Two intellectual vices seem to always tempt us: arrogance and diffidence. Regarding the former, the world is permeated by dogmatism and table-thumping close-mindedness. From politics, to religion, to simple matters of taste, zealots and ideologues all too often define our disagreements, often making debate and dialogue completely intractable. But to the other extreme, given a world with so much pluralism and heated disagreement, intellectual apathy and a prevailing agnosticism can be simply all too alluring. So the need for intellectual humility, (...) open-mindedness, and a careful, humble commitment to the truth are apparent. In this book, Dr Church and Dr Samuelson explicate a robust and vibrant account of the philosophy and science of this most valuable virtue, and they highlight how it can be best applied and personally developed. (shrink)
Luck permeates our lives, and this raises a number of pressing questions: What is luck? When we attribute luck to people, circumstances, or events, what are we attributing? Do we have any obligations to mitigate the harms done to people who are less fortunate? And to what extent is deserving praise or blame a ected by good or bad luck? Although acquiring a true belief by an uneducated guess involves a kind of luck that precludes knowledge, does all luck undermine (...) knowledge? And how accurate are our luck attributions anyway? The academic literature has seen growing, interdisciplinary interest in luck, and this volume brings together and explains the most important areas of this research. It consists of 39 newly commissioned chapters, written by an internationally acclaimed team of philosophers and psychologists, for a readership of students and researchers. Its coverage is divided into six sections: (i) The History of Luck, (ii) The Nature of Luck, (iii) Moral Luck, (iv) Epistemic Luck, (v) The Psychology of Luck, and (vi) Future Research. The chapters in these sections cover a wide range of topics, from the problem of moral luck, to anti-luck epistemology, to the relationship between luck attributions and cognitive biases, to meta-questions regarding the nature of luck itself, to a range of other theoretical and empirical questions currently being investigated by ethicists, epistemologists, and psychologists. By bringing this research together, the Handbook serves as both a touchstone for understanding the relevant issues and a first port of call for future philosophical and psychological research on luck. (shrink)
This paper will be broken down into four sections. In §1, I try to assuage a worry that intellectual humility is not really an intellectual virtue. In §2, we will consider the two dominant accounts of intellectual humility in the philosophical literature—the low concern for status account the limitations-owing account—and I will argue that both accounts face serious worries. Then in §3, I will unpack my own view, the doxastic account of intellectual humility, as a viable alternative and potentially a (...) better starting place for thinking about this virtue. And I’ll conclude in §4 by trying to defend the doxastic account against some possible objections. (shrink)
Recent work in cognitive science of religion (CSR) is beginning to converge on a very interesting thesis—that, given the ordinary features of human minds operating in typical human environments, we are naturally disposed to believe in the existence of gods, among other religious ideas (e.g., seeAtran , Barrett [2004; 2012], Bering , Boyer , Guthrie , McCauley , Pyysiäinen [2004; 2009]). In this paper, we explore whether such a discovery ultimately helps or hurts the atheist position—whether, for example, it lends (...) credence to atheism by explaining away religious belief or whether it actually strengthens some already powerful arguments against atheism in the relevant philosophical literature.We argue that the recent discoveries of CSR hurt, not help, the atheist position—that CSR, if anything, should not give atheists epistemic assurance. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the literature on cognitive heuristics and biases in light of virtue epistemology, specifically highlighting the two major positions—agent-reliabilism and agent-responsibilism —as they apply to dual systems theories of cognition and the role of motivation in biases. We investigate under which conditions heuristics and biases might be characterized as vicious and conclude that a certain kind of intellectual arrogance can be attributed to an inappropriate reliance on Type 1, or the improper function of Type 2, cognitive (...) processes. By the same token, the proper intervention of Type 2 processes results in the virtuous functioning of our cognitive systems. Moreover, the role of motivation in attenuating cognitive biases and the cultivation of certain epistemic habits points to the tenets of agent-responsibilism.. (shrink)
We critique two popular philosophical definitions of intellectual humility: the “low concern for status” and the “limitations-owning.” accounts. Based upon our analysis, we offer an alternative working definition of intellectual humility: the virtue of accurately tracking what one could non-culpably take to be the positive epistemic status of one’s own beliefs. We regard this view of intellectual humility both as a virtuous mean between intellectual arrogance and diffidence and as having advantages over other recent conceptions of intellectual humility. After defending (...) this view, we sketch remaining questions and issues that may bear upon the psychological treatment of intellectual humility such as whether evidence will help determine how this construct relates to general social humility on the one hand, and intellectual traits such as open-mindedness, curiosity, and honesty on the other. (shrink)
