Defenses of pragmatic encroachment commonly rely on two thoughts: first, that the gap between one’s strength of epistemic position on p and perfect strength sometimes makes a difference to what one is justified in doing, and second, that the higher the stakes, the harder it is to know. It is often assumed that these ideas complement each other. This chapter shows that these ideas are far from complementary. Along the way, a variety of strategies for regimenting the somewhat inchoate notion (...) of stakes are indicated, and some troubling cases for pragmatic encroachment raised. (shrink)
Pragmatic encroachment offers a picture of knowledge whereby knowledge is unstable. This paper argues that pragmatic encroachment is committed to more instability than has been hitherto noted. One surprising result of the arguments in this paper is that pragmatic encroachment is not merely about changes in stakes. All sorts of practical factors can make for the presence or absence of knowledge on this picture stakes-sensitivity’ is misleading. Furthermore, insufficient attention has been paid to the variety of ways in which on (...) this view pragmatic factors affect knowledge: pragmatic factors are not merely knowledge-depriving but are also knowledge-inducing. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to motivate and defend a recognizable version of N. L. Wilson's "Principle of Charity" Doing so will involve: (1) distinguishing it fromthe significantly different versions of the Principle familiar through the work of Quine and Davidson; (2) showing that it is compatible with, among other things, both semantic externalism and "simulation" accounts of interpretation; and (3) explaining how it follows from plausible constraints relating to the connection between interpretation and self-interpretation. Finally, it will (...) be argued that Charity represents a type of "minimal individualism" that is closely tied to first person authority, and that endorsing Charity in our interpretations of others reflects a commitment to capturing, from the third-person starting point, their first-personal point of view. (shrink)
Psychologists' work on conversational pragmatics and judgment suggests a refreshing approach to charitable interpretation and theorizing. This charitable approach—what I call Gricean charity —recognizes the role of conversational assumptions and norms in subject-experimenter communication. In this paper, I outline the methodological lessons Gricean charity gleans from psychologists' work in conversational pragmatics. In particular, Gricean charity imposes specific evidential standards requiring that researchers collect empirical information about (1) the conditions of successful and unsuccessful communication for specific experimental contexts, (...) and (2) the conversational norms governing communication in experimental contexts. More generally, the Gricean turn in psychological research shifts focus from attributional to reflexive, situational explanations. Gricean charity does not primarily seek to rationalize subject responses. Rather, it imposes evidential requirements on psychological studies for the purpose of gaining a more accurate picture of the surprising and muddled ways in which we weigh evidence and draw. Key Words: Gricean charity • methodological rationalism • interpretation • principle of charity • cognitive psychology • conversational pragmatics • heuristics and biases • reflexive analysis. (shrink)
Our aim is to propose a non-referential semantics for the principle of logical charity: neither logical universalism (one logic, one way of thinking), nor logical relativism (several logics, several ways of thinking) afford an adequate conceptual framework to interpret the meaning of any speech act. But neither of them is totally wrong, either. The point is to know to which extent each of these views is partly right, thus leading to a more consensual but paradoxical-sounding "relative principle of (...) class='Hi'>charity". After recalling the theoretical background of logical charity, we suggest a four-valued logic of acceptance and rejection (hereafter: AR4); then we explain how such a non-referential semantics does justice both to the champions of logical charity and its opponents. While endorsing coherence as a precondition for rationality, we argue that such a criterion does not entail that classical logic is a necessary conceptual scheme to interpret the others' beliefs. A better application of charity should take account of the questions implicitly asked by a statement, and we bring these questions out in replacing Quine's truth-functions by Quine’s verdict functions while emphasizing upon their varying degrees of strength. (shrink)
