Late British Empiricism was a research project built around a two-part psychological theory: that thoughts represent their objects by qualitatively resembling them and that thought proceeds by traversing associative links between ideas. The work of Hume, and then of Mill, were the project's highwater marks ; twentieth-century philosophers no longer find the psychology convincing. The problem, as far as the philosophers were concerned, was not so much that the account seemed false upon introspection, nor that the discipline of psychology had (...) itself moved on, but that the psychological theory did not make good on its explanatory obligations: most importantly, a thought's being a mental picture is not a satisfactory account of why it has the content it does. But this reason for rejecting Empiricist psychology, that it could not do its assigned philosophical job, leaves open the possibility of minds for which it is nonetheless a satisfactory description. (shrink)
Elijah Chudnoff elaborates and defends a view of intuition according to which intuition purports to, and reveals, how matters stand in abstract reality by making us aware of that reality through the intellect. He explores the experience of having an intuition; justification for beliefs that derives from intuition; and contact with abstract reality.
Phenomenology is about subjective aspects of the mind, such as the conscious states associated with vision and touch, and the conscious states associated with emotions and moods, such as feelings of elation or sadness. These states have a distinctive first-person ‘feel’ to them, called their phenomenal character. In this respect they are often taken to be radically different from mental states and processes associated with thought. This is the first book to fully question this orthodoxy and explore the prospects of (...) cognitive phenomenology, applying phenomenology to the study of thought and cognition. Does cognition have its own phenomenal character? Can introspection tell us either way? If consciousness flows in an unbroken ‘stream’ as William James argued, how might a punctuated sequence of thoughts fit into it? Elijah Chudnoff begins with a clarification of the nature of the debate about cognitive phenomenology and the network of concepts and theses that are involved in it. He then examines the following topics: • Introspection and knowledge of our own thoughts • Phenomenal contrast arguments • The value of consciousness • The temporal structure of experience • The holistic character of experience and the interdependence of sensory and cognitive states • The relationship between phenomenal character and mental representation -/- Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary, this book is essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and informative introduction to and assessment of cognitive phenomenology, whether philosophy student or advanced researcher. It will also be valuable reading for those in related subjects such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and epistemology. (shrink)
In this paper I articulate and defend a view that I call phenomenal dogmatism about intuitive justification. It is dogmatic because it includes the thesis: if it intuitively seems to you that p, then you thereby have some prima facie justification for believing that p. It is phenomenalist because it includes the thesis: intuitions justify us in believing their contents in virtue of their phenomenology—and in particular their presentational phenomenology. I explore the nature of presentational phenomenology as it occurs perception, (...) and I make a case for thinking that it is present in a wide variety of logical, mathematical, and philosophical intuitions. (shrink)
What are intuitions? According to doxastic views, they are doxastic attitudes or dispositions, such as judgments or inclinations to make judgments. According to perceptualist views, they are—like perceptual experiences—pre-doxastic experiences that—unlike perceptual experiences—represent abstract matters as being a certain way. In this paper I argue against doxasticism and in favor of perceptualism. I describe two features that militate against doxasticist views of perception itself: perception is belief-independent and perception is presentational. Then I argue that intuitions also have both features. The (...) upshot is that intuitions are importantly similar to perceptual experiences, and so should not be identified with doxastic attitudes or dispositions. I consider a popular argument from the introspective absence of sui generis intuition experiences in favor of doxasticism. I develop a conception of intuition experiences that helps to defuse this argument. (shrink)
Experiences justify beliefs about our environment. Sometimes the justification is immediate: seeing a red light immediately justifies believing there is a red light. Other times the justification is mediate: seeing a red light justifies believing one should brake in a way that is mediated by background knowledge of traffic signals. How does this distinction map onto the distinction between what is and what isn't part of the content of experience? Epistemic egalitarians think that experiences immediately justify whatever is part of (...) their content. Epistemic elitists deny this and think that there is some further constraint the contents of experience must satisfy to be immediately justified. Here I defend epistemic elitism, propose a phenomenological account of what the further constraint is, and explore the resulting view's consequences for our knowledge of other minds, and in particular for perceptual theories of this knowledge. (shrink)
