Direct realism with respect to perceptual experiences has two facets, an epistemological one and a metaphysical one. From the epistemological point of view it involves the claim that perceptual experiences provide immediatejustification. From the metaphysical point of view it involves the claim that in perceptual experience we enter into direct contact with items in the external world. In a more radical formulation, often associated with naive realism, the metaphysical conception of direct realism involves the idea that perceptual (...) experiences depend on the items in the external world they are related to. This paper describes a simple account that makes room for immediatejustification provided by perceptual experience. The simple account establishes an explanatory relation between the justificatory role of a perceptual experience and the fact that such an experience provides a reason for a belief. The account is evaluated in the light of some objections. Different ways to react to those objections are discussed. It will appear that in order to preserve the explanatory relation established by the simple account, one has to accept naive realism. By breaking the connection between reason and justification, on the other side, one jeopardizes the possibility for perceptual experience to deliver immediatejustification. (shrink)
As an important view in the epistemology of perception, dogmatism proposes that for any experience, if it has a distinctive kind of phenomenal character, then it thereby provides us with immediatejustification for beliefs about the external world. This paper rejects dogmatism by looking into the epistemology of imagining. In particular, this paper first appeals to some empirical studies on perceptual experiences and imaginings to show that it is possible for imaginings to have the distinctive phenomenal character dogmatists (...) have in mind. Then this paper argues that some of these imaginings fail to provide us with immediatejustification for beliefs about the external world at least partly due to their inappropriate etiology. Such imaginings constitute counterexamples to dogmatism. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the relationship between consciousness and knowledge, and in particular on the role perceptual consciousness might play in justifying beliefs about the external world. We outline a version of phenomenal dogmatism according to which perceptual experiences immediately, prima facie justify certain select parts of their content, and do so in virtue of their having a distinctive phenomenology with respect to those contents. Along the way we take up various issues in connection with this core theme, including the (...) possibility of immediatejustification, the dispute between representational and relational views of perception, the epistemic significance of cognitive penetration, the question of whether perceptual experiences are composed of more basic sensations and seemings, and questions about the existence and epistemic significance of high-level content. In a concluding section we briefly consider how some of the topics pursued here might generalize beyond perception. (shrink)
According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, when you have an experience with content p, you often have prima facie justification for believing p that doesn’t rest on your independent justification for believing any proposition. Although dogmatism has an intuitive appeal and seems to have an antisceptical bite, it has been targeted by various objections. This paper principally aims to answer the objections by Roger White according to which dogmatism is inconsistent with the Bayesian account of how evidence affects our (...) rational credences. If this were true, the rational acceptability of dogmatism would be seriously questionable. I respond that these objections don’t get off the ground because they assume that our experiences and our introspective beliefs that we have experiences have the same evidential force, whereas the dogmatist is uncommitted to this assumption. I also consider the question whether dogmatism has an antisceptical bite. I suggest that the answer turns on whether or not the Bayesian can determine the priors of hypotheses and conjectures on the grounds of their extra-empirical virtues. If the Bayesian can do so, the thesis that dogmatism has an antisceptical bite is probably false. (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.
