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The Web of Belief

New York: Random House (1970)

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  1. Artificial Intelligence and Philosophical Creativity: From Analytics to Crealectics.Luis de Miranda - 2020 - Human Affairs 30 (4):597-607.
    The tendency to idealise artificial intelligence as independent from human manipulators, combined with the growing ontological entanglement of humans and digital machines, has created an “anthrobotic” horizon, in which data analytics, statistics and probabilities throw our agential power into question. How can we avoid the consequences of a reified definition of intelligence as universal operation becoming imposed upon our destinies? It is here argued that the fantasised autonomy of automated intelligence presents a contradistinctive opportunity for philosophical consciousness to understand itself (...)
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  • The Evolution of Misbelief.Ryan T. McKay & Daniel C. Dennett - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):493.
    From an evolutionary standpoint, a default presumption is that true beliefs are adaptive and misbeliefs maladaptive. But if humans are biologically engineered to appraise the world accurately and to form true beliefs, how are we to explain the routine exceptions to this rule? How can we account for mistaken beliefs, bizarre delusions, and instances of self-deception? We explore this question in some detail. We begin by articulating a distinction between two general types of misbelief: those resulting from a breakdown in (...)
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  • Getting to Know the World Scientifically: An Objective View.Paul Needham - 2020 - Cham, Schweiz: Springer.
    This undergraduate textbook introduces some fundamental issues in philosophy of science for students of philosophy and science students. The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 deals with knowledge and values. Chap. 1 presents the classical conception of knowledge as initiated by the ancient Greeks and elaborated during the development of science, introducing the central concepts of truth, belief and justification. Aspects of the quest for objectivity are taken up in the following two chapters. Moral issues are broached in (...)
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  • Working From Within: The Nature and Development of Quine's Naturalism.Sander Verhaegh - 2018 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    During the past few decades, a radical shift has occurred in how philosophers conceive of the relation between science and philosophy. A great number of analytic philosophers have adopted what is commonly called a ‘naturalistic’ approach, arguing that their inquiries ought to be in some sense continuous with science. Where early analytic philosophers often relied on a sharp distinction between science and philosophy—the former an empirical discipline concerned with fact, the latter an a priori discipline concerned with meaning—philosophers today largely (...)
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  • Introduction.Dario Martinelli - 2009 - Sign Systems Studies 37 (3/4):353-368.
    Realism has been a central object of attention among analytical philosophers for some decades. Starting from analytical philosophy, the return of realism has spread into other contemporary philosophical traditions and given birth to new trends in current discussions, as for example in the debates about “new realism.” Discussions about realism focused on linguistic meaning, epistemology, metaphysics, theory of action and ethics. The implications for politics of discussion about realism in action theory and in ethics, however, are not much discussed.
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  • Re-Formulating The Generalized Correspondence Principle: Problems and Prospects.Michael Shaffer - 2008 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):99-115.
    This paper presents a more clear formulation of the correspondence principle and explores its justification.
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  • Finite Beings, Finite Goods: The Semantics, Metaphysics and Ethics of Naturalist Consequentialism, Part I.Richard Boyd - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):505–553.
    0.0. Theistic Ethics as a Challenge and a Diagnostic Tool. Naturalistic conceptions in metaethics come in many varieties. Many philosophers who have sought to situate moral reasoning in a naturalistic metaphysical conception have thought it necessary to adopt non-cognitivist, prescriptivist, projectivist, relativist, or otherwise deflationary conceptions. Recently there has been a revival of interest in non-deflationary moral realist approaches to ethical naturalism. Many non-deflationary approaches have exploited the resources of non-empiricist “causal” or “naturalistic” conceptions of reference and of kind definitions (...)
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  • Finite Beings, Finite Goods: The Semantics, Metaphysics and Ethics of Naturalist Consequentialism, Part II.Richard Boyd - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (1):24–47.
    3.0. Well-being as a Challenge to Naturalism. In Chapter Three Adams discusses and criticizes those accounts of a person’s well being which characterize it in terms of counterfactuals regarding her actual desires and preferences. These criticisms are important for the question of ethical naturalism because any plausible naturalist position will have to portray a person’s well-being as somehow or other supervening on features of her psychology and her environment. The sorts of analyses Adams criticizes are the most prominent analyses consistent (...)
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  • The Abductivist Reply to Skepticism.James R. Beebe - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):605-636.
