Hilary Kornblith argues for a naturalistic approach to investigating knowledge. Knowledge, he explains, is a feature of the natural world, and so should be investigated using scientific methods. He offers an account of knowledge derived from the science of animal behavior, and defends this against its philosophical rivals. This controversial and refreshingly original book offers philosophers a new way to do epistemology.
Hilary Kornblith presents a new account of mental reflection, and its importance for knowledge, reasoning, freedom, and normativity. He argues that reflection cannot solve the philosophical problems it has traditionally been thought to, and offers a more realistic, demystified view of its nature which draws on dual process approaches to cognition.
We often find that beliefs we hold are in conflict with the beliefs of epistemic peers, individuals who are just as intelligent, just as well-informed, and just as scrupulous in forming their beliefs as we are. Is it permissible to maintain our beliefs in the face of such disagreement? It is argued here that continued belief in these circumstances is not epistemically permissible, and that this has striking consequences for the practice of philosophy: we cannot reasonably hold on to our (...) philosophical views. (shrink)
explores the interaction between psychology and epistemology and addresses empirical questions about how we should arrive at our beliefs, and whether the processes by which we arrive at our beliefs are the ones by which we ought to arrive at our beliefs.
This paper examines the source and content of epistemic norms. In virtue of what is it that epistemic norms have their normative force? A semantic approach to this question, due to Alvin Goldman, is examined and found unacceptable. Instead, accounts seeking to ground epistemic norms in our desires are argued to be most promising. All of these accounts make epistemic norms a variety of hypothetical imperative. It is argued that such an account may be offered, grounding our epistemic norms in (...) desire, which nevertheless makes these imperatives universal. The account is contrasted with some recent work of Stephen Stich. (shrink)
An account of inductive inference is presented which addresses both its epistemological and metaphysical dimensions. It is argued that inductive knowledge is possible by virtue of the fit between our innate psychological capacities and the causal structure of the world.
This paper examines the relationship between methodological naturalism and the standard practice within philosophy of constructing theories on the basis of our intuitions about imaginary cases, especially in the work of Alvin Goldman. It is argued that current work in cognitive science presents serious problems for Goldman's approach.
Naturalism in philosophy has a long and distinguished heritage. This is no less true in epistemology than it is in other areas of philosophy. At the same time, epistemology in the English speaking world in the first half of die twentieth century was dominated by an approach quite hostile to naturalism. Now, at the close of the twentieth century, naturalism is resurgent.
During the 'sixties and 'seventies, Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, and Richard Boyd, among others, developed a type of materialism that eschews reductionist claims.1 In this view, explana- tions, natural kinds, and properties in psychology do not reduce to counterparts in more basic sciences, such as neurophysiology or physics. Nevertheless, all token psychological entities-- states, processes, and faculties--are wholly constituted of physical entities, ultimately out of entities over which microphysics quantifies. This view quickly became the standard position in philosophy of mind, (...) and reductionism fell out of favor. Recently, however, reductionism has been experiencing a rebirth, and many have suggested that the non-reductive approach was accepted too quickly and too uncritically. In this paper, we attempt to provide a more thorough account of the anti-reductionist position, and, in the process, to defend it against its recent critics. (shrink)
A number of philosophers, from Thomas Reid1 through C. A. J. Coady2, have argued that one is justified in relying on the testimony of others, and furthermore, that this should be taken as a basic epistemic presumption. If such a general presumption were not ultimately dependent on evidence for the reliability of other people, the ground for this presumption would be a priori. Such a presumption would then have a status like that which Roderick Chisholm claims for the epistemic principle (...) that we are justified in believing what our senses tell us. (shrink)
The activity of reason-giving plays an important role in our intellectual lives. Some philosophers, however, have expressed a deep distrust of this activity. This chapter examines the grounds for such distrust and argues that it deserves a far more serious hearing than it is typically given. There are important cases in which the very activity of reason giving should be called into question, but the kinds of challenges to reason giving which are most concerning are, it is argued, ones which (...) do not lead to a fundamental breakdown of rationality. Rather, it is argued, there are ways in which the challenges to reason giving can be adequately met. (shrink)
The notion of a reason often plays a central role in epistemological theories. Justification is often explained in terms of the having of appropriate reasons, and a variety of epistemological distinctions are most naturally explained, it seems, by adverting to reasons. This paper examines the extent to which we may, instead, make do without appeal to such a notion. It is argued that the extent to which the notion of a reason should play an important role in epistemological theorizing will (...) depend on how our psychological theories of belief acquisition and belief change are best conceptualized. (shrink)
"This book provides an introduction to a scientifically informed approach to epistemological questions. Theories of knowledge are often motivated by the need to respond to skepticism. The skeptic presents an argument which seems to show that knowledge is impossible, and a theory of knowledge is called upon to show, contrary to the skeptic, how knowledge is indeed possible. Traditional epistemologies, however, do not draw on the sciences in providing their response to skepticism. The approach taken here, however, shows how an (...) epistemology which is informed by the sciences offers an especially illuminating understanding of the nature of knowledge and what makes it possible. Along the way, a distinctive methodology for philosophy is defended, as is an approach to understanding how inference is conducive to knowledge which highlights various structural similarities between the workings of our perceptual systems and native inferential mechanisms. A perspective on the human capacity to reflect on our beliefs is defended which highlights its importance in cooperative problem solving"--. (shrink)
As George Boole saw it, the laws of logic are the laws of thought, and by this he meant, not that human thought is actually governed by the laws of logic, but, rather, that it should be. Boole’s view that the laws of logic have normative implications for how we ought to think is anything but an outlier. The idea that violating the laws of logic involves epistemic impropriety has seemed to many to be just obvious. It has seemed especially (...) obvious to those who see propositional justification as more fundamental than doxastic justification. Whatever other principles are required for defining propositional justification, the laws of logic seem indispensable. The idea that violation of the laws of logic involves some sort of epistemic impropriety—whatever the peculiarities of our psychology may be—has served as a fixed point around which defenders of the fundamentality of propositional justification are united, whatever their other differences. This paper challenges that common thread in defenses of the fundamentality of propositional justification. It is argued that the laws of logic have no bearing whatever on epistemic justification. Once we see why this should be so, the way is paved for seeing why it is that doxastic justification is more fundamental than propositional justification. (shrink)
Introspection plays an ineliminable role in affording us with self-knowledge, or so it is widely believed. It is argued here that introspective evidence, by itself, is often insufficient to ground reasonable belief about many of our mental states, and the knowledge we do have of much of our mental life is crucially dependent on other sources.
