The internalism-externalism debate is one of the oldest debates in epistemology. Internalists assert that the justification of our beliefs can only depend on facts internal to us, while externalists insist that justification can depend on additional, for example environmental, factors. Clayton Littlejohn proposes and defends a new strategy for resolving this debate. Focussing on the connections between practical and theoretical reason, he explores the question of whether the priority of the good to the right might be used to (...) defend an epistemological version of consequentialism, and proceeds to formulate a new 'deontological externalist' view. On this view, the justificatory status of a belief depends upon whether it is fit for the purposes of practical reasoning. Only beliefs that meet externalist standards are fit for such a purpose. If we want to understand how a wide range of norms (e.g., moral norms) apply to rational agents regardless of what their evidence or outlook is like, we have to embrace an externalist account of the justification. (shrink)
The distinction between propositional and doxastic justification is normally applied to belief. The goal of this paper is to apply the distinction to faith and hope. Before doing so, I discuss the nature of faith and hope, and how they contrast with belief—belief has no essential conative component, whereas faith and hope essentially involve the conative. I discuss implications this has for evaluating faith and hope, and apply this to the propositional/doxastic distinction. There are two key upshots. One, bringing (...) in faith and hope makes salient additional normative categories, including the way the distinction between epistemic and practical justification interacts with the distinction between propositional and doxastic justification. Two, a paradigm example of propositional without doxastic justification is a belief that is evidentially supported but based on wishful thinking. Surprisingly, parallel cases of faith and hope may actually enjoy both propositional and doxastic justification. I conclude by exploring what it might look like for faith and hope to have propositional justification without doxastic justification. (shrink)
According to a captivating picture, epistemic justification is essentially a matter of epistemic or evidential likelihood. While certain problems for this view are well known, it is motivated by a very natural thought—if justification can fall short of epistemic certainty, then what else could it possibly be? In this paper I shall develop an alternative way of thinking about epistemic justification. On this conception, the difference between justification and likelihood turns out to be akin to the (...) more widely recognised difference between ceteris paribus laws and brute statistical generalisations. I go on to discuss, in light of this suggestion, issues such as classical and lottery-driven scepticism as well as the lottery and preface paradoxes. (shrink)
I argue against the orthodox view of the relationship between propositional and doxastic justification. The view under criticism is: if p is propositionally justified for S in virtue of S's having reason R, and S believes p on the basis of R, then S's belief that p is doxastically justified. I then propose and evaluate alternative accounts of the relationship between propositional and doxastic justification, and conclude that we should explain propositional justification in terms of doxastic (...) class='Hi'>justification. If correct, this proposal would constitute a significant advance in our understanding of the sources of epistemic justification. (shrink)
In this chapter I analyse an objection to phenomenal conservatism to the effect that phenomenal conservatism is unacceptable because it is incompatible with Bayesianism. I consider a few responses to it and dismiss them as misled or problematic. Then, I argue that this objection doesn’t go through because it rests on an implausible formalization of the notion of seeming-based justification. In the final part of the chapter, I investigate how seeming-based justification and justification based on one’s reflective (...) belief that one has a seeming interact with one another. (shrink)
In this chapter I investigate epistemological consequences of the fact that seeming-based justification is elusive, in the sense that the subject can lose this justification simply by reflecting on her seemings. I argue that since seeming-based justification is elusive, the antisceptical bite of phenomenal conservatism is importantly limited. I also contend that since seeming-based justification has this feature, phenomenal conservatism isn’t actually afflicted by easy justification problems.