    Abductivists claim that explanatory considerations (e.g., simplicity, parsimony, explanatory breadth, etc.) favor belief in the external world over skeptical hypotheses involving evil demons and brains in vats. After showing how most versions of abductivism succumb fairly easily to obvious and fatal objections, I explain how rationalist versions of abductivism can avoid these difficulties. I then discuss the most pressing challenges facing abductivist appeals to the a priori and offer suggestions on how to overcome them.
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  • Departmental Boundaries Within the Corporate Body of Theory: Quine on the Holistic Foundations of Logic: Dialogue.David M. Godden - 2006 - Dialogue 45 (3):505-528.
    ABSTRACT This article argues that Quine's holistic and naturalized semantics provides an inadequate account of the foundations of logical expressions and misrepresents the internal structure of theories. By considering a Quinean model of theoretical revision, I identify the status and foundation holism provides to the propositions of logic. I contend that a central tenet of Quinean holism—the Revisability Doctrine—cannot be held consistently, and that the inconsistencies surrounding it mark a series of pervasive errors within naturalized holism. In response, I propose (...)
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  • Bursting Bealer’s Bubble: How the Starting Points Argument Begs the Question of Foundationalism Against Quine.Michael J. Shaffer & Jason A. Warnick - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):87-106.
    In his 1993 article George Bealer offers three separate arguments that are directed against the internal coherence of empiricism, specifically against Quine’s version of empiricism. One of these arguments is the starting points argument (SPA) and it is supposed to show that Quinean empiricism is incoherent. We argue here that this argument is deeply flawed, and we demonstrate how a Quinean may successfully defend his views against Bealer’s SPA. Our defense of Quinean empiricism against the SPA depends on showing (1) (...)
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  • Scientific Theories as Bayesian Nets: Structure and Evidence Sensitivity.Patrick Grim, Frank Seidl, Calum McNamara, Hinton Rago, Isabell Astor, Caroline Diaso & Peter Ryner - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    We model scientific theories as Bayesian networks. Nodes carry credences and function as abstract representations of propositions within the structure. Directed links carry conditional probabilities and represent connections between those propositions. Updating is Bayesian across the network as a whole. The impact of evidence at one point within a scientific theory can have a very different impact on the network than does evidence of the same strength at a different point. A Bayesian model allows us to envisage and analyze the (...)
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  • Fractured Certainties: Epistemology and Ontology in David Malouf's Child's Play, The Great World and Remembering Babylon.Chris Lyon - unknown
    This thesis is an exploration of the way in which David Malouf develops ideas of epistemology and ontology in three of his novels. The novels discussed are Child's Play, The Great World and Remembering Babylon. Of particular concern here are the different ways in which figures in the text are constructed as having imperfect and sometimes contradictory systems of making sense of their world.
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  • Permission to Believe: Why Permissivism Is True and What It Tells Us About Irrelevant Influences on Belief.Miriam Schoenfield - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):193-218.
    In this paper, I begin by defending permissivism: the claim that, sometimes, there is more than one way to rationally respond to a given body of evidence. Then I argue that, if we accept permissivism, certain worries that arise as a result of learning that our beliefs were caused by the communities we grew up in, the schools we went to, or other irrelevant influences dissipate. The basic strategy is as follows: First, I try to pinpoint what makes irrelevant influences (...)
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  • Explanation and the Nature of Scientific Knowledge.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Science & Education 24 (7-8):827-854.
    Explaining phenomena is a primary goal of science. Consequently, it is unsurprising that gaining a proper understanding of the nature of explanation is an important goal of science education. In order to properly understand explanation, however, it is not enough to simply consider theories of the nature of explanation. Properly understanding explanation requires grasping the relation between explanation and understanding, as well as how explanations can lead to scientific knowledge. This article examines the nature of explanation, its relation to understanding, (...)
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  • Can There Be a Bayesian Explanationism? On the Prospects of a Productive Partnership.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1245–1272.
    In this paper, I consider the relationship between Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism, both of which are well-known accounts of the nature of scientific inference. In Sect. 2, I give a brief overview of Bayesianism and IBE. In Sect. 3, I argue that IBE in its most prominently defended forms is difficult to reconcile with Bayesianism because not all of the items that feature on popular lists of “explanatory virtues”—by means of which IBE ranks competing explanations—have confirmational import. (...)
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  • Frames, Knowledge, and Inference.Paul R. Thagard - 1984 - Synthese 61 (2):233 - 259.
