In What is a Law of Nature? (1983) David Armstrong promotes a theory of laws according to which laws of nature are contingent relations of necessitation between universals. The metaphysics Armstrong develops uses deterministic causal laws as paradigmatic cases of laws, but he thinks his metaphysics explicates other sorts of laws too, including probabilistic laws, like that of the half-life of radium being 1602 years. Bas van Fraassen (1987) gives seven arguments for why Armstrong’s theory of laws is incapable of (...) explicating probabilistic laws. The main thrust of the arguments is that Armstrong’s metaphysical apparatus serves to drive up the initial probability values stated by probabilistic laws. Armstrong replies .. (shrink)
It is argued that the arguments put forward by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel in their widely influential exchange on the problem of moral luck are marred by a failure to (i) present a coherent understanding of what is involved in the notion of luck, and (ii) adequately distinguish between the problem of moral luck and the analogue problem of epistemic luck, especially that version of the problem that is traditionally presented by the epistemological sceptic. It is further claimed that (...) once one offers a more developed notion of luck and disambiguates the problem of moral luck from the problem of epistemic luck (especially in its sceptical guise), neither of these papers is able to offer unambiguous grounds for thinking that there is a problem of moral luck. Indeed, it is shown that insofar as these papers succeed in making a prima facie case for the existence of epistemic luck, it is only the familiar sceptical variant of this problem that they identify. (shrink)
This study expands theoretical understanding of organizational misconduct through qualitative analysis of widespread deceptive sales practices at a large U.S. life insurance company. Adopting a symbolic interactionist perspective, this research describes how a set of taken-for-granted interpretive frames located in the organization’s culture created a worldview through which deceptive sales practices were seen as normal, acceptable, routine operating procedure. The findings from this study extend and modify the dominant theoretical ‘pressure/opportunity’ model of organizational misconduct by proposing that the process engine (...) driving misconduct is not amorally rational organization members, but rather is organizational members acting on socially constructed views of the organization that normalize misconduct. (shrink)
In this paper, I do three things. First, I offer an overview of an anti- luck epistemology, as set out in my book, Epistemic Luck. Second, I attempt to meet some of the main criticisms that one might level against the key theses that I propose in this work. And finally, third, I sketch some of the ways in which the strategy of anti- luck epistemology can be developed in new directions.
One of the key supposed 'platitudes' of contemporary epistemology is the claim that knowledge excludes luck. One can see the attraction of such a claim, in that knowledge is something that one can take credit for - it is an achievement of sorts - and yet luck undermines genuine achievement. The problem, however, is that luck seems to be an all-pervasive feature of our epistemic enterprises, which tempts us to think that either scepticism is true and that we don't know (...) very much, or else that luck is compatible with knowledge after all. In this book, Duncan Pritchard argues that we do not need to choose between these two austere alternatives, since a closer examination of what is involved in the notion of epistemic luck reveals varieties of luck that are compatible with knowledge possession and varieties that aren't. Moreover, Pritchard shows that a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between luck and knowledge can cast light on many of the most central topics in contemporary epistemology. These topics include: the externalism/internalism distinction; virtue epistemology; the problem of scepticism; metaepistemological scepticism; modal epistemology; and the problem of moral luck. All epistemologists will need to come to terms with Pritchard's original and incisive contribution. (shrink)
This paper explores the ramifications of the extended cognition thesis in the philosophy of mind for contemporary epistemology. In particular, it argues that all theories of knowledge need to accommodate the ability intuition that knowledge involves cognitive ability, but that once this requirement is understood correctly there is no reason why one could not have a conception of cognitive ability that was consistent with the extended cognition thesis. There is thus, surprisingly, a straightforward way of developing our current thinking about (...) knowledge such that it incorporates the extended cognition thesis. (shrink)
Deep disagreements concern our most basic and fundamental commitments. Such disagreements seem to be problematic because they appear to manifest epistemic incommensurability in our epistemic systems, and thereby lead to epistemic relativism. This problem is confronted via consideration of a Wittgensteinian hinge epistemology. On the face of it, this proposal exacerbates the problem of deep disagreements by granting that our most fundamental commitments are essentially arationally held. It is argued, however, that a hinge epistemology, properly understood, does not licence epistemic (...) incommensurability or epistemic relativism at all. On the contrary, such an epistemology in fact shows us how to rationally respond to deep disagreements. It is claimed that if we can resist these consequences even from the perspective of a hinge epistemology, then we should be very suspicious of the idea that deep disagreements in general are as epistemologically problematic as has been widely supposed. (shrink)
