First published in 1986, Knowledge, Belief, and Witchcraft remains the only analysis of indigenous discourse about an African belief system undertaken from within the framework of Anglo-American analytical philosophy. Taking as its point of departure W. V. O. Quine's thesis about the indeterminacy of translation, the book investigates questions of Yoruba epistemology and of how knowledge is conceived in an oral culture.
THE GROUNDS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF MAY BE VARIOUS, AND SUCH GROUNDS ARE ASSESSABLE BY BOTH BELIEVER AND NON-BELIEVER; BUT THE ARTICULATION OF SUCH GROUNDS IS, THOUGH A PROPER ONE, AN AVOIDABLE TOPIC FOR THE BELIEVER AND THE PHILOSOPHER. (BP, EDITED).
In this paper, I present and defend a novel account of doubt. In Part 1, I make some preliminary observations about the nature of doubt. In Part 2, I introduce a new puzzle about the relationship between three psychological states: doubt, belief, and confidence. I present this puzzle because my account of doubt emerges as a possible solution to it. Lastly, in Part 3, I elaborate on and defend my account of doubt. Roughly, one (...) has doubt if and only if one believes one might be wrong; I argue that this is superior to the account that says that one has doubt if and only if one has less than the highest degree of confidence. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore Peirce's work for insights into a theory of learning and cognition for education. Our focus for this exploration is Peirce's paper The Fixation of Belief (FOB), originally published in 1877 in Popular Science Monthly. We begin by examining Peirce's assertion that the study of logic is essential for understanding thought and reasoning. We explicate Peirce's view of the nature of reasoning itself—the characteristic guiding principles or ‘habits of mind’ that underlie acts of inference, the (...) dimensions of and interaction between doubt and belief, and his four methods of resolving or ‘fixing’ belief (i.e., tenacity, authority, a priori, and experimentation). The four methods are then juxtaposed against current models of teaching and learning such as constructivism, schema theory, situated cognition, and inquiry learning. Finally, we discuss Peirce's modes of inference as they relate educationally to the resolution of doubt and beliefs and offer an example of belief resolution from an experienced teacher in a professional development environment. (shrink)
Some Thoughts on Thinking is a work dealing with the issues one faces when one attempts to construct non-arbitrary beliefs about ourselves and our surroundings. The text opens up with a discussion of the similarities and differences between science, theology, philosophy and tradition. This initial discussion provides the foundation for a deeper push into what is, and what is not, a recommendable and non-arbitrary belief. No previous exposure to philosophy is assumed and the language of the work (...) is free of complex philosophical terms. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of original essays by eminent philosophers written for R. B. Braithwaite's eightieth birthday to celebrate his work and teaching. In one way or another, all the essays reflect his central concern with the impact of science on our beliefs about the world and the responses appropriate to that. Together they testify to the signal importance of his contributions in areas of philosophy bearing on this concern: the philosophy of science, especially of the statistical (...) sciences, theories of belief and of probability, decision theory and games theory. This book, which includes a full bibliography of Professor Braithwaite's work, will interest advanced students and professionals in the fields of philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
Philosophers have long been concerned about what we know and how we know it. Increasingly, however, a related question has gained prominence in philosophical discussion: what should we believe and why? This volume brings together twelve new essays that address different aspects of this question. The essays examine foundational questions about reasons for belief, and use new research on reasons for belief to address traditional epistemological concerns such as knowledge, justification and perceptually acquired beliefs. This book will be (...) of interest to philosophers working on epistemology, theoretical reason, rationality, perception and ethics. It will also be of interest to cognitive scientists and psychologists who wish to gain deeper insight into normative questions about belief and knowledge. (shrink)
First published in 2004, this book is a rigorous textbook on the metaphysics of the mind for advanced students of philosophy, covering the background they need to understand the debates and bringing them to the frontiers of current research. It is also a monograph on the nature of de re and de se states of mind, incorporating material the author published in journals. The short file you will see is only a gateway to more than two dozen other files (...) which are rewrites of the book. (shrink)
The concern of this book is the nature of religious belief and the ways in which philosophical enquiry is related to it. Six chapters present the positive arguments the author wishes to put forward to discusses religion and rationality, scepticism about religion, language-games, belief and the loss of belief. The remaining chapters include criticisms of some contemporary philosophers of religion in the light of the earlier discussions, and the implications for more specific topics, such as religious education, (...) are investigated. The book ends with a general attempt to say something about the character of philosophical enquiry, and to show how important it is to realise this character in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
