In the remainder of this article, we will disarm an important motivation for epistemic contextualism and interest-relative invariantism. We will accomplish this by presenting a stringent test of whether there is a stakes effect on ordinary knowledge ascription. Having shown that, even on a stringent way of testing, stakes fail to impact ordinary knowledge ascription, we will conclude that we should take another look at classical invariantism. Here is how we will proceed. Section 1 lays out some limitations of previous (...) research on stakes. Section 2 presents our study and concludes that there is little evidence for a substantial stakes effect. Section 3 responds to objections. The conclusion clears the way for classical invariantism. (shrink)
Does the Ship of Theseus present a genuine puzzle about persistence due to conflicting intuitions based on “continuity of form” and “continuity of matter” pulling in opposite directions? Philosophers are divided. Some claim that it presents a genuine puzzle but disagree over whether there is a solution. Others claim that there is no puzzle at all since the case has an obvious solution. To assess these proposals, we conducted a cross-cultural study involving nearly 3,000 people across twenty-two countries, speaking eighteen (...) different languages. Our results speak against the proposal that there is no puzzle at all and against the proposal that there is a puzzle but one that has no solution. Our results suggest that there are two criteria—“continuity of form” and “continuity of matter”— that constitute our concept of persistence and these two criteria receive different weightings in settling matters concerning persistence. (shrink)
This article examines whether people share the Gettier intuition in 24 sites, located in 23 countries and across 17 languages. We also consider the possible influence of gender and personality on this intuition with a very large sample size. Finally, we examine whether the Gettier intuition varies across people as a function of their disposition to engage in “reflective” thinking.
Since at least Hume and Kant, philosophers working on the nature of aesthetic judgment have generally agreed that common sense does not treat aesthetic judgments in the same way as typical expressions of subjective preferences—rather, it endows them with intersubjective validity, the property of being right or wrong regardless of disagreement. Moreover, this apparent intersubjective validity has been taken to constitute one of the main explananda for philosophical accounts of aesthetic judgment. But is it really the case that most people (...) spontaneously treat aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity? In this paper, we report the results of a cross‐cultural study with over 2,000 respondents spanning 19 countries. Despite significant geographical variations, these results suggest that most people do not treat their own aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for theories of aesthetic judgment and the purpose of aesthetics in general. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend epistemological contrastivism—the view that propositional knowledge is a three-place, contrastive relation between an agent, a proposition and a contrast term—against two a priori arguments recently offered by Mikkel Gerken for the conclusion that intuitive judgements exhibiting a contrast effect on knowledge ascriptions are false positives. I show that the epistemic argument for false positives begs the question against contrastivism by assuming the independently implausible claim that knowledge of a contrastive proposition always presupposes knowledge of a (...) related ordinary proposition. This claim is apparently also presupposed by the doxastic argument for false positives, the conclusion of which, I argue, is not only perfectly compatible with epistemological contrastivism but also heavily dependent on a de dicto construal of the relevant knowledge ascriptions. (shrink)
The importance of the comparative notion of versimilitude, or truthlikeness, for a realist conception of knowledge follows from two modest ‘realist’ assumptions, namely, that the aim of an enquiry, as an enquiry, is the truth of some matter; and that one false theory may realize this aim better than another. However, there seem to be two ways in which one (false) theory can realize this aim better than another. One (false) theory can be closer to the truth than another either (...) by being preponderantly more accurate in its predictions or by providing more comprehensive information about the system (or class of systems) at issue. This paper presents a model-theoretic approach to the analysis of the comprehensiveness-related component of the comparative notion of versimilitude. The machinery of the ‘semantic’ view of theories is applied to the problem of providing necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of sentences of the form, ‘B is truth-increasing with respect to A’, where A and B are taken to be sets of structures. (shrink)
There is a widespread opinion that the realist idea that whether a proposition is true or false typically depends on how things are independently of ourselves is bound to turn truth, in Davidson's words, into something to which humans can never legitimately aspire. This opinion accounts for the ongoing popularity of epistemic theories of truth, that is, of those theories that explain what it is for a proposition (or statement, or sentence, or what have you) to be true or false (...) in terms of some epistemic notion, such as provability, justifiability, verifiability, rational acceptability, warranted assertibility, and so forth, in some suitably characterized epistemic situation. My aim in this paper is to show that the widespread opinion is erroneous and that the (legitimate) epistemological preoccupation with the accessibility of truth does not warrant the rejection of the realist intuition that truth is, at least for certain types of propositions, radically nonepistemic. (shrink)
Crispin Wright’s “Unified Strategy” for addressing some familiar sceptical paradoxes exploits a subtle distinction between two different ways in which we can be related to a proposition: (full-blown) belief and (mere) acceptance. The importance of the distinction for his strategy stems from his conviction that we cannot acquire any kind of evidence, either empirical or a priori, for the “cornerstones” of our cognitive projects, i.e., for those basic presuppositions of our inquiries that we must be warranted to endorse if we (...) are to claim warrant for any of the beliefs formed as a result of such inquiries: regarding the idea of a non-evidential warrant to believe a proposition as a kind of “conceptual solecism”, he doesn’t set himself the task of showing that we are evidentially warranted to believe such presuppositions, but only that of showing that we are non-evidentially warranted to accept them. In the present paper, I argue that such choice involves a fatal departure from a basic principle governing doxastic commitment—a principle that requires that we regard cornerstones propositions as propositions we are rationally committed to believe, not just entitled to accept. I press the point by presenting the Acceptance Argument, a sceptical paradox whose consideration leads to the conclusion that the Unified Strategy is caught between the Scylla of incoherently invoking a rather dubious form of epistemic alchemy and the Charybdis of placing an unexpected and apparently ad hoc restriction on the doxastic commitments we undertake by believing the things we believe. My final suggestion is that the Unified Strategy might be spared this dilemma only by undergoing a rather radical revision—a revision that would require setting aside the distinction between belief and acceptance to re-conceptualise its goal unabashedly in terms of (non-evidentially) warranted belief. (shrink)