In this chapter I draw the conclusions of my investigation into phenomenal conservatism. I argue that phenomenal conservatism isn’t actually plagued by serious problems attributed to it by its opponents, but that it neither possesses all the epistemic merits that its advocates think it has. I suggest that phenomenal conservatism could provide a more satisfactory account of everyday epistemic practices and a more robust response to the sceptic if it were integrated with a theory of inferential justification. I also (...) identify questions and issues relevant to the assessment of phenomenal conservatism to be investigated in further research. (shrink)
The basing demand on doxastic justification is a widely held and highly intuitive dogma of contemporary epistemology. In my [2015, AJP], I argued (only) that the dialectical significance of this dogma is severely limited by our lack of independent grounds for endorsing it. Oliveira [2015, AJP] sought to defend the basing demand on doxastic justification. Here I explain why Oliveira’s attempted defense of the basing demand misses its mark. I also briefly suggest that there is an alternative way (...) of defending the basing demand. The alternative way is reconciliatory: it shows that most epistemologists may have been right to insist on such a demand, but perhaps still wrong to treat it as a dialectically powerful tool in the assessment of certain substantive epistemological theories. (shrink)
I would like to assume that Reichenbach's distinction of Justification and Discovery lives on, and to seek arguments in his texts that would justify their relevance in this field. The persuasive force of these arguments transcends the contingent circumstances apart from which their genesis and local transmission cannot be made understandable. I shall begin by characterizing the context distinction as employed by Reichenbach in "Experience and Prediction" to differentiate between epistemology and science (1). Following Thomas Nickles and Kevin T. (...) Kelly, one can distinguish two meanings of the context distinction in Reichenbach's work. One meaning, which is primarily to be found in the earlier writings, conceives of scientific discoveries as potential objects of epistemological justification. The other meaning, typical for the later writings, removes scientific discoveries from the possible domain of epistemology. The genesis of both meanings, which demonstrates the complexity of the relationships obtaining between epistemology and science, can be made understandable by appealing to the historical context (2). Both meanings present Reichenbach with the task of establishing the autonomy of epistemology through the justification of induction. Finally, I shall expound this justification and address some of its elements of rationality characterizing philosophy of science(3). (shrink)
We attack the SSK's rejection of the distinction between discovery and justification (the DJ distinction), famously introduced by Hans Reichenbach and here defended in a "lean" version. Some critics claim that the DJ distinction cannot be drawn precisely, or that it cannot be drawn prior to the actual analysis of scientific knowledge. Others, instead of trying to blur or to reject the distinction, claim that we need an even more fine-grained distinction (e.g. between discovery, invention, prior assessment, test and (...)justification). Adherents of the SSK, however, maintain that the distinction is useless and perhaps nonexistent. We first argue against the assumption that the SSK's objection to the DJ distinction is just the same as Thomas Kuhn's. Second, we point out general weaknesses of the SSK's arguments against the DJ distinction. Finally, we argue that the distinction is useful not only in order to explicate what is meant by an evaluation but even for the empirical explanation of knowledge. We use two case studies from the history of cognitive science to support this point. (shrink)
In this paper I articulate and defend a view that I call phenomenal dogmatism about intuitive justification. It is dogmatic because it includes the thesis: if it intuitively seems to you that p, then you thereby have some prima facie justification for believing that p. It is phenomenalist because it includes the thesis: intuitions justify us in believing their contents in virtue of their phenomenology—and in particular their presentational phenomenology. I explore the nature of presentational phenomenology as it (...) occurs perception, and I make a case for thinking that it is present in a wide variety of logical, mathematical, and philosophical intuitions. (shrink)
