Edited by Martin Smith (University of Edinburgh)
|Summary||A deductive inference transmits warrant just in case, roughly put, one can earn a warrant for the conclusion by deploying one's warrant for the premise and performing the deduction. If one cannot earn a warrant for the conclusion in this way, then the inference is said to be an instance of 'transmission failure'. Transmission failure is an idea that divides epistemologists. Some have insisted that any deductive inference will transmit warrant. And, even amongst those who accept that there are genuine cases of transmission failure, there is relatively little agreement as to which the offending inferences are and what is responsible for the phenomenon. The issue takes on an additional philosophical significance due to the fact that some of the disputed inferences are themselves philosophically significant - such as McKinsey's paradox for externalist theories of content and Moore's notorious 'proof' of the existence of the external world.|
|Key works||Ideas about the transmission of warrant are implicit in Wittgenstein's comments on Moore's proof of the existence of the external world in Wittgenstein 1969. The first detailed discussion of warrant transmission and transmission failure was in Wright 1986 where the context of the discussion was, once again, the apparent shortcomings of Moore's proof. The notion of transmission failure next surfaced in an attempt by Martin Davies to defuse the McKinsey paradox for externalist theories of content, stimulating a flurry of interest in the topic - see Davies 1998 and Davies 2000. Wright's early views of warrant transmission and transmission failure were refined in Wright 2000 in which he also discussed possible applications to the McKinsey paradox. While there has been more recent work on transmission failure and the McKinsey paradox, papers such as Wright 2002 and Pryor 2004 moved scepticism and Moore's proof back to centre stage. These papers also served to link questions about warrant transmission with certain current questions in the epistemology of perception. Much subsequent work has explored these connections. In Okasha 2004 Samir Okasha outlined the first proposed Bayesian treatment of transmission failure. The project of attempting to reconstruct the phenomenon of transmission failure from within various formal theories of evidential support remains a very lively one - a vivid example of the kind of fruitful work that is being done in the area of overlap between formal and traditional epistemology.|
- Warrant, Misc (25)
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