  • Why Operationism Doesn't Go Away: Extrascientific Incentives of Social-Psychological Research.George Rosenwald - 1986 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 16 (3):303-330.
  • The Aims and Structures of Research Projects That Use Gene Regulatory Information with Evolutionary Genetic Models.Steve Elliott - 2017 - Dissertation, Arizona State University
    At the interface of developmental biology and evolutionary biology, the very criteria of scientific knowledge are up for grabs. A central issue is the status of evolutionary genetics models, which some argue cannot coherently be used with complex gene regulatory network (GRN) models to explain the same evolutionary phenomena. Despite those claims, many researchers use evolutionary genetics models jointly with GRN models to study evolutionary phenomena. This dissertation compares two recent research projects in which researchers jointly use the two kinds (...)
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  • Science Meets Philosophy: Metaphysical Gap & Bilateral Brain.Hermann G. W. Burchard - 2020 - Philosophy Study 10 (10):599-614.
    The essay brings a summation of human efforts seeking to understand our existence. Plato and Kant & cognitive science complete reduction of philosophy to a neural mechanism, evolved along elementary Darwinian principles. Plato in his famous Cave Allegory explains that between reality and our experience of it there exists a great chasm, a metaphysical gap, fully confirmed through particle-wave duality of quantum physics. Kant found that we have two kinds of perception, two senses: By the spatial outer sense we perceive (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Scientific Evidence.Douglas Walton & Nanning Zhang - 2013 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 21 (2):173-219.
    In place of the traditional epistemological view of knowledge as justified true belief we argue that artificial intelligence and law needs an evidence-based epistemology according to which scientific knowledge is based on critical analysis of evidence using argumentation. This new epistemology of scientific evidence (ESE) models scientific knowledge as achieved through a process of marshaling evidence in a scientific inquiry that results in a convergence of scientific theories and research results. We show how a dialogue interface of argument from expert (...)
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  • Virtue Theory of Mathematical Practices: An Introduction.Andrew Aberdein, Colin Jakob Rittberg & Fenner Stanley Tanswell - forthcoming - Synthese:1-14.
    Until recently, discussion of virtues in the philosophy of mathematics has been fleeting and fragmentary at best. But in the last few years this has begun to change. As virtue theory has grown ever more influential, not just in ethics where virtues may seem most at home, but particularly in epistemology and the philosophy of science, some philosophers have sought to push virtues out into unexpected areas, including mathematics and its philosophy. But there are some mathematicians already there, ready to (...)
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  • A Pluralistic Account of Epistemic Rationality.Matthew Kopec - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3571-3596.
    In this essay, I aim to motivate and defend a pluralistic view of epistemic rationality. At the core of the view is the notion that epistemic rationality is essentially a species of practical rationality put in the service of various epistemic goals. I begin by sketching some closely related views that have appeared in the literature. I then present my preferred version of the view and sketch some of its benefits. Thomas Kelly has raised challenging objections to a part of (...)
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  • Abduction − the Context of Discovery + Underdetermination = Inference to the Best Explanation.Mousa Mohammadian - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4205-4228.
    The relationship between Peircean abduction and the modern notion of Inference to the Best Explanation is a matter of dispute. Some philosophers, such as Harman :88–95, 1965) and Lipton, claim that abduction and IBE are virtually the same. Others, however, hold that they are quite different :503, 1998; Minnameier in Erkenntnis 60:75–105, 2004) and there is no link between them :419–442, 2009). In this paper, I argue that neither of these views is correct. I show that abduction and IBE have (...)
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  • Theoretical virtues and theorizing in physics: against the instrumentalist view of simplicity.Mousa Mohammadian - forthcoming - Synthese:1-10.
    I argue that if simplicity is a theoretical virtue and some theoretical virtues are the constituents of the aims of theorizing in physics—i.e., theory choice and theory development in physics—and scientific rationality is instrumental rationality, then simplicity cannot be a mere means to achieve the aims. I do this by showing that considering simplicity as a mere means brings about counterintuitive ramifications concerning scientific rationality. These counterintuitive ramifications can be avoided if we consider simplicity a constituent of the aims of (...)
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  • Belief Operationalization for Empirical Research in Psychological Sciences.Eduardo Camina, Javier Bernacer & Francisco Guell - 2021 - Foundations of Science 26 (2):325-340.