Human beings have always been specialists, but over the past two centuries division of labor has become deeper, ubiquitous, and much more fluid. The form it now takes brings in its wake a series of problems that are simultaneously philosophical and practical, having to do with coordinating the activities of experts in different disciplines who do not understand one another. Because these problems are unrecognized, and because we do not have solutions for them, we are on the verge of an (...) age in which decisions that depend on understanding more than one discipline at a time will be made badly. Since so many decisions do require multidisciplinary knowledge, these philosophical problems are urgent.Some of the puzzles that have traditionally been on philosophers' agendas have to do with intellectual devices developed to handle less extreme forms of specialization. Two of these, necessity and the practical `ought', are given extended treatment in Elijah Millgram's The Great Endarkenment. In this collection of essays, both previously published and new, Millgram pays special attention to ways a focus on cognitive function reframes familiar debates in metaethics and metaphysics. Consequences of hyperspecialization for the theory of practical rationality, for our conception of agency, and for ethics are laid out and discussed. An Afterword considers whether and how philosophers can contribute to solving the very pressing problems created by contemporary division of labor."These always interesting, often brilliant, and contentious essays focus on the question of how we need to reason practically, if we are to flourish, given Millgram's account of our human nature and of the environments that we inhabit. The originality of his thought is matched by his clarity and his wit."--Alasdair MacIntyre, University of Notre Dame. (shrink)
First impressions suggest the following contrast between perception and memory: perception generates new beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs; memory preserves old beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs. In this paper, I argue that reflection on perceptual learning gives us reason to adopt an alternative picture on which perception plays both generative and preservative epistemic roles.
A constant question that arises when study in H. Odera Oruka's sage philosophy project is, who is a sage? What attributes are necessary? While Oruka tried to provide criteria for categorization of folk and philosophical sages, some critics note that the criteria is not clear, or not clearly applied. This paper focuses on Elijah Masinde, a Kenyan prophet who agitated against British colonialism in Kenya. The question of whether or not Masinde was a sage was debated by H. Odera (...) Oruka and Chaungo Barasa in Oruka's book on sage philosophy. I will suggest that Masinde more closely mirrors the philosophical ideologue as in the Socrates of Plato's Republic who criticizes the present regime by constructing a radically different ideal society. Also, Masinde is an orator and a "gadfly" of sorts, as Socrates is portrayed in the Apology. Masinde is not, however, the empty-handed questioner who claims to have no position. Masinde most often speaks as a prophet who has received a revelation. So, his philosophy must be inferred from these public statements. (shrink)
Mr. Wallace sees in the biblical tradition of Elijah and Elisha material of great relevance to men of today, and particularly when it is correlated with certain New Testament traditions. The argument presupposes a Christian reader.--A. S.
A blindfolded clairvoyant walks into a room and immediately knows how it is arranged. You walk in and immediately see how it is arranged. Though both of you represent the room as being arranged in the same way, you have different experiences. Your experience doesn’t just represent that the room is arranged a certain way; it also visually presents the very items in the room that make that representation true. Call the felt aspect of your experience made salient by this (...) contrast its presentational phenomenology. Many philosophers have observed that perceptual experiences have presentational phenomenology. In this paper I explore its nature, scope, and significance. I argue that in addition to perceptual experiences, presentational phenomenology can be found in intuitive, introspective, imaginative, and recollective experiences. I also argue that presentational phenomenology is epistemologically significant: it plays a central role in explaining why the experiences that have it justify beliefs and give us knowledge. (shrink)
The Brave New World–style utilitarian dystopia is a familiar feature of the cultural landscape; Kantian dystopias are harder to come by, perhaps because, until Rawls, Kantian morality presented itself as a primarily personal rather than political program. This asymmetry is peculiar for formal reasons, because one phase of the deliberative process on which Kant insists is to ask what the world at large would be like if everyone did whatever it is one is thinking of doing. I do not propose (...) to write a Kantian Brave New World myself, but I am going to ask, of what these days is called “the CI-procedure,” what would happen if everybody followed it. I will argue that if the CI-procedure works as advertised, it exposes a practical incoherence in the commitment to having it govern one’s actions: in the Kantian vocabulary that goes with the territory, that the Categorical Imperative gives rise to a contradiction in the will. (shrink)
This essay explores the validity of Gregory Boyd’s open theistic account of the nature of the future. In particular, it is an investigation into whether Boyd’s logical square of opposition for future contingents provides a model of reality for free will theists that can preserve both bivalence and a classical conception of omniscience. In what follows, I argue that it can.
