Reductive intellectualists hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. For this thesis to hold water, it is obviously important that knowledge-how and knowledge-that have the same epistemic properties. In particular, knowledge-how ought to be compatible with epistemic luck to the same extent as knowledge-that. It is argued, contra reductive intellectualism, that knowledge-how is compatible with a species of epistemic luck which is not compatible with knowledge-that, and thus it is claimed that knowledge-how and knowledge-that come apart.
According to reductive intellectualism, knowledge-how just is a kind of propositional knowledge (e.g., Stanley & Williamson 2001; Stanley 2011a, 2011b; Brogaard, 2008a, 2008b, 2009, 2011, 2009, 2011). This proposal has proved controversial because knowledge-how and propositional knowledge do not seem to share the same epistemic properties, particularly with regard to epistemic luck. Here we aim to move the argument forward by offering a positive account of knowledge-how. In particular, we propose a new kind of anti-intellectualism. Unlike neo-Rylean anti-intellectualist views, according (...) to which the possession of knowledge-how is just a matter of possessing certain abilities, we submit that knowledge-how is a particular kind of cognitive achievement attained just when cognitive ability is connected in the right way with successful performance. (shrink)
Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...) the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
In a series of works Ernest Sosa (see Sosa 1991, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017) has defended the view that there are two kinds or ‘grades’ of knowledge, animal and reflective. One of the most persistent critics of Sosa’s attempts to bifurcate knowledge is Hilary Kornblith (see Kornblith 2004, 2009, 2012). Our aim in this paper is to outline and evaluate Kornblith’s criticisms. We will argue that, while they raise a range of difficult (exegetical and substantive) questions about Sosa’s (...) ‘bi-level’ epistemology, Sosa has the resources to adequately respond to all of them. Thus, this paper is a (qualified) defence of Sosa’s bi-level epistemology. (shrink)
Reductive intellectualists (e.g., Stanley & Williamson 2001; Stanley 2011a; 2011b; Brogaard 2008; 2009; 2011) hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. If this thesis is correct, then we should expect the defeasibility conditions for knowledge-how and knowledge-that to be uniform—viz., that the mechanisms of epistemic defeat which undermine propositional knowledge will be equally capable of imperilling knowledge-how. The goal of this paper is twofold: first, against intellectualism, we will show that knowledge-how is in fact resilient to being undermined by (...) the very kinds of traditional (propositional) epistemic defeaters which clearly defeat the items of propositional knowledge which intellectualists identify with knowledge-how. Second, we aim to fill an important lacuna in the contemporary debate, which is to develop an alternative way in which epistemic defeat for knowledge-how could be modelled within an anti-intellectualist framework. (shrink)
Memory technologies are cultural artifacts that scaffold, transform, and are interwoven with human biological memory systems. The goal of this article is to provide a systematic and integrative survey of their philosophical dimensions, including their metaphysical, epistemological and ethical dimensions, drawing together debates across the humanities, cognitive sciences, and social sciences. Metaphysical dimensions of memory technologies include their function, the nature of their informational properties, ways of classifying them, and their ontological status. Epistemological dimensions include the truth-conduciveness of external memory, (...) the conditions under which external memory counts as knowledge, and the metacognitive monitoring of external memory processes. And lastly, ethical and normative dimensions include the desirability of the effects memory technologies have on biological memory, their effects on self and culture, and their moral status. Whilst the focus in the article is largely philosophical and conceptual, empirical issues such as the way we interact with memory technologies in various contexts are also discussed. We thus take a naturalistic approach in which philosophical and empirical concepts and approaches are seen as continuous. (shrink)
A common epistemological assumption in contemporary bioethics held b y both proponents and critics of non-traditional forms of cognitive enhancement is that cognitive enhancement aims at the facilitation of the accumulation of human knowledge. This paper does three central things. First, drawing from recent work in epistemology, a rival account of cognitive enhancement, framed in terms of the notion of cognitive achievement rather than knowledge, is proposed. Second, we outline and respond to an axiological objection to our proposal that draws (...) from recent work by Leon Kass (2004), Michael Sandel (2009), and John Harris (2011) to the effect that ‘enhanced’ cognitive achievements are (by effectively removing obstacles to success) not worthy of pursuit, or are otherwise ‘trivial’. Third, we show how the cognitive achievement account of cognitive enhancement proposed here fits snugly with recent active externalist approaches (e.g., extended cognition) in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
