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.
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)
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)
YouTube has been implicated in the transformation of users into extremists and conspiracy theorists. The alleged mechanism for this radicalizing process is YouTube’s recommender system, which is optimized to amplify and promote clips that users are likely to watch through to the end. YouTube optimizes for watch-through for economic reasons: people who watch a video through to the end are likely to then watch the next recommended video as well, which means that more advertisements can be served to them. This (...) is a seemingly innocuous design choice, but it has a troubling side-effect. Critics of YouTube have alleged that the recommender system tends to recommend extremist content and conspiracy theories, as such videos are especially likely to capture and keep users’ attention. To date, the problem of radicalization via the YouTube recommender system has been a matter of speculation. The current study represents the first systematic, pre-registered attempt to establish whether and to what extent the recommender system tends to promote such content. We begin by contextualizing our study in the framework of technological seduction. Next, we explain our methodology. After that, we present our results, which are consistent with the radicalization hypothesis. Finally, we discuss our findings, as well as directions for future research and recommendations for users, industry, and policy-makers. (shrink)
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.
This paper is about two topics: metaepistemological absolutism and the epistemic principles governing perceptual warrant. Our aim is to highlight – by taking the debate between dogmatists and conservativists about perceptual warrant as a case study – a surprising and hitherto unnoticed problem with metaepistemological absolutism, at least as it has been influentially defended by Paul Boghossian (2006a) as the principal metaepistemological contrast point to relativism. What we find is that the metaepistemological commitments at play on both sides of this (...) dogmatism/conservativism debate do not line up with epistemic relativism nor do they line up with absolutism, at least as Boghossian articulates this position. What this case study reveals is the need in metaepistemological option space for the recognition of a weaker and less tendentious form of absolutism, what we call “environment relativism”. On this view, epistemic principles are knowable, objective, and they can serve as the basis of particular epistemic evaluations, but their validity is relative to the wider global environment in which they are applied. (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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
Reductive intellectualists about knowledge-how hold, contra Ryle, that knowing how to do something is just a kind of propositional knowledge. In a similar vein, traditional reductivists about understanding-why insist, in accordance with a tradition beginning with Aristotle, that the epistemic standing one attains when one understands why something is so is itself just a kind of propositional knowledge—viz., propositional knowledge of causes. A point that has been granted on both sides of these debates is that if these reductive proposals are (...) right, then knowledge-how and understanding-why should be susceptible to the same extent as knowledge-that is to being undermined by epistemic luck. This paper reports experimental results that test these luck-based predictions. Interestingly, these results suggest a striking positive correlation between self-reported philosophical expertise and attributions of knowledge-how, understanding-why and knowledge-that which run contrary to reductive proposals. We contextualize these results by showing how they align very well with a particular kind of overarching non-reductive proposal, one that two of the authors have defended elsewhere according to which knowledge-how and understanding-why, but not knowledge-that, essentially involve cognitive achievement. We conclude by situating the interpretive narrative advanced within contemporary discussions about the role of expertise in philosophical judgment. (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)
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)
Empirical work on motivated reasoning suggests that our judgments are influenced to a surprising extent by our wants, desires and preferences (Kahan 2016; Lord, Ross, and Lepper 1979; Molden and Higgins 2012; Taber and Lodge 2006). How should we evaluate the epistemic status of beliefs formed through motivated reasoning? For example, are such beliefs epistemically justified? Are they candidates for knowledge? In liberal democracies, these questions are increasingly controversial as well as politically timely (Beebe et al. 2018; Lynch forthcoming, 2018; (...) Slothuus and de Vreese 2010). And yet, the epistemological significance of motivated reasoning has been almost entirely ignored by those working in mainstream epistemology. We aim to rectify this oversight. Using politically motivated reasoning as a case study, we show how motivated reasoning gives rise to three distinct kinds of skeptical challenges. We conclude by showing how the skeptical import of motivated reasoning has some important ramifications for how we should think about the demands of intellectual humility. (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)
We have written an introduction to epistemology that is accessible, engaging, and up to date. (We hope.) -/- Introduction Chapter 1: The Regress Problem Chapter 2: Perception Chapter 3: The Apriori Chapter 4: Inference Chapter 5: On Knowing the Truth Chapter 6: Memory Chapter 7: Testimony Chapter 8: Kinds of Knowledge Chapter 9: Internalism vs. Externalism Chapter 10: The Ethics of Belief Chapter 11: Skepticism .
