundo esmostrar que Calicles emplea (...) un peculiar concepto de naturaleza que le permite sostener que ciertosderechos y prerrogativas naturales provenientes de una perspectiva natural, han de imperar por sobrelos que se derivan de la perspectiva contractual. El resultado es una teoría que además de tener un altovalor filosófico, parece no ser vulnerable a varias de las dificultades fundamentales señaladas por lasinterpretaciones dominantes, ni estar tampoco afecta al implausible hedonismo burdo que Platón leatribuye a Calicles en el diálogo. (shrink)
Este artículo se propone mostrar, en contra de las interpretaciones dominantes, que Platón debió tempranamente postular la supervivencia del alma como un sujeto independiente de daño y beneficio moral con el objeto de completar su defensa de la ética socrática – en particular el principio de Soberanía de la Virtud, central en diálogos tempranos como la Apología, el Critón y el Gorgias. Al dualismo metafísico que resulta de este postulado le denomino ‘dualismo socrático’, para diferenciarlo del dualismo maduro expuesto por (...) Platón en el Fedón. (shrink)
In this book, Ernest Sosa explains the nature of knowledge through an approach originated by him years ago, known as virtue epistemology. Here he provides the first comprehensive account of his views on epistemic normativity as a form of performance normativity on two levels. On a first level is found the normativity of the apt performance, whose success manifests the performer's competence. On a higher level is found the normativity of the meta-apt performance, which manifests not necessarily first-order skill (...) or competence but rather the reflective good judgment required for proper risk assessment. Sosa develops this bi-level account in multiple ways, by applying it to issues much disputed in recent epistemology: epistemic agency, how knowledge is normatively related to action, the knowledge norm of assertion, and the Meno problem as to how knowledge exceeds merely true belief. A full chapter is devoted to how experience should be understood if it is to figure in the epistemic competence that must be manifest in the truth of any belief apt enough to constitute knowledge. Another takes up the epistemology of testimony from the performance-theoretic perspective. Two other chapters are dedicated to comparisons with ostensibly rival views, such as classical internalist foundationalism, a knowledge-first view, and attributor contextualism. The book concludes with a defense of the epistemic circularity inherent in meta-aptness and thereby in the full aptness of knowing full well. (shrink)
Ernest Sosa's A Virtue Epistemology, Vol. I is arguably the single-most important monograph to be published in analytic epistemology in the last ten years. Sosa, the first in the field to employ the notion of intellectual virtue – in his ground-breaking ‘The Raft and the Pyramid’– is the leading proponent of reliabilist versions of virtue epistemology. In A Virtue Epistemology, he deftly defends an externalist account of animal knowledge as apt belief, argues for a distinction between animal and (...) reflective knowledge, contends that rational intuition is an intellectual virtue ; and offers responses to dream scepticism, the problem of the criterion and the value problem. Nearly all of these arguments are new, albeit consistent with Sosa's earlier work; that is, consistent with two notable exceptions. First, c ontra Sosa's ‘Replies’ in Ernest Sosa and His Critics, A Virtue Epistemology explicitly contends that safety is not required for animal knowledge. Second, unlike Sosa's Knowledge in Perspective, which arguably construes the intellectual virtues as merely instrumentally valuable, A Virtue Epistemology explicitly contends that the intellectual virtues are instrumentally and constitutively valuable. Best read in conjunction with the above monographs and Epistemic Justification, A Virtue Epistemology is mandatory reading for epistemologists and graduate students in the field. It will rightly set the standard for debates in analytic epistemology for years to come.I will summarize and raise objections to two key conclusions that are unique to A Virtue Epistemology: the ‘kaleidoscope-perceiver’ has animal knowledge but lacks reflective knowledge; unlike the k-perceiver, the ordinary perceiver has reflective knowledge. My objections …. (shrink)
Ernest Sosa presents a new approach to the problems of knowledge and scepticism. He argues for two levels of knowledge, the animal and the reflective, each viewed as a distinctive human accomplishment. Sosa's virtue epistemology illuminates different varieties of scepticism, the nature and status of intuitions, and epistemic normativity.