An interesting aspect of Ernest Sosa’s (2017) recent thinking is that enhanced performances (e.g., the performance of an athlete under the influence of a performance-enhancing drug) fall short of aptness, and this is because such enhanced performances do not issue from genuine competences on the part of the agent. In this paper, I explore in some detail the implications of such thinking in Sosa’s wider virtue epistemology, with a focus on cases of cognitive enhancement. A certain puzzle is then highlighted, (...) and the solution proposed draws from both the recent moral responsibility literature on guidance control (e.g., Fischer and Ravizza 1998; Fischer 2012) as well as from work on cognitive integration in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2008; Pritchard 2010; Palermos 2014; Carter 2017). (shrink)
Robust Virtue Epistemology maintains that knowledge is achieved just when an agent gets to the truth through, or because of, the manifestation of intellectual virtue or ability. A notorious objection to the view is that the satisfaction of the virtue condition will be insufficient to ensure the safety of the target belief; that is, RVE is no anti-luck epistemology. Some of the most promising recent attempts to get around this problem are considered and shown to ultimately fail. Finally, a new (...) proposal for defending RVE as a kind of anti-luck epistemology is defended. The view developed here turns importantly on the idea that knowledge depends on ability and luck in a way that is gradient, not rigid, and that we know just when our cognitive success depends on ability not rather, but more so, than luck. (shrink)
When extended cognition is extended into mainstream epistemology, an awkward tension arises when considering cases of environmental epistemic luck. Surprisingly, it is not at all clear how the mainstream verdict that agents lack knowledge in cases of environmental luck can be reconciled with principles central to extended cognition.
Recent thinking within philosophy of mind about the ways cognition can extend has yet to be integrated with philosophical theories of emotion, which give cognition a central role. We carve out new ground at the intersection of these areas and, in doing so, defend what we call the extended emotion thesis: the claim that some emotions can extend beyond skin and skull to parts of the external world.
Jennifer Lackey’s case “Creationist Teacher,” in which students acquire knowledge of evolutionary theory from a teacher who does not herself believe the theory, has been discussed widely as a counterexample to so-called transmission theories of testimonial knowledge and justification. The case purports to show that a speaker need not herself have knowledge or justification in order to enable listeners to acquire knowledge or justification from her assertion. The original case has been criticized on the ground that it does not really (...) refute the transmission theory, because there is still somebody in a chain of testifiers—the person from whom the creationist teacher acquired what she testifies—who knows the truth of the testified statements. In this paper, we provide a kind of pattern for generating counterexample cases, one that avoids objections discussed by Peter Graham and others in relation to such cases. (shrink)
In a series of recent works, Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson insist that, given the ease by which irreversible destruction is achievable by a morally wicked minority, (i) strictly cognitive bio-enhancement is currently too risky, while (ii) moral bio-enhancement is plausibly morally mandatory (and urgently so). This article aims to show that the proposal Savulescu and Persson advance relies on several problematic assumptions about the separability of cognitive and moral enhancement as distinct aims. Specifically, we propose that the underpinnings of (...) Savulescu's and Persson's normative argument unravel once it is suitably clear how aiming to cognitively enhance an individual will in part require that one aim to bring about certain moral goods we show to be essential to cognitive flourishing; conversely, aiming to bring about moral enhancement in an individual must involve aiming to improve certain cognitive capacities we show to be essential to moral flourishing. After developing these points in some detail, and their implication for Savulescu's & Persson's proposal, we conclude by outlining some positive suggestions. (shrink)
Internalist approaches to epistemic justification are, though controversial, considered a live option in contemporary epistemology. Accordingly, if ‘active’ externalist approaches in the philosophy of mind—e.g. the extended cognition and extended mind theses—are _in principle_ incompatible with internalist approaches to justification in epistemology, then this will be an epistemological strike against, at least the _prima facie_ appeal of, active externalism. It is shown here however that, contrary to pretheoretical intuitions, neither the extended cognition _nor_ the extended mind theses are in principle (...) incompatible with two prominent versions of epistemic internalism—viz., accessibilism and mentalism. In fact, one possible diagnosis is that pretheoretical intuitions regarding the incompatibility of active externalism with epistemic internalism are symptomatic of a tacit yet incorrect identification of epistemic internalism with epistemic individualism. Thus, active externalism is not in principle incompatible with epistemic internalism per se and does not significantly restrict one’s options in epistemology. (shrink)
While openmindedness is often cited as a paradigmatic example of an intellectual virtue, the connection between openmindedness and truth is tenuous. Several strategies for reconciling this tension are considered, and each is shown to fail; it is thus claimed that openmindedness, when intellectually virtuous, bears no interesting essential connection to truth. In the final section, the implication of this result is assessed in the wider context of debates about epistemic value.