In a number of articles Donald Davidson has argued that the charitable nature of his method of radical interpretation rules out the possibility of massive error and thus refutes Cartesian skepticism. The diversity of such arguments and the suggestions that are all being made under the name of the principle of charity have prompted a large body of conflicting responses, adding only to the obscurity of the issues that are generally associated with the question of skepticism. In this paper (...) I propose to consider the debate in a new light by reconstruing the principle of charity as a supervenience constraint on belief attribution. This would help explain some of the puzzling features of Davidson's arguments, like the idea of an omniscient interpreter, and the ensuing commentaries. Having provided an analysis of the limitations of Davidson's arguments, I shall then suggest an alternative explanation of the purported necessity of the principle of charity. Finally, having construed the principle of charity as a supervenience constraint, I shall examine what consequences this construal has for the logical status of the principle itself and its alleged epistemic potentials. (shrink)
Whenever fellow humans suffer due to natural catastrophes, we have a duty to help them. This duty is not only acknowledged in moral theory, but also expressed in ordinary people’s reactions to phenomena such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Despite being widely acknowledged, this duty is also widely disputed: some believe it is a matter of justice, others a matter of charity. Although central to debates in international political theory, the distinction between justice and charity is hardly ever (...) systematically drawn. To fill this gap in the literature, I consider three accounts of this distinction, the ‘Agent-based’, the ‘Recipient-based’, and the ‘Mixed’ View, and argue that they are all unsatisfactory. I then offer a fourth alternative, the ‘Autonomy’ View, which successfully overcomes the difficulties affecting its rivals. I conclude by considering the implications of this view for the moral grounds of disaster relief in earthquake-stricken Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan. (shrink)
Contemporary republicans have adopted a less-than-charitable attitude toward private beneficence, especially when it is directed to the poor, worrying that rich patrons may be in a position to exercise arbitrary power over their impoverished clients. These concerns have led them to support impartial public provision by way of state welfare programs, including an unconditional basic income (UBI). In contrast to this administrative model of public welfare, I will propose a competitive model in which the state regulates and subsidizes a decentralized (...) and nonstatist provision of support for the poor. This model will fix the historically objectionable features of private provision by having the state prevent collusion among private charities, deliver information to recipients about alternative sources of assistance, and give substantial grants to charities as well as tax incentives and vouchers to donors. I will contend that such an approach would do a better job of minimizing domination of the poor than traditional welfare states and may prove more politically feasible than a UBI, at least in the near term in certain national contexts. (shrink)
Quine and others have recommended principles of charity which discourage judgments of irrationality. Such principles have been proposed to govern translation, psychology, and economics. After comparing principles of charity of different degrees of severity, we argue that the stronger principles are likely to block understanding of human behavior and impede progress toward improving it. We support a moderate principle of charity which leaves room for empirically justified judgments of irrationality.
The principle of charity (“Charity”), in one form or other, is held by many and for various reasons. After cataloging discernible kinds of Charity, I focus on the most familiar versions as found in Davidson, Dennett, Devitt, Lewis, Putnam, Quine, Stich, and others. To begin with, I argue that such versions of Charity are untenable because beliefs cannot be counted, and even if they could be counted there is reason to believe that true beliefs need not (...) outnumber false beliefs. Next I rebut one of the arguments behind Charity, the intelligibility argument. If indeed beliefs are postulated simply as a way to make some system intelligible (predictable and explicable) then a number of theses ensue. First, it would be perfectly intelligible to ascribe mostly false beliefs to an intentional system, or even entirely false beliefs. Second, lower animals would have beliefs. Third, it would sometimes make sense to ascribe beliefs even to inanimate beings. And fourth, the resulting indeterminacy of belief-ascription would suggest a kind of irrealism about belief which may in turn be expressed by the slogan that rejects the container metaphor of the mind. (shrink)
