This paper offers a sizeable menu of approaches to what it means to be an expert. Is it a matter of reputation within a community, or a matter of what one knows independently of reputation? An initial proposal characterizes expertise in dispositional terms—an ability to help other people get answers to difficult questions or execute difficult tasks. What cognitive states, however, ground these abilities? Do the grounds consist in “veritistic” states or in terms of evidence or justifiedness? To what extent (...) is expertise a matter of superior knowledge or other factors? Some authors seek to debunk the notion of expertise entirely. The present approach resists this stance, but doesn’t dispute the variability and fluidness of the concept. Even more challenging is the problem of how laypersons can determine who is the superior expert, especially when experts disagree. (shrink)
It is a widely accepted doctrine in epistemology that knowledge has greater value than mere true belief. But although epistemologists regularly pay homage to this doctrine, evidence for it is shaky. Is it based on evidence that ordinary people on the street make evaluative comparisons of knowledge and true belief, and consistently rate the former ahead of the latter? Do they reveal such a preference by some sort of persistent choice behavior? Neither of these scenarios is observed. Rather, epistemologists come (...) to this conclusion because they have some sort of conception or theory of what knowledge is, and they find reasons why people should rate knowledge, so understood, ahead of mere true belief. But what if these epistemological theories are wrong? Then the assumption that knowledge is more valuable than true belief might be in trouble. We don’t wish to take a firm position against the thesis that knowledge is more valuable than true belief. But we begin this paper by arguing that there is one sense of ‘know’ under which the thesis cannot be right. In particular, there seems to be a sense of ‘know’ in which it means, simply, ‘believe truly.’ If this is correct, then knowledge—in this weak sense of the term—cannot be more valuable than true belief. What evidence is there for a weak sense of ‘knowledge’ in which it is equivalent to ‘true belief’? Knowledge seems to contrast with ignorance. Not only do knowledge and ignorance contrast with one another but they seem to exhaust the alternatives, at least for a specified person and fact. Given a true proposition p, Diane either knows p or is ignorant of it. The same point can be expressed using rough synonyms of ‘know.’ Diane is either aware of (the fact that) p or is ignorant of it. She is either cognizant of p or ignorant of it. She either possesses the information that p or she is uninformed (ignorant) of it. To illustrate these suggestions, consider a case discussed by John Hawthorne (2002). If I ask you how many people in the room know that Vienna is the capital of Austria, you will tally up the number of people in the room who possess the information that Vienna is the capital of Austria.. (shrink)
How can intuitions be used to validate or invalidate a philosophical theory? An intuition about a case seems to be a basic evidential source for the truth of that intuition, i.e., for the truth of the claim that a particular example is or isn’t an instance of a philosophically interesting kind, concept, or predicate. A mental‐state type is a basic evidential source only if its tokens reliably indicate the truth of their contents. The best way to account for intuitions being (...) a basic evidential source is to interpret their subject matter in psychologistic terms. Intuitions provide evidence about the contents of the intuiter's concept, where “concept” is understood as a psychological structure. (shrink)
Social epistemology is a many-splendored subject. Different theorists adopt different approaches and the options are quite diverse, often orthogonal to one another. The approach I favor is to examine social practices in terms of their impact on knowledge acquisition . This has at least two virtues: it displays continuity with traditional epistemology, which historically focuses on knowledge, and it intersects with the concerns of practical life, which are pervasively affected by what people know or don't know. In making this choice, (...) I am not blind to the allure of alternative approaches. In this paper I explain and motivate the knowledge-centered approach by contrasting it with a newly emerging alternative that has a definite appeal of its own. According to this alternative, the chief dimension of social epistemological interest would be rationality rather than knowledge. (shrink)