Duncan Pritchard has, in the years following his (2005) defence of a safety-based account of knowledge in Epistemic Luck, abjured his (2005) view that knowledge can be analysed exclusively in terms of a modal safety condition. He has since (Pritchard in Synthese 158:277–297, 2007; J Philosophic Res 34:33–45, 2009a, 2010) opted for an account according to which two distinct conditions function with equal importance and weight within an analysis of knowledge: an anti-luck condition (safety) and an ability condition-the latter being (...) a condition aimed at preserving what Pritchard now takes to be a fundamental insight about knowledge: that it arises from cognitive ability (Greco 2010; Sosa 2007, 2009). Pritchard calls his new view anti-luck virtue epistemology (ALVE). A key premise in Pritchard’s argument for ALVE is what I call the independence thesis; the thesis that satisfying neither the anti-luck condition nor the ability condition entails that the other is satisfied. Pritchard’s argument for the independence thesis relies crucially upon the case he makes for thinking that cognitive achievements are compatible with knowledge-undermining environmental luck—that is, the sort of luck widely thought to undermine knowledge in standard barn facade cases. In the first part of this paper, I outline the key steps in Pritchard’s argument for anti-luck virtue epistemology and highlight how it is that the compatibility of cognitive achievement and knowledge- undermining environmental luck is indispensible to the argument’s success. The second part of this paper aims to show that this compatibility premise crucial to Pritchard’s argument is incorrect. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: We argue that the so-called ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ Value Problems for knowledge are more easily solved than is widely appreciated. Pritchard, for instance, has suggested that only virtue-theoretic accounts have any hopes of adequately addressing these problems. By contrast, we argue that accounts of knowledge that are sensitive to the Gettier problem are able to overcome these challenges. To first approximation, the Primary Value Problem is a problem of understanding how the property of being knowledge confers more epistemic value (...) on a belief than the property of being true. The Secondary Value is a problem of understanding how, for instance, property of being knowledge confers more epistemic value on a belief than the property of being jointly true and justified. We argue that attending to the fact that beliefs are ongoing states reveals that there is no difficulty in appreciating how knowledge might ordinarily have more epistemic value than mere true belief or mere justified true belief. We also explore in what ways ordinary cases of knowledge might be of distinctive epistemic value. In the end, our proposal resembles the original Platonic suggestion in the Meno that knowledge is valuable because knowledge is somehow tied to the good of truth. (shrink)
Recent work in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2010a; Clark 2010b; Palermos 2014) can help to explain why certain kinds of assertions—made on the basis of information stored in our gadgets rather than in biological memory—are properly criticisable in light of misleading implicatures, while others are not.
Controversial view agnosticism (CVA) is the thesis that we are rationally obligated to withhold judgment about a large portion of our beliefs in controversial subject areas, such as philosophy, re- ligion, morality and politics. Given that one’s social identity is in no small part a function of one’s positive commitments in controversial areas, CVA has unsurprisingly been regarded as objection- ably ‘spineless.’ at said, CVA seems like an unavoidable consequence of a prominent view in the epistemology of disagreement—conformism—according to which (...) the rational response to discover- ing that someone you identify as an epistemic peer or expert about p disagrees with you vis-à-vis p is to withhold judgment. is paper proposes a novel way to maintain the core conciliatory in- sight without devolving into an agnosticism that is objectionably spineless. e approach offered takes as a starting point the observation that–for reasons that will be made clear—the contemporary debate has bypassed the issue of the reasonableness of maintaining, rather than giving up, represen- tational states weaker than belief in controversial areas. e new position developed and defended here explores this overlooked space; what results is a kind of controversial view agnosticism that is compatible with the kinds of commitments that are integral to social identity. (shrink)
Epistemic relativists often appeal to an epistemic incommensurability thesis. One notable example is the position advanced by Wittgenstein in On certainty (1969). However, Ian Hacking’s radical denial of the possibility of objective epistemic reasons for belief poses, we suggest, an even more forceful challenge to mainstream meta-epistemology. Our central objective will be to develop a novel strategy for defusing Hacking’s line of argument. Specifically, we show that the epistemic incommensurability thesis can be resisted even if we grant the very insights (...) that lead Hacking to claim that epistemic reasons are always relative to a style of reasoning. Surprisingly, the key to defusing the argument is to be found in recent mainstream work on the epistemic state of objectual understanding. (shrink)
