This paper applies a virtue epistemology approach to using the Internet, as to improve our information-seeking behaviours. Virtue epistemology focusses on the cognitive character of agents and is less concerned with the nature of truth and epistemic justification as compared to traditional analytic epistemology. Due to this focus on cognitive character and agency, it is a fruitful but underexplored approach to using the Internet in an epistemically desirable way. Thus, the central question in this paper is: How (...) to use the Internet in an epistemically virtuous way? Using the work of Jason Baehr, it starts by outlining nine intellectual or epistemic virtues: curiosity, intellectual autonomy, intellectual humility, attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, intellectual thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity. It then explores how we should deploy these virtues and avoid the corresponding vices when interacting with the Internet, particularly search engines. Whilst an epistemically virtuous use of the Internet will not guarantee that one will acquire true beliefs, understanding, or even knowledge, it will strongly improve one’s information-seeking behaviours. The paper ends with arguing that teaching and assessing online intellectual virtues should be part of school and university curricula, perhaps embedded in critical thinking courses, or even better, as individual units. (shrink)
Contemporary virtue epistemology (hereafter ‘VE’) is a diverse collection of approaches to epistemology. At least two central tendencies are discernible among the approaches. First, they view epistemology as a normative discipline. Second, they view intellectual agents and communities as the primary focus of epistemic evaluation, with a focus on the intellectual virtues and vices embodied in and expressed by these agents and communities. -/- This entry introduces many of the most important results of the contemporary VE research (...) program. These include novel attempts to resolve longstanding disputes, solve perennial problems, grapple with novel challenges, and expand epistemology’s horizons. In the process, it reveals the diversity within VE. Beyond sharing the two unifying commitments mentioned above, its practitioners diverge over the nature of intellectual virtues, which questions to ask, and which methods to use. -/- It will be helpful to note some terminology before proceeding. First, we use ‘cognitive’, ‘epistemic’ and ‘intellectual’ synonymously. Second, we often use ‘normative’ broadly to include not only norms and rules, but also duties and values. Finally, ‘practitioners’ names contemporary virtue epistemologists. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga’s religious epistemology has been used to respond to many debunking arguments against theistic belief. However, critics have claimed that Plantinga’s religious epistemology conflicts with skeptical theism, a view often used in response to the problem of evil. If they are correct, then a common way of responding to debunking arguments conflicts with a common way of responding to the problem of evil. In this paper, I examine the critics’ claims and argue that they are right. I (...) then present two revised versions of Plantinga’s argument for his religious epistemology. I call the first a 'religion-based argument' and the second an 'intention-based argument'. Both are compatible with skeptical theism, and both can be used to respond to debunking arguments. They apply only to theistic beliefs of actual persons who have what I call 'doxastically valuable relationships' with God – valuable relationships the goods of which entail the belief that God exists. (shrink)
The place of social epistemology within contemporary philosophy, as well as its relation to other academic disciplines, is the topic of an ongoing debate. One camp within that debate holds that social epistemology should be pursued strictly from within the perspective of individualistic analytic epistemology. In contrast, a second camp holds that social epistemology is an interdisciplinary field that should be given priority over traditional analytic epistemology, with the specific aim of radically transforming the latter (...) to fit the results and methodology of the former. We are rather suspicious of this apparent tension, which we believe can be significantly mitigated by paying attention to certain recent advances within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Accordingly, we attempt to explain how extended knowledge, the result of combining active externalism from contemporary philosophy of mind with contemporary epistemology, can offer an alternative conception of the future of social epistemology. (shrink)
Reformed epistemology, roughly, is the thesis that religious belief can be rational without argument. After providing some background, I present Plantinga’s defense of reformed epistemology and its influence on religious debunking arguments. I then discuss three objections to Plantinga’s arguments that arise from the following topics: skeptical theism, cognitive science of religion, and basicality. I then show how reformed epistemology has recently been undergirded by a number of epistemological theories, including phenomenal conservatism and virtue epistemology. I (...) end by noting that a good objection to reformed epistemology must criticize either a substantive epistemological theory or the application of that theory to religious belief; I also show that the famous Great Pumpkin Objection is an example of the former. (shrink)