In this paper I add credence to Linda Zagzebski's (1994) diagnosis of Gettier problems (and the current trend to abandon the standard analysis) by analyzing the nature of luck. It is widely accepted that the lesson to be learned from Gettier problems is that knowledge is incompatible with luck or at least a certain species thereof. As such, understanding the nature of luck is central to understanding the Gettier problem. Thanks by and large to Duncan Pritchard's seminal work, Epistemic Luck, (...) a great deal of literature has been developed recently concerning the nature of luck and anti-luck epistemology. The literature, however, has yet to explore the very intuitive idea that luck comes in degrees. I propose that once luck is recognized to admit degrees even the slightest non-zero degree (of the relevant sort) precludes knowledge. Connecting this to Zagzebski's thesis, I propose that a given theory of warrant must guarantee truth in order to avoid Gettier counterexamples (or subsequently deny that warrant bears any relationship to the truth whatsoever), simply because a sufficient standard analysis of knowledge cannot allow for knowledge that is even marginally lucky. (shrink)
The primary aim of this paper is to highlight, at least in short, how the resources of experimental philosophy could be fruitfully applied to the evidential problem of evil. To do this, we will consider two of the most influential and archetypal formulations of the problem: William L. Rowe’s article, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” (1979). and Paul Draper’s article, “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists” (1989). We will consider the relevance of experimental philosophy (...) to Rowe’s 1979 argument in §1 and to Draper’s 1989 argument in §2. But in addition to exploring how the resources of experimental philosophy might apply to the problem of evil, it is also worth exploring what broader empirical factors might contribute to people having the intuitions that have—from someone’s affective state to someone’s need for closure. In §3, we want to very briefly elucidate a few areas where the psychology of philosophy might be productively explored in future empirical research. (shrink)
The study of intellectual humility is still in its early stages and issues of definition and measurement are only now being explored. To inform and guide the process of defining and measuring this important intellectual virtue, we conducted a series of studies into the implicit theory – or ‘folk’ understanding – of an intellectually humble person, a wise person, and an intellectually arrogant person. In Study 1, 350 adults used a free-listing procedure to generate a list of descriptors, one for (...) each person-concept. In Study 2, 335 adults rated the previously generated descriptors by how characteristic each was of the target person-concept. In Study 3, 344 adults sorted the descriptors by similarity for each person-concept. By comparing and contrasting the three person-concepts, a complex portrait of an intellectually humble person emerges with particular epistemic, self-oriented, and other-oriented dimensions. (shrink)
The problem of evil is broadly considered to be one of the greatest intellectual threats to traditional brands of theism. And William Rowe’s 1979 formulation of the problem in “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” is the most cited formulation in the contemporary philosophical literature. In this paper, we explore how the tools and resources of experimental philosophy might be brought to bear on Rowe’s seminal formulation, arguing that our empirical findings raise significant questions regarding the ultimate (...) success of Rowe’s argument. Such a result would be quite notable within philosophy of religion, since this is considered one of the most formidable arguments against theism. However, further testing is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn. -/- In section 1, we elucidate Rowe’s formulation of the problem of evil and the intuitions that seem to underwrite it. In section 2, we explore how the tools and resources of experimental philosophy might be brought to bear on Rowe’s formulation, outlining our hypotheses and our methods for testing them before showcasing our results. In section 3, we discuss the philosophical import of our results–arguing that our results, when taken together, pose an initial challenge to Rowe’s seminal argument. (shrink)
If the history of the Gettier Problem has taught us anything, it is to be skeptical regarding purported solutions. Nevertheless, in “Manifest Failure: The Gettier Problem Solved” (2011), that is precisely what John Turri offers us. For nearly fifty years, epistemologists have been chasing a solution for the Gettier Problem but with little to no success. If Turri is right, if he has actually solved the Gettier Problem, then he has done something that is absolutely groundbreaking and really quite remarkable. (...) Regrettably, however, while Turri’s account is both intuitive and elegant—improving upon many seminal projects within contemporary epistemology—I argue in this paper that any success against Gettier counterexamples it affords is merely fleeting. Straightforwardly, this is done in two sections. In §1, I briefly sketch Turri’s proposed solution to the Gettier Problem. Then, in §2, I level a counterexample against it. Unfortunately for Turri and his solution, in this paper we will see history repeat itself. (shrink)
In this chapter, we will explore the luck at issue in Gettier-styled counterexamples and the subsequent problem it poses to any viable reductive analysis of knowledge. In the 1st section, we will consider the specific species of luck that is at issue in Gettier counterexamples, then, in the next section, I will briefly sketch a diagnosis of the Gettier Problem and try to explain why the relevant species of luck has proven to be extremely difficult to avoid. And finally, I (...) will consider a prominent objection to the proposed diagnosis of the Problem. (shrink)
Intellectual humility is a hot topic. One of the key questions the literature is exploring is definitional: What is intellectual humility? In their recent paper, “Intellectual Humility: Owning our Limitations,” Dennis Whitcomb, Heather Battaly, Jason Baehr, and Daniel Howard-Snyder have proposed an answer: Intellectual humility is “proper attentiveness to, and owning of, one’s intellectual limitations”. I highlight some limitations of the limitations-owning account of intellectual humility. And in conclusion, I suggest that ultimately these are not limitations that any viable account (...) of intellectual humility should own and that Whitcomb et al. should revise their view accordingly. (shrink)
