In previous work we have defended the deprivation account of death’s badness against worries stemming from the Lucretian point that prenatal and posthumous nonexistence are deprivations of the same sort. In a recent article in this journal, Fred Feldman has offered an insightful critique of our Parfitian strategy for defending the deprivation account of death’s badness. Here we adjust, clarify, and defend our strategy for reply to Lucretian worries on behalf of the deprivation account.
We have argued that it is rational to have asymmetric attitudes toward prenatal and posthumous non-existence insofar as this asymmetry is a special case of a more general (and arguably rational) asymmetry in our attitudes toward past and future pleasures. Here we respond to an interesting critique of our view by Jens Johansson. We contend that his critique involves a crucial and illicit switch in temporal perspectives in the process of considering modal claims (sending us to other possible worlds).
Much has been written about epistemological skepticism in the last ten or so years, but there remain some unanswered questions concerning the structure of what has become the canonical Cartesian skeptical argument. In this paper, I would like to take a closer look at this structure in order to determine just which epistemic principles are required by the argument.
In "Epistemic Permissiveness", Roger White presents several arguments against Extreme Permissivism, the view that there are possible cases where, given one's total evidence, it would be rational to either believe P, or to believe ~P. In this paper, we carefully reconstruct White's arguments and then argue that they do not succeed.
In chapter 1 of Reason, Truth, and History, Hilary Putnam argues from some plausible assumptions about the nature of reference to the conclusion that it is not possible that all sentient creatures are brains in a vat. If this argument is successful, it seemingly refutes an updated form of Cartesian skepticism concerning knowledge of physical objects. In this paper, I will state what I take to be the most promising interpretation of Putnam's argument. My reconstructed argument differs from an argument (...) strongly suggested by Putnam's text. I will show that the latter argument obviously does not work. The more promising argument which I reconstruct on behalf of Putnam raises some interesting questions about the relation between the contents of one's beliefs and one's environment and about how this relation affects the evaluation of anti-skeptical arguments. I conclude that my reconstructed argument ultimately fails as a response to Cartesian skepticism: the argument engenders a skepticism about knowledge of meaning, or propositional content, which undercuts its anti-skeptical force. (shrink)
Parfit's most controversial claim about personal identity is that personal identity does not matter in the way we uncritically think it does) I would like to analyze Parfit's reasons for making this claim. These reasons are complex, and they stand in some tension with one another. I would like to examine them carefully and to try to arrive at the strongest case that can be made for Parfit's controversial claim about what matters.
There is an apparent problem stemming from the factivity of knowledge that seems to afflict both contextualism and subject-sensitive invariantism . 1 In this article, we will first explain how the problem arises for each theory, and then we will propose a uniform resolution.1. The factivity problem for contextualismLet K t stands for X knows _ at t. Let h stand for S has hands. According to contextualism, ‘K t’ is true as uttered in some ordinary conversational contexts. Let O (...) be such a context. So we have ‘K t’ is true in O.Consider a demanding conversational context D . Let S* be a participant in D. We have ‘K t’ is not true in D.In prose: ‘S* knows at t that S has hands’ is not true in D. 2 , 3 Let us suppose that S* has a favourable epistemic status with respect to , as follows: ‘K t[S*,‘K t’ is true in O]’ is true in D. says that a certain sentence about S*'s epistemic status at t is true in D. S*'s epistemic status with respect to which proposition? A certain metalinguistic proposition concerning the truth in O of the sentence ‘K t’. That sentence in turn concerns S's epistemic status at t with respect to the proposition that S has hands. Got it? 4The factivity of ‘knows’ yields the following consequence : ‘K t’ is true in O → hThis metalinguistic factivity claim is licensed by the fact that any sentence of the …. (shrink)
Here we respond to Johansson’s main worry, as laid out in his, “Actual and Counterfactual Attitudes: Reply to Fischer and Brueckner.” We show how our principle BF*(dd*) can be adjusted to address this concern compatibly with our fundamental approach to responding to Lucretius.
In The Conscious Mind, D. Chalmers appeals to his semantic framework in order to show that conceivability, as employed in his "zombie" argument for dualism , is sufficient for genuine possibility. I criticize this attempt.
In this introduction to the special issue of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics on the topic of personal identity and bioethics, I provide a background for the topic and then discuss the contributions in the special issue by Eric Olson, Marya Schechtman, Tim Campbell and Jeff McMahan, James Delaney and David Hershenov, and David DeGrazia.