We have several intuitive paradigms of defeating evidence. For example, let E be the fact that Ernie tells me that the notorious pet Precious is a bird. This supports the premise F, that Precious can fly. However, Orna gives me *opposing* evidence. She says that Precious is a dog. Alternatively, defeating evidence might not oppose Ernie's testimony in that direct way. There might be other ways for it to weaken the support that Ernie's testimony gives me for believing F, without (...) the new evidence itself intuitively constituting reasons to believe one way or the other about Precious's flight ability. An example: Ursula tells me that Ernie has no idea what Precious's species is; he's just guessing. She may not herself want to or be in a position to weigh in about Precious's real species or flight ability. I call defeating evidence of this sort *undermining evidence. (shrink)
I provide a novel knowledge-first account of justification that avoids the pitfalls of existing accounts while preserving the underlying insight of knowledge-first epistemologies: that knowledge comes first. The view I propose is, roughly, this: justification is grounded in our practical knowledge (know-how) concerning the acquisition of propositional knowledge (knowledge-that). I first refine my thesis in response to immediate objections. In subsequent sections I explain the various ways in which this thesis is theoretically superior to existing knowledge-first accounts (...) of justification. The upshot is a virtue-theoretic, knowledge-first view of justification that is internalist-friendly and able to explain more facts about justification than any other available view. (shrink)
Whether empirical givenness has the reliability that foundationalists expect is a point about which some philosophers are highly skeptical. Sellars took the doctrine of givenness as a “myth,” denying the existence of immediate perceptual experience. The arguments in contemporary Western epistemology are concentrated on whether sensory experience has conceptual contents, and whether there is any logical relationship between perceptions and beliefs. In fact, once the elements of words and conceptions in empirical perception are affirmed, the logical relationship between perceptual (...) experience and empirical belief is also affirmed. This relationship takes place through perceptual experience acting as evidence for beliefs. The real problem lies in how one should distinguish between the different relationships with perception of singular beliefs and of universal beliefs, and in how singular beliefs can provide justification for universal beliefs. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend Moorean Dogmatism against a novel objection raised by Adam Leite. Leite locates the defectiveness of the Moorean reasoning explicitly not in the failure of the Moorean argument to transmit warrant from its premises to its conclusion but rather in the failure of an epistemic agent to satisfy certain epistemic responsibilities that arise in the course of conscious and deliberate reasoning. I will first show that there exist cases of Moorean reasoning that are not put into (...) jeopardy by the considerations that Leite presents. Second, I will argue that certain commitments of Leite’s concerning the notion of warrant are in tension with his verdict that the Moorean reasoning is defective. (shrink)
Whistleblowing is the act of disclosing information from a public or private organization in order to reveal cases of corruption that are of immediate or potential danger to the public. Blowing the whistle involves personal risk, especially when legal protection is absent, and charges of betrayal, which often come in the form of legal prosecution under treason laws. In this article we argue that whistleblowing is justified when disclosures are made with the proper intent and fulfill specific communicative constraints (...) in addressing issues of public interest. Three communicative constraints of informativeness, truthfulness and evidence are discussed in this regard. We develop a ‘harm test’ to assess the intent for disclosures, concluding that it is not sufficient for justification. Along with the proper intent, a successful act of whistleblowing should provide information that serves the public interest. Taking cognizance of the varied conceptions of public interest, we present an account of public interest that fits the framework of whistleblowing disclosures. In particular, we argue that whistleblowing is justified inter alia when the information it conveys is of a presumptive interest for a public insofar as it reveals an instance of injustice or violation of a civil or political right done against and unbeknown to some members of a polity. (shrink)
This paper argues that a fact which constitutes part of a subject’s being justified in adopting an action or a belief at a particular time need not be part of what induced the subject to adopt that action or belief but it must be something to which the subject had immediate access. It argues that similar points hold for justification of the involuntary acquisition of a belief and for the justification of continuing a belief (actively or dispositionally.).
The paper discusses Sosa’s view of intuitional knowledge and raises the question of the nature of reflective justification of intuitional beliefs. It is assumed, in agreement with Sosa, that pieces of belief of good researchers are typically reflectively justified, in addition to being immediately, first-level justified. Sosa has convincingly argued that reflective justification typically mobilizes and indeed should mobilize capacities distinct from the original capacity that has produced the belief-candidate for being justified, in order to assess the reliability (...) of the original capacity. It has to go beyond justifiers that are of the same-kind as first-level immediate ones, in order to enlarge the circle of justification, and is, therefore, holistic and coherentist. But if this holds, it seems that reflective justifi cation of armchair beliefs, presumably produced by intuition and some reasoning, should revert to empirical considerations testifying to the reliability of intuition and reasoning. Therefore, it typically combines, in an articulated way, a posteriori elements contributing to the thinker’s reflective trust in her armchair capacities. In short, the paper argues that Sosa’s own view of second-order justification goes better with a more aposteriorist view, if it does not even force such a view. (shrink)
This paper argues that a fact which constitutes part of a subject’s being justified in adopting an action or a belief at a particular time need not be part of what induced the subject to adopt that action or belief but it must be something to which the subject had immediate access. It argues that similar points hold for justification of the involuntary acquisition of a belief and for the justification of continuing a belief.