This paper argues that contemporary philosophical literature on meaning in life has important implications for the debate about our obligations to non-human animals. If animal lives can be meaningful, then practices including factory farming and animal research might be morally worse than ethicists have thought. We argue for two theses about meaning in life: that the best account of meaningful lives must take intentional action to be necessary for meaning—an individual’s life has meaning if and only if the individual acts (...) intentionally in ways that contribute to finally valuable states of affairs; and that this first thesis does not entail that only human lives are meaningful. Because non-human animals can be intentional agents of a certain sort, our account yields the verdict that many animals’ lives can be meaningful. We conclude by considering the moral implications of these theses for common practices involving animals. (shrink)
Epistemic Angst offers a completely new solution to the ancient philosophical problem of radical skepticism—the challenge of explaining how it is possible to have knowledge of a world external to us. Duncan Pritchard argues that the key to resolving this puzzle is to realize that it is composed of two logically distinct problems, each requiring its own solution. He then puts forward solutions to both problems. To that end, he offers a new reading of Wittgenstein's account of the structure (...) of rational evaluation and demonstrates how this provides an elegant solution to one aspect of the skeptical problem. Pritchard also revisits the epistemological disjunctivist proposal that he developed in previous work and shows how it can effectively handle the other aspect of the problem. Finally, he argues that these two antiskeptical positions, while superficially in tension with each other, are not only compatible but also mutually supporting. The result is a comprehensive and distinctive resolution to the problem of radical skepticism, one that challenges many assumptions in contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
In his final notebooks, published as On Certainty , Wittgenstein offers a distinctive conception of the nature of reasons. Central to this conception is the idea that at the heart of our rational practices are essentially arational commitments. This proposal marks a powerful challenge to the standard picture of the structure of reasons. In particular, it has been thought that this account might offer us a resolution of the traditional scepticism/anti-scepticism debate. It is argued, however, that some standard ways of (...) filling out the details of this proposal ultimately lead to an epistemology which is highly problematic. The goal here is to present a more compelling version of Wittgenstein’s account of the structure of reasons which can evade these difficulties. (shrink)
I can be aware of myself, and thereby come to know things about myself, in a variety of different ways. But is there some special way in which I—and only I—can learn about myself? Can I become aware of myself by introspecting? Do I somehow show up in my own conscious experiences? David Hume and most contemporary philosophers say no. They deny that the self shows up in experience. However, in this paper I appeal to research on schizophrenia—on thought insertion, (...) in particular—to argue that Hume and his follows are wrong: The self does, in fact, show up in experience. (shrink)
Liberalism is a term employed in a dizzying variety of ways in political thought and social science. This essay challenges how the liberal tradition is typically understood. I start by delineating different types of response—prescriptive, comprehensive, explanatory—that are frequently conflated in answering the question “what is liberalism?” I then discuss assorted methodological strategies employed in the existing literature: after rejecting “stipulative” and “canonical” approaches, I outline a contextualist alternative. Liberalism, on this account, is best characterised as the sum of the (...) arguments that have been classified as liberal, and recognised as such by other self-proclaimed liberals, over time and space. In the remainder of the article, I present an historical analysis of shifts in the meaning of liberalism in Anglo-American political thought between 1850 and 1950, focusing in particular on how Locke came to be characterised as a liberal. I argue that the scope of the liberal traditionexpanded during the middle decades of the twentieth century, such that it came to be seen by many as the constitutive ideology of the West. This capacious understanding of liberalism was a product of the ideological wars fought against “totalitarianism” and assorted developments in the social sciences. Today we both inherit and inhabit it. (shrink)
The term ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ annoys some Scottish historians, because to them it seems to suggest that a state of unenlightenment prevailed in Scotland before the mideighteenth century, but ‘enlightenment’ when used by the historian of ideas is simply a technical term to describe certain aspects of eighteenth-century thought. The trouble is in defining precisely what aspects of eighteenth-century thought it is meant to describe. Different people study the eighteenth century Scottish thinkers for different reasons; for Professor Pocock, for example, they (...) belong to the tradition of ‘civic humanism’ and constitute one of his Machiavellian moments. But they are more widely known nowadays for the modernity and sophistication of their social theory. (shrink)