Epistemology has always been concerned with mental states, especially doxastic states such as belief, suspension of judgment, and the like. A significant part of epistemology is the attempt to evaluate, appraise, or criticize alternative procedures for the formation of belief and other doxastic attitudes. In addressing itself to doxastic states, epistemology has usually employed our everyday mental concepts and language. Occasionally it has tried to systematize or precise these mental categories, e.g., by introducing the notion of subjective probabilities. But this (...) is a minor refinement in our intuitive notion of degrees of confidence. What epistemology has not done—at least 20th century analytic epistemology hasn’t done it—is to seek help from experimental psychology in choosing its doxastic categories. Analytic epistemology has generally assumed that doxastic descriptions generated by casual and introspective thought are adequate for its purposes. (shrink)
Many of the cognitive and social sciences deal with the question of how beliefs or belief-like states are produced and transmitted to others. Let us call any account or theory of belief-formation and propagation a doxology. I don’t use that term, of course, in the religious or theological sense. Rather, I borrow the Greek term ‘doxa’ for belief or opinion, and use ‘doxology’ to mean the study or theory of belief-forming processes. How is doxology related to epistemology? Epistemology is the (...) theory of knowledge, and according to standard accounts knowledge is justified true belief. Since knowledge entails belief, doxology would seem to be intimately related to epistemology. How can we say what produces knowledge unless we can say what produces belief? Of course, many epistemologists are not so interested in what produces knowledge. They are interested in specifying the conditions definitive of knowing. We need not be so restrictive, however, about epistemology’s scope. Historically, epistemology was concerned with the sources or methods of knowing: which methods of belief-formation, which routes to belief, augur well not only for belief production but for the production of knowledge? Which routes to belief offer good prospects for yielding true, justified belief? (shrink)
Knowledge in a Social World is AlvinGoldman’s sustained treatment of social epistemology. As in his previous, ‘individualistic’ epistemology, Goldman’s lodestar is the idea that it is the truth-aptness of certain processes/methods which marks them out for our epistemic approval. Here, I focus on issues concerning the framework of KSW: Goldman’s claim that a correspondence theory of truth is favoured/required by his veritistic social epistemology ; and the issue of whether a VSE of the sort (...) class='Hi'>Goldman elaborates and defends shouldn’t be supplemented by more procedural or ‘justification-centred’ considerations. (shrink)
For most of their respective existences, reliabilism and evidentialism (that is, process reliabilism and mentalist evidentialism) have been rivals. They are generally viewed as incompatible, even antithetical, theories of justification.1 But a few people are beginning to re-think this notion. Perhaps an ideal theory would be a hybrid of the two, combining the best elements of each theory. Juan Comesana (forthcoming) takes this point of view and constructs a position called “Evidentialist Reliabilism.” He tries to show how each theory can (...) profit by borrowing elements from the other. Comesana concentrates on reliabilism’s problems and how it might be improved by infusions from evidentialism. This paper follows a similar tack. My emphasis, however, is the reverse of Comesana’s. I highlight problems for evidentialism and show how it could benefit by incorporating reliabilist themes. I am not sanguine that evidentialists will see it my way. They might even view my proposals as an insidious attempt to convert evidentialists to reliabilism. Well, I won’t debate the best way to formulate this paper’s recipe. At any rate, it began with the idea (which anteceded my reading of Comesana) of creating a synthesis of reliabilism and evidentialism. It retains significant strands of that idea, although the synthesis theme does not pervade the entire paper. What is mentalist evidentialism? Its original formulation was succinct. (shrink)
Alvin I. Goldman sees epistemology as a multidisciplinary enterprise that needs help, e.g., from empirical psychology (or cognitive science). He thinks also that such an epistemology should be able to give a response to scepticism without just assuming that scepticism is false. I show here that Goldman's version of naturalistic epistemology can't give such a response. His attempt either leads to circularity or makes psychology irrelevant to epistemology. In other words, it is impossible for his naturalism to (...) give an adequate answer to the question whether our psychological processes are reliable and whether our beliefs are thus justified. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize AlvinGoldman's simulation theory of mindreading which involves the claim that the basic method of folk psychologically predicting behaviour is to form pretend beliefs and desires that reproduce the transitions between the mental states of others, in that way enabling to predict what the others are going to do. I argue that when it comes to simulating propositional attitudes it isn't clear whether pretend beliefs need to be invoked in order to explain relevant (...) experimental results, and whether pretend desires can be distinguished from 'real' ones as forming a separate kind of mental states. Since belief-desire model underlies the conception of pretend states in higher-level mindreading, dropping pretend attitudes from the picture isn't possible and, due to that, this model may be incoherent. Nevertheless, Goldman's theory could still survive because it includes an additional model of mindreading, but simulation is given much lesser role there. (shrink)