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)
We know facts, but we also know how to do things. To know a fact is to know that a proposition is true. But does knowing how to ride a bike amount to knowledge of propositions? This is a challenging question and one that deeply divides the contemporary landscape. A Critical Introduction to Knowledge-How introduces, outlines, and critically evaluates various contemporary debates surrounding the nature of knowledge-how. Carter and Poston show that situating the debate over the nature of knowledge-how in (...) other epistemological debates provides new ways to make progress. In particular, Carter and Poston explore the question of what knowledge-how involves, and how it might come apart from propositional knowledge, by engaging with key epistemological topics including epistemic luck, knowledge of language, epistemic value, virtue epistemology and social epistemology. New frontiers for research on knowledge-how are also explored relating to the internalism - externalism debate as well as embodied and extended knowledge. A Critical Introduction to Knowledge-How provides an accessible introduction to the main arguments in this important and thriving debate suited for undergraduates and postgraduates in philosophy and related areas. A strength of the book is its methodology which places a premium on placing the debates over knowledge-how in a broader conversation over the nature of knowledge. This book also offers an opinionated discussion of various lines of argument which will be of interest to professional philosophers as well. (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)
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)
Should we regard Jennifer Lackey’s ‘Creationist Teacher’ as understanding evolution, even though she does not, given her religious convictions, believe its central claims? We think this question raises a range of important and unexplored questions about the relationship between understanding, factivity and belief. Our aim will be to diagnose this case in a principled way, and in doing so, to make some progress toward appreciating what objectual understanding—i.e., understanding a subject matter or body of information—demands of us. Here is the (...) plan. After some ground clearing in §1, §2 outlines and motivates a plausible working model—moderate factivity—for characterising the sense in which objectual understanding should be regarded as factive. §3 shows how the datum that we can understand false theories can, despite initial suggestions to the contrary, be assimilated straightforwardly within the moderate factivity model. §4 highlights how the inverse kind of case to that explored in §3—viz., a variant of Lackey’s creationist teacher case—poses special problems for moderate factivity. With reference to recent work on moral understanding by Hills, §5 proposes a solution to the problem, and §6 attempts to diagnose why it is that we might originally have been led to draw the wrong conclusion. (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)
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)
Extended cognition theorists argue that cognitive processes constitutively depend on resources that are neither organically composed, nor located inside the bodily boundaries of the agent, provided certain conditions on the integration of those processes into the agent’s cognitive architecture are met. Epistemologists, however, worry that in so far as such cognitively integrated processes are epistemically relevant, agents could thus come to enjoy an untoward explosion of knowledge. This paper develops and defends an approach to cognitive integration—cluster-model functionalism—which finds application in (...) both domains of inquiry, and which meets the challenge posed by putative cases of cognitive or epistemic bloat. (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)
According to one prominent view of exercising abilities (e.g., Millar 2009), a subject, S, counts as exercising an ability to ϕ if and only if S successfully ϕs. Such an ‘exercise-success’ thesis looks initially very plausible for abilities, perhaps even obviously or analytically true. In this paper, however, I will be defending the position that one can in fact exercise an ability to do one thing by doing some entirely distinct thing, and in doing so I’ll highlight various reasons (epistemological, (...) metaphysical and linguistic) that favor the alternative approach I develop over views that hold that the exercise of an ability is a success notion in the sense Millar maintains. (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)
A popular view in mainstream social epistemology maintains that, in the face of a revealed peer disagreement over p, neither party should remain just as confident vis-a-vis p as she initially was. This ‘conciliatory’ insight has been defended with regard to individual epistemic peers. However, to the extent that (non-summativist) groups are candidates for group knowledge and beliefs, we should expect groups (no less than individuals) to be in the market for disagreements. The aim here will be to carve out (...) and explore an extension of the conciliatory insight from individual peer disagreement to group peer disagreement; in doing so, I'll raise and address three key problems that face any plausible defence of such a constraint. (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)
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.’.