Ever since Plato it has been thought that one knows only if one's belief hits the mark of truth and does so with adequate justification. The issues debated by Laurence BonJour and Ernest Sosa concern mostly the nature and conditions of such epistemic justification, and its place in our understanding of human knowledge. Presents central issues pertaining to internalism vs. externalism and foundationalism vs. virtue epistemology in the form of a philosophical debate. Introduces students to fundamental questions within (...) epistemology while engaging in contemporary debates. Written by two of today’s foremost epistemologists. Includes an extensive bibliography. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose that applying the methods of data science to “the problem of whether mathematical explanations occur within mathematics itself” (Mancosu 2018) might be a fruitful way to shed new light on the problem. By carefully selecting indicator words for explanation and justification, and then systematically searching for these indicators in databases of scholarly works in mathematics, we can get an idea of how mathematicians use these terms in mathematical practice and with what frequency. The results (...) of this empirical study suggest that mathematical explanations do occur in research articles published in mathematics journals, as indicated by the occurrence of explanation indicators. When compared with the use of justification indicators, however, the data suggest that justifications occur much more frequently than explanations in scholarly mathematical practice. The results also suggest that justificatory proofs occur much more frequently than explanatory proofs, thus suggesting that proof may be playing a larger justificatory role than an explanatory role in scholarly mathematical practice. (shrink)
Normative explanations of why things are wrong, good, or unfair are ubiquitous in ordinary practice and normative theory. This paper argues that normative explanation is subject to a justification condition: a correct complete explanation of why a normative fact holds must identify features that would go at least some way towards justifying certain actions or attitudes. I first explain and motivate the condition I propose. I then support it by arguing that it fits well with various theories of normative (...) reasons, makes good sense of certain legitimate moves in ordinary normative explanatory discourse, and helps to make sense of our judgments about explanatory priority in certain cases of normative explanation. This last argument also helps to highlight respects in which normative explanation won’t be worryingly discontinuous with explanations in other domains even though these other explanations aren’t subject to the justification condition. Thus the paper aims not only to do some constructive theorizing about the relatively neglected topic of normative explanation but also to cast light on the broader question of how normative explanation may be similar to and different from explanations in other domains. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne offers an original treatment of a question at the heart of epistemology: what makes a belief rational, or justified in holding? He maps the rival accounts of philosophers on epistemic justification ("internalist" and "externalist"), arguing that they are really accounts of different concepts. He distinguishes between synchronic justification (justification at a time) and diachronic justification (synchronic justification resulting from adequate investigation)--both internalist and externalist. He also argues that most kinds of justification are (...) worth having because they are indicative of truth; however, it is only justification of internalist kinds that can guide a believer's actions. Swinburne goes on to show the usefulness of the probability calculus in elucidating how empirical evidence makes beliefs probably true. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest among epistemologists in the nature of understanding, with some authors arguing that understanding should replace knowledge as the primary focus of epistemology. But what is understanding? According to what is often called the standard view, understanding is a species of knowledge. Although this view has recently been challenged in various ways, even the critics of the standard view have assumed that understanding requires justification and belief. I argue that it (...) requires neither. If sound, these arguments have important upshots not only for the nature of understanding, but also for its distinctive epistemic value and its role in contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
This paper argues that justification is accessible in the sense that one has justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. I argue that the accessibility of justification is required for explaining what is wrong with believing Moorean conjunctions of the form, ‘p and I do not have justification to believe that p.’.