Immediate knowledge is here construed as true belief that does not owe its status as knowledge to support by other knowledge (or justified belief) of the same subject. The bulk of the paper is devoted to a criticism of attempts to show the impossibility of immediate knowledge. I concentrate on attempts by Wilfrid Sellars and Laurence Bonjour to show that putative immediate knowledge really depends on higher-level knowledge or justified belief about the status of the beliefs involved (...) in the putative immediate knowledge. It is concluded that their arguments are lacking in cogency. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 28 The aim of this paper is to show that introspective beliefs about one’s own current visual experiences are not immediate in the sense that what justifies them does not include other beliefs that the subject in question might possess. The argument will take the following course. First, the author explains the notions of immediacy and truth-sufficiency as they are used here. Second, the author suggests a test to determine whether a given belief lacks immediacy. (...) Third, the author applies this test to a standard case of formation of an introspective belief about one’s own current visual experiences and concludes that the belief in question is neither immediate nor truth-sufficient. Fourth, the author rebuts several objections that might be raised against the argument. (shrink)
An overview of the epistemology of perception, covering the nature of justification, immediatejustification, the relationship between the metaphysics of perceptual experience and its rational role, the rational role of attention, and cognitive penetrability. The published version will contain a smaller bibliography, due to space constraints in the volume.
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, immediatejustification 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)
The etiology of a perceptual belief can seemingly affect its epistemic status. There are cases in which perceptual beliefs seem to be unjustified because the perceptual experiences on which they are based are caused, in part, by wishful thinking, or irrational prior beliefs. It has been argued that this is problematic for many internalist views in the epistemology of perception, especially those which postulate immediate perceptual justification. Such views are unable to account for the impact of an experience’s (...) etiology on its justificational status, McGrath, Siegel, and Vahid ). Our understanding of what we have been told can also be affected by, for example, wishful thinking or irrational background beliefs. I argue that testimonial beliefs based on such states of understanding can thus be rendered unjustified. This is problematic not only for internalist immediatejustification views of testimony, but also for some externalist views, such as the form of proper functionalism endorsed by Burge, and Graham. The testimonial version of the argument from etiology, unlike the perceptual variant, does not rest on the controversial hypothesis that perception is cognitively penetrable. Furthermore, there is a stronger case for the claim that testimonial justification can be undermined by etiological effects since, I argue, testimonial beliefs can be based on the background mental states which affect our understanding of what is said, and our states of understanding are rationally assessable. (shrink)
Epistemic Sentimentalism is the view that emotional experiences such as fear and guilt are a source of immediatejustification for evaluative beliefs. For example, guilt can sometimes immediately justify a subject’s belief that they have done something wrong. In this paper I focus on a family of objections to Epistemic Sentimentalism that all take as a premise the claim that emotions possess a normative property that is apparently antithetical to it: epistemic reason-responsiveness, i.e., emotions have evidential bases and (...) justifications can be demanded of them. I respond to these objections whilst granting that emotions are reason-responsive. This is not only dialectically significant vis-à-vis the prospects for Epistemic Sentimentalism, but also supports a broader claim about the compatibility of a mental item’s being reason-responsive and its being a generative source of epistemic justification. (shrink)
A subject S's belief that Q is well-grounded if and only if it is based on a reason of S that gives S propositional justification for Q. Depending on the nature of S's reason, the process whereby S bases her belief that Q on it can vary. If S's reason is non-doxastic––like an experience that Q or a testimony that Q––S will need to form the belief that Q as a spontaneous and immediate response to that reason. If (...) S's reason is doxastic––like a belief that P––S will need to infer her belief that Q from it. The distinction between these two ways in which S's beliefs can be based on S's reasons is widely presupposed in current epistemology but––we argue in this paper––is not exhaustive. We give examples of quite ordinary situations in which a well-grounded belief of S appears to be based on S's reasons in neither of the ways described above. To accommodate these recalcitrant cases, we introduce the notion of enthymematic inference and defend the thesis that S can base a belief that Q on doxastic reasons P1, P2, …, Pn via inferring enthymematically Q from P1, P2, …, Pn. (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)