I here investigate whether there is any version of the principle of charity both strong enough to conflict with an error-theoretic version of nominalism (EN) about abstract objects, and supported by the considerations adduced in favour of interpretive charity in the literature. I argue that in order to be strong enough, the principle, which I call (Charity), would have to read, “For all expressions e, an acceptable interpretation must make true a sufficiently high ratio of accepted sentences (...) containing e”. I next consider arguments based on Davidson's intuitive cases for interpretive charity, the reliability of perceptual beliefs, and the reliability of “non-abstractive inference modes”, and conclude that none support (Charity). I then propose a diagnosis of the view that there must be some universal principle of charity ruling out (EN). Finally, I present a reason to think (Charity) is false, namely, that it seems to exclude the possibility of such disagreements as that between nominalists and realists. (shrink)
Charity, as a social construct, is considered in various interpretative contexts, in a subjectively manner, social progress. The meta-narration about charity as Christian duty, by passing through the secular interpretive and atomizer context of postmodernity, becomes a narrative about social responsibility and equity in ethical dimension, and is translated into restorative community practices in social action plan. We will pursue the constructive interpretive contexts that generated the idea of social policies and social work practice as a contemporary deconstruction (...) of charity. The thesis of the article is that the process of deconstruction of charity, as a religious value which regulates in a Christian manner the reference to the other, is the foundation of restorative social policies and professionalized social work as a social action. We will analyze the deconstruction of Christian idea of charity from two perspectives, namely the secularization of charitable practices and constructive foundation of a particular meta-story of our times which we call secular society and/or knowledge society. (shrink)
Any enthymeme can be made logically valid by adding as a suppressed premise a conditional that reiterates the argument's stated content and inferential structure in if-then form, We cannot blanketly prohibit reiteration to avoid this sort of trivialization, because some enthymemes legitimately require completion by reiterative conditionals, The solution proposed here is to allow reiterative expansions, but to rank them, other things being equal, as less charitable than nonreiterative expansions. Reiterative expansions can then be chosen as the most charitable only (...) when all nonreiterative expansions have been eliminated for independent reasons. This pluralistic model encourages experimentation with a number of different permissible expansions in evaluating enthymemes, from the least controversial or problematic to the most trivializing and the least charitable. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that epistemic modals admit of inter-subjective flexibility. This paper introduces intra-subjective flexibility for epistemic modals and draws on this flexibility to argue that fallibilism is consistent with the standard account of epistemic modals.
This paper challenges a common assumption in the literature concerning the problem of divine hiddenness, namely, that the following are inconsistent: God's making available adequate evidence for belief that he exists and the existence of non-culpable nonbelievers. It draws on the notions of defeated evidence and glimpses to depict the complexity of our evidential situation with respect to God's existence.
In our globalized and interconnected world, companies are increasingly donating substantial amounts to good causes around the globe. Many companies choose to donate “at home” while others give to causes in faraway places where recipients are in dire need of support. Interestingly, past research on corporate donations has neglected the question of whether consumers differentially reward companies for geographically varying allocations of donation budgets. Through a mixed methods approach, this paper remedies this gap by developing and empirically testing a conceptual (...) framework of consumers’ preferences for geographically varying allocations of corporate donation budgets. In a first step, two preliminary field studies involving real donations explored customers’ preferences for donation allocations varying in geographical focus. A qualitative focus group study then investigated underlying rationales to inform the research and led to the development of hypotheses. Subsequently a large-scale between-subjects scenario experiment tested the predictions. Overall, results indicate that, in contrast with current managerial practice, customers prefer companies that split donations equally between domestic and foreign recipients or even donate only abroad. (shrink)
The principle of charity is used in philosophy of language and argumentation theory as an important principle of interpretation which credits speakers with “the best” plausible interpretation of their discourse. I contend that the argumentation account, while broadly advocated, misses the basic point of a dialectical conception which approaches argumentation as discussion between two parties who disagree over the issue discussed. Therefore, paradoxically, an analyst who is charitable to one discussion party easily becomes uncharitable to the other. To overcome (...) this paradox, I suggest to significantly limit the application of the principle of charity depending on contextual factors. (shrink)
