Hope is an attitude with a distinctive epistemological dimension: it is incompatible with knowledge. This chapter examines hope as it relates to knowledge but also to probability and inductive considerations. Such epistemic constraints can make hope either impossible, or, when hope remains possible, they affect how one’s epistemic situation can make hope rational rather than irrational. Such issues are especially relevant to when hopefulness may permissibly figure in practical deliberation over a course of action. So I consider cases of second-order (...) inductive reflection on when one should, or should not, hope for an outcome with which one has a long record of experience: in other words, what is the epistemology behind when one should, if ever, stop hoping for outcomes which have failed one many times in the past? (shrink)
Some philosophers oppose recent arguments for the Knowledge Norm of Assertion by claiming that assertion, being an act much like any other, will be subject to norms governing acts generally, such as those articulated by Grice for the purpose of successful, cooperative endeavours. But in fact, Grice is a traitor to their cause; or rather, they are his dissenters, not his disciples. Drawing on Grice's unpublished papers, I show that he thought of asserting as a special linguistic act in need (...) of its own norm, and he tied his maxim of Quality to knowledge. I also develop a simple Gricean-inspired argument showing that the Quality maxim is not dependent on the Cooperative Principle. If it is not thus dependent, then the Cooperative Principle cannot be the explanation of, or source of normativity for, the Quality maxim. Thus, leveraging the insights informing the maxim of Quality actually provides the resources for a distinctive positive case that knowledge is the constitutive norm of assertion. (shrink)
The Knowledge Norm or Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA) has received added support recently from data on prompting assertion (Turri 2010) and from a refinement suggesting that assertions ought to express knowledge (Turri 2011). This paper adds another argument from parenthetical positioning, and then argues that KAA’s unified explanation of some of the earliest data (from Moorean conjunctions) adduced in its favor recommends KAA over its rivals.
Recent epistemology has focused almost exclusively on propositional knowledge. This paper considers an underexplored area of epistemology, namely knowledge of persons: if propositional knowledge is a state of mind, consisting in a subject's attitude to a (true) proposition, the account developed here thinks of interpersonal knowledge as a state of minds, involving a subject's attitude to another (existing) subject. This kind of knowledge is distinct from propositional knowledge, but it exhibits a gradability characteristic of context-sensitivity, and admits of shifty thresholds. (...) It is supported by a wide range of unexplored linguistic data and intuitive cases; and it promises to illuminate debates within epistemology, philosophy of religion, and ethics. (shrink)
Many epistemologists are enamored with a defeat condition on knowledge. In this paper we present some implementation problems for defeatism, understood along either internalist or externalist lines. We then propose that one who accepts a knowledge norm of belief, according to which one ought to believe only what one knows, can explain away much of the motivation for defeatism. This is an important result, because on the one hand it respects the plausibility of the intuitions about defeat shared by many (...) in epistemology; but on the other hand, it obviates the need to provide a unified account of defeat which plays well with the most plausible views of how knowledge fits with evidential probability. (shrink)
The problem of evil is the most prominent argument against the existence of God. Skeptical theists contend that it is not a good argument. Their reasons for this contention vary widely, involving such notions as CORNEA, epistemic appearances, 'gratuitous' evils, 'levering' evidence, and the representativeness of goods. We aim to dispel some confusions about these notions, in particular by clarifying their roles within a probabilistic epistemology. In addition, we develop new responses to the problem of evil from both the phenomenal (...) conception of evidence and the knowledge-first view of evidence. (shrink)
Expert testimony figures in recent debates over how best to understand the norm of assertion and the domain-specific epistemic expectations placed on testifiers. Cases of experts asserting with only isolated second-hand knowledge (Lackey 2011, 2013) have been used to shed light on whether knowledge is sufficient for epistemically permissible assertion. I argue that relying on such cases of expert testimony introduces several problems concerning how we understand expert knowledge, and the sharing of such knowledge through testimony. Refinements are needed to (...) clarify exactly what principles are being tested by such cases; but once refined, such cases raise more questions than they answer. (shrink)
Encyclopedia entry covering the growing literature on the Knowledge Norm of Assertion (and its rivals), the Knowledge Norm of Action (and pragmatic encroachment), the Knowledge Norm of Belief, and the Knowledge Norm of Disagreement.