We all have beliefs, even strong convictions, about what is just and fair in our social arrangements. How should these beliefs and the theories of justice that incorporate them guide our thinking about practical matters of justice? This wide-ranging collection of essays by one of the foremost medical ethicists in the USA explores the claim that justification in ethics, whether of matters of theory or practice, involves achieving coherence between our moral and non-moral beliefs. Amongst the practical issues addressed (...) in the volume are the design of health-care institutions, the distribution of goods between the old and the young, and fairness in hiring and firing. In combining ethical theory and practical ethics this volume will prove especially valuable to philosophers concerned with ethics and applied ethics, political theorists, bioethicists, and others involved in the study of public policy. (shrink)
This collection of papers (including three completely new ones) by one of the foremost philosophers in epistemology transcends two of the most widely misunderstood positions in philosophy--foundationalism and coherentism. Audi proposes a distinctively moderate, internalist foundationalism that incorporates some of the virtues of both coherentism and reliabilism. He develops important distinctions between positive and negative epistemic dependence, substantively and conceptually naturalistic theories, dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe, episodically and structurally inferential beliefs, first and second order internalism, and rebutting as (...) opposed to refuting skepticism. These contrasts are applied not only to rational belief, but to rational action and the rationality of desires and intentions. The overall position is a pluralist, moderately rationalistic, internalist theory of justification and a partly externalist conception of knowledge. However, by virtue of offering a theory of rationality as well as an account of knowledge and justified belief, it will interest philosophers of ethics, science, and the social sciences and teachers and students of epistemology. (shrink)
Introduction: the foundation of justice -- Practical reason and justifying reasons: on the foundation of morality -- Moral autonomy and the autonomy of morality : toward a theory of normativity after Kant -- Ethics and morality -- The justification of justice: Rawls's political liberalism and Habermas's discourse theory in dialogue -- Political liberty: integrating five conceptions of autonomy -- A critical theory of multicultural toleration -- The rule of reasons: three models of deliberative democracy -- Social justice, justification, (...) and power -- The basic right to justification: toward a constructivist conception of human rights -- Constructions of transnational justice: comparing John Rawls's the law of peoples and Otfried Höffe's democracy in an age of globalisation -- Justice, morality, and power in the global context -- Toward a critical theory of transnational justice. (shrink)
In this chapter, I argue for the thesis that phenomenal consciousness is the basis of epistemic justification. More precisely, I argue for the thesis of phenomenal mentalism, according to which epistemic facts about which doxastic attitudes one has justification to hold are determined by non-epistemic facts about one’s phenomenally individuated mental states. I begin by providing intuitive motivations for phenomenal mentalism and then proceed to sketch a more theoretical line of argument according to which phenomenal mentalism provides the (...) best explanation of the independently motivated thesis of access internalism. The result is a theory of epistemic justification that brings intuition and theory into reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
There is much to like about the idea that justification should be understood in terms of normality or normic support (Smith 2016, Goodman and Salow 2018). The view does a nice job explaining why we should think that lottery beliefs differ in justificatory status from mundane perceptual or testimonial beliefs. And it seems to do that in a way that is friendly to a broadly internalist approach to justification. In spite of its attractions, we think that the normic (...) support view faces two serious challenges. The first is that it delivers the wrong result in preface cases. These cases suggest that the view is either too sceptical or too externalist. The second is that the view struggles with certain kinds of Moorean absurdities. It turns out that these problems can easily be avoided. If we think of normality as a condition on *knowledge*, we can characterise justification in terms of its connection to knowledge and thereby avoid the difficulties discussed here. The resulting view does an equally good job explaining why we should think that our perceptual and testimonial beliefs are justified when lottery beliefs cannot be. Thus, it seems that little could be lost and much could be gained by revising the proposal and adopting a view on which it is knowledge, not justification, that depends directly upon normality. (shrink)
According to many, to have epistemic justification to believe P is just for it to be epistemically permissible to believe P. Others think it is for believing P to be epistemically good. Yet others think it has to do with being epistemically blameless in believing P. All such views of justification encounter problems. Here, a new view of justification is proposed according to which justification is a kind of composite normative status. The result is a view (...) of justification that offers hope of solving some longstanding epistemological problems. (shrink)