Moral distress is now being recognized as a frequent experience for many health care providers, and there's good evidence that it has a negative impact on the health care work environment. However, contemporary discussions of moral distress have several problems. First, they tend to rely on inadequate characterizations of moral distress. As a result, subsequent investigations regarding the frequency and consequences of moral distress often proceed without a clear understanding of the phenomenon being discussed, and thereby risk substantially misrepresenting the (...) nature, frequency, and possible consequences of moral distress. These discussions also minimize the intrinsically harmful aspects of moral distress. This is a serious omission. Moral distress doesn't just have a negative impact on the health care work environment; it also directly harms the one who experiences it. In this paper, I claim that these problems can be addressed by first clarifying our understanding of moral distress, and then identifying what makes moral distress intrinsically harmful. I begin by identifying three common mistakes that characterizations of moral distress tend to make, and explaining why these mistakes are problematic. Next, I offer an account of moral distress that avoids these mistakes. Then, I defend the claim that moral distress is intrinsically harmful to the subject who experiences it. I conclude by explaining how acknowledging this aspect of moral distress should reshape our discussions about how best to deal with this phenomenon. (shrink)
NOTE: this is a substantial revision of a previously uploaded draft. Intuitions are often thought of as inputs to theoretical reasoning. For example, you might form a belief by taking an intuition at face value, or you might take your intuitions as starting points in the method of reflective equilibrium. The aim of this paper is to argue that in addition to these roles intuitions also play action-guiding roles. The argument proceeds by reflection on the transmission of justification through inference. (...) According to inferential internalists, in order to gain justification for believing the conclusion of an argument by inferring it from the premises in that argument one must “see” that the premises support the conclusion. I motivate this view and endorse the idea that one’s “seeing” such a support relation consists of one’s having an intuition. In a number of recent papers, Paul Boghossian has pressed a regress argument against inferential internalism inspired by Lewis Carroll’s dialogue “What the Tortoise Said to Achilles.” I develop a response to Bogossian’s argument according to which intuitions work like mental imperatives and inferences are mental actions performed by obeying them. After developing this response to Boghossian’s argument, I take up the question of what it is in virtue of which intuitions play a guidance role, when they do so. (shrink)
Perception and intuition are our basic sources of knowledge. They are also capacities we deliberately improve in ways that draw on our knowledge. Elijah Chudnoff explores how this happens, developing an account of the epistemology of expert perception and expert intuition, and a rationalist view of the role of intuition in philosophy.
Dogmatists and phenomenal conservatives think that if it perceptually seems to you that p, then you thereby have some prima facie justification for believing that p. Increasingly, writers about these views have argued that perceptual seemings are composed of two other states: a sensation followed by a seeming. In this article we critically examine this movement. First we argue that there are no compelling reasons to think of perceptual seemings as so composed. Second we argue that even if they were (...) so composed, this underlying disunity in metaphysical or psychological structure would fall below the threshold of epistemic significance. (shrink)
Mr. Wallace sees in the biblical tradition of Elijah and Elisha material of great relevance to men of today, and particularly when it is correlated with certain New Testament traditions. The argument presupposes a Christian reader.--A. S.