Recent epistemology offers an account of what it is to know other persons. Such views hold promise for illuminating several issues in philosophy of religion, and for advancing a distinctive approach to religious epistemology. This paper develops an account of interpersonal knowledge, and clarifies its relation to propositional and qualitative knowledge. I then turn to our knowledge of God and God's knowledge of us, and compare my account of interpersonal knowledge with important work by Eleonore Stump on "Franciscan" knowledge. I (...) examine how interpersonal knowledge may figure in liturgical practice, in diffusing the problem of divine hiddenness, and in motivating a novel understanding of divine love. I also explore the possibility of epistemic injustice arising from dismissal or neglect of our religious testimony to one another, or of divine testimony to humanity, focusing specifically on the import of interpersonal knowledge. (shrink)
Hope, in its propositional construction "I hope that p," is compatible with a stated chance for the speaker that not-p. On fallibilist construals of knowledge, knowledge is compatible with a chance of being wrong, such that one can know that p even though there is an epistemic chance for one that not-p. But self-ascriptions of propositional hope that p seem to be incompatible, in some sense, with self-ascriptions of knowing whether p. Data from conjoining hope self-ascription with outright assertions, with (...) first- and third-person knowledge ascriptions, and with factive predicates suggest a problem: when combined with a plausible principle on the rationality of hope, they suggest that fallibilism is false. By contrast, the infallibilist about knowledge can straightforwardly explain why knowledge would be incompatible with hope, and can offer a simple and unified explanation of all the linguistic data introduced here. This suggests that fallibilists bear an explanatory burden which has been hitherto overlooked. (shrink)
Epistemologists have shown increased interest in the epistemic significance of disagreement, and in particular, in whether there is a rational requirement concerning belief revision in the face of peer disagreement. This article examines some of the general issues discussed by epistemologists, and then considers how they may or may not apply to the case of religious disagreement, both within religious traditions and between religious (and non-religious) views.
John N. Williams (1994) and Matthew Weiner (2005) invoke predictions in order to undermine the normative relevance of knowledge for assertions; in particular, Weiner argues, predictions are important counterexamples to the Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA). I argue here that they are not true counterexamples at all, a point that can be agreed upon even by those who reject KAA.
The knowledge account of assertion - roughly: one should not assert what one does not know - can explain a variety of Moorean conjunctions, a fact often cited as evidence in its favor. David Sosa ("Dubious Assertions," Phil Studies, 2009) has objected that the account does not generalize satisfactorily, since it cannot explain the infelicity of certain iterated conjunctions without appealing to the controversial "KK" principle. This essay responds by showing how the knowledge account can handle such conjunctions without use (...) of the KK principle. (shrink)
Epistemologists focus primarily on cases of knowledge, belief, or credence where the evidence which one possesses, or on which one is relying, plays a fundamental role in the epistemic or normative status of one's doxastic state. Recent work in epistemology goes beyond the evidence one possesses to consider the relevance for such statuses of evidence which one does not possess, particularly when there is a sense in which one should have had some evidence. I focus here on Sanford Goldberg's approach (...) ("Should Have Known," Synthese, forthcoming; and "On the Epistemic Significance of Evidence You Should Have Had," Episteme 2016, this issue); but the discussion will interest anyone working on epistemic defeat. (shrink)
Surprisingly little has been written about hedged assertion. Linguists often focus on semantic or syntactic theorizing about, for example, grammatical evidentials or epistemic modals, but pay far less attention to what hedging does at the level of action. By contrast, philosophers have focused extensively on normative issues regarding what epistemic position is required for proper assertion, yet they have almost exclusively considered unqualified declaratives. This essay considers the linguistic and normative issues side-by-side. We aim to bring some order and clarity (...) to thinking about hedging, so as to illuminate aspects of interest to both linguists and philosophers. In particular, we consider three broad questions. 1) The structural question: when one hedges, what is the speaker’s commitment weakened from? 2) The functional question: what is the best way to understand how a hedge weakens? And 3) the taxonomic question: are hedged assertions genuine assertions, another speech act, or what? (shrink)
This is the first book in the new series, is a comprehensive introduction to philosophical problems in the social sciences, encompassing traditional and contemporary perspectives. It is readily accessible, with a firm emphasis on communicating difficult philosophical ideas clearly and effectively to those from outside this discipline. Ted Benton and Ian Craib move systematically through major topic areas, from positivism to post-structuralism, using a wide variety of examples and cases to illustrate key themes.
