It is a traditional empiricist doctrine that natural laws are universal truths. In order to overcome the obvious difficulties with this equation most empiricists qualify it by proposing to equate laws with universal truths that play a certain role, or have a certain function, within the larger scientific enterprise. This view is examined in detail and rejected; it fails to account for a variety of features that laws are acknowledged to have. An alternative view is advanced in which laws are (...) expressed by singular statements of fact describing the relationship between universal properties and magnitudes. (shrink)
We ordinarily speak of being able to see that there are people on the bus, Students in the class, And children playing in the street. If human beings are understood to be conscious entities, Then one of our ways of knowing that there are other conscious entities in the world besides ourselves is by seeing that there are. We also speak of seeing that he is angry, She is depressed, And so on. It is argued that this is, Indeed, One (...) way of knowing that there are other minds (and, Hence, That the problem of other minds is not a special epistemological problem). What helps to obscure this fact is the confusion between visibility and knowability--The confusion between seeing his pain and seeing that he is in pain. (shrink)
By examining the general conditions in which a structure could come to represent another state of affairs, it is argued that beliefs, a special class of representations, have their contents limited by the sort of information the system in which they occur can pick up and process. If a system — measuring instrument, animal or human being — cannot process information to the effect that something is Q, it cannot represent something as Q. From this it follows (for simple, ostensively (...) acquired concepts at least) that if an organism has the concept Q, if it can believe that things are Q, then it is the kind of organism that has the information-processing capabilities for knowing that something is Q. (shrink)
In this anthology, distinguished editors Sven Bernecker and Fred Dretske offer the most comprehensive review available of contemporary epistemology. They bring together the most important and influential writings in the field, including selections that cover frequently neglected topics such as dominant responses to skepticism, introspection, memory, and testimony. Knowledge is divided into fifteen subject areas and includes forty-one readings by eminent contributors. An accessible introduction to each subject area outlines the problems discussed in the essays that follow so that students (...) can focus on analyzing them. (shrink)
A certain dilemma is inherent in relational accounts of space and time. If any objects endure through change, then temporal elements other than relations are required to describe them. If, on the other hand, no objects endure through change, no permanent reference system is available in terms of which to define the "same place" at different times. An argument which, by exploiting this latter difficulty, attempts to show that "objects with some endurance through time" must be accepted as fundamental is (...) examined and found inconclusive. A sketch is then given of an alternative scheme which does allow the relevant spatial comparisons, but which does not countenance the reidentification of particulars. The discussion is intended to show that the relationist can, as indeed he must, deny the second horn of this delemma. (shrink)
Though one believes that P is true, one can have reasons for thinking it false. Yet, it seems that one cannot know that P is true and (still) have reasons for thinking it false. Why is this so? What feature of knowledge (or of reasons) precludes having reasons or evidence to believe (true) what you know to be false? If the connection between reasons (evidence) and what one believes is expressible as a probability relation, it would seem that the only (...) satisfactory explanation of this fact is that when one knows that P is true, the reasons or evidence one has in support of P are such as to confer upon P the probability of 1. It is shown by an application of Bayes' Theorem that any value smaller than 1 would permit having reasons to believe what one knows to be false. Hence, it would seem that knowledge requires conclusive reasons to believe (if reasons or evidence is required at all). (shrink)
Two general approaches to the analysis of knowledge are distinguished: a liberal view that takes the truth of what is known as a condition independent of the justificatory condition, and a conservative view that regards the truth of what is known as implied by the level of justification required for knowledge. Chisholm is classified as a liberal on perceptual knowledge, and his analysis is criticized from a conservative standpoint.