Since the publication of Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and its Limits, knowledge-first epistemology has become increasingly influential within epistemology. This paper discusses the viability of the knowledge-first program. The paper has two parts. In the first part, I briefly present knowledge-first epistemology as well as several big picture reasons for concern about this program. I concede, however, that these reasons are not conclusive. To determine the viability of knowledge-first epistemology will require philosophers to carefully evaluate the individual (...) theses endorsed by knowledge-first epistemologists as well as to compare it with alternative packages of views. In the second part of the paper, I contribute to this evaluation by considering a specific thesis endorsed by many knowledge-first epistemologists – the knowledge norm of assertion. According to this norm, roughly speaking, one should assert that p only if one knows that p. I present and motivate this thesis. I then turn to a familiar concern with the norm: In many cases, it is intuitively appropriate for someone who has a strongly justified belief that p, but who doesn't know that p, to assert that p. Proponents of the knowledge norm of assertion typically explain away our judgments about such cases by arguing that the relevant assertion is improper but that the subject has an excuse and is therefore not blameworthy for making the assertion. I argue that that this response will not work. In many of the problem cases, it is not merely that the subject’s assertion is blameless. Rather, the subject positively ought to make the assertion. Appealing to an excuse cannot be used to adequately explain this fact. (Nor can we explain this fact by appealing to some other, quite different, consideration.) Finally, I conclude by briefly considering whether we should replace the knowledge norm of assertion with an alternative norm. I argue that we should endorse a view on which there is no norm specifically tied to assertion. (shrink)
In this paper, I do three things. First, I offer an overview of an anti- luck epistemology, as set out in my book, Epistemic Luck. Second, I attempt to meet some of the main criticisms that one might level against the key theses that I propose in this work. And finally, third, I sketch some of the ways in which the strategy of anti- luck epistemology can be developed in new directions.
This chapter aims to expand the body of empirical literature considered relevant to virtue theory beyond the burned-over districts that are the situationist challenges to virtue ethics and epistemology. We thus raise a rather simple-sounding question: why doesn’t virtue epistemology have an account of intelligence? In the first section, we sketch the history and present state of the person-situation debate to argue for the importance of an interactionist framework in bringing psychological research in general, and intelligence research in (...) particular, to bear on questions of virtue. In Section 2, we discuss the history and present state of intelligence research to argue for its relevance to virtue epistemology. In Section 3, we argue that intelligence sits uneasily in both responsibilist and reliabilist virtue frameworks, which suggests that a new approach to virtue epistemology is needed. We conclude by placing intelligence within a new interactionist framework. (shrink)
This paper contributes to an increasing literature strengthening the connection between epistemic logic and epistemology (Van Benthem, Hendricks). I give a survey of the most important applications of epistemic logic in epistemology. I show how it is used in the history of philosophy (Steiner's reconstruction of Descartes' sceptical argument), in solutions to Moore's paradox (Hintikka), in discussions about the relation between knowledge and belief (Lenzen) and in an alleged refutation of verificationism (Fitch) and I examine an early argument (...) about the (im)possibility of epistemic logic (Hocutt). Subsequently, I deal with interpretive questions about epistemic logic that, although implicitly, already appeared in the first section. I contend that a conception of epistemic logic as a theory of knowledge assertions is incoherent, and I argue that it does not make sense to adopt a normative interpretation of epistemic logic. Finally, I show ways to extend epistemic logic with other branches of philosophical logic so as to make it useful for some epistemological questions. Conditional logics and logics of public announcement are used to understand causal theories of knowledge and versions of reliabilism. Temporal logic helps understand some dynamic aspects of knowledge as well as the verificationist thesis. (shrink)
This paper defines and defends time-slice epistemology, according to which there are no essentially diachronic norms of rationality. First I motivate and distinguish two notions of time-slice epistemology. Then I defend time-slice theories of action under indeterminacy, i.e. theories about how you should act when the outcome of your decision depends on some indeterminate claim. I raise objections to a theory of action under indeterminacy recently defended by Robbie Williams, and I propose some alternative theories in its place. (...) Throughout this discussion, I defend a more general moral about action under indeterminacy, namely that time-slice theories are supported by strong analogies with ethical theories. In particular, our understanding of agents torn between interpretations of a decision situation should be guided by our theories of agents torn between incommensurable values. (shrink)