Linda Zagzebski's "Epistemic Authority" (Oxford University Press, 2012) brings together issues in social epistemology with topics in moral and political philosophy as well as philosophy of religion. In this paper I criticize her discussion of self-trust and rationality, which sets up the main argument of the book; I consider how her view of authority relates to some issues of epistemic authority in testimony; and I raise some concerns about her treatment of religious epistemology and religious authority in particular.
Traditional definitions of lying require that a speaker believe that what she asserts is false. Sam Fox Krauss seeks to jettison the traditional belief requirement in favour of a necessary condition given in a credence-accuracy framework, on which the liar expects to impose the risk of increased inaccuracy on the hearer. He argues that this necessary condition importantly captures nearby cases as lies which the traditional view neglects. I argue, however, that Krauss's own account suffers from an identical drawback of (...) being unable to explain nearby cases; and even worse, that account fails to distinguish cases of telling lies from cases of telling the truth. (shrink)
What individuates the speech act of prediction? The standard view is that prediction is individuated by the fact that it is the unique speech act that requires future-directed content. We argue against this view and two successor views. We then lay out several other potential strategies for individuating prediction, including the sort of view we favor. We suggest that prediction is individuated normatively and has a special connection to the epistemic standards of expectation. In the process, we advocate some constraints (...) that we think a good theory of prediction should respect. (shrink)
If knowledge is sensitive to practical stakes, then whether one knows depends in part on the practical costs of being wrong. When considering religious belief, the practical costs of being wrong about theism may differ dramatically between the theist (if there is no God) and the atheist (if there is a God). This paper explores the prospects, on pragmatic encroachment, for knowledge of theism (even if true) and of atheism (even if true), given two types of practical costs: namely, by (...) holding a false belief, or by missing out on a true belief. These considerations set up a more general puzzle of epistemic preference when faced with the choice between two beliefs, only one of which could become knowledge. (shrink)
What is the relationship between lying, belief, and knowledge? Prominent accounts of lying define it in terms of belief, namely telling someone something one believes to be false, often with the intent to deceive. This paper develops a novel account of lying by deriving evaluative dimensions of responsibility from the knowledge norm of assertion. Lies are best understood as special cases of vicious assertion; lying is the anti-paradigm of proper assertion. This enables an account of lying in terms of knowledge: (...) roughly, lying is telling someone something you know ain't so. (shrink)
Recent decades have seen a fertile period of theorizing within mainstream epistemology which has had a dramatic impact on how epistemology is done. Investigations into contextualist and pragmatic dimensions of knowledge suggest radically new ways of meeting skeptical challenges and of understanding the relation between the epistemological and practical environment. New insights from social epistemology and formal epistemology about defeat, testimony, a priority, probability, and the nature of evidence all have a potentially revolutionary effect on how we understand our epistemological (...) place in the world. Religion is the place where such rethinking can potentially have its deepest impact and importance. Yet there has been surprisingly little infiltration of these new ideas into philosophy of religion and the epistemology of religious belief. -/- Knowledge, Belief, and God incorporates these myriad new developments in mainstream epistemology, and extends these developments to questions and arguments in religious epistemology. The investigations proposed in this volume offer substantial new life, breadth, and sophistication to issues in the philosophy of religion and analytic theology. They pose original questions and shed new light on long-standing issues in religious epistemology; and these developments will in turn generate contributions to epistemology itself, since religious belief provides a vital testing ground for recent epistemological ideas. (shrink)