Addressing the ‘virtue conflation’ problem requires the preservation of intuitive distinctions between virtue types, that is, between intellectual and moral virtues. According to one influential attempt to avoid this problem proposed by Julia Driver, moral virtues produce benefits to others—in particular, they promote the well-being of others—while the intellectual virtues, as such, produce epistemic good for the agent. We show that Driver's demarcation of intellectual virtue, by adverting to the self-/other distinction, leads to a reductio, and ultimately, that the prospects (...) for resolving the virtue conflation problem look dim within an epistemic consequentialist approach to the epistemic right and the epistemic good. (shrink)
While the evidential problem of evil has been enormously influential within the contemporary philosophical literature—William Rowe’s 1979 formulation in “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” being the most seminal—no academic research has explored what cognitive mechanisms might underwrite the appearance of pointlessness in target examples of suffering. In this exploratory paper, we show that the perception of pointlessness in the target examples of suffering that underwrite Rowe’s seminal formulation of the problem of evil is contingent on the (...) absence of broader context. In other words, we show that when such suffering is presented alongside broader contextual information, the appearance of pointlessness, on average, significantly diminishes. In §1 we briefly elucidate Rowe’s formulation of the problem of evil and the thought experiment that motivates a key premise. In §2 and §3 respectively, we briefly explain our hypothesis regarding Rowe’s case and our methods for testing these hypotheses. In §4, we elucidate our results, and in §5 we explore some of the philosophical implications of our findings and gesture towards some areas for future research. Finally, in §6, we briefly connect our research to some of the established philosophical literature on suffering and narrative before concluding. (shrink)
The Gettier dilemma facing reductive analyses of knowledge has not been properly appreciated by virtue epistemologist or even virtue epistemology’s most vocal critics. In §1, we start by considering how recent critics of virtue epistemology understand the Gettier Problem facing virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge. I highlight how the dilemma facing virtue- theoretic analyses of knowledge is more general than these critics seem to suggest. In §2, I elucidate the worry that the threat facing virtue epistemology is really a dilemma between (...) Gettier counterexamples and radical skepticism. In §3, we will consider how some recent virtue epistemologists have tried to viably defuse the Gettier Problem. We will see (i) just how the critiques elucidated in §1 have (mis)shaped the dialectic between virtue epistemology and what is required in solving Gettier counterexamples and (ii) how this has led to virtue epistemologists underestimating the widespread insidiousness of Gettier counterexamples. (shrink)
While experimental philosophy has fruitfully applied the tools and resources of psychology and cognitive science to debates within epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics, relatively little work has been done within philosophy of religion. And this isn’t due to a lack of need! Philosophers of religion frequently rely on empirical claims that can be either verified or disproven, but without exploring whether they are. And philosophers of religion frequently appeal to intuitions which may vary wildly according to education level, theological background, etc., (...) without concern for whether or not the psychological mechanisms that underwrite those intuitions are broadly shared or reliable. In this chapter, I explore some of the fruit and possibilities for the emerging field of experimental philosophy of religion. First, in Section 1, I will elucidate some of the historical grounding for experimental philosophy of religion. Then in Section 2, I briefly consider how the tools and resources of experimental philosophy might be fruitfully applied to a seminal topic within philosophy of religion, namely, the problem of evil. In Section 3, we’ll sketch some broader applications of experimental philosophy of religion. (shrink)
A case could be made that the practice of philosophy demands a certain humility, or at least intellectual humility, requiring such traits as inquisitiveness, openness to new ideas, and a shared interest in pursuing truth. In the positive psychology movement, the study of both humility and intellectual humility has been grounded in the methods and approach of personality psychology, specifically the examination of these virtues as traits. Consistent with this approach, the chapter begins with a discussion of the examination of (...) intellectual humility as a “character trait,” comparing intellectual humility to various well-known traits in the personality psychology literature (e.g the “Big 5” and the “Big 2”) as well as other key traits such as the need for cognition and the need for closure. The chapter then turns to the proverbial issue of whether virtues in general, and intellectual humility in particular, are a matter of “nature”- that is, an innate trait determined by heritability, or “nurture” – a trait mostly shaped by situation and environment. While the chapter does not resolve the issue, it provides occasion for an examination of the role of situations in the expression of intellectual humility, and for the interaction of “situation” and “trait.” The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the interaction of trait with situation provides the most robust understanding of the psychology of any character virtue, including humility and intellectual humility. (shrink)
In this exploratory paper, I consider how intellectual humility and epistemic injustice might contribute to the failure of testimonial exchanges. In §1, I will briefly highlight four broad ways a testimonial exchange might fail. In §2, I will very briefly review the nature of epistemic injustice. In §3, I will explore how both epistemic injustice and intellectual humility can lead to failures in testimonial exchange, and I’ll conclude by suggesting how intellectual humility and epistemic injustice might be related.