We conducted five experiments that reveal some main contours of the folk epistemology of lotteries. The folk tend to think that you don't know that your lottery ticket lost, based on the long odds ("statistical cases"); by contrast, the folk tend to think that you do know that your lottery ticket lost, based on a news report ("testimonial cases"). We evaluate three previous explanations for why people deny knowledge in statistical cases: the justification account, the chance account, and the (...) statistical account. None of them seems to work. We then propose a new explanation of our own, the formulaic account, according to which some people deny knowledge in statistical cases due to formulaic expression. (shrink)
This chapter provides an overview of the issues involved in recent debates about the epistemological relevance of emotions. We first survey some key issues in epistemology and the theory of emotions that inform various assessments of emotions’ potential significance in epistemology. We then distinguish five epistemic functions that have been claimed for emotions: motivational force, salience and relevance, access to facts and beliefs, non-propositional contributions to knowledge and understanding, and epistemic efficiency. We identify two core issues in the (...) discussions about such epistemic functions of emotions: First, even though it is plausible that emotions are involved in epistemic processes, it may be doubted whether they really matter for the normative question of what counts as knowledge or justified belief. Second, some of the epistemic functions claimed for emotions in general may only be attributed to some specifically epistemic emotions, which have been present all along in traditional epistemology, albeit under different labels such as ‘intuitions’. (shrink)
The Future of Social Epistemology: A Collective Vision sets an agenda for exploring the future of what we – human beings reimagining our selves and our society – want, need and ought to know. The book examines, concretely, practically and speculatively, key ideas such as the public conduct of philosophy, models for extending and distributing knowledge, the interplay among individuals and groups, risk taking and the welfare state, and envisioning people and societies remade through the breakneck pace of scientific (...) and technological change. An international team of contributors offers a ‘collective vision’, one that speaks to what they see unfolding and how to plan and conduct the dialogue and work leading to a knowable and desirable world. The book describes and advances an intellectual agenda for the future of social epistemology. (shrink)
In this paper I develop and support a feminist virtue epistemology and bring it into conversation with feminist contextual empiricism and feminist standpoint theory. The virtue theory I develop is centered on the virtue of epistemic trustworthiness, which foregrounds the social/political character of knowledge practices and products, and the differences between epistemic agencies that perpetuate, on the one hand, and displace, on the other hand, normative patterns of unjust epistemic discrimination. I argue that my view answers important questions regarding (...) epistemic agency which both contextual empiricism and standpoint theory leave open, but need to have answered. Feminist virtue epistemology thus emerges as providing an integrative framework for pluralism in feminist epistemology that illuminated connections among theories through engagement with the lived experiences, aspirations, and epistemic work of feminist epistemic agents. (shrink)
Social epistemology has paid little attention to oral historiography as a source of expert insight into the credibility of testimony. One extant suggestion, however, is that oral historians treat testimony with a default trust reflecting a standing warrant for accepting testimony. The view that there is such a standing warrant is sometimes known as the Acceptance Principle for Testimony. I argue that the practices of oral historians do not count in support of APT, all in all. Experts have commonly (...) described oral traditions as oriented towards political, cultural and entertainment ends, and not only—or not even—towards an accurate depiction of past events. Even when accuracy is the emphasis, many historians of oral tradition do not trust such testimony as APT would suggest; the importance of gathering supporting evidence is a consistent emphasis. Yet oral historiography, both of traditions and more generally, does hold out lessons for the epistemology of testimony, implicating a wider range of social.. (shrink)
We can call any reductive account of knowledge that appeals to both safety and ability conditions a mixed account of knowledge. Examples of mixed accounts of knowledge include Pritchard’s (2012) Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology, Kelp’s (2013) Safe-Apt account of knowledge, and Turri’s (2011) Ample belief account of knowledge. Mixed accounts of knowledge are motivated by well-known counterexamples to pure safety and pure ability accounts of knowledge. It is thought that by combining both safety and ability conditions we can give an (...) extensionally adequate reductive account of knowledge. In this paper I argue that the putative counterexamples to pure safety and pure ability accounts of knowledge fail to motivate mixed accounts of knowledge. In particular, I argue that if the putative counterexamples are problematic for safety accounts they are problematic for ability accounts and vice-versa. The reason for this, I argue, is that the safety condition and ability condition should be understood as alternative expressions of the same intuition — that knowledge must come from a reliable source. (shrink)