It seems that, whereas a person's death needn't be a bad thing for him, it can be. In some circumstances, death isn't a "bad thing" or an "evil" for a person. For instance, if a person has a terminal and very painful disease, he might rationally regard his own death as a good thing for him, or at least, he may regard it as something whose prospective occurrence shouldn't be regretted. But the attitude of a "normal" and healthy human being (...) - adult or child - toward the prospect of his death is different; it is not unreasonable in certain cases to regard one's own death as a bad thing for oneself. If this is so, then the question arises as to why death is bad, in those cases in which it is bad. (shrink)
We consider one of Eric Olson's chief arguments for animalism about personal identity: the view that we are each identical to a human animal. The argument was originally given in Olson's book The Human Animal . Olson's argument presupposes an epistemological premise which we examine in detail. We argue that the premise is implausible and that Olson's defense of animalism is therefore in trouble.
Bootstrapping, evidentialist internalism, and rule circularity Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9876-9 Authors Anthony Brueckner, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Fallibilism about knowledge and justification is a widely held view in epistemology. In this paper, I will try to arrive at a proper formulation of fallibilism. Fallibilists often hold that Cartesian skepticism is a view that deserves to be taken seriously and dealt with somehow. I argue that it turns out that a canonical form of skeptical argument depends upon the denial of fallibilism. I conclude by considering a response on behalf of the skeptic.
Keith DeRose discusses 'third-person cases', which appear to raise problems for John Hawthorne's invariantist approach to knowledge-attributions. I argue that there is a prima facie problem for invariantism stemming from third-person cases that is even worse than DeRose's. Then I show that in the end, contrary to appearances, third-person cases do not threaten invariantism.
We have argued that it is rational to have asymmetric attitudes toward prenatal and posthumous non-existence insofar as this asymmetry is a special case of a more general asymmetry in our attitudes toward past and future pleasures. Here we respond to an interesting critique of our view by Jens Johansson. We contend that his critique involves an inappropriate conflation of the time from which the relevant asymmetry emerges and the time of the badness of death.
In a previous paper, we argued that death's badness consists in the deprivation of pleasurable experiences which one would have had, had one died later rather than at the time of one's actual death. Thus, we argued that death can be a bad thing for the individual who dies, even if it is an experiential blank. But there is a pressing objection to this view, for if the view is correct, then it seems that it should also be the case (...) that it is a bad thing for a person that he is born when he actually is born, rather than earlier. That is, if the deprivation account is the correct account of death's badness, then it appears that one should have symmetric attitudes to prenatal and posthumous nonexistence. But clearly we do not in general have symmetric attitudes toward the period before our birth and the period after our death; in general, we do not think of our late births as a bad thing, but we can indeed consider our early deaths as bad for us. Thus, it appears that there is a problem for the deprivation account of death's badness. (shrink)
Kantian transcendental arguments are aimed at uncovering the necessary conditions for the possibility of thought and experience. If such arguments are to have any force against Cartesian skepticism about knowledge of the external world, then it would seem that the conditions the transcendental argument uncovers must be non-psychological in nature, and their special status must be knowable a priori. In "Transcendental Arguments", Barry Stroud raised the question whether there are any such conditions., He answered that it was very doubtful that (...) one could argue deductively from the premise that there is thought and experience to the conclusion that certain conditions concerning non-psychological, external reality are satisfied. In the intervening 27 years, no one has decisively answered those doubts. No one has succeeded in constructing a convincing Kantian anti- skeptical transcendental argument of the desired kind. In a recent paper, however, Stroud has suggested that things might well be looking up a bit for the transcendental arguer. Stroud now holds that there is a modest variant of the ambitious Kantian anti-skeptical strategy that offers the promise of an answer of sorts to the skeptic that is free of various objectionable Kantian excesses. In this paper, I will describe the more modest sort of transcendental argument that Stroud finds promising, and I will then raise some doubts about the prospects of this modest approach. (shrink)
Focuses on the arguments that show the externalism of mental content. Discussion on the principle of knowledge identification; Account of basic self-knowledge; Interpretations of sentence content; Skepticism of knowledge content.
This article is a response to an important objection that Sherrilyn Roush has made to the standard closure-based argument for skepticism, an argument that has been studied over the past couple of decades. If Roush's objection is on the mark, then this would be a quite significant finding. We argue that her objection fails.