I offer you some theories of intellectual obligations and rights (virtue Ethics): initially, RBT (a Right to Believe Truth, if something is true it follows one has a right to believe it), and, NDSM (one has no right to believe a contradiction, i.e., No right to commit Doxastic Self-Mutilation). Evidence for both below. Anthropology, Psychology, computer software, Sociology, and the neurosciences prove things about human beliefs, and History, Economics, and comparative law can provide evidence of value about theories of rights. (...) However, insofar as we have methods within Philosophy to help us formulate precise concepts of 'belief' and 'rights', methods that also help us to prove links (or absence thereof) amongst families of concepts of rights and belief, our discipline is in and of itself capable of sound reasoning about issues as puzzling as the following. Suppose a Jane who does not believe in God yet who believes she ought to so believe: Jane is undergoing doxastic moral regret (moral regret for lack of faith). We have all known such Janes and perhaps at one time or another even been one. Paradox: given RBT and NDSM, Jane as described not only does not exist, Jane cannot exist. Thus, to enrich the ways in which Philosophy need not get all its evidence from other academic disciplines, I present a brief introduction to what I call Neutral Universal Frames (NUFs). NUFs solve hard puzzles about interactions among modal concepts of belief and rights, concepts that occur in RBT, NDSM and the description of our Janes. NUFs for theories precisely articulated via any two or more modal concepts are a powerful and immensely general set of tools enabling us to define rich theories of truth ("models on frames") to test philosophical theories for internal consistency and to prove the existence of connections (or absence thereof) amongst alternative articulations of philosophical theories. NUFs thereby add to the constructive knowledge producing way Logics intersect with Philosophy of Religion. And we will soon see why Jane, be she named 'Jane' or known simply as you: cannot exist. Read on at your own risk. (shrink)
Isaac Levi is one of the preeminent philosophers in the areas of pragmatic rationality and epistemology. This collection of essays constitutes an important presentation of his original and influential ideas about rational choice and belief. A wide range of topics is covered, including consequentialism and sequential choice, consensus, voluntarism of belief, and the tolerance of the opinions of others. The essays elaborate on the idea that principles of rationality are norms that regulate the coherence of our beliefs and (...) values with our rational choices. The norms impose minimal constraints on deliberation and inquiry, but they also impose demands well beyond the capacities of deliberating agents. This major collection will be eagerly sought out by a wide range of philosophers in epistemology, logic, and philosophy of science, as well as economists, decision theorists, and statisticians. (shrink)
Introduction -- In the beginning : it's all in the program -- Symbols and agreements : the art of humans -- The story of you : the first agreement : be impeccable with your word -- Every mind is a world : the second agreement : don't take anything personally -- Truth or fiction : the third agreement : don't make assumptions -- The power of belief : the symbol of Santa Claus -- Practice makes the master : the (...) fourth agreement : always do your best -- The power of doubt : the fifth agreement : be skeptical, but learn to listen -- The dream of the first attention : the victims -- The dream of the second attention : the warriors -- The dream of the third attention : the masters -- Becoming a seer : a new point of view -- The three languages : what kind of messenger are you? -- Epilogue: Help me to change the world. (shrink)
A collection of twelve essays by John Perry and two essays he co-authored, this book deals with various problems related to "self-locating beliefs": the sorts of beliefs one expresses with indexicals and demonstratives, like "I" and "this." Postscripts have been added to a number of the essays discussing criticisms by authors such as Gareth Evans and Robert Stalnaker. Included with such well-known essays as "Frege on Demonstratives," "The Problem of the Essential Indexical," "From Worlds to Situations," and "The Prince and (...) the Phone Booth" are a number of important essays that have been less accessible and that discuss important aspects of Perry's views, referred to as "Critical Referentialism," on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Is linguistic meaning to be accounted for independently of the states of mind of language users, or can it only be explained in terms of them? If the latter, what account of the mental states in question avoids circularity? In this book Brian Loar offers a subtle and comprehensive theory which both preserves the natural priority of the mind in explanations of meaning, and gives an independent characterisation of its features. It is a commonplace that in making decisions agents often (...) have to juggle competing values, and that no available choice Will maximise satisfaction of all of them. Prevailing accounts of rational decision making in such contexts asume that, once all factors are taken into consideration, the decision maker will reach a single ranking of his values, resolving the conflict between them. (shrink)
Millar argues against the tendency in current philosophical thought to treat sensory experiences as a peculiar species of propositional attitude. While allowing that experiences may in some sense bear propositional content, he presents a view of sensory experiences as a species of psychological state. A key theme in his general approach is that justified belief results from the competent exercise of conceptual capacities, some of which involve an ability to respond appropriately to current experience. In working out this approach (...) the author develops a view of concepts and their mastery, explores the role of groundless beliefs drawing on suggestions of Wittgenstein, illuminates aspects of the thought of Locke, Hume, Quine, and Goldman, and finally offers a response to a sophisticated variety of scepticism. (shrink)
The will to believe.--Is life worth living?--The sentiment of rationality.--Reflex action and theism.--The dilemma of determinism.--The moral philosopher and the moral life.--Great men and their environment.--The importance of individuals.--On some Hegelisms.--What psychical research has accomplished.