Many epistemologists use intuitive responses to particular cases as evidence for their theories. Recently, experimental philosophers have challenged the evidential value of intuitions, suggesting that our responses to particular cases are unstable, inconsistent with the responses of the untrained, and swayed by factors such as ethnicity and gender. This paper presents evidence that neither gender nor ethnicity influence epistemic intuitions, and that the standard responses to Gettier cases and the like are widely shared. It argues that epistemic intuitions are produced (...) by the natural ‘mindreading’ capacity that underpins ordinary attributions of belief and knowledge in everyday social interaction. Although this capacity is fallible, its weaknesses are similar to the weaknesses of natural capacities such as sensory perception. Experimentalists who do not wish to be skeptical about ordinary empirical methods have no good reason to be skeptical about epistemic intuitions. (shrink)
The paper begins with a clarification of the notions of intuition (and, in particular, modal intuition), modal error, conceivability, metaphysical possibility, and epistemic possibility. It is argued that two-dimensionalism is the wrong framework for modal epistemology and that a certain nonreductionist approach to the theory of concepts and propositions is required instead. Finally, there is an examination of moderate rationalism’s impact on modal arguments in the philosophy of mind -- for example, Yablo’s disembodiment argument and Chalmers’s zombie argument. A (...) less vulnerable style of modal argument is defended, which nevertheless wins the same anti-materialist conclusions sought by these other arguments. (shrink)
Testimony is a crucial source of knowledge: we are to a large extent reliant upon what others tell us. It has been the subject of much recent interest in epistemology, and this volume collects twelve original essays on the topic by some of the world's leading philosophers. It will be the starting point for future research in this fertile field. Contributors include Robert Audi, C. A. J. Coady, Elizabeth Fricker, Richard Fumerton, Sanford C. Goldberg, Peter Graham, Jennifer Lackey, Keith (...) Lehrer, Richard Moran, Frederick F. Schmitt, Ernest Sosa, and James Van Cleve. (shrink)
In cases of cognitive penetration, the way you see the world is shaped by your prior expectations or other cognitive states. But what is cognitive penetration exactly? What are the consequences for epistemology if it sometimes happens? What are the consequences for epistemology if it never happens? This paper surveys answers to these questions and argues that cognitive penetration has implications for epistemology whether it ever happens or not.
This chapter first surveys general issues in the epistemic internalism / externalism debate: what is the distinction, what motivates it, and what arguments can be given on both sides. -/- The second part of the chapter will examine the internalism / externalism debate as regards to the specific case of the epistemology of memory belief.
A common epistemological assumption in contemporary bioethics held b y both proponents and critics of non-traditional forms of cognitive enhancement is that cognitive enhancement aims at the facilitation of the accumulation of human knowledge. This paper does three central things. First, drawing from recent work in epistemology, a rival account of cognitive enhancement, framed in terms of the notion of cognitive achievement rather than knowledge, is proposed. Second, we outline and respond to an axiological objection to our proposal that (...) draws from recent work by Leon Kass (2004), Michael Sandel (2009), and John Harris (2011) to the effect that ‘enhanced’ cognitive achievements are (by effectively removing obstacles to success) not worthy of pursuit, or are otherwise ‘trivial’. Third, we show how the cognitive achievement account of cognitive enhancement proposed here fits snugly with recent active externalist approaches (e.g., extended cognition) in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
Charles Peirce's diagrammatic logic — the Existential Graphs — is presented as a tool for illuminating how we know necessity, in answer to Benacerraf's famous challenge that most ‘semantics for mathematics’ do not ‘fit an acceptable epistemology’. It is suggested that necessary reasoning is in essence a recognition that a certain structure has the particular structure that it has. This means that, contra Hume and his contemporary heirs, necessity is observable. One just needs to pay attention, not merely to (...) individual things but to how those things are related in larger structures, certain aspects of which relations force certain other aspects to be a certain way. (shrink)
From the ferment of recent debates about the intellectual virtues, Roberts and Wood develop an approach they call 'regulative epistemology', exploring the connection between knowledge and intellectual virtue. In the course of their argument they analyse particular virtues of intellectual life - such as courage, generosity, and humility - in detail.