This paper describes a formal measure of epistemic justification motivated by the dual goal of cognition, which is to increase true beliefs and reduce false beliefs. From this perspective the degree of epistemic justification should not be the conditional probability of the proposition given the evidence, as it is commonly thought. It should be determined instead by the combination of the conditional probability and the prior probability. This is also true of the degree of incremental confirmation, and I (...) argue that any measure of epistemic justification is also a measure of incremental confirmation. However, the degree of epistemic justification must meet an additional condition, and all known measures of incremental confirmation fail to meet it. I describe this additional condition as well as a measure that meets it. The paper then applies the measure to the conjunction fallacy and proposes an explanation of the fallacy. (shrink)
A standard view in philosophy is that knowledge entails justification. Yet recent research suggests otherwise. We argue that this admirable and striking research suffers from an important limitation: participants were asked about knowledge but not justification. Thus it is possible that people attributed knowledge partly because they thought the belief was justified. Perhaps though, if given the opportunity, people would deny justification while still attributing knowledge. It is also possible that earlier findings were due to perspective taking. (...) This paper reports further research that directly addresses these questions. Our findings support the hypothesis that knowledge entails justification on the ordinary view. (shrink)
Thomas Kroedel argues that the lottery paradox can be solved by identifying epistemic justification with epistemic permissibility rather than epistemic obligation. According to his permissibility solution, we are permitted to believe of each lottery ticket that it will lose, but since permissions do not agglomerate, it does not follow that we are permitted to have all of these beliefs together, and therefore it also does not follow that we are permitted to believe that all tickets will lose. I present (...) two objections to this solution. First, even if justification itself amounts to no more than epistemic permissibility, the lottery paradox recurs at the level of doxastic obligations unless one adopts an extremely permissive view about suspension of belief that is in tension with our practice of doxastic criticism. Second, even if there are no obligations to believe lottery propositions, the permissibility solution fails because epistemic permissions typically agglomerate, and the lottery case provides no exception to this rule. (shrink)
The lottery paradox can be solved if epistemic justification is assumed to be a species of permissibility. Given this assumption, the starting point of the paradox can be formulated as the claim that, for each lottery ticket, I am permitted to believe that it will lose. This claim is ambiguous between two readings, depending on the scope of ‘permitted’. On one reading, the claim is false; on another, it is true, but, owing to the general failure of permissibility to (...) agglomerate, does not generate the paradox. The solution generalizes to formulations of the paradox in terms of rational acceptability and doxastic rationality. (shrink)
Theories of emotional justification investigate the conditions under which emotions are epistemically justified or unjustified. I make three contributions to this research program. First, I show that we can generalize some familiar epistemological concepts and distinctions to emotional experiences. Second, I use these concepts and distinctions to display the limits of the ‘simple view’ of emotional justification. On this approach, the justification of emotions stems only from the contents of the mental states they are based on, also (...) known as their cognitive bases. The simple view faces the ‘gap problem’: If cognitive bases and emotions (re)present their objects and properties in different ways, then cognitive bases are not sufficient to justify emotions. Third, I offer a novel solution to the gap problem based on emotional dispositions. This solution (1) draws a line between the justification of basic and non-basic emotions, (2) preserves a broadly cognitivist view of emotions, (3) avoids a form of value skepticism that threatens inferentialist views of emotional justification, and (4) sheds new light on the structure of our epistemic access to evaluative properties. (shrink)
A popular account of epistemic justification holds that justification, in essence, aims at truth. An influential objection against this account points out that it is committed to holding that only true beliefs could be justified, which most epistemologists regard as sufficient reason to reject the account. In this paper I defend the view that epistemic justification aims at truth, not by denying that it is committed to epistemic justification being factive, but by showing that, when we (...) focus on the relevant sense of ‘justification’, it isn’t in fact possible for a belief to be at once justified and false. To this end, I consider and reject three popular intuitions speaking in favor of the possibility of justified false beliefs, and show that a factive account of epistemic justification is less detrimental to our normal belief forming practices than often supposed. (shrink)