In a series of influential papers and in his groundbreaking book Knowledge in a Social World AlvinGoldman argues that sometimes “know” just means “believe truly” (Goldman 1999; 2001; 2002b; Goldman & Olsson 2009). I argue that Goldman's (and Olsson's) case for “weak knowledge”, as well as a similar argument put forth by John Hawthorne, are unsuccessful. However, I also believe that Goldman does put his finger on an interesting and important phenomenon. He alerts (...) us to the fact that sometimes we ascribe knowledge to people even though we are not interested in whether their credal attitude is based on adequate grounds. I argue that when in such contexts we say, or concede, that S knows that p , we speak loosely. What we mean is that S would give the correct answer when asked whether p . But this doesn't entail that S knows that her answer is right or that S knows that p . My alternative analysis of the Hawthorne-Goldman-Olsson examples preserves the view that knowledge requires, even in the contexts in question, true (firm) belief that is based on adequate grounds. (shrink)
Why should a citizen vote? There are two ways to interpret this question: in a prudential sense, and in a moral sense. Under the first interpretation, the question asks why—or under what circumstances—it is in a citizen's self-interest to vote. Under the second interpretation, it asks what moral reasons citizens have for voting. I shall mainly try to answer the moral version of the question, but my answer may also, in some circumstances, bear on the prudential question. Before proceeding to (...) my own approach, let me briefly survey alternatives in the field. (shrink)
1. Mainstream Epistemology and Social Epistemology Epistemology has had a strongly individualist orientation, at least since Descartes. Knowledge, for Descartes, starts with the fact of one’s own thinking and with oneself as subject of that thinking. Whatever else can be known, it must be known by inference from one’s own mental contents. Achieving such knowledge is an individual, rather than a collective, enterprise. Descartes’s successors largely followed this lead, so the history of epistemology, down to our own time, has been (...) a predominantly individualist affair. There are scattered exceptions. A handful of historical epistemologists gave brief space to the question of knowing, or believing justifiably, based on the testimony of others. Testimony-based knowledge would be one step into a more social epistemology. Hume took it for granted that we regularly rely on the factual statements of others, and argued that it is reasonable to do so if we have adequate reasons for trusting the veracity of these sources. However, reasons for such trust, according to Hume, must rest on personal observations of people’s veracity or reliability.1 Thomas Reid took a different view. He claimed that our natural attitude of trusting others is reasonable even if we know little if anything about others’ reliability. Testimony, at least sincere testimony, is always prima facie credible (Reid, 1970: 240-241). Here we have two philosophers of the 18th century both endorsing at least one element of what nowadays is called “social epistemology.” But these points did not much occupy either Hume’s or Reid’s corpus of philosophical writing; nor were these passages much studied or cited by their contemporaries and immediate successors. Fast forward now to the second half of the 20th century. Here we find intellectual currents pointing toward the socializing of epistemology. Several of these movements, however, were centered outside of philosophy and never adopted the label of “social epistemology,” or adopted it only belatedly. (shrink)
AlvinGoldman’s contributions to contemporary epistemology are impressive—few epistemologists have provided others so many occasions for reflecting on the fundamental character of their discipline and its concepts. His work has informed the way epistemological questions have changed (and remained consistent) over the last two decades. We (the authors of this paper) can perhaps best suggest our indebtedness by noting that there is probably no paper on epistemology that either of us individually or jointly have produced that does not (...) in its notes and references bear clear testimony to the influence of Professor Goldman’s arguments. The present paper is no exception (and this would be a particularly inapt place to break with our tradition of indebtedness). Professor Goldman has produced a series of discussions that we find particularly important for coming to terms with the venerable idea that there may be truths that can be known a priori (Goldman 1992a, 1992b, 1999). We do not altogether follow his lead, while he draws on the idea that a