An overview of the epistemology of perception, covering the nature of justification, immediate justification, the relationship between the metaphysics of perceptual experience and its rational role, the rational role of attention, and cognitive penetrability. The published version will contain a smaller bibliography, due to space constraints in the volume.
This paper formulates a general epistemological argument against what I call non-causal realism, generalizing domain specific arguments by Benacerraf, Field, and others. First I lay out the background to the argument, making a number of distinctions that are sometimes missed in discussions of epistemological arguments against realism. Then I define the target of the argument—non-causal realism—and argue that any non-causal realist theory, no matter the subject matter, cannot be given a reasonable epistemology and so should be rejected. Finally I (...) discuss and respond to several possible responses to the argument. In addition to clearing up and avoiding numerous misunderstandings of arguments of this kind that are quite common in the literature, this paper aims to present and endorse a rigorous and fully general epistemological argument against realism. (shrink)
The paper provides a systematic overview of recent debates in epistemology and philosophy of science on the nature of understanding. We explain why philosophers have turned their attention to understanding and discuss conditions for “explanatory” understanding of why something is the case and for “objectual” understanding of a whole subject matter. The most debated conditions for these types of understanding roughly resemble the three traditional conditions for knowledge: truth, justification and belief. We discuss prominent views about how to construe (...) these conditions for understanding, whether understanding indeed requires conditions of all three types and whether additional conditions are needed. (shrink)
The default view in the epistemology of forgetting is that human memory would be epistemically better if we were not so susceptible to forgetting—that forgetting is in general a cognitive vice. In this paper, I argue for the opposed view: normal human forgetting—the pattern of forgetting characteristic of cognitively normal adult human beings—approximates a virtue located at the mean between the opposed cognitive vices of forgetting too much and remembering too much. I argue, first, that, for any finite cognizer, (...) a certain pattern of forgetting is necessary if her memory is to perform its function well. I argue, second, that, by eliminating clutter from her memory store, this pattern of forgetting improves the overall shape of the subject’s total doxastic state. I conclude by reviewing work in psychology which suggests that normal human forgetting approximates this virtuous pattern of forgetting. (shrink)
Robust Virtue Epistemology maintains that knowledge is achieved just when an agent gets to the truth through, or because of, the manifestation of intellectual virtue or ability. A notorious objection to the view is that the satisfaction of the virtue condition will be insufficient to ensure the safety of the target belief; that is, RVE is no anti-luck epistemology. Some of the most promising recent attempts to get around this problem are considered and shown to ultimately fail. Finally, (...) a new proposal for defending RVE as a kind of anti-luck epistemology is defended. The view developed here turns importantly on the idea that knowledge depends on ability and luck in a way that is gradient, not rigid, and that we know just when our cognitive success depends on ability not rather, but more so, than luck. (shrink)
In a number of recent papers Duncan Pritchard argues that virtue epistemology's central ability condition—one knows that p if and only if one has attained cognitive success (true belief) because of the exercise of intellectual ability—is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge. This paper discusses and dismisses a number of responses to Pritchard's objections and develops a new way of defending virtue epistemology against them.