The debate between legal constitutionalists and critics of constitutional rights and judicial review is an old and lively one. While the protection of minorities is a pivotal aspect of this debate, the protection of disenfranchised minorities has received little attention. Policy-focused discussion—of the merits of the Human Rights Act in Britain for example—often cites protection of non-citizen migrants, but the philosophical debate does not. Non-citizen residents or ‘denizens’ therefore provide an interesting test case for the theory of rights as trumps (...) on ordinary representative politics. Are they the ultimate success story of the human rights framework? Or was Michael Walzer correct to describe government of denizens by citizens as a modern form of ‘tyranny’? This paper argues that neither liberal rights theorists nor democratic republicans provide a coherent response to the existence of denizens. Liberal rights theorists overstate the extent to which a politically powerless status can secure individual rights, while democratic republicans idealise the political process and wrongly assume that all those affected by laws are eligible for political participation. The paper outlines an alternative model for assessing the accountability of states to their non-citizen population, informed by the republican ideal of non-domination. It identifies gaps in state accountability to denizens–such as where there is inadequate diplomatic protection—and argues that these gaps are particularly troubling if their exit costs of leaving the state are high. (shrink)
Critical Theory and Animal Liberation is the first collection to look at the human relationship with animals from the critical or 'left' tradition in political and social thought. The contributions in this volume highlight connections between our everyday treatment of animals and other forms of oppression, violence, and domination. Breaking with past treatments that have framed the problem as one of 'animal rights,' the authors instead depict the exploitation and killing of other animals as a political question of the first (...) order. (shrink)
Strangers to Nature brings together many of the leading scholars who are working to redefine and expand the discourse on animal ethics. This volume will engage both scholars and lay-people by revealing the breadth of theorizing about the human/non-human animal relationship that is currently taking place.
The lottery and preface paradoxes pose puzzles in epistemology concerning how to think about the norms of reasonable or permissible belief. Contextualists in epistemology have focused on knowledge ascriptions, attempting to capture a set of judgments about knowledge ascriptions and denials in a variety of contexts (including those involving lottery beliefs and the principles of closure). This article surveys some contextualist approaches to handling issues raised by the lottery and preface, while also considering some of the difficulties encountered by those (...) approaches. (shrink)
The topic of my talk is a very ancient one indeed. It bears upon the place of humankind in nature, and upon the place of nature in ourselves. I shall, however, be discussing this range of questions in terms which have not always been available to the philosophers of the past when they have asked them. When we ask these questions today we do so with hindsight of some two centuries of endeavour in the ‘human sciences’, and some one and (...) a half centuries of attempts to situate the human species within a theory of biological evolution. And these ways of thinking about ourselves and our relation to nature have not been confined to professional intellectuals, nor have they been without practical consequences. Social movements and political organizations have fought for and sometimes achieved the power to give practical shape to their theoretical visions. On the one hand, are diverse projects aimed at changing society through a planned modification of the social environment of the individual. On the other hand, are equally diverse projects for pulling society back into conformity with the requirements of race and heredity. At first sight, the two types of project appear to be, and often are, deeply opposed, both intellectually and politically. (shrink)
Bringing together some of the most eminent thinkers in the field, this book celebrates the seminal contribution of Ted Benton to such pressing themes as: realism, naturalism and the philosophy of the social sciences, the continuing relevance of Marxism, philosophical anthropology and human needs, and ecology, society and natural limits.
This essay expands upon the suggestion that Lessing's infamous ‘ditch’ is actually three ditches: temporal, metaphysical, and existential gaps. It examines the complex problems these ditches raise, and then proposes that Kierkegaard's Fragments and Postscript exhibit a similar triadic organizational structure, which may signal a deliberate attempt to engage and respond to Lessing's three gaps. Viewing the Climacean project in this way offers an enhanced understanding of the intricacies of Lessing's rationalist approach to both religion and historical truth, and illuminates (...) Climacus's subjective response to Lessing. (shrink)
In these compositions, the subjects that will both entertain and improve the mind, bid fair to be of the greatest public utility.From toddlers to teenagers, children are everywhere in Hogarth’s pictures. There are children of the drawing room and children of the streets; “little angels” shown putting on a play, “little devils” shown torturing animals; portraits of the sons and daughters of minor aristocrats and the upwardly mobile professional classes and gangs of youngsters gambling at cards on the pavements of (...) St. James’s Street. Biblical images may lend gravitas or satirical point to the messages of the pictures: for example, in the theme of abandonment that lies behind the painting of the infant Moses Brought... (shrink)