Earl Conee and Richard Feldman have recently argued that the evidential support relation should be understood in terms of explanatory coherence: roughly, one's evidence supports a proposition if and only if that proposition is part of the best available explanation of the evidence. Their thesis has been criticized through alleged counterexamples, perhaps the most important of which are cases where a subject has a justified belief about the future. Kevin McCain has defended the thesis against Byerly's counterexample. I argue that (...) McCain's defense is inadequate before pointing toward a more promising solution for explanationism. The Byerly–McCain exchange is important because it casts light on the difficult issues of the standards for justification and the nature of epistemic support. Furthermore, McCain's defense of explanationism about epistemic support represents an important recent development of the burgeoning explanationist program in epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Can a belief source confer justification when we lack antecedent justification for believing that it’s reliable? A negative answer quickly leads to skepticism. A positive answer, however, seems to commit one to allowing pernicious reasoning known as “epistemic bootstrapping.” Puzzles surrounding bootstrapping arise because we illicitly assume either that justification requires doxastic awareness of a source’s epistemic credentials or that there is no requirement that a subject be aware of these credentials. We can resolve the puzzle by (...) splitting the horns and requiring a non-conceptual awareness of, or direct acquaintance with, a source’s legitimacy. Requiring non-conceptual as opposed to doxastic awareness halts the regress and avoids the skeptical results. On the other hand, requiring non-conceptual awareness also guarantees that we are aware of evidence for a source’s reliability prior to using that source to form justified beliefs; we thereby avoid the problem of allowing epistemic bootstrapping to generate the illicit gains in justification. (shrink)
In morally grounding a public justification requirement, public reason liberals frequently invoke the idea that persons should be construed as “free and equal.” But this tells us little with regard to what it is about us that makes us free or how a claim about our status as persons can ultimately ground a requirement of public justification. In light of this worry, I argue that a public justification requirement can be grounded in a Nozick-inspired argument from the (...) separateness of persons (one that is consistent with the idea that individuals are free and equal). As I claim, one particular feature of the fact of our separateness – the possession of a basic psychology consisting of beliefs, intentions, sentiments, and a variety of desire-like psychological states – does the most work in grounding both a principle of liberty (PL) and a requirement of public justification (RPJ). Together, PL and RPJ provide the basic framework for a theory of public reason liberalism. (shrink)
In at least some cases of justified perceptual belief, our perceptual experience itself, as opposed to beliefs about it, evidences and thereby justifies our belief. While the phenomenon is common, it is also mysterious. There are good reasons to think that perceptions cannot justify beliefs directly, and there is a significant challenge in explaining how they do. After explaining just how direct perceptual justification is mysterious, I considerMichael Huemers (Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, 2001) and Bill Brewers (Perception (...) and Reason, 1999) recent, but radically different, attempts to eliminate it. I argue that both are unsuccessful, though a consideration of their mistakes deepens our appreciation of the mystery. (shrink)
The problem of skepticism is often understood as a paradox: a valid argument with plausible premises whose conclusion is that we lack justification for perceptual beliefs. Typically, this conclusion is deemed unacceptable, so a theory is offered that posits conditions for justification on which some premise is false. The theory defended here is more general, and explains why the paradox arises in the first place. Like Strawson’s (Introduction to logical theory, Wiley, New York, 1952) “ordinary language” approach to (...) induction, the theory posits something built into the very notion of justification: it is loaded with a bias towards the proposition that we are not massively deceived. Beyond the paradox, remaining skeptical problems consist of metaphysical and practical questions: whether we are massively deceived, or why we should use our loaded notion rather than some other. Such challenges have pro- found epistemological significance, but they are not problems that an a priori theory of justification can solve. (shrink)
In this chapter I introduce and analyse the tenets of phenomenal conservatism, and discuss the problem of the nature of appearances. After that, I review the asserted epistemic merits phenomenal conservatism and the principal arguments adduced in support of it. Finally, I survey objections to phenomenal conservatism and responses by its advocates. Some of these objections will be scrutinised and appraised in the next chapters.
