A review of 'The Self and Self-Knowledge', by Annalisa Coliva. Annalisa Coliva’s collection on self-knowledge brings together papers presented originally at two conferences, the first held in Bigorio, Switzerland in 2004 and the second at the Institute of Philosophy in London in 2008. The collection is divided into three sections. Part One addresses the nature and individuation of the self, with contributions from Carol Rovane, Martine Nida-Rümelin, Christopher Peacocke, and John Campbell. Part Two comprises papers from Jane Heal, (...) Conor McHugh and Lucy O’Brien, as well as a brief response from Peacocke to Heal and O’Brien, and focuses on explanation of our warrant in self-ascribing conscious mental states and actions. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 272 - 280 In _Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology_, Annalisa Coliva aims to by-pass traditional sceptical challenges to the possibility of knowledge by arguing that all thinking and knowing ultimately rely on hinge assumptions which are immune from doubt because of their foundational role in the very framework that makes knowledge and rational thought possible. In defending her position Coliva also rejects the relativist challenge that there could be incompatible but equally plausible (...) systems of justification relying on alternative hinges or assumptions. In this response to Coliva, I argue that even if we accept that we need to rely on some core assumptions in order to get the process of rational thought going, the question of the uniqueness of these assumptions remains open. I maintain that Coliva’s two argumentative strategies against the possibility of relativism, one based on empirical considerations and a second relying on considerations from logic do not guarantee the uniqueness of hinge assumptions and the possibility of at least a moderate form of relativism looms large. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In this review, I argue that Coliva's strong transparency admits three possible interpretations: a Wittgensteinian interpretation, a metaphysical interpretation, and an epistemic interpretation. I favor over and.
Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology provides a novel account of the structure of epistemic justification. Its central claim builds upon Wittgenstein's idea in On Certainty that epistemic justifications hinge on some basic assumptions and that epistemic rationality extends to these very hinges. It exploits these ideas to address major problems in epistemology, such as the nature of perceptual justifications, external world skepticism, epistemic relativism, the epistemic status of basic logical laws, of the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature, of our (...) belief in the existence of the past and of other minds, and the nature of testimonial justification. Along the way, further technical issues, such as the scope of the Principle of Closure of epistemic operators under known entailment, the notion of transmission failure, and the existence of entitlements are addressed in new and illuminating ways. (shrink)
My responses to seven critical reviews of my book *Mental Files* published in a special issue of the journal Disputatio, edited by F. Salis. The reviewers are: Keith Hall, David Papineau, Annalisa Coliva and Delia Belleri, Peter Pagin, Thea Goodsell, Krista Lawlor and Manuel Garcia-Carpintero.
In the contemporary expanding literature on transmission failure and its connections with issues such as the Closure principle, the nature of perceptual warrant, Moore’s proof of an external world and the effectiveness of Humean scepticism, it has often been assumed that there is just one kind of it: the one made familiar by the writings of Crispin Wright and Martin Davies. Although it might be thought that one kind of failure is more than enough, Davies has recently challenged this view: (...) apparently, there are more ways in heaven and earth that warrant can fail to transmit across valid inference from one (set of) belief(s) to another, than have been dreamt of in philosophy so far. More specifically, Davies thinks that a second kind of transmission failure has to be countenanced. He connects each kind of failure of transmission of warrant with two different kinds of epistemic project, respectively, and with the exploration of whether the current dispute between conservatives such as Wright, and liberals such as Jim Pryor, on the nature of perceptual warrant, would have a bearing on them. I point out why Davies’s second kind of transmission failure is indeed no such thing. I then move on to canvass another kind of transmission failure, different from the one studied by both Wright and Davies, and dependent on an alternative conception of the structure of empirical warrants, which I dub “moderatism”. I then consider how this alternative notion of transmission failure fares with respect to Moore’s proof, its relationship with Wright’s kind of transmission failure and with the Closure principle. In closing, I defend it from criticisms that can be elicited from Pryor’s recent work. (shrink)