G. E. Moore famously offered a strikingly straightforward response to the radical sceptic which simply consisted of the claim that one could know, on the basis of one's knowledge that one has hands, that there exists an external world. In general, the Moorean response to scepticism maintains that we can know the denials of sceptical hypotheses on the basis of our knowledge of everyday propositions. In the recent literature two proposals have been put forward to try to accommodate, to varying (...) extents, this Moorean thesis. On the one hand, there are those who endorse an externalist version of contextualism, such as Keith DeRose, who have claimed that there must be some contexts in which Moore is right. More radically still, Ernest Sosa has expanded on this externalist thesis by arguing that, contra DeRose's contextualism, Moore may be right in all contexts. In this paper I evaluate these claims and argue that, suitably modified, one can resurrect the main elements of the Moorean anti-sceptical thesis. (shrink)
Support is canvassed for a new approach to epistemology called anti-risk epistemology. It is argued that this proposal is rooted in the motivations for an existing account, known as anti-luck epistemology, but is superior on a number of fronts. In particular, anti-risk epistemology is better placed than anti-luck epistemology to supply the motivation for certain theoretical moves with regard to safety-based approaches to knowledge. Moreover, anti-risk epistemology is more easily extendable to epistemological questions beyond that in play in the theory (...) of knowledge specifically. A key advantage of the view, however, is that anti-risk epistemology fares much better than anti-luck epistemology when it comes to accounting for the phenomenon of negative epistemic dependence. In particular, anti-risk epistemology is ideally placed to explain why such epistemic dependence is incompatible with knowledge, even when the negative epistemic dependence in play is of a purely modal variety. (shrink)
The value problem -- Unpacking the value problem -- The swamping problem -- fundamental and non-fundamental epistemic goods -- The relevance of epistemic value monism -- Responding to the swamping problem I : the practical response -- Responding to the swamping problem II : the monistic response -- Responding to the swamping problem III : the pluralist response -- Robust virtue epistemology -- Knowledge and achievement -- Interlude : is robust virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Achievement without (...) achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Contra virtue epistemology -- Two master intuitions about knowledge -- Anti-luck virtue epistemology -- Interlude : is anti-luck virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Diagnosing the structure of knowledge -- Back to the value problem -- The final value of achievements -- Understanding -- Understanding and epistemic luck -- Understanding and cognitive achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Two potential implications of the distinctive value of understanding thesis -- The traditional analytical project and the central tension -- Knowledge, evidence, and reasons -- Concepts versus phenomena -- The way ahead -- Perceptual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perpetual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perceptual knowledge and justified belief -- Closure and doxastic responsibility -- Knowledge from indicators -- Recognitional abilities again -- Detached standing knowledge -- Back to knowledge from indicators -- Taking stock -- Why knowledge matters -- Approaching the epistemology of testimony -- Telling and informing -- Acquiring true beliefs and acquiring knowledge through being told -- Access to facts about knowledge -- The modest route -- Fool's knowledge -- The distinctive value of knowledge -- Fool's justification -- Arguing from illusion -- The regress of justifications -- Transparency and knowledge -- Transparency and entitlement -- On trying to do without transparency -- Transparency and luminosity -- Non-sensible knowledge -- Self-knowledge -- Non-sensible knowledge of action -- The two dimensions -- The distinctive value of knowledge of action -- Non-observational knowledge -- Practical knowledge and intention -- Practical knowledge and direction of fit. (shrink)
When this work was first published in 1960, it immediately filled a void in Kantian scholarship. It was the first study entirely devoted to Kant's _Critique of Practical Reason_ and by far the most substantial commentary on it ever written. This landmark in Western philosophical literature remains an indispensable aid to a complete understanding of Kant's philosophy for students and scholars alike. This _Critique_ is the only writing in which Kant weaves his thoughts on practical reason into a unified argument. (...) Lewis White Beck offers a classic examination of this argument and expertly places it in the context of Kant's philosophy and of the moral philosophy of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
This paper explores the question of whether there is an interesting form of specifically epistemic relativism available, a position which can lend support to claims of a broadly relativistic nature but which is not committed to relativism about truth. It is argued that the most plausible rendering of such a view turns out not to be the radical thesis that it is often represented as being.