From the back cover: "Ever since Plato, philosophers have faced one central question: What is the scope and nature of human knowledge? In this volume the distinguished philosopher Ernest Sosa has collected his essays on this subject written over a period of twenty-five years. All the major topics of contemporary epistemology are covered: the nature of propositional knowledge, externalism versus internalism, foundationalism versus coherentism, and the problem of the criterion. The resulting book is a valuable resource for scholars and (...) can serve as a textbook for graduate seminars in epistemology.". (shrink)
A Virtue Epistemology presents a new approach to some of the oldest and most gripping problems of philosophy, those of knowledge and scepticism. Ernest Sosa argues for two levels of knowledge, the animal and the reflective, each viewed as a distinctive human accomplishment. By adopting a kind of virtue epistemology in line with the tradition found in Aristotle, Aquinas, Reid, and especially Descartes, he presents an account of knowledge which can be used to shed light on different varieties of (...) scepticism, the nature and status of intuitions, and epistemic normativity. (shrink)
Ever since Plato, philosophers have faced one central question: what is the scope and nature of human knowledge? In this volume the distinguished philosopher Ernest Sosa collects essays on this subject written over a period of twenty-five years. All the major topics of contemporary epistemology are covered: the nature of propositional knowledge; externalism versus internalism; foundationalism versus coherentism; and the problem of the criterion. 'Sosa is one of the most prominent and most important epistemologists on the current American (...) scene.' William P. Alston, Syracuse University. (shrink)
In this concise book, one of the world's leading epistemologists provides a sophisticated, revisionist introduction to the problem of knowledge in Western philosophy. Modern and contemporary accounts of epistemology tend to focus on limited questions of knowledge and skepticism, such as how we can know the external world, other minds, the past through memory, the future through induction, or the world’s depth and structure through inference. This book steps back for a better view of the more general issues posed by (...) the ancient Greek Pyrrhonists. Returning to and illuminating this older, broader epistemological tradition, Ernest Sosa develops an original account of the subject, giving it substance not with Cartesian theology but with science and common sense. -/- Descartes is a part of this ancient tradition, but he goes beyond it by considering not just whether knowledge is possible at all but also how we can properly attain it. In Cartesian epistemology, Sosa finds a virtue-theoretic account, one that he extends beyond the Cartesian context. Once epistemology is viewed in this light, many of its problems can be solved or fall away. -/- The result is an important reevaluation of epistemology that will be essential reading for students and teachers. (shrink)
In my remarks, I discuss Sosa's attempt to deal with the sceptical threat posed by dreaming. Sosa explores two replies to the problem of dreaming scepticism. First, he argues that, on the imagination model of dreaming, dreaming does not threaten the safety of our beliefs. Second, he argues that knowledge does not require safety, but a weaker condition which is not threatened by dreaming skepticism. I raise questions about both elements of his reply.
What modal relation must a fact bear to a belief in order for this belief to constitute knowledge of that fact? Externalists have proposed various answers, including some that combine externalism with contextualism. We shall find that various forms of externalism share a modal conception of “sensitivity” open to serious objections. Fortunately, the undeniable intuitive attractiveness of this conception can be explained through an easily confused but far preferable notion of “safety.” The denouement of our reflections, finally, will be to (...) show how replacing sensitivity with safety makes it possible to defend plain Moorean common sense against the spurious advantages over it claimed by skeptical, tracking, relevant-alternative, and contextualist accounts. (shrink)
The topic is experimental philosophy as a naturalistic movement, and its bearing on the value of intuitions in philosophy. This paper explores first how the movement might bear on philosophy more generally, and how it might amount to something novel and promising. Then it turns to one accomplishment repeatedly claimed for it already: namely, the discrediting of armchair intuitions as used in philosophy.