According to Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, Wittgenstein’s On Certainty presents a theory of hinges, and hinges have a role to play in a foundationalist epistemology (2013). Michael Williams (2005) and Annalisa Coliva (2013 ) have claimed that the hinges are not suitable to play such a role as they are not shared universally. Moyal-Sharrock has replied that a subset of the hinges is suitable to play such a role: the “universal” hinges. I argue that for Moyal-Sharrock’s reply to be sustained, she (...) must construe the set of universal hinges much more narrowly than she does currently. For instance, Moyal-Sharrock claims that “I have a brain” is a universal hinge, which consigns people who know nothing about brains to stand outside the bounds of sense. I also provide a novel way of thinking about the universal hinges, which I argue is better textually motivated than Moyal-Sharrock’s own way, and which provides a set of hinges more suitable to play a role in foundationalist epistemology. (shrink)
The paper reviews the grounds for relativist interpretations of Wittgenstein's later thought, especially in On Certainty . It distinguishes between factual and virtual forms of epistemic relativism and argues that, on closer inspection, Wittgenstein's notes don't support any form of relativism – let it be factual or virtual. In passing, it considers also so-called "naturalist" readings of On Certainty , which may lend support to a relativist interpretation of Wittgenstein's ideas, finds them wanting, and recommends to interpret his positive proposal (...) in On Certainty as a form of "internal rationalism.". (shrink)
This volume is a collective exploration of major themes in the work of Crispin Wright, one of today's leading philosophers. These newly commissioned papers are divided into four sections, preceded by a substantial Introduction, which places them in the context of the development of Wright's ideas. The distinguished contributors address issues such as the rule-following problem, knowledge of our meanings and minds, truth, realism, anti-realism and relativism, as well as the nature of perceptual justification, the cogency of arguments such as (...) G. E. Moore's celebrated proof of an external world, and skepticism about the material world. Some papers explore the relationship of Wright's ideas with those of Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose influence has always been a prominent aspect of Wright's philosophy. The essays collectively testify to the enormous interest and relevance of Wright's seminal contributions for present-day debates in areas as diverse as the philosophy of language and mind, metaphysics, and epistemology, and significantly advance research in these areas. The volume also contains Wright's substantial responses to his critics, which offer the most up-to-date versions of his ideas and a vigorous defense of his philosophy. (shrink)
Moore’s paradox is taken to be emblematic of peculiarities in the first person point of view, and to have significant implications for several issues in epistemology, in philosophy of language and mind. Yet, its nature remains elusive. In the first part of the paper, the main kinds of analysis of it hereto proposed in the literature are criticized. Furthermore, it is claimed that there are cases in which its content can be legitimately judged. Close inspection of those cases reveals that (...) they depend on self-ascriptions of beliefs as dispositions. These are kinds of belief that are not normative in nature. In the second part of the paper, it is argued that, in order to save the paradox, one must resort to a thoroughly normative notion of beliefs as first-personal commitments. Its bearing on the paradox is explored and, in closing, a defence of it from possible objections is presented. (shrink)
John Campbell (1999) has recently maintained that the phenomenon of thought insertion as it is manifested in schizophrenic patients should be described as a case in which the subject is introspectively aware of a certain thought and yet she is wrong in identifying whose thought it is. Hence, according to Campbell, the phenomenon of thought insertion might be taken as a counterexample to the view that introspection-based mental selfascriptions are logically immune to error through misidentification (IEM, hereafter). Thus, if Campbell (...) is right, it would not be true that when the subject makes a mental self-ascription on the basis of introspective awareness of a given mental state, there is no possible world in which she could be wrong as to whether it is really she who has that mental state. Notice the interesting interdisciplinary implications of Campbell’s project: on the one hand, a fairly precise notion elaborated in philosophy such as IEM (and the related notion of error through misidentification, EM hereafter) is used to describe a characteristic symptom of schizophrenia.1 On the other hand, such a phenomenon, described in the way proposed, is taken to be a possible counterexample to a sort of “philosophical dogma” such as IEM of introspection-based non-inferential mental self-ascriptions. In the first section of the paper I will point out the characteristic features of EM and explain logical immunity to error through misidentification of introspection-based mental self-ascriptions; in the second section I will consider the case of thought insertion in more detail and show why, after all, it is not a counterexample to the view that introspectionbased mental self-ascriptions are logically IEM. Finally, I will offer a re-description of the phenomenon of thought insertion. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 6, Issue 2-3, pp 79 - 96 The paper explores the idea of a “hinge epistemology,” considered as a theory about justification which gives center-stage to Wittgenstein’s notion of _hinges_. First, some basic methodological considerations regarding the relationship between merely exegetical work on Wittgenstein’s texts and more theoretically committed work are put forward. Then, the main problems raised in _On Certainty_ and the most influential interpretative lines it has given rise to so far are presented and discussed. (...) In light of the initial methodological considerations, some contemporary attempts at developing Wittgenstein’s ideas in an anti-skeptical direction, such as Crispin Wright’s and Michael Williams’s, are considered. Their intrinsic merits notwithstanding, it is argued that they fail to take proper measure of Wittgenstein’s own position. In closing, an alternative version of hinge epistemology is put forward and points of contact and disagreement with Wittgenstein’s own views are highlighted. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to bring out exactly what makes first-personal contents special, by showing that they perform a distinctive cognitive function. Namely, they are stopping points of inquiry. First, I articulate this idea and then I use it to clear the ground from a troublesome conflation. That is, the conflation of this particular function all first-person thoughts have with the property of immunity to error through misidentification, which only some I-thoughts enjoy. Afterward, I show the implications of (...) this idea for a theory of first-person content and of immunity to error though misidentification. I then make some comparisons with Pryor’s notion of wh-misidentification and immunity thereof and with Cappelen and Dever’s position on immunity to error through misidentification and show why they are defective. (shrink)
We offer an overview of what we take to be the main themes in Annalisa Coliva’s book, Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense. In particular, we focus on the ‘framework reading’ that she offers of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and its anti-sceptical implications. While broadly agreeing with the proposal that Coliva puts forward on this score, we do suggest one important supplementation to the view—viz., that this way of dealing with radical scepticism needs to be augmented with an (...) account of the meta-sceptical problem which this proposal generates, which we call epistemic vertigo. (shrink)
This paper explores the idea of disagreement with oneself, in both its diachronic and synchronic forms. A puzzling case of synchronic intrapersonal disagreement is presented and the paper considers its implications. One is that belief is a genus that comes in two species: as disposition and as commitment. Another is that self-deception consists in a conflict between one's beliefs as dispositions and one's beliefs as commitments. Synchronic intrapersonal disagreement also has implications for the condition that needs to be fulfilled in (...) order to have genuine disagreement tout court, and for the different ways in which it can be satisfied. (shrink)
In the last few years there has been a resurgence of interest in Moore’s Proof of the existence of an external world, which is now often rendered as follows:1 (I) Here’s a hand (II) If there is a hand here, there is an external world Therefore (III) There is an external world The contemporary debate has been mostly triggered by Crispin Wright’s influential—conservative —“Facts and certainty” and further fostered by Jim Pryor’s recent—liberal—“What’s wrong with Moore’s argument?”.2 This debate is worth (...) surveying with care because—so I shall contend—it will help us see that, in fact, it allows for an important view that, so far, hasn’t been explicitly considered. The critical survey will be the task of the next two sections, while, in the remaining.. (shrink)
Most scholars point out that Ricœur’s itinerary ends with a “phenomenology of the capable human being”. In this paper, I will try to propose a different hypothesis and explain why Ricœur’s last writings can be considered the starting point of a second Copernican revolution within phenomenology. A revolution of both method and contents , which, already in the Preface of Le volontaire et l’involontaire, Ricœur wished could follow after the first revolution of the reflexive phenomenology: a hermeneutic poetic phenomenology that (...) develops the project that the early Ricœur had drafted, but not completed in the 1950s. This is the project of a Poetics of the Gift, in which is hidden, in my opinion, the fecundity of Ricœurian philosophy and the possibility for it to become paradigmatic for the philosophy to come. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 6, Issue 2-3, pp 73 - 78 This introduction gives a summary of the content of the special issue _Hinge Epistemology_, grouping the papers in three sections: more exegetical accounts of Wittgenstein’s notion of hinge certainties and their bearing on a theory of justification and knowledge as well as on the topic of external world scepticism; papers critical of the very notion of hinge certainty; and papers that apply the notion to various areas of epistemology and compare (...) Wittgenstein’s views to those of other philosophers. (shrink)