This volume draws together influential work by Hilary Kornblith on naturalistic epistemology. This approach sees epistemology not as conceptual analysis, but as an explanatory project constrained and informed by work in cognitive science. These essays expound and defend Kornblith's distinctive view of how we come to have knowledge of the world.
We sometimes stop to reflect on our mental states, and such reflection can lead, at times, to changing our minds. It can, as well, lead us to endorse the very attitudes which we previously held. Such reflective endorsement has been called upon to play a wide range of roles in philosophical theorizing. It has been thought to ground a distinction between two fundamentally different kinds of knowledge: reflective knowledge and mere animal knowledge. It has been thought to serve as a (...) ground for rational change of belief. It has been called upon to explain the possibility of freedom of the will. And it has been brought into service to explain the source of normativity. This chapter argues that it can play none of these roles. (shrink)
The Standard View in epistemology is that knowledge is justified, true belief plus something else. This chapter argues that Standard View should be rejected: knowledge does not require justification. The nature of knowledge and the nature of justification can be better understood if we stop viewing justification as one of the necessary conditions for knowledge.
Jonathan Vogel has presented a disturbing problem for reliabilism. 1 Reliabilists claim that knowledge is reliably produced true belief. Reliabilism is, of course, a version of externalism, and on such a view, a knower need have no knowledge, no justified belief, indeed, no conception that his or her belief is reliably produced. It is the fact that the knower's true belief is reliably produced which makes it a case of knowledge, not any appreciation of this fact. But Vogel now argues (...) that reliabilists will, by a process he calls ‘bootstrapping’, far too easily gain knowledge of the reliability of the processes by which their knowledge is produced. For the reliabilist, knowledge which should be difficult to come by is quite easily and trivially attainable, Vogel argues. And this, of course, seems to show a fundamental flaw in the reliabilist conception of knowledge.One solution to this puzzle is offered by van Cleve . Bootstrapping may seem unattractive, van Cleve claims, but only when we fail to consider the alternative. Any epistemological view which does not legitimate bootstrapping, he argues, will inevitably lead to scepticism. And if the choice is between bootstrapping and scepticism, van Cleve will happily accept bootstrapping.It would be nice, certainly, if we could avoid this unpalatable dilemma.Vogel's argument is disturbingly straightforward. Suppose that Roxanne gains knowledge that the gas tank in her car is full by looking at her gas gauge, and let us further suppose that Roxanne has no reason at all to believe that her gas gauge is reliable. As Vogel points out, reliabilists cannot object to these assumptions. Precisely because reliabilism is a version of externalism, reliabilists must allow that there are cases meeting these very conditions. That is, reliabilists must allow that one can gain knowledge by way of a …. (shrink)
Can we learn something interesting about knowledge by examining our concept of knowledge? Quite a bit, many argue. My own view, however, is that the concept of knowledge is of little epistemological interest. In this paper, I critically examine one particularly interesting defense of the view that the concept of knowledge is of great epistemological interest: Edward Craig's Knowledge and the State of Nature. A minimalist view about the value of examining our concept of knowledge is defended.
Goldman and His Critics presents a series of original essays contributed by influential philosophers who critically examine Alvin Goldman’s work, followed by Goldman’s responses to each essay. Critiques Alvin Goldman’s groundbreaking theories, writings, and ideas on a range of philosophical topics Features contributions from some of the most important and influential contemporary philosophers Covers Goldman’s views on epistemology—both individual and social—in addition to cognitive science and metaphysics Pays special attention to Goldman’s writings on philosophy of mind, including the evolution of (...) his thoughts on Simulation-Theory (ST). (shrink)
Ernest Sosa draws a distinction between animal knowledge and reflective knowledge, and this distinction forms the centerpiece of his new book, A Virtue Epistemology . This paper argues that the distinction cannot do the work which Sosa assigns to it.
This paper defends an approach to epistemology which treats the study of knowledge as on a par with the study of natural kinds. Knowledge is seen as a natural phenomenon subject to empirical investigation. In particular, it is argued that work in cognitive ethology is relevant to understanding the nature of knowledge, and that this approach sheds light on traditional philosophical questions about knowledge, including questions about the source of epistemic normativity.