In Chapter 3 of Judgment and Agency, Ernest Sosa (2015) explicates the concept of a fully apt performance. In the course of doing so, he draws from illustrative examples of practical performances and applies lessons drawn to the case of cognitive performances, and in particular, to the cog- nitive performance of judging. Sosa's examples in the practical sphere are rich and instructive. But there is, I will argue, an interesting disanalogy between the practical and cognitive examples he relies (...) on. Ultimately, I think the source of the disanalogy is a problematic picture of the cogni- tive performance of guessing and its connection to knowledge and defeat. Once this critical line of argument is advanced, an alternative picture of guessing, qua cognitive performance, is articulated, one which avoids the problems discussed, and yet remains compatible with Sosa's broader framework. (shrink)
Ernest Sosa extends his distinctive approach to epistemology, intertwining issues concerning the role of the will in judgment and belief with issues of epistemic evaluation. Questions about skepticism and the nature of knowledge are at the forefront. The answers defended are new in their explicit and sustained focus on judgment and epistemic agency. While noting that human knowledge trades on distinctive psychological capacities, Sosa also emphasizes the role of the social in human knowledge. Basic animal knowledge is supplemented (...) by a level of reflective knowledge focused on judgment, and a level of 'knowing full well' that is distinctive of the animal that is rational. (shrink)
In a series of works Ernest Sosa (see Sosa 1991, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017) has defended the view that there are two kinds or ‘grades’ of knowledge, animal and reflective. One of the most persistent critics of Sosa’s attempts to bifurcate knowledge is Hilary Kornblith (see Kornblith 2004, 2009, 2012). Our aim in this paper is to outline and evaluate Kornblith’s criticisms. We will argue that, while they raise a range of difficult (exegetical and substantive) (...) questions about Sosa’s ‘bi-level’ epistemology, Sosa has the resources to adequately respond to all of them. Thus, this paper is a (qualified) defence of Sosa’s bi-level epistemology. (shrink)
Rational beings pursue and value truth . Intellectual conduct is to be judged, accordingly, by how well it aids our pursuit of that ideal. I ask whether these platitudes mean, and whether they are true.
Reflective Knowledge draws together ground-breaking work in epistemology by Ernest Sosa. He argues for a reflective virtue epistemology based on virtuous circularity, shows how this idea may be found explicitly or just below the surface in such illustrious predecessors as Descartes and Moore, and defends the view against its rivals.
In “Tracking, Competence, and Knowledge,” Ernest Sosa notes that in attempting to account for the conditions for knowledge, externalists have proposed that the justification condition be replaced or supplemented by the requirement that a certain modal relation be obtained between a fact and a subject's belief concerning that fact. While assessing attempts to identify such a relation, he focuses on an account labeled “Cartesian‐tracking”, which accounts for the relation in the form of two conditionals. If a person S believes (...) a proposition P → P P → S believes P. Sosa suggests that be abandoned as a requirement, and that, equipped with his modifications, can offer promising results in connection with skepticism. He argues that modified coupled with the requirement that S's belief be “virtuous” can illuminate the nature of propositional knowledge. (shrink)
... With those who identify happiness [faring happily or well] with virtue or some one virtue our account is in harmony; for to virtue belongs virtuous activity. But it makes, perhaps, no small difference whether we place the chief good in possession or in use, in state of mind or in activity. For the state of mind may exist without producing any good result, as in a man who is asleep or in some other way quite inactive, but the activity (...) cannot; for one who has the activity will of necessity be acting, and acting well. And as in the Olympic Games it is not the most beautiful and the strongest that are crowned but those who compete, so those who act win, and rightly win, the noble and good things in life. (shrink)
A kind of intellectual project characteristic of Ernest Sosa is to resolve an apparently flat-out dispute by showing that it is not after all a zero-sum game. His irenic goal is to do justice to both sides and give each of them most of what it wants. In his subtle paper ‘Abilities, Concepts, and Externalism’ he applies this strategy to the dispute between internalism and externalism in the philosophy of mind. It is a pleasure to engage in discussion with (...) a philosopher of Sosa’s fair-mindedness and analytical skills. (shrink)
Ernest Sosa draws a distinction between animal knowledge and reflective knowledge, and this distinction forms the centerpiece of his new book, A Virtue Epistemology . This paper argues that the distinction cannot do the work which Sosa assigns to it.