What does it take to convert the deliverances of an extended cognitive process into knowledge? It is argued that virtue epistemology, at least of an epistemic externalist kind, offers the resources to satisfactorily answer this question, provided that one rids the view of its implicit commitment to epistemic individualism. Nonetheless, it is also claimed that while virtue reliabilism can accommodate extended cognition, there are limits to the extent to which virtuous epistemic standings can be extended. In particular, it is argued (...) that it is in the nature of intellectual virtue to be directed at non-extended epistemic standings. This point has important implications for an extended virtue epistemology, as is illustrated by considering how this point plays out in the context of the contemporary debate regarding the epistemology of education. (shrink)
As I walk into a restaurant to meet up with a friend, I look around and see all sorts of things in my immediate environment—tables, chairs, people, colors, shapes, etc. As a result, I know of these things. But what is the nature of this knowledge? Nowadays, the standard practice among philosophers is to treat all knowledge, aside maybe from “know-how”, as propositional. But in this paper I will argue that this is a mistake. I’ll argue that some knowledge is (...) constituted, not by beliefs toward propositions, but by awareness of properties and objects. Seeing isn’t believing, but it is knowing. After further characterizing this type of knowledge, I will make the case for it. Then I will consider a variety of objections. Finally, I will indicate how our recognition of this knowledge may answer other questions, and solve other problems, in philosophy. (shrink)
Most theists believe that they will survive death. Indeed, they believe that any given person will survive death and persist into an afterlife while remaining the very same person. In light of this belief, one might ask: how—or, in virtue of what—do people survive death? Perhaps the most natural way to answer this question is by appealing to some general account of personal identity through time. That way one can say that people persist through the time of their death in (...) the same way that people persist through time in general. Then the obvious question is: how—or, in virtue of what—do people persist through time in general? Many different answers to this question have been proposed. Some philosophers think that personal identity through time consists in something, such as psychological or biological continuity. They think that there are informative necessary and sufficient conditions—i.e., criteria—for personal identity through time. These philosophers are criterialists. Other philosophers are anti-criterialists. Anti-criterialists believe that people persist through time, but they deny that there are any informative criteria for personal identity through time. In this paper I develop a challenge to anti-criterialism. I begin by spelling out the commitments of anti-criterialism. Then I argue that there are good reasons for anyone to reject anti-criterialism. And then I argue that theists have special reasons to reject anti-criterialism (This is particularly important and noteworthy because a substantial portion of those who defend anti-criterialism are theists. Examples include [but may not be limited to] Trenton Merricks, Richard Swinburne, Joseph Butler, and Thomas Reid). I conclude that there is an informative criterion for personal identity through time and death, even if we haven’t heard of it yet. (shrink)
Support is canvassed for a novel solution to the sceptical problem regarding our knowledge of the external world. Key to this solution is the claim that what initially looks like a single problem is in fact two logically distinct problems. In particular, there are two putative sceptical paradoxes in play here, which each trade on distinctive epistemological theses. It is argued that the ideal solution to radical scepticism would thus be a biscopic proposal—viz., a two-pronged, integrated, undercutting treatment of both (...) putative sceptical paradoxes. A particular biscopic proposal is then explored which brings together two apparently opposing anti-sceptical theses: he Wittgensteinian account of the structure of rational evaluation and epistemological disjunctivism. It is argued that each proposal enables us to gain a purchase on one, but only one, aspect of the two-sided sceptical problem. Furthermore, it is argued that these proposals are not only compatible positions, but also mutually supporting and advanced in the same undercutting spirit. A potential cure is thus offered for epistemic angst. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 51 - 61 _Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of our Believing_. By Duncan Pritchard. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2016. Pp. xv + 239. ISBN 978-0-691-16723-7.