In this chapter: I distinguish the existential problem of divine hiddenness from the evidential problem of divine hiddenness. The former being primarily concerned with the apparent hiddenness of a personal God in the lives of believers amidst terrible suffering. The latter being primarily concerned with the apparent hiddenness of God being evidence against God’s existence. In the first section, I highlight the basic contours of the evidential problem of divine hiddenness, and suggested that the argument rests on two important assumptions: (...) the perfectly loving assumption and the no-fault assumption. In the second section, a few possible responses to the evidential problem of divine hiddenness were considered, which center on rejecting either the perfectly loving assumption or the no-fault assumption. (shrink)
Does intellectual humility preclude the possibility of religious dogmatism and firm religious commitments? Does intellectual humility require religious beliefs to be held with diffidence? What is intellectual humility anyway? There are two things I aim to do in this short article. First, I want to briefly sketch an account of intellectual humility. Second, drawing from such an account, I want to explore whether intellectual humility could be compatible with virtuous religious dogmatism.
In this short paper, I highlight two potential hurdles for teams of researchers conducting interdisciplinary research: “the translation problem” and the “academic isolation” problem. Along the way, I’ll note some ways those hurdles were overcome within the context of the “Science of Intellectual Humility” project.
There are two issues I want to very briefly raise in response to Robin McKenna’s paper, “Epistemic Contextualism, Epistemic Relativism, and Disagreement.” First, I want to question whether or not the disagreement problem faced by indexical contextualism is truly a problem. Secondly, I want to consider whether or not McKenna’s solution is really in keeping with indexical contextualism.
In this paper, I lend credence to the move toward non-reductive religious epistemology by highlighting the systematic failings of Alvin Plantinga’s seminal, religious epistemology when it comes to surmounting the Gettier Problem. Taking Plantinga’s account as archetypal, I argue that we have systematic reasons to believe that no reductive theory of knowledge can viably surmount the Gettier Problem, that the future of religious epistemology lies in non-reductive models of knowledge.
This thesis centers on two trends in epistemology: the dissatisfaction with the reductive analysis of knowledge, the project of explicating knowledge in terms of necessary and jointly sufficient conditions, and the popularity of virtue-theoretic epistemologies. The goal of this thesis is to endorse non-reductive virtue epistemology. Given that prominent renditions of virtue epistemology assume the reductive model, however, such a move is not straightforward—work needs to be done to elucidate what is wrong with the reductive model, in general, and why (...) reductive accounts of virtue epistemology, specifically, are lacking. The first part of this thesis involves diagnosing what is wrong with the reductive model and defending that diagnosis against objections. The problem with the reductive project is the Gettier Problem. In Chapter 1, I lend credence to Linda Zagzebski’s grim 1994 diagnosis of Gettier problems by examining the nature of luck, the key component of Gettier problems. In Chapter 2, I vindicate this diagnosis against a range of critiques from the contemporary literature. The second part involves applying this diagnosis to prominent versions of virtue epistemology. In Chapter 3, we consider the virtue epistemology of Alvin Plantinga. In Chapter 4, we consider the virtue epistemology of Ernest Sosa. Both are seminal and iconic; nevertheless, I argue that, in accord with our diagnosis, neither is able to viably surmount the Gettier Problem. Having diagnosed what is wrong with the reductive project and applied this diagnosis to prominent versions of virtue epistemology, the final part of this thesis explores the possibility of non-reductive virtue epistemology. In Chapter 5, I argue that there are three strategies that can be used to develop non-reductive virtue epistemologies, strategies that are compatible with seminal non-reductive accounts of knowledge and preserve our favorite virtue-theoretic concepts. (shrink)