In the recent literature on Moore's Proof of an external world, it has emerged that different diagnoses of the argument's failure are prima facie defensible. As a result, there is a sense that the appropriateness of the different verdicts on it may depend on variation in the kinds of context in which the argument is taken to be a move, with different characteristic aims. In this spirit, Martin Davies has recently explored the use of the argument within two different epistemic (...) projects called respectively ?deciding what to believe? and ?settling the question?. Depending on which project is in hand, according to Davies, the diagnoses of its failure?if indeed it fails?will differ. I believe that, by introducing the idea that the effectiveness of a valid argument may be epistemic project-relative, Davies has pointed the way to an important reorientation of the debates about Moore's Proof. But I wish to take issue with much of the detail of his proposals. I argue that Davies's characterization of his two projects is misleading (?1), and his account of their distinction defective (?2). I then canvass some suggestions about how it may be improved upon and about how further relevant kinds of epistemic projects in which Moore's argument may be taken to be a move can be characterized, bringing out how each of these projects impinges differently on the issue of the Proof's failure and of its diagnosis (??3 and 4). In conclusion (?5) I offer an overview of the resulting terrain. (shrink)
This paper offers several new insights into the epistemology of immunity to error through misidentification, by refining James Pryor’s distinction between de re misidentification and wh-misidentification. This is crucial for identifying exactly what is at issue in debates over the Immunity thesis that, roughly, all introspection-based beliefs about one’s own occurrent psychological states are immune to error through misidentification. I contend that the debate between John Campbell and Annalisa Coliva over whether the phenomenon of thought insertion provides empirical evidence (...) against claims like Immunity has wrongly focused on de re misidentification and largely overlooked the role of wh-misidentification. I argue that, once we properly distinguish the two notions, subjects of thought insertion can be seen to make an error of wh-misidentification in their judgments. I argue that this disproves the Immunity thesis, properly understood, and show what broader implications this has for our understanding of IEM and the first person. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 198 - 207 The paper discusses and presents an alternative interpretation to Penelope Maddy’s reading of G.E. Moore’s and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s anti-skeptical strategies as proposed in her book _What Do Philosophers Do? Skepticism and the Practice of Philosophy_. It connects this discussion with the methodological claims Maddy puts forward and offers an alternative to her therapeutic reading of Wittgenstein’s _On Certainty_.
Moore's proof of an external world is a piece of reasoning whose premises, in context, are true and warranted and whose conclusion is perfectly acceptable, and yet immediately seems flawed. I argue that neither Wright's nor Pryor's readings of the proof can explain this paradox. Rather, one must take the proof as responding to a sceptical challenge to our right to claim to have warrant for our ordinary empirical beliefs, either for any particular empirical belief we might have, or for (...) belief in the existence of an external world itself. I show how Wright's and Pryor's positions are of interest when taken in connection with Humean scepticism, but that it is only linking it with Cartesian scepticism which can explain why the proof strikes us as an obvious failure. (shrink)
In this paper I provide an outline of a new kind of constitutive account of self-knowledge. It is argued that in order for the model properly to explain transparency, a further category of propositional attitudes—called “commitments”—has to be countenanced. It is also maintained that constitutive theories can’t remain neutral on the issue of the possession of psychological concepts, and a proposal about the possession of the concept of belief is sketched. Finally, it is claimed that in order for a constitutive (...) account properly to explain authority, it has to take a rather dramatic constructivist turn, which makes it suitable as an explanation of self-knowledge only for a limited class of mental states. (shrink)