One thing nearly all epistemologists agree upon is that Gettier cases are decisive counterexamples to the tripartite analysis of knowledge; whatever else is true of knowledge, it is not merely belief that is both justified and true. They now agree that knowledge is not justified true belief because this is consistent with there being too much luck present in the cases, and that knowledge excludes such luck. This is to endorse what has become known as the 'anti-luck platitude'. <br /><br (...) />But what if generations of philosophers have been mistaken about this, blinded at least partially by a deeply entrenched professional bias? There has been another, albeit minority, response to Gettier: to deny that the cases are counterexamples at all. <br /><br />Stephen Hetherington, a principal and vocal proponent of this view, advances what he calls the 'Knowing Luckily Proposal'. If Hetherington is correct, this would call for a major re-evaluation and re-orientation of post-Gettier analytic epistemology, since much of it assumes the anti-luck platitude both in elucidating the concept of knowledge, and in the application of such accounts to central philosophical problems. It is therefore imperative that the Knowing Luckily Proposal be considered and evaluated in detail. <br /><br />In this paper I critically assess the Knowing Luckily Proposal. I argue that while it draws our attention to certain important features of knowledge, ultimately it fails, and the anti-luck platitude emerges unscathed. Whatever else is true of knowledge, therefore, it is non-lucky true belief. For a proposition to count as knowledge, we cannot arrive at its truth accidentally or for the wrong reason. (shrink)
Formal epistemology is just what it sounds like: epistemology done with formal tools. Coinciding with the general rise in popularity of experimental philosophy, formal epistemologists have begun to apply experimental methods in their own work. In this entry, I survey some of the work at the intersection of formal and experimental epistemology. I show that experimental methods have unique roles to play when epistemology is done formally, and I highlight some ways in which results from formal (...)epistemology have been used fruitfully to advance epistemically-relevant experimental work. The upshot of this brief, incomplete survey is that formal and experimental methods often constitute mutually informative means to epistemological ends. (shrink)
Virtue Epistemology is a new movement receiving the bulk of recent attention from top epistemologists and ethicists; this volume reflects the best work in that vein. Included are unpublished articles by such eminent philosophers as Robert Audi, Simon Blackburn, Alvin Goldman, Christopher Hookway, Keith Lehrer, and Ernest Sosa.
Standard epistemology takes it for granted that there is a special kind of value: epistemic value. This claim does not seem to sit well with act utilitarianism, however, since it holds that only welfare is of real value. I first develop a particularly utilitarian sense of “epistemic value”, according to which it is closely analogous to the nature of financial value. I then demonstrate the promise this approach has for two current puzzles in the intersection of epistemology and (...) value theory: first, the problem of why knowledge is better than mere true belief, and second, the relation between epistemic justification and responsibility. (shrink)
According to ‘orthodox’ epistemology, it has recently been said, whether or not a true belief amounts to knowledge depends exclusively on truth-related factors: for example, on whether the true belief was formed in a reliable way, or was supported by good evidence, and so on. Jason Stanley refers to this as the ‘intellectualist’ component of orthodox epistemology, and Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath describe it as orthodox epistemology’s commitment to a ‘purely epistemic’ account of knowledge — that (...) is, an account of knowledge where only truth-related factors figure in whether or not a person knows. In the first part of this paper I try to clarify the intellectualist thesis and to distinguish what I take to be its two main strains. In the remainder of the paper I then take a more critical turn and argue that even if, as a matter of fact, traditional epistemology has endorsed intellectualism in both of its strains, this is a mistake on the part of the tradition. At least one way of understanding intellectualism should be rejected and its practicalist counterpart should be accepted instead. (shrink)
Theodore Sider’s recent book, “Writing the Book of the World”, employs a primitive notion of metaphysical structure in order to make sense of substantive metaphysics. But Sider and others who employ metaphysical primitives face serious epistemological challenges. In the first section I develop a specific form of this challenge for Sider’s own proposed epistemology for structure; the second section develops a general reliability challenge for Sider’s theory; and the third and final section argues for the rejection of Siderean structure (...) in the course of answering a transcendental argument against such rejection. (shrink)
This article traces a growing interest among epistemologists in the intellectuals of epistemic virtues. These are cognitive dispositions exercised in the formation of beliefs. Attempts to give intellectual virtues a central normative and/or explanatory role in epistemology occur together with renewed interest in the ethics/epistemology analogy, and in the role of intellectual virtue in Aristotle's epistemology. The central distinction drawn here is between two opposed forms of virtue epistemology, virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. The article develops (...) the shared and distinctive claims made by contemporary proponents of each form, in their respective treatments of knowledge and justification. (shrink)