If individual knowledge and justification can be vanquished by epistemic defeaters, then the same should go for group knowledge. Lackey (2014) has recently argued that one especially strong conception of group knowledge defended by Bird (2010) is incapable of preserving how it is that (group) knowledge is ever subject to ordinary mechanisms of epistemic defeat. Lackey takes it that her objections do not also apply to a more moderate articulation of group knowledge--one that is embraced widely in collective epistemology--and which (...) she does not challenge. This paper argues that given certain background premises that are embraced by orthodox thinking in collectivist epistemology, the more moderate account of group knowledge cannot make sense of either psychological or normative epistemic defeaters. I conclude by offering some suggestions for how the more moderate proposal might avoid this result. (shrink)
Anti-intellectualists about knowledge-how insist that, when an agent S knows how to φ, it is in virtue of some ability, rather than in virtue of any propositional attitudes, S has. Recently, a popular strategy for attacking the anti-intellectualist position proceeds by appealing to cases where an agent is claimed to possess a reliable ability to φ while nonetheless intuitively lacking knowledge-how to φ. John Bengson & Marc Moffett (2009; 2011a; 2011b) and Carlotta Pavese (2015a; 2015b) have embraced precisely this strategy (...) and have thus claimed, for different reasons, that anti-intellectualism is defective on the grounds that possessing the ability to φ is not sufficient for knowing how to φ. We investigate this strategy of argument-by-counterexample to the anti- intellectualist’s sufficiency thesis and show that, at the end of the day, anti-intellectualism remains unscathed. (shrink)
The Swamping Argument – highlighted by Kvanvig (2003; 2010) – purports to show that the epistemic value of truth will always swamp the epistemic value of any non-factive epistemic properties (e.g. justification) so that these properties can never add any epistemic value to an already-true belief. Consequently (and counter-intuitively), knowledge is never more epistemically valuable than mere true belief. We show that the Swamping Argument fails. Parity of reasoning yields the disastrous conclusion that nonfactive epistemic properties – mostly saliently justification (...) – are never epistemically valuable properties of a belief. We close by diagnosing why philosophers have been mistakenly attracted to the argument. (shrink)
The possibility of extended cognition invites the possibility of extended knowledge. We examine what is minimally required for such forms of technologically extended knowledge to arise and whether existing and future technologies can allow for such forms of epistemic extension. Answering in the positive, we explore some of the ensuing transformations in the ethical obligations and personal rights of the resulting ‘new humans.’.
Descartes’ demon is a deceiver: the demon makes things appear to you other than as they really are. However, as Descartes famously pointed out in the Second Meditation, not all knowledge is imperilled by this kind of deception. You still know you are a thinking thing. Perhaps, though, there is a more virulent demon in epistemic hell, one from which none of our knowledge is safe. Jonathan Schaffer (2010) thinks so. The “Debasing Demon” he imagines threatens knowledge not via the (...) truth condition on knowledge, but via the basing condition. This demon can cause any belief to seem like it’s held on a good basis, when it’s really held on a bad basis. Several recent critics (Brueckner (2011), Conee (2015), Ballantyne & Evans (2013)) grant Schaffer the possibility of such a debasing demon, and argue that the skeptical conclusion doesn’t follow. By contrast, we argue that on any plausible account of the epistemic basing relation, the “debasing demon” is impossible. Our argument for why this is so gestures, more generally, to the importance of avoiding common traps by embracing mistaken assumptions about what it takes for a belief to be based on a reason. (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard (2008, 2009, 2010, forthcoming) has argued for an elegant solution to what have been called the value problems for knowledge at the forefront of recent literature on epistemic value. As Pritchard sees it, these problems dissolve once it is recognized that that it is understanding-why, not knowledge, that bears the distinctive epistemic value often (mistakenly) attributed to knowledge. A key element of Pritchard’s revisionist argument is the claim that understanding-why always involves what he calls strong cognitive achievement—viz., cognitive (...) achievement that consists always in either (i) the overcoming of a significant obstacle or (ii) the exercise of a significant level of cognitive ability. After outlining Pritchard’s argument, we show (contra Pritchard) that understanding-why does not essentially involve strong cognitive achievement. Interestingly, in the cases in which understanding-why is distinctively valuable, it is (we argue) only because there is sufficiently rich objectual understanding in the background. If that’s right, then a plausible revisionist solution to the value problems must be sensitive to different kinds of understanding and what makes them valuable, respectively. (shrink)
In this paper we present two distinctly epistemological puzzles that arise for one who aspires to defend some plausible version of the precautionary principle. The first puzzle involves an application of contextualism in epistemology; and the second puzzle concerns the task of defending a plausible version of the precautionary principle that would not be invalidated by de minimis.