In this paper, I consider how a general epistemic norm of action that I have proposed in earlier work should be specified in order to govern certain types of acts: assertive speech acts. More specifically, I argue that the epistemic norm of assertion is structurally similar to the epistemic norm of action. First, I argue that the notion of warrant operative in the epistemic norm of a central type of assertion is an internalist one that I call ‘discursive justification.’ (...) This type of warrant is internalist insofar as it requires that the agent is capable of articulating reasons for her belief. The idea, roughly, is that when one asserts that p, one is supposed to be in a position to give reasons for believing that p. Bonjour’s reliable clairvoyant Norman, for example, is not in an epistemic position to make assertions regarding the president’s whereabouts—even if Norman knows the president’s whereabouts. In conclusion, I briefly consider whether a type of skeptical argument—often labeled Agrippa’s Trilemma—is motivated, at least in part, by the fact that responses to it violate the relevant epistemic norm of assertion. (shrink)
This chapter is guided by the hypothesis that the point and purpose of using the concept of justification in epistemic evaluation is tied to its role in the practice of critical reflection. In section one, I propose an analysis of justification as the epistemic property in virtue of which a belief has the potential to survive ideal critical reflection. In section two, I use this analysis in arguing for a form of access internalism on which one has (...) class='Hi'>justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. In section three, I distinguish between propositional and doxastic versions of access internalism and argue that the propositional version avoids familiar objections to the doxastic version. In section four, I argue that the propositional version of access internalism also explains and vindicates internalist intuitions about cases. In section five, I conclude with some reflections on the relationship between critical reflection, responsibility and personhood. (shrink)
This paper will articulate and defend a novel theory of epistemic justification; I characterize my view as the thesis that justification is potential knowledge . My project is an instance of the ‘knowledge-first’ programme, championed especially by Timothy Williamson. So I begin with a brief recapitulation of that programme.
A moral-pragmatic argument for a proposition is an argument intended to establish that believing the proposition would be morally beneficial. Since such arguments do not adduce epistemic reasons, i.e., reasons that support the truth of a proposition, they can seem at best to be irrelevant epistemically. At worst, believing on the basis of such reasoning can seem to involve wishful thinking and intellectual dishonesty of a sort that that precludes such beliefs from being epistemically unjustified. Inspired by an argument from (...) William James’ classic, “The Will to Believe”, I argue that there is a way of making sense of moral-pragmatic arguments such that they are epistemically relevant. I develop and argue for a theory of epistemic justification that I dub the “moral encroachment theory” (emphasizing its connection to recent pragmatic encroachment views). According to the theory, moral considerations can raise or lower epistemic standards from where they would be in morally neutral settings. The moral encroachment theory, I contend, denotes a normative property that is at once distinctively epistemic and valuable. The theory also allows a legitimate role for moral-pragmatic reasoning under certain conditions. The upshot is that moral-pragmatic reasoning can be epistemically as well as morally appropriate. (shrink)
According to recently influential conceptions of public reasoning, citizens have the right to demand of each other ‘public justifications’ for controversial political action. On this view, only arguments that all reasonable citizens can affirm from within their diverse ethical standpoints can count as legitimate justifications for political action. Both proponents and critics often assume that the case for this expectation derives from the special justificatory burden created by the systematically coercive character of political action. This paper challenges that assumption. While (...) conceding that citizens who propose to deploy the coercive apparatus of the state to enforce controversial legislation owe their fellows a justification that overcomes the strong presumption against coercing agents, it denies that this consideration can explain why public justifications are also required. Having argued that the public justification requirement is not among the justification conditions for public coercion, the paper then proposes an alternative rationale for the expectation that political action be publicly justified. On this alternative, the case for the public justification requirement depends on democratic citizens’ standing as legislative co-authors, and not on considerations having to do with their liability as private individuals to coercion at the hands of the state. (shrink)