The principle of charity says that all agents are rational. The principle of meta-charity says that all agents believe all agents are rational. My thesis is that the arguments which are used to support charity also support meta-charity. Meta-charity implies meta-meta-charity. By recursion, the principle of charity implies that it is common knowledge. But there appears to be intelligent, well-informed disagreement with the principle of charity. So if the entailment thesis holds, opponents (...) of the principle of charity have a new objection to the principle. Defenders of the principle of charity must either refute the entailment thesis or accept much stronger consequences than they expected. (shrink)
Treating the principle of charity as a non-empirical, foundational principle leads to insoluble problems of justification. I suggest instead treating semantic properties realistically, and semantic terms as theoretical terms. This allows us to apply ordinary scientific reasoning in meta-semantics. In particular, we can appeal to widespread verbal agreement as an empirical phenomenon, and we can make use of probabilistic reasoning as well as appeal to theoretical simplicity for reaching the conclusion that there is a high rate of agreement in (...) belief between speakers who have a high rate of verbal agreement. Although this does not by itself imply that the beliefs agreed upon are generally true, it does imply that any single speaker who is party to such a verbal agreement is justified in taking the other speakers to have mostly true beliefs. She is so justified because of the fact that it is incoherent to take her own beliefs not to be mostly true. Indirectly, this justifies a version of the principle of charity as an empirically correct principle. (shrink)
In 1994 the "Ramsey Colloquium," under the leadership of Richard John Neuhaus, posed a challenge to what it called the "homosexual movement" within the Christian Church. The challenge was to prove that it had reasons distinguishable from secular liberalism--reasons consistent with orthodox Christian theology--in favor of same-sex coupling. Eugene Rogers's book, "Sexuality and the Christian Body: Their Way into the Triune God, can be read as a response to this challenge. The book is important not only for the content of (...) its arguments, which are imaginative and theologically rigorous, but also for the exemplary way in which Rogers exhibits charity in his account of his conservative opponents. Rogers's recent anthology, "Theology and Sexuality", provides additional evidence that a new, more promising debate is arising within the Church, a debate that has some hope of transcending the rhetoric of the culture wars. (shrink)
This essay contrasts the notions of charity employed by Traditional Christianity and by liberal cosmopolitan bioethics, arguing that: (1) bioethics attempts to reconstruct the notion of charity in a manner that is caustic to the Traditional Christian moral vision, (2) Christians are, on the whole, more charitable than proponents of bioethics' reconstructed view (even given the standards of the latter), and (3) the theistically oriented conception of charity employed by Traditional Christianity cannot be expressed in bioethics' purportedly (...) neutral public vocabulary. The upshot is that, in the name of neutrality and pluralism, liberal cosmopolitan bioethicists seek to impose an impoverished moral vocabulary that reflects liberal cosmopolitan ideology while excluding input from Traditional Christianity and other non-liberal-humanistic moral visions. (shrink)
We often make a distinction between what we owe as a matter of repayment, and what we give or offer out of charity. But how shall we describe our obligations to fellow citizens when we are in a position to be charitable because of a past injustice on the part of the state? This essay examines the moral implications of past injustice by considering Immanuel Kant's remarks on this phenomenon in his lectures and writings. In particular, it discusses the (...) role of the state and the individual in addressing the problem. (shrink)
There is a popular idea that a shift from a Principle of Charity to a Principle of Humanity, as famously advocated by Richard Grandy, offers considerable advantages in constructing theories of meaning for natural languages. My claim is that Grandy’s case for the superiority of the Principle of Humanity does not tell against the Principle of Charity developed by Donald Davidson. The paper outlines important developments in Davidson’s Principle of Charity, and his refinement of the Principle of (...)Charity that he found in Quine’s writings. I argue that Grandy’s criticisms, whilst sound against the Quinean principle he had in mind, do not extend to Davidson’s refined Principle of Charity. I then raise two further issues that face advocates of the Principle of Humanity as an improvement on Davidson’s Principle of Charity. (shrink)