priori justification has something to do with innateness or processess, we prefer to accentuate the idea that a priori justification turns on a conceptually grounded truths and access via acquired conceptual competence (at least in many significant philosophical cases). Still, in developing our understanding we have been aided by much that Professor Goldman says regarding concepts, conceptual competence, and related psychological processes. The influences should become progressively clear, particularly in the later sections of this paper. What would it take for there to be a priori knowledge or justification? We can begin by reflecting on a widely agreed on answer to this question—one that purports to identify something that would at least be adequate for a priori justification. The answer will then serve as one anchor for the present investigation, a bit of shared ground on which empiricists and rationalists can, and typically do, agree.. (shrink)
This article examines a thesis of interest to social epistemology and some articulations of First Amendment legal theory: that a free market in speech is an optimal institution for promoting true belief. Under our interpretation, the market-for-speech thesis claims that more total truth possession will be achieved if speech is regulated only by free market mechanisms; that is, both government regulation and private sector nonmarket regulation are held to have information-fostering properties that are inferior to the free market. After discussing (...) possible counterexamples to the thesis, the article explores the actual implications of economic theory for the emergence of truth in a free market for speech. When confusions are removed about what is maximized by perfectly competitive markets, and when adequate attention is paid to market imperfections, the failure of the market-for-speech thesis becomes clear. The article closes by comparing the properties of a free market in speech with an adversarial system of discourse. (shrink)
Alvin I. Goldman, Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience of Mindreading Content Type Journal Article Pages 279-282 DOI 10.1007/s11023-009-9142-x Authors Susan Stuart, University of Glasgow Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute 11 University Gardens Glasgow G12 8QQ Scotland, UK Journal Minds and Machines Online ISSN 1572-8641 Print ISSN 0924-6495 Journal Volume Volume 19 Journal Issue Volume 19, Number 2.
‘Epistemics: an enterprise linking traditional epistemology, first with cognitive science and, second, with social scientific and humanistic disciplines that explore the interpersonal and cultural processes impinging on knowledge and belief’ (Epistemology and Cognition, p. vii).
Mainstream epistemology is a highly theoretical and abstract enterprise. Traditional epistemologists rarely present their deliberations as critical to the practical problems of life, unless one supposes—as Hume, for example, did not—that skeptical worries should trouble us in our everyday affairs. But some issues in epistemology are both theoretically interesting and practically quite pressing. That holds of the problem to be discussed here: how laypersons should evaluate the testimony of experts and decide which of two or more rival experts is most (...) credible. It is of practical importance because in a complex, highly specialized world people are constantly confronted with situations in which, as comparative novices, they must turn to putative experts for intellectual guidance or assistance. It is of theoretical interest because the appropriate epistemic considerations are far from transparent; and it is not clear how far the problems lead to insurmountable skeptical quandaries. This paper does not argue for flat-out skepticism in this domain; nor, on the other hand, does it purport to resolve all pressures in the direction of skepticism. It is an exploratory paper, which tries to identify problems and examine some possible solutions, not to establish those solutions definitively. (shrink)
People are minded creatures; we have thoughts, feelings and emotions. More intriguingly, we grasp our own mental states, and conduct the business of ascribing them to ourselves and others without instruction in formal psychology. How do we do this? And what are the dimensions of our grasp of the mental realm? In this book, Alvin I. Goldman explores these questions with the tools of philosophy, developmental psychology, social psychology and cognitive neuroscience. He refines an approach called simulation theory, (...) which starts from the familiar idea that we understand others by putting ourselves in their mental shoes. Can this intuitive idea be rendered precise in a philosophically respectable manner, without allowing simulation to collapse into theorizing? Given a suitable definition, do empirical results support the notion that minds literally create surrogates of other peoples mental states in the process of mindreading? Goldman amasses a surprising array of evidence from psychology and neuroscience that supports this hypothesis. (shrink)