Philosophy of mind and cognitive science have recently become increasingly receptive to the hypothesis of extended cognition, according to which external artifacts such as our laptops and smartphones can—under appropriate circumstances—feature as material realizers of a person's cognitive processes. We argue that, to the extent that the hypothesis of extended cognition is correct, our legal and ethical theorizing and practice must be updated by broadening our conception of personal assault so as to include intentional harm toward gadgets that have been (...) appropriately integrated. We next situate the theoretical case for extended personal assault within the context of some recent ethical and legal cases and close with critical discussion. (shrink)
According to robust virtue epistemology , knowledge is type-identical with a particular species of cognitive achievement. The identification itself is subject to some criticism on the grounds that it fails to account for the anti-luck features of knowledge. Although critics have largely focused on environmental luck, the fundamental philosophical problem facing RVE is that it is not clear why it should be a distinctive feature of cognitive abilities that they ordinarily produce beliefs in a way that is safe. We propose (...) a novel way to resolve this problem. Key to our proposal will be an appreciation of different representational states beholden to truth. We suggest these different representational states are distinguished by how, in the proper governance of these states, the twin goods of attaining truth and avoiding error are weighted. Moreover, we explain how varieties of representational states line up with varieties of cognitive achievement such that knowledge, cum cognitive achievement, must be safe because of the kind of attempt at success that belief is—namely, an attempt that places the premium it does on avoiding error. (shrink)
We challenge a line of thinking at the fore of recent work on epistemic value: the line (suggested by Kvanvig in The value of knowledge and the pursuit of understanding, 2003 and others) that if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of mere true belief, then we have good reason to doubt its theoretical importance in epistemology. We offer a value-driven argument for the theoretical importance of knowledge—one that stands even if the value of knowledge is “swamped” (...) by the value of true belief. Specifically, we contend that even if knowledge itself has no special epistemic value, its relationship to other items of value—cognitive abilities—gives ample reason to locate the concept at the very core of epistemology. (shrink)
A very natural view about perceptual knowledge is articulated, one on which perceptual knowledge is closely related to perceptual discrimination, and which fits well with a relevant alternatives account of knowledge. It is shown that this kind of proposal faces a problem, and various options for resolving this difficulty are explored. In light of this discussion, a two-tiered relevant alternatives account of perceptual knowledge is offered which avoids the closure problem. It is further shown how this proposal can: accommodate our (...) intuitions about perceptual knowledge and perceptual discrimination in terms of the notion of primary relevance, give an account of how alternatives can be rationally excluded without appeal to perceptual discrimination in terms of the notion of secondary relevance, and deal with the problem posed by inverted Gettier cases, and hence explain what it means to rationally exclude alternatives which are of secondary relevance. (shrink)
According to reductive intellectualists about knowledge-how :147–190, 2008; Philos Phenomenol Res 78:439–467, 2009) knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. To the extent that this is right, then insofar as we might conceive of ways knowledge could be extended with reference to active externalist :7–19, 1998; Clark in Supersizing the mind: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008) approaches in the philosophy of mind, we should expect no interesting difference between the two. However, (...) insofar as anti-intellectualist approaches to knowledge-how are a viable option, there is an overlooked issue of how knowledge-how might be extended, via active externalism, in ways very differently from knowledge-that. This paper explores this overlooked space, and in doing so, illustrates how a novel form of extended knowledge-how emerges from a pairing of active externalism in the philosophy of mind with anti-intellectualism in the theory of knowledge. Crucial to our argument will be a new way of thinking about the extended mind thesis, as it pertains to the kinds of state one is in when one knows how to do something, and how this state connects with non-accidentally successful performance. (shrink)
I investigate the implication of the truth-relativist’s alleged ‘ faultless disagreements’ for issues in the epistemology of disagreement. A conclusion I draw is that the type of disagreement the truth-relativist claims to preserve fails in principle to be epistemically significant in the way we should expect disagreements to be in social-epistemic practice. In particular, the fact of faultless disagreement fails to ever play the epistemically significant role of making doxastic revision rationally required for either party in a disagreement. That the (...) truth-relativists’ disagreements over centred content fail to play this epistemically significant role that disagreements characteristically play in social epistemology should leave us sceptical that disagreement is what the truth-relativist has actually preserved. (shrink)