There is a kind of objectivism in epistemology that involves the acceptance of objective epistemic norms. It is generally regarded as harmless. There is another kind of objectivism in epistemology that involves the acceptance of an objectivist account of justification, one that takes the justification of a belief to turn on its accuracy. It is generally regarded as hopeless. It is a strange and unfortunate sociological fact that these attitudes are so prevalent. Objectivism about norms and justification stand (...) or fall together. Justification is simply a matter of conforming to norms. In this essay, I shall make the case for objectivism about justification. (shrink)
We learn a lot. Friends tell us about their lives. Books tell us about the past. We see the world. We reason and we reflect on our mental lives. As a result we come to know and to form justified beliefs about a range of topics. We also seem to keep these beliefs. How? The natural answer is: by memory. It is not too hard to understand that memory allows us to retain information. It is harder to understand exactly how (...) memory allows us to retain knowledge and reasons for our beliefs. Learning is largely a matter of acquiring reasons for changing views. But how do we keep reasons for the views we keep? The epistemology of memory concerns memory’s role in our having knowledge and justification. This branch of epistemology, unlike nearly all other branches, addresses our having knowledge and justification over time. -/- This article reviews the major epistemic roles that philosophers have assigned to memory. Section 1 surveys the nature of memory and the various memory systems. Some philosophers think the relation knowledge bears to at least one memory system is maximally strong: remembering just is a way of knowing. Section 2 covers this strong relation. Section 3 canvases the main problems that data on human memory pose to theories of justification and the central attempts to solve these problems. Section 4 discusses the historical and contemporary responses to two main skeptical challenges about memory. (shrink)
Many important metaphysical arguments validly deduce an actuality from a possibility. For example: Because it is possible for me to exist in the absence of anything material, I am not my body. I argue that there is no reason to suppose that our capacity for modal judgment is equal to the task of determining whether the "possibility" premise of any of these arguments is true. I connect this thesis with Stephen Yablo's recent work on the epistemology of modal statements.
This paper introduces the author's approach to everyday ascriptions of collective cognitive states as in such statements as we believe he is lying. Collective epistemology deals with these ascriptions attempting to understand them and the phenomena in question.
Standard characterizations of virtue epistemology divide the field into two camps: virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. Virtue reliabilists think of intellectual virtues as reliable cognitive faculties or abilities, while virtue responsibilists conceive of them as good intellectual character traits. I argue that responsibilist character virtues sometimes satisfy the conditions of a reliabilist conception of intellectual virtue, and that consequently virtue reliabilists, and reliabilists in general, must pay closer attention to matters of intellectual character. This leads to several new questions (...) and (...) challenges for any reliabilist epistemology. (shrink)
In "Truth and Method" Hans Georg Gadamer revealed hermeneutics as one of the foundational epistemological elements of history, in contrast to scientific method, which, with empiricism, constitutes natural sciences’ epistemology. This important step solved a number of long-standing arguments over the ontology of history, which had become increasingly bitter in the twentieth century. But perhaps Gadamer’s most important contribution was that he annulled history’s supposed inferiority to the natural sciences by showing that the knowledge it offers, though different in (...) nature from science, is of equal import. By showing history’s arrant independence from the natural sciences, the former was furnished with a new-found importance, and thrust on an equal footing with the latter—even in a distinctly scientific age such as ours. This essay intends to show that the idea of history’s discrete ontology from science was prefigured almost a century earlier by Benedetto Croce. Croce and Gadamer show compelling points of contact in their philosophies, notwithstanding that they did not confer equal consequence to what may be identified as Gadamer’s principal substantiation of history’s epistemology—hermeneutics. Of course this essay does not aspire to be exhaustive: the thought of both philosophers is far too dense. Nevertheless, the main points of contact shall be outlined, and, though concise, this essay seeks to point out the striking similarities of these two cardinal philosophers of history. (shrink)
The evidence-based medicine movement advocates basing all medical decisions on certain types of quantitative research data and has stimulated protracted controversy and debate since its inception. Evidence-based medicine presupposes an inaccurate and deficient view of medical knowledge. Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge both explains this deficiency and suggests remedies for it. Polanyi shows how all explicit human knowledge depends on a wealth of tacit knowledge which accrues from experience and is essential for problem solving. Edmund Pellegrino’s classic treatment of (...) clinical judgment is examined, and a Polanyian critique of this position demonstrates that tacit knowledge is necessary for understanding how clinical judgment and medical decisions involve persons. An adequate medical epistemology requires much more qualitative research relevant to the clinical encounter and medical decision making than is currently being done. This research is necessary for preventing an uncritical application of evidence-based medicine by health care managers that erodes good clinical practice. Polanyi’s epistemology shows the need for this work and provides the structural core for building an adequate and robust medical epistemology that moves beyond evidence-based medicine. (shrink)