Phenomenalist dogmatist experientialism (PDE) holds the following thesis: if $S$ has a perceptual experience that $p$ , then $S$ has immediate prima facie evidential justification for the belief that $p$ in virtue of the experience’s phenomenology. The benefits of PDE are that it (a) provides an undemanding view of perceptual justification that allows most of our ordinary perceptual beliefs to be justified, and (b) accommodates two important internalist intuitions, viz. the New Evil Demon Intuition and the Blindsight (...) Intuition. However, in the face of a specific version of the Sellarsian dilemma, PDE is ad hoc. PDE needs to explain what is so distinct about perceptual experience that enables it to fulfill its evidential role without being itself in need of justification. I argue that neither an experience’s presentational phenomenology, nor its phenomenal forcefulness can be used to answer this question, and that prospects look dim for any other phenomenalist account. The subjective distinctness of perceptual experience might instead just stem from a higher-order belief that the experience is a perceptual one, but this will only serve to strengthen the case for externalism: externalism is better suited to provide an account of how we attain justified higher-order beliefs and can use this account to accommodate the Blindsight Intuition. (shrink)
Nelson's Proof of the Impossibility of the Theory of Knowledge -/- In addressing the possibility of a theory of knowledge, Leonard Nelson noted the contradiction of an epistemological criterion that one would require in order to differentiate between valid and invalid knowledge. Nelson concluded that the inconsistency of such a criterion proves the impossibility of the theory of knowledge. -/- Had the epistemological criterion had a perception, then it would presume to adjudicate on its own truth (thus epistemological circular argument). (...) However, if one were to assume that the criterion is not knowledge, one would then have to justify how this is a criterion for truth - yet this would only be possible when it may be considered as an object of knowledge. One would equally have had to predetermine the criterion in order to determine the truth of this knowledge, thereby providing another circular argument. Ostensibly, every criterion of truth fails at its very own test since it cannot guarantee its own truth, just as Munchausen, contrary to his assertion, could not draw himself out of the swamp by tugging on a tuft of his own hair. -/- Nelson proposed a solution of the epistemological problem (the question of the differentiation between valid and invalid knowledge), that based on Jakob Friedrich Fries' differentiation between proof and deduction. Proof, according to Nelson (in reference to Fries), can be defined as derivation of truth from one statement from another statement. Thus, from the truth in the statement that "all men are mortal", one is then able to say that "Socrates is a man" and thence extrapolate from the truth of the statement that "Socrates is mortal." If knowledge were to be considered somewhat judgmental (in a statement), then an attempt at proof (i.e. recourse to previous judgments) would inevitably lead to an infinite regression in justification, since each judgment would necessitate a further justification from another judgment. Every attempt to prove an epistemological criterion is thus also confronted by this regression in justification. -/- Nelson's attempt at a solution rests on the assumption of the existence of an immediate knowledge as a justification of the truth (mediate) of knowledge. Nelson considers immediate knowledge to be non-judgmental knowledge. These include intuitions (e. g. seeing-the-red-roof) and also philosophical knowledge that pre-exists in his opinion before a judgmental reflexion (immediate) in our reason (e. g. the principle of causality). -/- Proof of the truth of mediate knowledge can be effected by showing its compliance with attendant immediate knowledge (rational truth = correspondence of mediate knowledge with their immediate knowledge). Nelson considered this as a resolution of the circular epistemological argument. In regard to philosophical knowledge, Nelson sees these as subject to deduction and not proof. The following example illustrates the goal of deduction: -/- An approach for deducing the principle of causality: A) Every change has a cause. (The principle of causality) A´) A is a reiteration of an immediate knowledge. (Meta-assertion following A) -/- "A" may not be provable, but A´ may justified, and thus Nelson identified it as a deduction following from A. // reference: http://www.friesian.com/nelproof.htm. (shrink)
PART I The first chapter contains some arguments in favour of four general requirements on a theory of meaning which Michael Dummett has formulated: connection between meaning and understanding, distinction between sense and force, compositionality, and manifestability. The second chapter contains a condensed account of the theory of meaning centered on bivalent truth-conditions, and a detailed analysis of Dummett's argument against such a theory and against classical logic. The third chapter is a description of Dummett's theory of meaning centered on (...) the notion of direct verification, and of Prawitz's semantics which can be embedded in the latter theory of meaning so as to justify intuitionistic logic. The weakest points of Dummett's idea are two: 1) it is difficult to make verificationism compatible with the holistic character of justification; 2) logical revisionism may involve a too drastic disagreement between verificationism and linguistic practice. -/- PART II. The second part contains a presentation of a theory of meaning centered on the notion which I have called immediate argumental role. The fundamental idea of the theory is that the sense of a word is given by all the argumentation rules concerning the word. Chapters IV-VII make precise the basic idea by explaining the notion of "argumentation rule" and by defining the notion of "concerning", and other notions among which "immediate argumental role of a sentence" and "global argumental role". Chapters VIII-X deal with the main philosophical features of the theory: 1) the theory satisfies the four requirements considered in the first chapter; 2) despite its compositionality, the theory is compatible with epistemological holism; 3) the theory admits the possibility of meaningful paradoxical languages; 4) the theory distinguishes between the understandability of a language and its correctness in a given epistemic situation (understandability does not imply correctness); 5) the theory is pluralist with respect to the understandability of different logics and neutral with respect to their validity. (shrink)