According to Moore, his argument meets three conditions for being a proof: first, the premiss is different from the conclusion; second, he knows the premiss to be the case; and, third, the conclusion follows deductively.2 Further conditions may be required, but he evidently thinks his proof would satisfy these as well. As Moore is well aware, many philosophers will feel he has not given “...any satisfactory proof of the point in question."3 Some, he believes, will want the premiss itself proved. (...) But he has.. (shrink)
This volume presents a selection of the most influential recent discussions of the crucial metaphysical question: What is it for one event to cause another? The subject of causation bears on many topics, such as time, explanation, mental states, the laws of nature, and the philosophy of science. Contributors include J.L Mackie, Michael Scriven, Jaegwon Kim, G.E.M. Anscombe, G.H. von Wright, C.J. Ducasse, Wesley C. Salmon, David Lewis, Paul Horwich, Jonathan Bennett, Ernest Sosa, and Michael Tooley.
What makes a word bad? On the one hand, slurs and other derogatory language appear to be meaningful - different slurs can seem to refer to different groups, for example. On the other hand, slurs can seem to be just an arbitrary tool for insulting or enabling harm. How is the meaning of a slur related to its practical uses?
In what way is knowledge better than merely true belief? That is a problem posed in Plato’s Meno. A belief that falls short of knowledge seems thereby inferior. It is better to know than to get it wrong, of course, and also better than to get it right by luck rather than competence. But how can that be so, if a true belief will provide the same benefits? In order to get to Larissa you do not need to know the (...) way. A true belief will get you there just as well. Is it really always better to know the answer to a question than to get it right by luck? In part i we ponder: Is knowledge always better at least in epistemic respects? The affirmative answer is subject to doubts deriving from a conception of belief as sufficient confidence, but is defensible against such doubts. In our search for the special value of knowledge, we then explore in part ii the relation between knowledge and proper action. Part iii goes on to consider how the value of knowledge intuition acquires further interest through its equivalence with the view of knowledge as a norm of assertion. Finally, part iv steps back to examine what we might mean in saying that to know is always, necessarily better than to get it right by luck while really in ignorance. In order to defend our value-of-knowledge intuition we need first to understand it more clearly. Part iv offers an explanation. (shrink)
For me the two-day workshop was an excellent experience. It was very good to be reminded of all those issues that I had grappled with so intensely in earlier years, and I very much appreciated the opportunity to think about them again and to try to put them in perspective with the stimulus of the critical teams’ focused attention. I am very pleased and grateful for the intense attention and challenge to my views, and for the excellent comments. I will (...) do my best to respond with some helpful discussion. (shrink)
Ernest Sosa has recently argued that the knowledge we get from instruments and the knowledge we get from testimony is similar in important ways. Most importantly, the justification that supports it is similar in kind – both instrumental justification and justification from testimony is to be understood in terms of reliability. I argue that Sosa’s theory is problematic. Specifically, I argue that we can take certain attitudes towards people that we cannot coherently take towards instruments. This, I argue, (...) grounds a distinction between the kind of justification that testimony can make available and the kind of justification that instruments can make available. The result is that reliability cannot provide a complete explanation of the justification that testimony makes available. (shrink)
Sosa takes epistemic normativity to be kind of performance normativity: a belief is correct because a believer sets a positive value to truth as an aim and performs aptly and adroitly. I object to this teleological picture that beliefs are not performances, and that epistemic reasons or beliefs cannot be balanced against practical reasons. Although the picture fits the nature of inquiry, it does not fit the normative nature of believing, which has to be conceived along distinct lines.
Aware that the representational thesis is more plausible for the attitudinal than for the phenomenal, Dretske courageously focuses on sensory experience, where progress in our philosophical understanding of the mental has lagged. His view, essentially, is that what makes any mental state what it is is not so much what it's like as what it's about.