According to proponents of irreducible cognitive phenomenology some cognitive states put one in phenomenal states for which no wholly sensory states suffice. One of the main approaches to defending the view that there is irreducible cognitive phenomenology is to give a phenomenal contrast argument. In this paper I distinguish three kinds of phenomenal contrast argument: what I call pure—represented by Strawson's Jack/Jacques argument—hypothetical—represented by Kriegel's Zoe argument—and glossed—first developed here. I argue that pure and hypothetical phenomenal contrast arguments face significant (...) difficulties, but that there is a sound glossed phenomenal contrast argument for irreducible cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
__Hard Truths__ is a groundbreaking new work in which noted philosopher Elijah Millgram advances a new approach to truth and its role in our day-to-day reasoning. Takes up the hard truths of real reasoning and draws out their implications for logic and metaphysics Introduces and takes issue with prevailing views of the purpose of truth and the way we reason, including deflationism about truth, possible worlds treatments of modality, and antipsychologism in philosophy of logic Develops philosophically ambitious ideas in (...) a style accessible to non-specialists Will make us rethink the place of metaphysics in our daily lives. (shrink)
Awareness is a two-place determinable relation some determinates of which are seeing, hearing, etc. Abstract objects are items such as universals and functions, which contrast with concrete objects such as solids and liquids. It is uncontroversial that we are sometimes aware of concrete objects. In this paper I explore the more controversial topic of awareness of abstract objects. I distinguish two questions. First, the Existence Question: are there any experiences that make their subjects aware of abstract objects? Second, the Grounding (...) Question: if an experience makes its subject aware of an abstract object, in virtue of what does it do so? I defend the view that intuitions, specifically mathematical intuitions, sometimes make their subjects aware of abstract objects. In defending this view, I develop an account of the ground of intuitive awareness. (shrink)
Here are four examples of “seeing.” You see that something green is wriggling. You see that an iguana is in distress. You see that someone is wrongfully harming an iguana. You see that torturing animals is wrong. The first is an example of low-level perception. You visually represent color and motion. The second is an example of high-level perception. You visually represent kind properties and mental properties. The third is an example of moral perception. You have an impression of moral (...) properties. The fourth is an example of intuition. You intellectually grasp a general moral truth. Should moral perceptions be thought of as high-level perceptions or as intuitions? Most proponents of moral perception have thought of them as high-level perceptions. I give epistemological and methodological reasons for thinking that at least some are examples of what I call low-level intuitions—experiences in which we both apprehend abstract generalities and apply them to concrete particulars. (shrink)
Michael Tooley’s latest argument against the possibility of divine foreknowledge trades on the idea that, whichever theory of time is true, the ontology of the future—or lack thereof—gives rise to special problems for God’s prescience. I argue that Tooley’s reasoning is predicated on two mischaracterizations and conclude that, on at least some theories of time, the possibility of divine foreknowledge appears secure.
The Gettier Problem is the problem of revising the view that knowledge is justified true belief in a way that is immune to Gettier counter-examples. The “Gettier Problem problem”, according to Lycan, is the problem of saying what is misguided about trying to solve the Gettier Problem. In this paper I take up the Gettier Problem problem. I distinguish giving conditions that are necessary and sufficient for knowledge from giving conditions that explain why one knows when one does know. I (...) argue that the problem with the Gettier Problem is that it requires us to articulate conditions that suffice for knowledge even if those conditions are non-explanatory. After defending this view, I take up two related methodological issues, one about the evidence that can be given in favor of an account of knowledge, and one about the role that investigating justification might play in investigating knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper I assume that we have some intuitive knowledge—i.e. beliefs that amount to knowledge because they are based on intuitions. The question I take up is this: given that some intuition makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what does it do so? We can ask a similar question about perception. That is: given that some perception makes a belief based on it amount to knowledge, in virtue of what does it do so? (...) A natural idea about perception is that a perception makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you sensorily aware of the concrete objects it is about. The analogous idea about intuition is that an intuition makes a belief amount to knowledge in part by making you intellectually aware of the abstract objects it is about. I expand both ideas into fuller accounts of perceptual and intuitive knowledge, explain the main challenge to this sort of account of intuitive knowledge (i.e. the challenge of making sense of intellectual awareness), and develop a response to it. (shrink)
Alexander Pruss has recently argued on probabilistic grounds that Christian philosophers should reject Open Futurism—roughly, the thesis that there are no true future contingents—on account of this view’s alleged inability to handle certain statements about infinite futures in a mathematically or religiously adequate manner. We argue that, once the distinction between being true and becoming true is applied to such statements, it is evident that they pose no problem for Open Futurists.