Liberals claim that some perceptual experiences give us immediatejustification for certain perceptual beliefs. Conservatives claim that the justification that perceptual experiences give us for those perceptual beliefs is mediated by our background beliefs. In his recent paper ?Basic Justification and the Moorean Response to the Skeptic?, Nico Silins successfully argues for a non-Moorean version of Liberalism. But Silins's defence of non-Moorean Liberalism leaves us with a puzzle: why is it that a necessary condition for our (...) perceptual experiences to justify us in holding certain perceptual beliefs is that we have some independent justification for disbelieving various sceptical hypotheses? I argue that the best answer to this question involves commitment to Crispin Wright's version of Conservatism. In short, Wright's Conservatism is consistent with Silins's Liberalism, and the latter helps to give us grounds for accepting the former. (shrink)
Perceptual appearances of personality can be highly inaccurate, for example, when they rely on race, masculinity, and attractiveness, factors that have little to do with personality, as well as when they are the result of perceiver effects, such as an idiosyncratic tendency to view others negatively. This raises the question of whether these types of appearances can provide immediatejustification for our judgments about personality. I argue that there are three reasons that we should think that they can. (...) The inaccuracy of these types of appearances is not nearly as widespread as it may initially seem. Even thin-slicing in zero-acquaintance conditions seems to reliably track many personality traits. The thought that perceptual appearances of personality can justify our beliefs only in conjunction with background information rests on a failure to acknowledge the existence of genuine high-level perceptual appearances of personality. Perceiver effect cases are not unlike cases in which we have inaccurate low-level perceptual appearances in unfavorable perceptual conditions. (shrink)
Husserl claims that his phenomenological–epistemological system amounts to a “universal” form of empiricism. The present paper shows that this universal moment of Husserl’s empiricism is why his empiricism qualifies as a rationalism. What is empiricist about Husserl’s phenomenological–epistemological system is that he takes experiences to be an autonomous source of immediatejustification. On top of that, Husserl takes experiences to be the ultimate source of justification. For Husserl, every justified belief ultimately depends epistemically on the subject’s experiences. (...) These are paradigms of empiricist claims and thus Husserl seems to subscribe to empiricism. However, what is universal about Husserl’s “empiricism” is that he does not limit the concept of experiences to sensory experiences or sensory experiences plus introspective intuitions but broadens the concept of experience such that also a priori intuitions are included. Husserl insists that logical, mathematical, and phenomenological intuitions such as ~, 2 + 2 = 4, and “Experiences necessarily bear the mark of intentionality” provide non-inferential justification analogous to how sensory experiences can non-inferentially justify beliefs such as “There is a table in front of me.” Importantly, Husserl makes clear that such a priori intuitions are not about our concepts but about reality. This is why Husserl’s universal empiricism is a rationalism. Husserl differs from traditional rationalism as he allows that a priori intuitions can be fallible and empirically underminable. This distinguishes Husserl’s rationalism from Descartes’ and makes him a proponent of moderate rationalism as currently championed by Laurence BonJour. (shrink)
The paper presents a number of empirical arguments for the perceptual view of speech comprehension. It then argues that a particular version of phenomenal dogmatism can confer immediatejustification upon belief. In combination, these two views can bypass Davidsonian skepticism toward knowledge of meanings. The perceptual view alone, however, can bypass a variation on the Davidsonian argument. One reason Davidson thought meanings were not truly graspable was that he believed meanings were private. But if the perceptual view of (...) speech comprehension is correct, then meanings are public objects like other perceivable entities. Hence, there is no particular problem of language comprehension, even if meanings originate in “private” mental states. (shrink)
This paper defends the view that a belief to the effect that the believer is currently in some conscious state is "self-Warranted," in the sense that what warrants it is simply its being a belief of that sort. This position is compared with other views as to the epistemic status of such beliefs--That they are warranted by their truth and that they are warranted by an immediate awareness of their object. In the course of the discussion, Various modes of (...)immediatejustification and various types of "epistemic immunities" are distinguished. It is contended that principles of justification are to be evaluated in terms of whether the beliefs they approve are likely to be correct. (shrink)
What accounts for the capacity of ordinary speakers to comprehend utterances of their language? The phenomenology of hearing speech in one’s own language makes it tempting to many epistemologists to look to perception for an answer to this question. That is, just as a visual experience as of a red square is often taken to give the perceiver immediatejustification for believing that there is a red square in front of her, perhaps an auditory experience as of the (...) speaker asserting that p gives the competent hearer immediatejustification for believing that the speaker has asserted that p. My aim here is to offer reasons for resisting this temptation. I argue that the perceptual model cannot adequately account for the hearer’s justification in many cases. The arguments here also allow us to draw certain further morals about the role of phenomenology in the epistemology of perception. (shrink)