Positions in the debate about the correct semantics of “S knows that p” are sometimes motivated in part by an appeal to interpretive charity. In particular, non-skeptical views hold that many utterances of the sentence “S knows that p” are true and some of them think the fact that their views are able to respect this is a reason why their views are more charitable than skeptical invariantism. However, little attention has been paid to why charity should be (...) understood in this way and little effort has been spent justifying the notion that a charitable semantics is likely to be true. I distinguish two kinds of interpretive charity. One principle of charity is often appealed to in the literature. I introduce a second. I argue that while some positions better respect one principle of charity, the reverse is true of the other principle of charity. I conclude with some remarks about how to break this apparent tie. (shrink)
Aquinas’s thought is often considered an exemplary balance between Christian faith and natural reason. However, it is not always sufficiently clear what such balance consists of. With respect to the relation between philosophical topics and the Christian faith, various scholars have advanced perspectives that, although supported by Aquinas’s texts, contrast one another. Some maintain that Aquinas elaborated his philosophical view without being under the influence of faith. Others believe that the Christian faith constitutes an indispensable component of Aquinas’s view; at (...) least when Aquinas focused on those statements that, though maintainable by mere reason, belong to the Christian revelation. In this essay I intend to show that the aforementioned perspectives can be reconciled on the basis of Aquinas’s concept of faith. If we do not limit ourselves to considering faith as the assent to the revealed truth, but also look at what leads the believer to assent—i.e., charity that unites the believer with God and is gratuitously conceded by God himself—then the relation between faith and reason appears to be twofold. On the one hand, the truths of faith cannot participate in the rational inquiry, because according to Aquinas faith lacks the evidence searched for by natural reason. On the other hand, since Aquinas holds that faith is the assent to the revelation due to the love for God that is granted by God himself, the believer will take faith as more certain than intellect and science, and the truths of faith will constitute the orientation and criterion of her/his rational investigation. The truths shall constitute orientation because the believer aims to confirm by reason what she/he already believes. They will also be criterion, because in case of a contradiction between rational arguments and revealed truths, reason must be considered mistaken and the rational investigation must start anew from the beginning. (shrink)
Why are enthymemes so frequent? Are we dumb arguers, smart rhetoricians, or parsimonious reasoners? This paper investigates systematic use of enthymemes, criticizing the application of the principle of charity to their interpretation. In contrast, I propose to analyze enthymematic argumentation in terms of parsimony, i.e. as a manifestation of the rational tendency to economize over scant resources. Consequences of this view on the current debate on enthymemes and on their rational reconstruction are discussed.
Common formulations of the principle of charity in translation seem to undermine attributions of irrationality in social scientific accounts that are otherwise unexceptionable. This I call the problem of irrationality. Here I resolve the problem of irrationality by developing two complementary views of the principle of charity. First, I develop the view (ill-developed in the literature at present) that the principle of charity is preparatory, being needed in the construction of provisional first-approximation translation manuals. These serve as (...) the basis for explanatory accounts and associated refinements in the translation manual. In developing such explanatory accounts, the principle of charity is no longer constraining. Thus, the principle of charity applies only in the early stages of constructing translation manuals, and there is no problem of irrationality in the later stages of constructing translation manuals. Second, I reduce the principle of charity, where it does apply, to a special case of what I call the principle of explicability: so translate as to attribute explicable beliefs and practices to the speakers of the source-language. I show that the appropriate formulation of the principle of charity counsels just what the principle of explicability requires in the early stages of social scientific investigation. (shrink)
I argue that it is a main theme of Davidson's theory of interpretation that interpretive charity implies the impossibility of massive disagreement. There is clear textual support for that. I then argue that from the first-person point of view of a full-blooded interpreter, the theme must be accepted; and that is precisely why Davidson accepts it. If massive disagreement between speaker and interpreter seems to us easy to imagine, it is only because the imagination involved is third-personal and not (...) full-blooded. (shrink)