Expressivist views of an area of discourse encourage us to ask not about the nature of the relevant kinds of values but rather about the nature of the relevant kind of evaluations. Their answer to the latter question typically claims some interesting disanalogy between those kinds of evaluations and descriptions of the world. It does so in hope of providing traction against naturalism-inspired ontological and epistemological worries threatening more ‘realist’ positions. This is a familiar position regarding ethical discourse; however, some (...) authors have recently defended a similar view regarding epistemic discourse. Others have argued that epistemic expressivism faces special problems, not necessarily attaching to expressivism about other areas. Their arguments differ in interesting ways, but the common strategy is an attempt to show that the very sort of meta-epistemological theorizing needed to articulate and establish epistemic expressivism involves the epistemic expressivist in some sort of internal incoherence or self-defeat. That is, they think that articulating or defending the position requires implicit commitment to the negation of one of the positions core tenets. This paper responds to those arguments on behalf of epistemic expressivism, suggesting that they each misunderstand what is crucial to epistemic expressivism. By responding to these arguments, we hope to achieve more clarity about what epistemic expressivism is and why one might want to endorse it in a meta-epistemology. (shrink)
In Chapter 3 of Judgment and Agency, Ernest Sosa (2015) explicates the concept of a fully apt performance. In the course of doing so, he draws from illustrative examples of practical performances and applies lessons drawn to the case of cognitive performances, and in particular, to the cog- nitive performance of judging. Sosa's examples in the practical sphere are rich and instructive. But there is, I will argue, an interesting disanalogy between the practical and cognitive examples he relies on. Ultimately, (...) I think the source of the disanalogy is a problematic picture of the cogni- tive performance of guessing and its connection to knowledge and defeat. Once this critical line of argument is advanced, an alternative picture of guessing, qua cognitive performance, is articulated, one which avoids the problems discussed, and yet remains compatible with Sosa's broader framework. (shrink)
The arguments for and against a truth-relativist semantics for propositional knowledge attributions (KTR) have been debated almost exclusively in the philosophy of language. But what implications would this semantic thesis have in epistemology? This question has been largely unexplored. The aim of this paper is to establish and critique several ramifications of KTR in mainstream epistemology. The first section of the paper develops, over a series of arguments, the claim that MacFarlane's (2005, 2010) core argument for KTR ultimately motivates (for (...) better or worse) the extension of a truth-relativist semantics to a subset of understanding attributions – attributions of understanding-why. I conclude by presenting some reasons to think that even if KTR were otherwise plausible, a truth-relativist semantics for understanding-why attributions is not. These claims, taken together, constitute a kind of epistemological argument against MacFarlane-style truth-relativism for knowledge attributions. (shrink)
According to the canonical formulation of the modal account of luck [e.g. Pritchard ], an event is lucky just when that event occurs in the actual world but not in a wide class of the nearest possible worlds where the relevant conditions for that event are the same as in the actual world. This paper argues, with reference to a novel variety of counterexample, that it is a mistake to focus, when assessing a given event for luckiness, on events distributed (...) over just the nearest possible worlds. More specifically, our objection to the canonical formulation of the modal account of luck reveals that whether an event is lucky depends crucially on events distributed over all possible worlds–viz., across the modal universe. It is shown that an amended modal account of luck which respects this point has the additional virtue of avoiding a notable kind of counterexample to modal accounts of luck proposed by Lackey. (shrink)
Philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2010; Palermos 2014) have recently become increasingly receptive tothe hypothesis of extended cognition, according to which external artifacts such as our laptops and smartphones can—under appropriate circumstances—feature as material realisers of a person’s cognitive processes. We argue that, to the extent that the hypothesis of extended cognition is correct, our legal and ethical theorising and practice must be updated, by broadening our conception of personal assault so as to (...) include intentional harm towards gadgets that have been appropriately integrated. We next situate the theoretical case for extended personal assault within the context of some recent ethical and legal cases and close with some critical discussion. (shrink)
Insight often strikes us blind; when we aren’t expecting it, we suddenly see a connection that previously eluded us—a kind of ‘Aha!’ experience. People with a propensity to such experiences are regarded as insightful, and insightfulness is a paradigmatic intellectual virtue. What’s not clear, however, is just what it is in virtue of which being such that these experiences tend to happen to one renders one intellectually virtuous. This paper draws from both virtue epistemology as well as empirical work on (...) the psychology of problem solving and creativity to make some inroads in accounting for insightfulness as an intellectual virtue. Important to the view advanced is that virtuously insightful individuals manifest certain skills which both cultivate insight experiences (even if not by directly bringing them about) and enable such individuals to move in an epistemically responsible way from insight experience to epistemic endorsement. (shrink)