    The most common definition of belief is taken from analytical philosophy, which understands it as a proposition that is considered as true. Such a broad definition is ambiguous for some fields of empirical research, like psychology, which deals with the mental state of the believer when holding the belief. This article aims to reach an operationalization of beliefs to pinpoint their distinctive features with respect to similar concepts. We summarize the most influential interpretations of belief in psychology and psychiatry, which (...)
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  • Nihilism, But Not Necessarily.Naomi Dershowitz - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    It’s widely accepted that we have most reason to accept theories that best fulfill the following naturalistically respectable criteria: internal consistency, consistency with the facts, and exemplification of the theoretical virtues. It’s also widely accepted that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. I argue that if you accept the aforementioned criteria, you have most reason to reject that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. By applying the criteria to worlds that are all prima facie possible, I show that contingent local matters of (...)
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  • Can Religious Arguments "Persuade"?Jennifer Faust - 2008 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 63 (1-3):71-86.
    In his famous essay "The Ethics of Belief," William K. Clifford claimed "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." ). One might claim that a corollary to Clifford's Law is that it is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to withhold belief when faced with sufficient evidence. Seeming to operate on this principle, many religious philosophers—from St. Anselm to Alvin Plantinga—have claimed that non-believers are psychologically or cognitively deficient if they refuse to believe (...)
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  • Foundationalism and Coherentism Reconsidered.Dirk Koppelberg - 1998 - Erkenntnis 49 (3):255-283.
  • On Universals: An Extensionalist Alternative to Quine’s Resemblance Theory. [REVIEW]Nathan Stemmer - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (1):75 - 90.
    The notion of similarity plays a central role in Quine’s theory of Universals and it is with the help of this notion that Quine intends to define the concept of kind which also plays a central role in the theory. But as Quine has admitted, his attempts to define kinds in terms of similarities were unsuccessful and it is mainly because of this shortcoming that Quine’s theory has been ignored by several philosophers (see, e.g., Armstrong, D. M. (1978a). Nominalism and (...)
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  • Naturalism in Epistemology and the Philosophy of Law.Mark Greenberg - 2011 - Law and Philosophy 30 (4):419-451.
    In this paper, I challenge an influential understanding of naturalization according to which work on traditional problems in the philosophy of law should be replaced with sociological or psychological explanations of how judges decide cases. W.V. Quine famously proposed the ‘naturalization of epistemology’. In a prominent series of papers and a book, Brian Leiter has raised the intriguing idea that Quine’s naturalization of epistemology is a useful model for philosophy of law. I examine Quine’s naturalization of epistemology and Leiter’s suggested (...)
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  • Hume’s Solution of the Goodman Paradox and the Reliability Riddle.Nathan Stemmer - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (2):137 - 159.
    Many solutions of the Goodman paradox have been proposed but so far no agreement has been reached about which is the correct solution. However, I will not contribute here to the discussion with a new solution. Rather, I will argue that a solution has been in front of us for more than two hundred years because a careful reading of Hume’s account of inductive inferences shows that, contrary to Goodman’s opinion, it embodies a correct solution of the paradox. Moreover, the (...)
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  • Science Without Reference?Felix M.�Hlh�Lzer - 1995 - Erkenntnis 42 (2):203-222.
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  • Hempel's Ravens, the Natural Classification of Hypotheses and the Growth of Knowledge.Menachem Fisch - 1984 - Erkenntnis 21 (1):45 - 62.
  • The Role of Explanation in Discovery and Generalization: Evidence From Category Learning.Joseph J. Williams & Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (5):776-806.
    Research in education and cognitive development suggests that explaining plays a key role in learning and generalization: When learners provide explanations—even to themselves—they learn more effectively and generalize more readily to novel situations. This paper proposes and tests a subsumptive constraints account of this effect. Motivated by philosophical theories of explanation, this account predicts that explaining guides learners to interpret what they are learning in terms of unifying patterns or regularities, which promotes the discovery of broad generalizations. Three experiments provide (...)
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  • The Myth of Induction in Qualitative Nursing Research.Elisabeth Bergdahl & Carina M. Berterö - 2015 - Nursing Philosophy 16 (2):110-120.
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  • Speaking of Knowing.Patrick Rysiew - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):627–662.
  • Historiographic Narratives and Empirical Evidence: A Case Study.Efraim Wallach - 2018 - Synthese 198 (1):801-821.