This paper reconstructs what the famous sentence "what is rational is actual /and what is actual is rational" specifically means within the Hegel's Philosophy of Right. The two traditional and antithetical interpretations of these words share one main point: both transpose them on the level of the Philosophy of History. Haym does this from a conservative perspective. He regards the Hegelian saying as an immediatejustification for existence. Gans and, more recently, Ilting do this from a liberal perspective. (...) They find the idea of the progressive realization of rationality in history in the Hegelian saying. The latter interpretation seems to be attested in some alternative formulations provided by Hegel in his lectures (where "real" and "actual" are linked by "wird" or "muß sein", not by "ist"). Hegel's words, however, do not directly refer to the Philosophy of History. They concern in the first place the structure of ethical life (Sittlichkeit). This is confirmed by the recurring reference to the category of “idea”. Ethical life is the process through which ethical substance – i.e. the ensemble of the substantial determinations that structure everyone’s life – is realized through the self-conscious action of individuals. This action is the objectifying of the spirit and is always a finite action. Through this very manifold contingency, the "brightly coloured covering" of men's being busy, the substance emerges as the "universal way of their acting". This process turns into a whole series of specific differences that structure several spheres of action and existence, whose compresence must be governed. As it is always open to error and not logically deducible, this process turns the identity of rational and actual, in the Philosophy of Right, into an ethical-political problem. (shrink)
Intuition is sometimes derided as an abstruse or esoteric phenomenon akin to crystal-ball gazing. Such derision appears to be fuelled primarily by the suggestion, evidently endorsed by traditional rationalists such as Plato and Descartes, that intuition is a kind of direct, immediate apprehension akin to perception. This paper suggests that although the perceptual analogy has often been dismissed as encouraging a theoretically useless metaphor, a quasi-perceptualist view of intuition may enable rationalists to begin to meet the challenge of supplying (...) a theoretically satisfying treatment of their favoured epistemic source. It is argued, first, that intuitions and perceptual experiences are at a certain level of abstraction the same type of mental state, presentations, which are distinct from beliefs, hunches, inclinations, attractions, and seemings. The notion of a presentation is given a positive explication, which identifies its characteristic features, accounts for several of its substantive psychological roles, and systematically locates it in a threefold division among types of contentful states. Subsequently, it is argued that presentations, intuitive no less than sensory, are by their nature poised to play a distinctive epistemic role. Specifically, in the case of intuition, we encounter an intellectual state that is so structured as to provide justification without requiring justification in turn—something which may, thus, be thought of as ‘given’. (shrink)
Ever since Plato it has been thought that one knows only if one's belief hits the mark of truth and does so with adequate justification. The issues debated by Laurence BonJour and Ernest Sosa concern mostly the nature and conditions of such epistemic justification, and its place in our understanding of human knowledge. Presents central issues pertaining to internalism vs. externalism and foundationalism vs. virtue epistemology in the form of a philosophical debate. Introduces students to fundamental questions within (...) epistemology while engaging in contemporary debates. Written by two of today’s foremost epistemologists. Includes an extensive bibliography. (shrink)
The internalism-externalism debate is one of the oldest debates in epistemology. Internalists assert that the justification of our beliefs can only depend on facts internal to us, while externalists insist that justification can depend on additional, for example environmental, factors. In this book Clayton Littlejohn proposes and defends a new strategy for resolving this debate. Focussing on the connections between practical and theoretical reason, he explores the question of whether the priority of the good to the right might (...) be used to defend an epistemological version of consequentialism, and proceeds to formulate a new 'deontological externalist' view. His discussion is rich with insights and will be valuable for a wide range of readers in epistemology, ethics and practical reason. (shrink)
I argue against the orthodox view of the relationship between propositional and doxastic justification. The view under criticism is: if p is propositionally justified for S in virtue of S's having reason R, and S believes p on the basis of R, then S's belief that p is doxastically justified. I then propose and evaluate alternative accounts of the relationship between propositional and doxastic justification, and conclude that we should explain propositional justification in terms of doxastic (...) class='Hi'>justification. If correct, this proposal would constitute a significant advance in our understanding of the sources of epistemic justification. (shrink)
This paper argues that justification is accessible in the sense that one has justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. I argue that the accessibility of justification is required for explaining what is wrong with believing Moorean conjunctions of the form, ‘p and I do not have justification to believe that p.’.