A Kantian transcendental argument is an argument which purports to show that the existence of physical objects of a certain general character is a condition for the possibility of self-conscious experience. Both the Transcendental Deduction and the Refutation of Idealism satisfy this characterization. But we have seen that even a successful Kantian transcendental argument would be somewhat disappointing. Even though such an argument would refute the extreme Cartesian skepticism about the very existence of physical objects, it would not certify any (...) of one's claims to know facts about particular physical objects: it would not refute the weaker skeptical position I have sketched.5 How- ever, it would clearly be of great interest if one could show that the existence of physical objects is a condition for the possibility of self- conscious experience. Accordingly, I would like to investigate some problems surrounding the construction of Kantian transcendental arguments. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 55 - 60 Peter Murphy has argued that effective skeptical scenarios all have the following feature: the subject involved in the scenario does not know that some ordinary proposition is true, even if the proposition is true in the scenario. So the standard “false belief” conception of skeptical scenarios is wrong, since the belief of the targeted proposition need not be mistaken in the scenario. Murphy then argues that this observation engenders a problem (...) for skeptical arguments: they require the KK principle. We respond to this criticism on behalf of the skeptic in our paper. (shrink)
In "Externalism, Self-Knowledge and Skepticism,"' Kevin Falvey and Joseph Owens argue that externalism with respect to mental content does not engender skepticism about knowledge of content. They go on to argue that even when externalism is freed from epistemological difficulties, the thesis cannot be used against Cartesian skepticism about knowledge of the external world. I would like to raise some questions about these claims.
In "Nozick on Scepticism", Graeme Forbes attempts to establish a Transmission Principle for knowledge which has been challenged by a number of anti-sceptical philosophers (such as Nozick). This principle (or something like it) seems to be required by Cartesian sceptical arguments, so if it could be refuted, this would apparently rid us of such scepticism. I do not believe that Nozick or anyone else has refuted the principle, yet I will argue that Forbes has certainly failed to establish it.
Massimo Dell'Utri (1990) provides a reconstruction of Hilary Putnam's argument (1981, chapter 1) to show that the hypothesis that we are brains in a vat is self-refuting. I will explain why the argument Dell'Utri offers us is, on the face of it, quite problematic. Then I will provide a way out of the difficulty.
This paper considers the question whether a psychological approach to personal identity can be formulated within an endurantist, as opposed to four-dimensionalist, framework. Trenton Merricks has argued that this cannot be done. I argue to the contrary: a perfectly coherent endurantist version of the psychological approach can indeed be formulated.
In previous work we have presented a reply to the Lucretian Symmetry, which has it that it is rational to have symmetric attitudes toward prenatal and posthumous nonexistence. Our reply relies on Parfit-style thought-experiments. Here we reply to a critique of our approach by Huiyuhl Yi, which appears in this journal: Brueckner and Fischer on the evil of death. We argue that this critique fails to attend to the specific nature of the thought-experiments (and our associated argument). More specifically, the (...) thought-experiments seek to elicit attitudes about (say) past pleasures per se, and not insofar as such pleasures are connected to more pleasures in the future or a greater total amount of pleasures in one’s life overall. (shrink)
In his , Williams offered a solution to Moore's paradox that centred on the concept of justification. Consider the omissive Moore-paradoxical sentence: p and I do not believe that p.Williams appealed to the principle Whatever justifies me in believing that p justifies me in believing that I believe that p.Suppose that I am justified in believing . Then I am justified in believing its first conjunct. By I am justified in believing that I believe that p. Since I am also (...) justified in believing the second conjunct, I am justified in believing that I do not believe that p. Williams claimed that ‘this is impossible, because anything that justifies me in believing that something is the case renders me unjustified in believing that it is not the case’ . 1In a response to Williams, I argued that is false. Williams concedes this objection, and in Williams he seeks to offer a variant on his justificationist solution to Moore's paradox that does not rest upon . Consider this instance of . There will be a third world war, and I do not believe that there will be a third world war.Suppose that I am justified in believing the first conjunct on …. (shrink)
Michael Williams and Crispin Wright have claimed that we are epistemically justified in believing hinge propositions, such as there is an external world. In a recent paper Allan Hazlett puts forward an argument that purports to elucidate the source of such justification. This paper reconstructs Hazlett's argument and offers a criticism of it.