    Several scholars observed that narratives about the human past are evaluated comparatively. Few attempts have been made, however, to explore how such evaluations are actually done. Here I look at a lengthy “contest” among several historiographic narratives, all constructed to make sense of another one—the biblical story of the conquest of Canaan. I conclude that the preference of such narratives can be construed as a rational choice. In particular, an easily comprehensible and emotionally evocative narrative will give way to a (...)
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  • Alief in Action (and Reaction).Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (5):552--585.
    I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate (...)
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  • Empiricist Versus Prototype Theories of Language Acquisition.Nathan Stemmer - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (3):201-221.
  • Spiders in the Web of Belief: The Tangled Relations Between Concepts and Theories.Frank C. Keil - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (1-2):43-50.
  • Stalking the Wild Paradox.Daniel H. Cohen - 1988 - Metaphilosophy 19 (1):25–31.
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  • Topical Epistemologies.Todd Stewart - 2007 - Metaphilosophy 38 (1):23–43.
    What is the point of developing an epistemology for a topic—for example, morality? When is it appropriate to develop the epistemology of a topic? For many topics—for example, the topic of socks—we see no need to develop a special epistemology. Under what conditions, then, does a topic deserve its own epistemology? I seek to answer these questions in this article. I provide a criterion for deciding when we are warranted in developing an epistemological theory for a topic. I briefly apply (...)
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  • Rorty on Realism and Constructivism.James A. Stieb - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (3):272-294.
    This article argues that we can and should recognize the mind dependence, epistemic dependence, and social dependence of theories of mind-independent reality, as opposed to Rorty, who thinks not even a constructivist theory of mind-independent reality can be had. It accuses Rorty of creating an equivocation or "dualism of scheme and content" between causation and justification based on various "Davidsonian" irrelevancies, not to be confused with the actual Davidson. These include the 'principle of charity', the attack against conceptual schemes, the (...)
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  • Epistemological Metaphors and the Nature of Philosophy.Paul Thagard & Craig Beam - 2004 - Metaphilosophy 35 (4):504-516.
    This paper examines some of the most important metaphors and analogies that epistemologists have used to discuss the structure and validity of knowledge. After reviewing foundational, coherentist, and other metaphors for knowledge, we discuss the metaphilosophical significance of the prevalence of such metaphors. We argue that they support a view of philosophy as akin to science rather than poetry or rhetoric. Keywords: epistemology, metaphor, analogy, metaphilosophy, foundations, coherence.
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  • Alexy on Necessity in Law and Morals.Dennis Patterson - 2012 - Ratio Juris 25 (1):47-58.
    Robert Alexy has built his original theory of law upon pervasive claims for “necessary” features of law. In this article, I show that Alexy's claims suffer from two difficulties. First, Alexy is never clear about what he means by “necessity.” Second, Alexy writes as if there have been no challenges to claims of conceptual necessity. There have been such challenges and Alexy needs to answer them if his project is to succeed.
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  • Fundamentality And Modal Freedom.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):397-418.
    A fundamental entity is an entity that is ‘ontologically independent’; it does not depend on anything else for its existence or essence. It seems to follow that a fundamental entity is ‘modally free’ in some sense. This assumption, that fundamentality entails modal freedom (or ‘FEMF’ as I shall label the thesis), is used in the service of other arguments in metaphysics. But as I will argue, the road from fundamentality to modal freedom is not so straightforward. The defender of FEMF (...)
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  • Once You Think You’Re Wrong, You Must Be Right: New Versions of the Preface Paradox.John N. Williams - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1801-1825.
    I argue that there are living and everyday case in which rationality requires you, as a non-idealized human thinker, to have inconsistent beliefs while recognizing the inconsistency. I defend my argument against classical and insightful objections by Doris Olin, as well as others. I consider three versions of the preface paradox as candidate cases, including Makinson’s original version. None is free from objection. However, there is a fourth version, Modesty, that supposes that you believe that at least one of your (...)
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  • Scientism and Scientific Thinking.Renia Gasparatou - 2017 - Science & Education 26 (7-9):799-812.
    The move from respecting science to scientism, i.e., the idealization of science and scientific method, is simple: We go from acknowledging the sciences as fruitful human activities to oversimplifying the ways they work, and accepting a fuzzy belief that Science and Scientific Method, will give us a direct pathway to the true making of the world, all included. The idealization of science is partly the reason why we feel we need to impose the so-called scientific terminologies and methodologies to all (...)
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  • Values and Objectivity in Science: Value-Ladenness, Pluralism and the Epistemic Attitude.Martin Carrier - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (10):2547-2568.