Midwest Studies in Philosophy

ISSNs: 0363-6550, 1475-4975

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  1. Debunking Concepts.Matthieu Queloz - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47 (1):195-225.
    Genealogies of belief have dominated recent philosophical discussions of genealogical debunking at the expense of genealogies of concepts, which has in turn focused attention on genealogical debunking in an epistemological key. As I argue in this paper, however, this double focus encourages an overly narrow understanding of genealogical debunking. First, not all genealogical debunking can be reduced to the debunking of beliefs—concepts can be debunked without debunking any particular belief, just as beliefs can be debunked without debunking the concepts in (...)
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    Introduction.Yuval Avnur - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:5-6.
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  3. Genealogical Defeat and Ontological Sparsity.Jonathan Barker - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:1-23.
    When and why does awareness of a belief's genealogy render it irrational to continue holding that belief? According to explanationism, awareness of a belief’s genealogy gives rise to an epistemic defeater when and because it reveals that the belief is not explanatorily connected to the relevant worldly facts. I argue that an influential recent version of explanationism, due to Korman and Locke, incorrectly implies that it is not rationally permissible to adopt a “sparse” ontology of worldly facts or states of (...)
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  4. Debunking Debunking: Explanationism, Probabilistic Sensitivity, and Why There is No Specifically Metacognitive Debunking Principle.David Bourget & Angela Mendelovici - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:25-52.
    On explanationist accounts of genealogical debunking, roughly, a belief is debunked when its explanation is not suitably related to its content. We argue that explanationism cannot accommodate cases in which beliefs are explained by factors unrelated to their contents but are nonetheless independently justified. Justification-specific versions of explanationism face an iteration of the problem. The best account of debunking is a probabilistic account according to which subject S’s justification J for their belief that P is debunked when S learns that (...)
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  5. Modal Security and Evolutionary Debunking.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:135-156.
    According to principles of modal security, evidence undermines a belief only when it calls into question certain purportedly important modal connections between one’s beliefs and the truth (e.g., safety or sensitivity). Justin Clarke-Doane and Dan Baras have advanced such principles with the aim of blocking evolutionary moral debunking arguments. We examine a variety of different principles of modal security, showing that some of these are too strong, failing to accommodate clear cases of undermining, while others are too weak, failing to (...)
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    On the Relevance of Etiology to Justification (with Reference to Marx and Nietzsche).Brian Leiter - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:157-169.
    Some philosophers associated with the post-Kantian Continental traditions in philosophy (for example, Marx and Nietzsche) think that the etiology of a belief can impugn the epistemic status of that belief, leading us, correctly, to be “suspicious” of it; let us call them “Etiological Critics. Many analytic philosophers, responding to these and related etiological critiques within Anglophone philosophy are unimpressed. These analytic philosophers agree that facts about the etiology of belief might bring to one’s attention epistemically relevant considerations—for example, the fact (...)
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    Genealogy beyond Debunking.Alexander Prescott-Couch - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:171-194.
    Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality (GM) is often interpreted as providing a debunking argument of some kind. I consider different versions of such arguments and suggest that they face important challenges. Moving beyond debunking interpretations of GM, I consider Nietzsche’s claim that his genealogy should be used to assess the “value” of moral values. After explaining how to understand this claim, I consider different ways that history might be used to assess the value of beliefs, practices, and institutions. The (...)
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  8. Suspiciously Convenient Beliefs and the Pathologies of (Epistemological) Ideal Theory.Alex Worsnip - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:237-268.
    Public life abounds with examples of people whose beliefs—especially political beliefs—seem suspiciously convenient: consider, for example, the billionaire who believes that all taxation is unjust, or the Supreme Court Justice whose interpretations of what the law says reliably line up with her personal political convictions. After presenting what I take to be the best argument for the epistemological relevance of suspicious convenience, I diagnose how attempts to resist this argument rest on a kind of epistemological ideal theory, in a sense (...)
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    You Just Believe That Because... It’s a Hinge.Annalisa Coliva - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:53-71.
    This paper looks at the genealogical challenge encapsulated in the schema “You just believe that because...” through the lens of hinge epistemology. It is claimed that hinges are typically held just because one has been brought up to believe them. It is further claimed that, while fitting into the YJBTB schema, hinges are rationally held when different de facto hinges are taken for granted merely because of one’s position in history. Moreover, they are rationally held if they are de jure (...)
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  10. From Moral Realism to Axiarchism.Brian Cutter - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:73-101.
    Moral realism faces a well known genealogical debunking challenge. I argue that the moral realist’s best response may involve abandoning metaphysical naturalism in favor of some form of axiarchism—the view, very roughly, that the natural world is “ordered to the good.” Axiarchism comes in both theistic and non-theistic forms, but all forms agree that the natural world exists and has certain basic features because it is good for it to exist and have those features. I argue that theistic and non-theistic (...)
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    Should We Be Genealogically Anxious?Catarina Dutilh Novaes - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:103-133.
    Genealogical anxiety is the worry that the origins of beliefs, once revealed to be influenced by “irrelevant” factors such as personal histories and circumstances of upbringing, will undermine or cast doubt on those beliefs. Discussions on these irrelevant influences in the epistemological literature have so far primarily focused on their contingency. But there is another issue that merits further examination: the fact that epistemic environments condition beliefs suggests that epistemic agency is significantly curtailed. I present a model of belief-forming processes (...)
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    Truth within Reason.David Sosa - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:227-236.
    It can be seen as a mark against a belief that its causal history be disconnected from the truth. And that idea fits well with the view that discovering that a belief’s causal history is so disconnected itself diminishes its normative status. But this latter view can also be held independently: believing that your belief was influenced by irrelevant factors might be seen as problematic even should it not be seen as in general a mark against a belief that it (...)
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