We show that the contemporary debate surrounding the question “What is the norm of assertion?” presupposes what we call the quantitative view, i.e. the view that this question is best answered by determining how much epistemic support is required to warrant assertion. We consider what Jennifer Lackey ( 2010 ) has called cases of isolated second-hand knowledge and show—beyond what Lackey has suggested herself—that these cases are best understood as ones where a certain type of understanding , rather than knowledge, (...) constitutes the required epistemic credential to warrant assertion. If we are right that understanding (and not just knowledge) is the epistemic norm for a restricted class of assertions, then this straightforwardly undercuts not only the widely supposed quantitative view, but also a more general presupposition concerning the universalisability of some norm governing assertion—the presumption (almost entirely unchallenged since Williamson’s 1996 paper) that any epistemic norm that governs some assertions should govern assertions—as a class of speech act—uniformly. (shrink)
One of the deepest ideological divides in contemporary epistemology concerns the relative importance of belief versus credence. A prominent consideration in favor of credence-based epistemology is the ease with which it appears to account for rational action. In contrast, cases with risky payoff structures threaten to break the link between rational belief and rational action. This threat poses a challenge to traditional epistemology, which maintains the theoretical prominence of belief. The core problem, we suggest, is that belief may not be (...) enough to register all aspects of a subject’s epistemic position with respect to any given proposition. We claim this problem can be solved by introducing other doxastic attitudes—genuine representations—that differ in strength from belief. The resulting alternative picture, a kind of doxastic states pluralism, retains the central features of traditional epistemology—most saliently, an emphasis on truth as a kind of objective accuracy—while adequately accounting for rational action. (shrink)
Abstract Do the central aims of epistemology, like those of moral philosophy, require that we designate some important place for those concepts located between the thin-normative and the non-normative? Put another way, does epistemology need ?thick? evaluative concepts? There are inveterate traditions in analytic epistemology which, having legitimized a certain way of viewing the nature and scope of epistemology's subject matter, give this question a negative verdict; further, they have carried with them a tacit commitment to what we argue to (...) be an epistemic analogue of the reductionistic centralist thesis that Bernard Williams in our view successfully challenged in ethics. In this essay, we challenge these traditional dogmas and in doing so align ourselves with what has been recently called the ?Value Turn? in epistemology. From this perspective, we defend that, contrary to tradition, epistemology does need thick evaluative concepts. Further, the sort of theories that will be able to give thick evaluative concepts a deservedly central role in both belief and agent evaluation are those non-centralist projects that fall within what we call the second-wave of virtue epistemology. We recognize that, in breaking from centralism, there is a worry that a resulting anti-centralist theory will be reductionistic in the other direction- making the thick primary. We contend however that second-wave virtue epistemologies should be thought to provide the wave of the right thickness, and as such, constitute the most promising approaches within a field that has become increasingly more normative, diverse and expansive than was the traditional set of problems from which it emerged. (shrink)
While it is widely regarded that intellectual humility is among the intellectual virtues, there is as of yet little consensus on the matter of what possessing and exercising intellectual humility consists in, and how it should be best understood as advancing our epistemic goals. For example, does intellectual humility involve an underestimation of one’s intellectual abilities, or rather, does it require an accurate conception? Is intellectual humility a fundamentally interpersonal/social virtue, or might it be valuable to exercise in isolation? To (...) what extent does intellectual humility demand of us an appreciation of how the success of our inquiries depends on features of our social and physical environment beyond our control? These are just a few of the many questions that are crucial to getting a grip on this intellectual virtue and why we might aspire to cultivate it. Furthermore, and apart from the nature and value of humility, it is worthwhile to consider how this notion, properly understood, might have import for other philosophical debates, including those about (for example) scepticism, assertion, epistemic individualism and anti-individualism, and the philosophy of education. This special issue brings together a range of different philosophical perspectives on these and related questions to do with intellectual humility with an aim to contributing to this important and timely topic. (shrink)