Elgin has offered us a powerful articulation of an epistemology that does not, contra veritism, have a concern for truth at its core. I contend that the case for Elgin’s alternative epistemological picture trades upon a faulty conception of what a veritistic epistemological outlook involves. In particular, I argue that the right conception of veritism—one that is fundamentally informed by the intellectual virtues—has none of the problematic consequences that Elgin claims. Relatedly, I maintain that we can account for the core (...) role of objectual understanding in inquiry without thereby giving up on truth as the fundamental epistemic good. (shrink)
The status of boundaries and borders, questions of global poverty and inequality, criteria for the legitimate uses of force, the value of international law, human rights, nationality, sovereignty, migration, territory, and citizenship: debates over these critical issues are central to contemporary understandings of world politics. Bringing together an interdisciplinary range of contributors, including historians, political theorists, lawyers, and international relations scholars, this is the first volume of its kind to explore the racial and imperial dimensions of normative debates over global (...) justice. (shrink)
The law in England allows that both parents and competent minors concurrently have the right to consent to medical treatment of the minor. This means that while competent minors may consent to treatment their refusal of consent does not act as an effective veto of treatment and treatment remains lawful if given with parental consent. This approach has been heavily criticized as inconsistent with the House of Lords decision in the Gillick case and damned as ‘palpable nonsense’. In this article, (...) I examine these criticisms and conclude that, far from being illogical, it is entirely consistent with the essential asymmetry between consent to treatment and refusal of treatment. I examine the two metaphors of keyholders and flak jackets used to explain this approach and I suggest that both have value but only when used in combination. I also explain why, contrary to the criticism, it is consistent with Gillick. (shrink)
When it comes to personal identity, two approaches have long ruled the roost. The first is the psychological approach, which has it that our persistence through time consists in the continuance of certain of our psychological traits, such as our memories, beliefs, desires, or personality. The second is the biological approach, according to which personal persistence consists in continuity in our physical or biological makeup. Amid the bipartite reign of these approaches, a third contender has emerged: the phenomenal approach. On (...) this approach, personal persistence consists in continuity in phenomenal consciousness or the capacity for phenomenal consciousness. In this paper I will introduce and defend a new argument for the phenomenal approach. In the process, I will argue against the psychological and biological approaches. I will also address some lingering questions and outline further ways to develop the phenomenal approach. (shrink)
Paul MacLean, founder and long-time chief ofthe Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior,National Institutes of Health, is a pioneeringfigure in the emergent field of evolutionaryneuroscience. His influence has been widelyfelt in the development of biologicalpsychiatry and has led to a considerableliterature on evolutionary approaches toclinical issues. MacLean's work is alsoenjoying a resurgence of interest in academicareas of neuroscience and evolutionarypsychology which have previously shown littleinterest or knowledge of his extensive work. This chapter builds on MacLean's work to (...) bringtogether new insights into the neuralarchitecture of human development, hierarchy,conflict behavior, and reciprocity in the formof the Conflict Systems Neurobehavioral Model. Hamilton 's rule of kinship altruism orinclusive fitness is proposed to be the gene'seye complement to MacLean's evolutionaryneuroscience and the CSN Model derivedtherefrom. Hierarchy, conflict behavior andreciprocity are also central issues in healthydevelopment as well as in clinical syndromes ofdepression, mania, and other socialmaladjustments. The emerging insights permitthe integration of the concept of inclusivefitness underpinning evolutionary psychologywith MacLean's perspective on evolutionaryneuroscience as well as the definition of newchallenges for mental health and socialstability. The policy implications areindicated. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to mark the transition from an anti-luck epistemology to an anti-risk epistemology, and to explain in the process how the latter has advantages over the former. We begin with an account of anti-luck epistemology and the modal account of luck that underpins it. Then we consider the close inter-relationships between luck and risk, and in the process set out the modal account of risk that is a natural extension of the modal account of luck. (...) Finally, we apply the modal account of risk to epistemology in order to develop an anti-risk epistemology, and then explore the merits of this proposal. In particular, it is shown that this account can avoid a theoretical lacuna in anti-luck epistemology, and there is a stronger theoretical motivation for anti-risk epistemology compared with anti-luck epistemology, especially when it comes to explaining why environmental epistemic luck is incompatible with knowledge. (shrink)
What is Knowledge? Where does it come from? Can we know anything at all? This lucid and engaging introduction grapples with these central questions in the theory of knowledge, offering a clear, non-partisan view of the main themes of epistemology including recent developments such as virtue epistemology and contextualism. Duncan Pritchard discusses traditional issues and contemporary ideas in thirteen easily digestible sections, including: the value of knowledge the structure of knowledge virtues and faculties perception testimony and memory induction scepticism. (...) _What is this thing called Knowledge?_ contains many helpful student-friendly features including study questions, annotated further reading, a glossary and a guide to web resources. Clear and interesting examples are used throughout. This is an ideal first textbook in the theory of knowledge for undergraduates taking a first course in philosophy. (shrink)
It is argued that a popular way of accounting for the distinctive value of knowledge by appeal to the distinctive value of cognitive achievements fails because it is a mistake to identify knowledge with cognitive achievements. Nevertheless, it is claimed that understanding, properly conceived, is a type of cognitive achievement, and thus that the distinctive value of cognitive achievements can explain why understanding is of special value.
The idea that truth is the fundamental epistemic good is explained and defended. It is argued that this proposal has been prematurely rejected on grounds that are both independently problematic and which also turn on an implausible way of understanding the proposal. A more compelling account of what it means for truth to be the fundamental epistemic good is then developed, one that treats the intellectual virtues, and thereby virtuous inquiry, as the primary theoretical notion.