Disagreement plays an important role in several philosophical debates, with intuitions about ordinary or exotic cases of agreement and disagreement being invoked to support or undermine competing semantic, epistemological and metaphysical views. In this paper we discuss cases of interworld doxastic disagreement, that is to say, cases of doxastic disagreement supposedly obtaining between individuals inhabiting different possible worlds, in particular between an individual inhabiting the actual world and his/her counterpart in another possible world. We draw a distinction between propositional and (...) attitudinal disagreement, bring it to bear on the issue of the conditions of this kind of disagreement, and raise some metaphysical and epistemological worries about the claim that an individual inhabiting the actual world can disagree with an attitude or a speech act of his/her own counterpart, or of another individual, in a different possible world. (shrink)
Apparently, aiming to comply with the norm ‘Believe that P if and only if the proposition that P is true’ can hardly differ from aiming to comply with the norm ‘Believe that P if and only if the proposition that P is epistemically justified’. So one may be tempted to agree with Richard Rorty that the distinction between truth and justification is pragmatically useless because it cannot make any difference ‘when the question is about what I should believe now’. I (...) resist this conclusion by arguing that the distinction between truth and justification is pragmatically useful even if the two properties are indeed normatively coincident. The argument I offer turns on the claim that truth plays an explanatory role that justification is inherently incapable of playing. However, my contention is not just that the distinction between truth and justification is pragmatically useful because truth is a bona fide explanatory notion. It is that the distinction between truth and justification is pragmatically useful because the realization that the former plays an explanatory role that the latter is inherently incapable of playing gives access to reasons which would otherwise escape our attention. If truth is a bona fide explanatory notion, the distinction between truth and justification is pragmatically useful because it is precisely when the question is about what I should believe now that attending to such a distinction will often make a difference – and it will make a difference even if the two properties are in fact normatively coincident. (shrink)
This Introduction to the special issue on “Skepticism and Justification” provides a background to the nine articles collected here and a detailed summary of each, which highlights their interconnections and relevance to the debate at the heart of the issue.
_ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 258 - 271 This contribution to the symposium on Annalisa Coliva’s _Extended Rationality_ is largely sympathetic with the moderate view of the structure of epistemic warrant which is defended in the book. However, it takes issue with some aspects of Coliva’s Wittgenstein-inspired ‘hinge epistemology’, focussing especially on her conception of propositional warrant, her treatment of epistemic closure, her antirealist conception of truth, and the significance of her answer to so-called Humean scepticism.
One often hears the claim that fact-based versions of the correspondence theory of truth face a disruptive dilemma: ‘if all true propositions correspond to the same fact, the notion is useless, and if every [true] proposition corresponds to a distinct fact, then the notion becomes idle’ (Engel 2002, 21). The assumption underlying this claim is that all conceptions of facts can be assigned to either of two categories. The first includes those conceptions according to which facts are so coarse-grained that (...) they collapse into the One Great Fact that is the World itself. The second includes those conceptions that, by failing to individuate facts independently of the entities they are supposed to make true, end by regarding them as so fine-grained that they become identical to (the ‘tautological accusatives’ of) true propositions. The contention that these two alternatives exhaust the options available to the correspondence theorist is not, however, beyond suspicion. In this paper I side with those who are convinced that correspondence theorists can steer clear both of the Scyilla of the One Great Fact and of the Charybdis of the Identity Theory. The third way I shall endeavour to sketch is developed by bringing Stephen Schiffer’s theory of pleonastic entities to bear on the issue of the nature of facts. I shall suggest that by regarding facts as pleonastic entities whose principles of individuation are wholly determined by the hypostatizing practices that are constitutive of the possession of the corresponding concepts, one may hope to frame a (neo-Moorean) version of the correspondence theory that avoids the dilemma. Moreover, I shall argue that the ‘pleonastic’ version of the correspondence theory is in fact but a slightly inflated variant of the ‘conjunctive’ theory of truth defended by John Mackie, William Kneale and Wolfgang Künne – a variant whose main attractive lies in the fact that it is not afflicted by the problems of interpretation raised by the quantificational structure of its ontologically more parsimonious siblings. (shrink)
The view that propositional knowledge is knowledge of facts is prima facie rather appealing, especially for realistically minded philosophers, but it is difficult to square with the referential opacity of knowledge attributions of the form ‘S knows that p’. For how could Lois Lane know that Superman can fly and ignore that Clark Kent can fly if knowledge is a two-place relation between an agent and a fact and the fact that Superman can fly just is the fact that Clark (...) Kent can fly? Giorgio Volpe reviews some attempts to tackle the problem and then proposes a new solution which exploits the contrastivist claim that knowledge is a three-place relation between an agent, a fact and a contrast. (shrink)