Expertise is traditionally classified into perceptual, cognitive, and motor forms. I argue that the empirical research literature on expertise gives us compelling reasons to reject this traditional classification and accept an alternative. According to the alternative I support there is expertise in forming impressions, which further divides into expertise in forming sensory and intellectual impressions, and there is expertise in performing actions, which further divides into expertise in performing mental and bodily actions. The traditional category of cognitive expertise splits into (...) two--expertise in forming intellectual impressions and expertise in performing mental actions. I consider and address a challenge to my case in favor of adopting this alternative classification of expertise that derives from dual process theories of cognition. (shrink)
Aron Gurwitsch made two main contributions to phenomenology. He showed how to import Gestalt theoretical ideas into Husserl’s framework of constitutive phenomenology. And he explored the light this move sheds on both the overall structure of experience and on particular kinds of experience, especially perceptual experiences and conscious shifts in attention. The primary focus of this paper is the overall structure of experience. I show how Gurwitsch’s Gestalt theoretically informed phenomenological investigations provide a basis for defending what I will call (...) Phenomenal Holism, the view that all the parts of a total phenomenal state metaphysically depend on it. To illustrate how the ideas developed along the way can be used in advancing work on the phenomenology of particular kinds of experience, I draw on them in defending Husserl’s view that we can be aware of abstract objects against a phenomenological objection. (shrink)
Auguste Comte's doctrine of the three phases through which sciences pass (the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive) allows us to explain what John Stuart Mill was attempting in his magnum opus, the System of Logic: namely, to move the science of logic to its terminal and 'positive' stage. Both Mill's startling account of deduction and his unremarked solution to the Humean problem of induction eliminate the notions of necessity or force—in this case, the 'logical must'—characteristic of a science's metaphysical (...) stage. Mill's treatment had a further surprising payoff: his solution to the Problem of Necessity (what today we call the problem of determinism and freedom of the will). (shrink)
Phenomenal holism is the thesis that some phenomenal characters can only be instantiated by experiences that are parts of certain wholes. The first aim of this paper is to defend phenomenal holism. I argue, moreover, that there are complex intellectual experiences (intellectual gestalts)—such as experiences of grasping a proof—whose parts instantiate holistic phenomenal characters. Proponents of cognitive phenomenology believe that some phenomenal characters can only be instantiated by experiences that are not purely sensory. The second aim of this paper is (...) to defend cognitive phenomenology. I argue that reflection on intellectual gestalts provides a basis for developing a case for cognitive phenomenology that is immune to many of the worries that beset more familiar arguments for cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
According to the most popular non-skeptical views about intuition, intuitions justify beliefs because they are based on understanding. More precisely: if intuiting that p justifies you in believing that p it does so because your intuition is based on your understanding of the proposition that p. The aim of this paper is to raise some challenges for accounts of intuitive justification along these lines. I pursue this project from a non-skeptical perspective. I argue that there are cases in which intuiting (...) that p justifies you in believing that p, but such that there is no compelling reason to think this is because your intuition is based on your understanding of the proposition that p. (shrink)
In a pair of recent essays, William Lane Craig has argued that certain open theist understandings of the nature of the future are both semantically and modally confused. I argue that this is not the case and show that, if consistently observed, the customary semantics for counterfactuals Craig relies on not only undermine the validity of his complaint against the open theist, they actually support an argument for the openness position.