According to a captivating picture, epistemic justification is essentially a matter of epistemic or evidential likelihood. While certain problems for this view are well known, it is motivated by a very natural thought – if justification can fall short of epistemic certainty, then what else could it possibly be? In this paper I shall develop an alternative way of thinking about epistemic justification. On this conception, the difference between justification and likelihood turns out to be akin (...) to the more widely recognised difference between ceteris paribus laws and brute statistical generalisations. I go on to discuss, in light of this suggestion, issues such as classical and lottery-driven scepticism as well as the lottery and preface paradoxes. (shrink)
Thomas Kroedel argues that the lottery paradox can be solved by identifying epistemic justification with epistemic permissibility rather than epistemic obligation. According to his permissibility solution, we are permitted to believe of each lottery ticket that it will lose, but since permissions do not agglomerate, it does not follow that we are permitted to have all of these beliefs together, and therefore it also does not follow that we are permitted to believe that all tickets will lose. I present (...) two objections to this solution. First, even if justification itself amounts to no more than epistemic permissibility, the lottery paradox recurs at the level of doxastic obligations unless one adopts an extremely permissive view about suspension of belief that is in tension with our practice of doxastic criticism. Second, even if there are no obligations to believe lottery propositions, the permissibility solution fails because epistemic permissions typically agglomerate, and the lottery case provides no exception to this rule. (shrink)
Earl Conee and Richard Feldman have recently argued that the evidential support relation should be understood in terms of explanatory coherence: roughly, one's evidence supports a proposition if and only if that proposition is part of the best available explanation of the evidence. Their thesis has been criticized through alleged counterexamples, perhaps the most important of which are cases where a subject has a justified belief about the future. Kevin McCain has defended the thesis against Byerly's counterexample. I argue that (...) McCain's defense is inadequate before pointing toward a more promising solution for explanationism. The Byerly–McCain exchange is important because it casts light on the difficult issues of the standards for justification and the nature of epistemic support. Furthermore, McCain's defense of explanationism about epistemic support represents an important recent development of the burgeoning explanationist program in epistemology and philosophy of science. (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)
I would like to assume that Reichenbach's distinction of Justification and Discovery lives on, and to seek arguments in his texts that would justify their relevance in this field. The persuasive force of these arguments transcends the contingent circumstances apart from which their genesis and local transmission cannot be made understandable. I shall begin by characterizing the context distinction as employed by Reichenbach in "Experience and Prediction" to differentiate between epistemology and science (1). Following Thomas Nickles and Kevin T. (...) Kelly, one can distinguish two meanings of the context distinction in Reichenbach's work. One meaning, which is primarily to be found in the earlier writings, conceives of scientific discoveries as potential objects of epistemological justification. The other meaning, typical for the later writings, removes scientific discoveries from the possible domain of epistemology. The genesis of both meanings, which demonstrates the complexity of the relationships obtaining between epistemology and science, can be made understandable by appealing to the historical context (2). Both meanings present Reichenbach with the task of establishing the autonomy of epistemology through the justification of induction. Finally, I shall expound this justification and address some of its elements of rationality characterizing philosophy of science(3). (shrink)