Imagine I hold up a Granny Smith apple for all to see. You would thereby gain justified beliefs that it was green, that it was apple, and that it is a Granny Smith apple. Under classical foundationalism, such simple visual beliefs are mediately justified on the basis of reasons concerning your experience. Under dogmatism, some or all of these beliefs are justified immediately by your experience and not by reasons you possess. This paper argues for what I call the looks (...) view of the justification of simple visual beliefs. According to the looks view, such beliefs are mediately justified on the basis of reasons concerning how the relevant things look. Unlike under classical foundationalism, under the looks view as I develop it, these reasons are public. They are public with respect to both their content and possession: with respect to content, they are not about ourselves and our experiences, and with respect to their possession, many people can have the very same looks-related reasons. (shrink)
Public reason accounts commonly claim that exercises of coercive political power must be justified by appeal to reasons accessible to all citizens. Such accounts are vulnerable to the objection that they cannot legitimate coercion to protect basic liberal rights against infringement by deeply illiberal people. This paper first elaborates the distinctive interpersonal conception of justification in public reason accounts in contrast to impersonal forms of justification. I then detail a core dissenter-based objection to public reason based on a (...) worrisome example advanced by Jonathan Quong. While we may be able to impersonally justify coercing the illiberal dissenter, public reason liberals must explain how we can interpersonally justify such coercion—meaning justify given the perspective of the dissenter. The two prominent strategies for dealing with dissenters involve idealization of reasoning and requiring liberal values; I show that these strategies do not succeed in a way compatible with the public reason project. That is, the prominent strategies leave public reason theorists with a dilemma between denying the legitimacy of using coercion to protect core freedoms against deeply illiberal people or abandoning the fundamental public reason project. I conclude by proposing a different answer to public reason liberalism’s fundamental question: what requires justification? On my account, it is not that coercion requires interpersonal justification for its permissibility, but that such justification is necessary as a constitutive element of a kind of moral community. (shrink)
Among psychiatric conditions, delusions have received significant attention in the philosophical literature. This is partly due to the fact that many delusions are bizarre, and their contents interesting in and of themselves. But the disproportionate attention is also due to the notion that by studying what happens when perception, cognition, and belief go wrong, we can better understand what happens when these go right. In this paper, I attend to delusions for the second reason—by evaluating the epistemology of delusions, we (...) can better understand the epistemology of ordinary belief. More specifically, given recent advancements in our understanding of how delusions are formed, the epistemology of delusions motivates a proper functionalist account of the justification of belief. Proper functionalist accounts of the justification of belief hold that whether a belief is justified is partly determined by whether the system that produces the belief is functioning properly. (shrink)
Justification has long been considered a necessary condition for knowledge, and theories that deny the necessity of justification have been dismissed as nonstarters. In this chapter, we challenge this long-standing view by showing that many of the arguments offered in support of it fall short and by providing empirical evidence that individuals are often willing to attribute knowledge when epistemic justification is lacking.
Public justification in political liberalism is often conceptualized in light of Rawls’s view of its role in a hypothetical well-ordered society as an ideal or idealizing form of justification that applies a putatively reasonable conception of political justice to political matters. But Rawls implicates a different idea of public justification in his doctrine of general reflective equilibrium. The paper engages this second, more fundamental idea. Public justification in this second sense is actualist and fundamental (rather than (...) ideal or idealizing and conception-applying). It is actualist in that it fully enfranchises actual reasonable citizens. It is fundamental in that political liberalism qualifies conceptions of political justice as reasonable to begin with only if they can be accepted coherently by actual reasonable citizens. Together, these features invite the long-standing concern that actualist political liberalism is objectionably exclusionary. I argue that the exclusion objection, while plausible, is more problematic in its own right than it seems if actualist and fundamental public justification hypotheticalizes and discursive respect is compatible with substantive discursive inequality. This leaves proponents and critics of political liberalism with deeper questions about the nature of permissible discursive inequality in public justification. (shrink)
In this chapter I introduce the thesis that perceptual appearances are cognitively penetrable and analyse cases made against phenomenal conservatism hinging on this thesis. In particular, I focus on objections coming from the externalist reliabilist camp and the internalist inferentialist camp. I conclude that cognitive penetrability doesn’t yield lethal or substantive difficulties for phenomenal conservatism.