Two arguments against the compatibility of epistemic internalism and content externalism are considered. Both arguments are shown to fail, because they equivocate on the concept of justification involved in their premises. To spell out the involved equivocation, a distinction between subjective and objective justification is introduced, which can also be independently motivated on the basis of a wide range of thought experiments to be found in the mainstream literature on epistemology. The subjective/objective justification distinction is also ideally suited for providing (...) new insights with respect to central issues within epistemology, including the internalism/externalism debate and the New Evil Demon intuition. (shrink)
The Neo-Moorean response to the radical skeptical challenge boldly maintains that we can know we’re not the victims of radical skeptical hypotheses; accordingly, our everyday knowledge that would otherwise be threatened by our inability to rule out such hypotheses stands unthreatened. Given the leverage such an approach has against the skeptic from the very start, the Neo-Moorean line is an especially popular one; as we shall see, though, it faces several commonly overlooked problems. An initial problem is that this particular (...) brand of anti-skeptical strategy is available only to a theory of knowledge that will compromise itself to especially weak epistemic standards—indeed, standards as weak as our epistemic grounds are for accepting the denials of skeptical hypotheses. With this said, the aim here is to investigate whether the Neo-Moorean line could be advanced against the skeptic in a way that wouldn’t require wholesale lowering of epistemic standards. Unfortunately, as we’ll see, Sosa’s (2007; 2009) view as well as what I argue to be the other two most plausible contender-views for maintaining a Neo-Moorean line—Greco’s and Pritchard’s—run (for similar reasons) into dead ends. The way forward, I’ll argue, is to take on board a unique variety of robust virtue epistemology according to which knowledge is thought to be situated a certain way within a gradient balance between ability and luck. (shrink)
In a recent paper in this journal, we proposed two novel puzzles associated with the precautionary principle. Both are puzzles that materialise, we argue, once we investigate the principle through an epistemological lens, and each constitutes a philosophical hurdle for any proponent of a plausible version of the precautionary principle. Steglich-Petersen claims, also in this journal, that he has resolved our puzzles. In this short note, we explain why we remain skeptical.
Pascal Engel (2008) has insisted that a number of notable strategies for rejecting the knowledge norm of assertion are put forward on the basis of the wrong kinds of reasons. A central aim of this paper will be to establish the contrast point: I argue that one very familiar strategy for defending the knowledge norm of assertion—viz., that it is claimed to do better in various respects than its competitors (e.g. the justification and the truth norms)— relies on a presupposition (...) that is shown to be ultimately under motivated. That presupposition is the uniqueness thesis—that there is a unique epistemic rule for assertion, and that such a rule will govern assertions uniformly. In particular, the strategy I shall take here will be to challenge the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm in a way that at the same time counts against Williamson’s (2000) own rationale for the uniqueness thesis. However, rather than to challenge the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm via the familiar style of ‘expert opinion’ and, more generally, ‘second-hand knowledge’ cases (e.g. Lackey (2008)), a strategy that has recently been called into question by Benton (2014), I’ll instead advance a very different line of argument against the sufficiency thesis, one which turns on a phenomenon I call epistemic hypocrisy. (shrink)
Contemporary debates about epistemic luck and its relation to knowledge have traditionally proceeded against a tacit background commitment to cognitive internalism, the thesis that cognitive processes play out inside the head. In particular, safety-based approaches (e.g., Pritchard 2005; 2007; Luper-Foy 1984; Sainsbury 1997; Sosa 1999; Williamson 2000) reveal this commitment by taking for granted a traditional internalist construal of what I call the cognitive fixedness thesis—viz., the thesis that the cognitive process that is being employed in the actual world is (...) always ‘held fixed’ when we go out to nearby possible worlds to assess whether the target belief is lucky in a way that is incompatible with knowledge. However, for those inclined to replace cognitive internalism with the extended mind thesis (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998), a very different, ‘active externalist’ version of the cognitive fixedness thesis becomes the relevant one for the purposes of assessing a belief’s safety. The aim here will be to develop this point in a way that draws out some of the important ramifications it has for how we think about safety, luck and knowledge. (shrink)
This paper has two central aims. First, we motivate a puzzle. The puzzle features four independently plausible but jointly inconsistent claims. One of the four claims is the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm of assertion (KNA-S), according to which one is properly epistemically positioned to assert that p if one knows that p. Second, we propose that rejecting (KNA-S) is the best way out of the puzzle. Our argument to this end appeals to the epistemic value of intellectual humility (...) in social-epistemic practice. (shrink)