These essays by a major epistemologist reconfigure philosophical projects across a wide spectrum, from mind to metaphysics, from epistemology to social power. Several of Goldman's classic essays are included along with many newer writings. Together these trace and continue the development of the author's unique blend of naturalism and reliabilism.Part I defends the simulation approach to mentalistic ascription and explores the psychological mechanisms of ontological individuation. Part II shows why epistemology needs help from cognitive science - not only to (...) evaluate cognitive agents but also to illuminate the practices of epistemic evaluators. Parts III and IV explain how philosophical projects can be reshaped through interchange with social science. An epistemological study of scientific activity exploits the economic paradigm, and philosophical tools are applied to analyze power in society.Alvin I. Goldman is Professor of Philosophy and Research Scientist in Cognitive Science at the University of Arizona. During 1991-92 he served as President of the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division.Contents:Mind and Metaphysics. Interpretation Psychologized. Metaphysics, Mind, and Mental Science. Cognition and Modal Metaphysics. Individual Epistemology. A Causal Theory of Knowing. Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge. What Is justified Belief? Strong and Weak justification. Psychology and Philosophical Analysis. Epistemic Folkways and Scientific Epistemology. Social Epistemology. Foundations of Social Epistemics. Epistemic Paternalism: Communication and Control in Law and Society. An Economic Model of Scientific Activity and Truth Acquisition (with Moshe Shaked). Social Power. Toward a Theory of Social Power. On the Measurement of Power. (shrink)
Knowledge in a Social World offers a philosophy for the information age. AlvinGoldman explores new frontiers by creating a thoroughgoing social epistemology, moving beyond the traditional focus on solitary knowers. Against the tides of postmodernism and social constructionism Goldman defends the integrity of truth and shows how to promote it by well-designed forms of social interaction. From science to education, from law to democracy, he shows why and how public institutions should seek knowledge-enhancing practices. The result (...) is a bold, timely, and systematic treatment of the philosophical foundations of an information society. (shrink)
How can we know? How can we attain justified belief? These traditional questions in epistemology have inspired philosophers for centuries. Now, in this exceptional work, AlvinGoldman, distinguished scholar and leader in the fields of epistemology and mind, approaches such inquiries as legitimate methods or "pathways" to knowledge. He examines the notion of private and public knowledge, arguing for the epistemic legitimacy of private and introspective methods of gaining knowledge, yet acknowledging the equal importance of social and public (...) mechanisms in the quest for truth. Throughout, he addresses this opposition but proposes a rigorous framework that continues to resolve such contradictions, making this exciting text one of the most important contributions to the theory of knowledge in recent years. (shrink)
There are distinct but legitimate notions of both personal justification and interpersonal justification. Interpersonal justification is definable in terms of personal justification. A connection is established between good argumentation and interpersonal justification.
In the movie Regarding Henry, the main character, Henry Turner, is a lawyer who suffers brain damage as a result of being shot during a robbery. Before being wounded, the Old Henry Turner had been a successful lawyer, admired as a fierce competitor and well-known for his killer instinct. As a result of the injury to his brain, the New Henry Turner loses the personality traits that had made the Old Henry such a formidable adversary.
One of the most fruitful interdisciplinary boundaries in contemporary scholarship is that between philosophy and cognitive science. Now that solid empirical results about the activities of the human mind are available, it is no longer necessary for philosophers to practice armchair psychology.In this short, accessible, and entertaining book, AlvinGoldman presents a masterly survey of recent work in cognitive science that has particular relevance to philosophy. Besides providing a valuable review of the most suggestive work in cognitive and (...) social psychology, Goldman demonstrates conclusively that the best work in philosophy in a surprising number of different fields—including philosophy of science, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics as well as philosophy of mind—must take into account empirical breakthroughs in psychology.One of those rare texts that will also be useful for professionals, Philosophical Applications of Cognitive Science is appropriate for students in a wide range of philosophy courses. It will also interest researchers and students in psychology who are intrigued by the wider theoretical implications of their work. (shrink)
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