Symbiosis plays a fundamental role in contemporary biology, as well as in recent thinking in philosophy of biology. The discovery of the importance and universality of symbiotic associations has brought new light to old debates in the field, including issues about the concept of biological individuality. An important aspect of these debates has been the formulation of the hologenome concept of evolution, the notion that holobionts are units of natural selection in evolution. This review examines the philosophical assumptions that underlie (...) recent proposal of the hologenome concept of evolution, and traces those debates back in time to their historical origins, to the moment when the connection between the topics of symbiosis and biological individuality first caught the attention of biologists. The review is divided in two parts. The first part explores the historical origins of the connection between the notion of symbiosis and the concept of biological individuality, and emphasizes the role of A. de Bary, R. Pound, A. Schneider and C. Merezhkowsky in framing the debate. The second part examines the hologenome concept of evolution and explores four parallelisms between contemporary debates and the debates presented in the first part of the essay, arguing that the different debates raised by the hologenome concept were already present in the literature. I suggest that the novelty of the hologenome concept of evolution lies in the wider appreciation of the importance of symbiosis for maintaining life on Earth as we know it. Finally, I conclude by suggesting the importance of exploring the connections among contemporary biology, philosophy of biology and history of biology in order to gain a better understanding of contemporary biology. (shrink)
Holobionts are symbiotic assemblages composed by a host plus its microbiome. The status of holobionts as individuals has recently been a subject of continuous controversy, which has given rise to two main positions: on the one hand, holobiont advocates argue that holobionts are biological individuals; on the other, holobiont detractors argue that they are just mere chimeras or ecological communities, but not individuals. Both parties in the dispute develop their arguments from the framework of the philosophy of biology, in terms (...) of what it takes for a “conglomerate” to be considered an interesting individual from a biological point of view. However, the debates about holobiont individuality have important ontological implications that have remained vaguely explored from a metaphysical framework. The purpose of this paper is to cover that gap by presenting a metaphysical approach to holobionts individuality. Drawing upon a conception of natural selection that puts the focus on the transgenerational recurrence of the traits and that supports the thesis that holobionts are units of selection, we argue that holobionts bear emergent traits and exert downward powers over the entities that compose them. In this vein, we argue, a reasonable argument can be made for conceiving holobionts as emergent biological individuals. (shrink)
An intellectual virtue is a quality bound to help maximize one’s surplus of truth over error; or so let us assume for now, though a more just conception may include as desiderata also generality, coherence, and explanatory power, unless the value of these is itself explained as derivative from the character of their contribution precisely to one’s surplus of truth over error. This last is an issue I mention in order to lay it aside. Here we assume only a teleological (...) conception of intellectual virtue, the relevant end being a proper relation to the truth, exact requirements of such propriety not here fully specified. (shrink)
The mind-body problem arises because of our status as double agents apparently en rapport both with the mental and with the physical. We think, desire, decide, plan, suffer passions, fall into moods, are subject to sensory experiences, ostensibly perceive, intend, reason, make believe, and so on. We also move, have a certain geographical position, a certain height and weight, and we are sometimes hit or cut or burned. In other words, human beings have both minds and bodies. What is the (...) relation between these? Religion often tells us that we are really embodied souls released at death from our bodily prisons. Could this be right? (shrink)
Belief is considered a kind of performance, which attains one level of success if it is true (or accurate), a second level if competent (or adroit), and a third if true because competent (or apt). Knowledge on one level (the animal level) is apt belief. The epistemic normativity constitutive of such knowledge is thus a kind of performance normativity. A problem is posed for this account by the fact that suspension of belief seems to fall under the same sort of (...) epistemic normativity as does belief itself, yet to suspend is of course precisely not to perform, certainly not with the aim of truth. The paper takes up this problem, and proposes a solution that distinguishes levels of performance norrmativity, including a first order where execution competence is in play, and a second order where the performer must assess the risks attendant on issuing a first-order performance. This imports a level of reflective knowledge that ascends above the animal level. (shrink)
Contemporary biological research has suggested that some host–microbiome multispecies systems (referred to as “holobionts”) can in certain circumstances evolve as unique biological individual, thus being a unit of selection in evolution. If this is so, then it is arguably the case that some biological adaptations have evolved at the level of the multispecies system, what we call hologenomic adaptations. However, no research has yet been devoted to investigating their nature, or how these adaptations can be distinguished from adaptations at the (...) species-level (genomic adaptations). In this paper, we cover this gap by investigating the nature of hologenomic adaptations. By drawing on the case of the evolution of sanguivory diet in vampire bats, we argue that a trait constitutes a hologenomic adaptation when its evolution can only be explained if the holobiont is considered the biological individual that manifests this adaptation, while the bacterial taxa that bear the trait are only opportunistic beneficiaries of it. We then use the philosophical notions of emergence and inter-identity to explain the nature of this form of individuality and argue why it is special of holobionts. Overall, our paper illustrates how the use of philosophical concepts can illuminate scientific discussions, in the trend of what has recently been called metaphysics of biology. (shrink)