I am going to argue that linking Hume’s name with instrumentalism is as inappropriate as linking Aristotle’s: that, as a matter of textual point, the Hume of the Treatise is not an instrumentalist at all, and that the view of practical reasoning that he does have is incompatible with, and far more minimal than, instrumentalism. Then I will consider Hume’s reasons for his view, and argue that they make sense when they are seen against the background of his semantic theory. (...) And finally, I will try to say why it is that Hume has nonetheless been read as he has. (shrink)
We argue that the evolutionary function of reasoning is to allow us to secure more accurate beliefs and more effective intentions through collective deliberation. This sets our view apart both from traditional intellectualist accounts, which take the evolutionary function to be individual deliberation, and from interactionist accounts such as the one proposed by Mercier and Sperber, which agrees that the function of reasoning is collective but holds that it aims to disseminate, rather than come up with, accurate beliefs. We argue (...) that our collectivized intellectualism offers the best explanation of the range of biases that human reasoning is prone to, and that it does better than interactionism at offering a function of reasoning that would have been adaptive for our distant ancestors who first evolved this capacity. (shrink)
Ethics Done Right examines how practical reasoning can be put into the service of ethical and moral theory. Elijah Millgram shows that the key to thinking about ethics is to understand generally how to make decisions. The papers in this volume support a methodological approach and trace the connections between two kinds of theory in utilitarianism, in Kantian ethics, in virtue ethics, in Hume's moral philosophy, and in moral particularism. Unlike other studies of ethics, Ethics Done Right does not (...) advocate a particular moral theory. Rather, it offers a tool that enables one to decide for oneself. (shrink)
Positive and negative feelings were central to the development of economics, especially in utility theory in classical economics. While neoclassical utility theory ignored feelings, behavioral economics more recently reintroduced feelings in utility theory. Beyond feelings, economic theorists use full-fledged specific emotions to explain behavior that otherwise could not be understood or they study emotions out of interest for the emotion itself. While some analyses display a strong overlap between psychological thinking and economic modelling, in most cases there is still a (...) large gap between economic and psychological approaches to emotion research. Ways how to reduce this gap are discussed. (shrink)
There is a felt difference between following an argument to its conclusion and keeping up with an argument in your judgments while failing to see how its conclusion follows from its premises. In the first case there’s what I’m calling an inferential seeming, in the second case there isn’t. Inferential seemings exhibit a cluster of functional and normative characteristics whose integration in one mental state is puzzling. Several recent accounts of inferring suggest inferential seemings play a significant role in the (...) process, but none provides a fully satisfactory understanding of inferential seemings themselves. In this paper I critically examine theoretical options on offer in the existing literature, then develop an alternative view. I discuss implications for recent debates about general principles governing inference, such as Fumerton’s Principle of Inferential Justification and Boghossian’s Taking Condition. (shrink)
Epistemologists have recently debated how we should respond to apparent cases of rational disagreement. Is it possible for two people to disagree and have both people still be rational? Those involved in this debate make use of the idea of epistemic peers. Two people are epistemic peers if they share the same knowledge of a given topic and have similar epistemic virtues. My paper argues that we have different kinds of epistemic peers; close peers who think similarly to ourselves, and (...) remote peers who think very differently. I argue that remote peers are genuine peers, but that we should respond to disagreement from remote peers differently than disagreement from close peers. (shrink)
It may seem that when you have an emotional response to a perceived object or event that makes it seem to you that the perceived source of the emotion possesses some evaluative property, then you thereby have prima facie, immediate justification for believing that the object or event possesses the evaluative property. Call this view ‘dogmatism about emotional justification’. We defend a view of the structure of emotional awareness according to which the objects of emotional awareness are derived from other (...) experiences such as bodily sensation, inner awareness, sensory perception, memory, and imagination. On this basis, we argue that dogmatism about emotional justification is an untenable position, regardless of whether the special feature of an immediate justifier that makes it an immediate justifier is its presentational phenomenology or its evidence insensitivity. (shrink)
What I have tried to do is elicit and disarm the motivations most likely to give rise to the [counterexamples to the principle crucial to Williams' argument]. Only one of these motivations is still viable: the instrumentalist theory of practical reasoning. But because internalism and instrumentalism are, as it has turned out, so very tightly linked, in disarming the motivations for the objection, I have also inventoried, and given reason to reject, what I have found to be the most common (...) conversationally adduced defences of instrumentalism: the appeals to imagination, to dispositional desires, and so on. The issue remaining from the debate over internalism turns out to be whether [instrumentalism is false---i.e. whether] there are patterns of practical inference that are not directed toward the satisfaction of desire. (shrink)