Josiah Tucker, who was the Anglican dean of Gloucester from 1758 until his death in 1799, is best known today as a controversialist, a political economist and a lesser contemporary of Adam Smith. Little attention has been paid, however, to the important relationship between his religious writings and his wider economic thought. This article addresses this lack of attention in two ways: first by demonstrating the link between Tucker's conception of civil and religious liberty and his “science” of political economy, (...) and second by drawing sustained attention to his economic adaptation and reformulation of the moral philosophy of Bishop Joseph Butler, Tucker's ecclesiastical mentor from 1739 to 1752. Emphasizing Butler and Tucker's views on the traditional Christian virtue of charity, and the moral duty of the rich towards the poor, the article suggests that both clergymen were proponents of a sociability-based, neo-Stoic conception of human nature, which was not only compatible with, but also dependent upon, the established Anglican Church and state and the predominantly Whig commercial order. In consequence, Tucker's political economy was premised on the unavoidability of social subordination and economic inequality as necessary hallmarks of modern commercial society. Accordingly, the article closes with a brief discussion of Tucker's “Butlerian” assessment and rejection of the “anti-social” doctrine of individual natural rights, associated with the popular radicalism of the American and French Revolutions in the latter half of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
Contrary to Singer's view, Kuper asserts that there is no "royal road" to poverty relief, but intersecting roads that may take us to a place without poverty. Drawing on the works of Rawls and Marx, Kuper examines how an effective political philosophy of this kind might be developed.
Effective Altruism encourages affluent people to make significant donations to improve the wellbeing of the world’s poor, using quantified and observational methods to identify the most efficient charities. Critics argue that EA is inattentive to the systemic causes of poverty and underestimates the effectiveness of individual contributions to systemic change. EA claims to be open to systemic change but suggests that systemic critiques, such as the socialist critique of capitalism, are unhelpfully vague and serve primarily as hypocritical rationalizations of continued (...) affluence. I reformulate the systemic change objection, rebut the charges of vagueness and bad faith and argue that charity may not be worth doing at all from a purely altruistic perspective. In order to take systemic change seriously, EA must repudiate its narrowly empiricist approach, embrace holistic, interpretive social analysis and make inevitably controversial judgments about the complex dynamics of collective action. These kinds of evidence and judgment cannot be empirically verified but are essential to taking systemic change seriously. EA is thereby forced to sacrifice its a-political approach to altruism. I also highlight the importance of quotidian, extra-political contributions to perpetuating or changing harmful social practices. Radical efforts to resist, subvert and reconstruct harmful social practices, such as those involved in economic decision-making, could be just as effective and demanding as charity. But such efforts may be incompatible with extensive philanthropy, because they can require people to retain some level of affluence for strategic reasons but to repudiate both the acquisition of significant wealth and charity as is currently organized. The wealth and status of some critics of charity may indeed be incompatible with effectively contributing to social change, but the altruistic merits of charity are neither as obvious nor as easily demonstrated as EA believes. (shrink)
Catholic healthcare institutions live amidst tension between three intersecting primary values, namely, a commitment of service to the poor and vulnerable, promoting the common good for all, and financially sustainability. Within this tension, the question sometimes arises as to whether it is ever justifiable, i.e., consistent with Catholic identity, to place limits on charity care. In this article we will argue that the health reform measures of the Affordable Care Act do not eliminate this tension but actually increase the (...) urgency of addressing it. Moreover, we will conclude that the question of limiting charity care in a manner that is consistent with the obligations of Catholic identity around serving the poor and vulnerable, promoting the common good, and remaining financially sustainable is not a question of if, but of how such limits are established. Such limits, however, cannot be established in light of one overriding moral consideration or principle, but must be established in light of a multitude of principles guiding us to a holistic understanding of the interrelatedness of the moral dimensions of Catholic identity. (shrink)