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)
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)
First, a theoretical background to the volume’s topic, extended epistemology, is provided by a brief outline of its cross-disciplinary theoretical lineage and some key themes. In particular, it is shown how and why the emergence of recent and more egalitarian thinking in the cognitive sciences about the nature of human cognizing and its bounds—viz., the so-called ‘extended cognition’ program, and the related idea of an ‘extended mind’—has important and interesting ramifications in epistemology. Second, an overview is provided of the papers (...) included as chapters in the volume. The sixteen contributions are divided into two categories: those that engage with foundational issues to do with extended epistemology, and those that pursue applications of extended epistemology to new areas of research. (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)
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)
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 and with what do they contrast? 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 which Bernard Williams, in our view, successfully repudiates in ethics. In this essay, we challenge the epistemic analogue of the traditional but mistaken thesis. In offering an alternative to it which provides a comfortable home for the epistemic normativity which attends thick evaluative concepts, we align ourselves with what has been recently called the Value Turn in epistemology. From this perspective, we defend that, contrary to tradition, as influenced by centralist assumptions, epistemology does need thick evaluative concepts. Further, the sort of theories that will be able to give thick evaluative concepts an irreducible role in both belief and agent evaluation are adequately social epistemologies. What loosely refer to as second-wave of virtue epistemology is the widespread interest to provide a comfortable home for the role of thick normativity, as it is connected both with epistemic evaluation, and guidance. 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 take different sources of social and epistemic value into account; they seek the 'right thickness' to ride with conception of epistemology and a field which due in part to virtue theory's resurgence, is today normative, diverse and expansive than was the traditional set of problems from which it emerged. (shrink)
Strange inversions occur when things work in ways that turn received wisdom upside down. Hume offered a strangely inverted story about causation, and Darwin, about apparent design. Dennett suggests that a strange inversion also occurs when we project our own reactive complexes outward, painting our world with elusive properties like cuteness, sweetness, blueness, sexiness, funniness, and more. Such properties strike us as experiential causes, but they are really effects—a kind of shorthand for whole sets of reactive dispositions rooted in the (...) nuts and bolts of human information processing. Understanding the nature and origins of that strange inversion, Dennett believes, is thus key to understanding the nature and origins of human experience itself. This paper examines this claim, paying special attention to recent formulations that link that strange inversion to the emerging vision of the brain as a Bayesian estimator, constantly seeking to predict the unfolding sensory barrage. (shrink)
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 imperiled 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 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 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)
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)
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)
Full aptness is the most important concept in performance-based virtue epistemology. The structure of full aptness, in epistemology and elsewhere, is bi-levelled. At the first level, we evaluate beliefs, like performances, on the basis of whether they are successful, competent, and apt – viz., successful because competent. But the fact that aptness itself can be fragile – as it is when an apt performance could easily have been inapt – points to a higher zone of quality beyond mere aptness. To (...) break in to this zone, one must not merely perform aptly but also in doing so safeguard in skilled ways against certain risks to inaptness. But how must this be done, exactly? This paper has two central aims. First, I challenge the credentials of mainstream thinking about full-aptness by raising some new and serious problems for the view. I then propose a novel account of full aptness – what I call de minimis normativism – which keeps all the advantages of the canonical view, avoids its problems entirely, and offers some additional payoffs. (shrink)
Controversial view agnosticism 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, religion, 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 objectionably ‘spineless.’ That said, CVA seems like an unavoidable consequence of a prominent view in the epistemology of disagreement—conformism—according to which the rational response (...) to discovering that someone you identify as an epistemic peer or expert about p disagrees with you vis-à-vis p is to withhold judgment. This paper proposes a novel way to maintain the core conciliatory insight without devolving into an agnosticism that is objectionably spineless. The 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, representational states weaker than belief in controversial areas. The new position developed and defended here explores this overlooked space; what results is a kind of controversial view. (shrink)
In recent work, Mark Alfano and Jennifer Saul have put forward a similar kind of provocative sceptical challenge. Both appeal to recent literature in empirical psychology to show that our judgments across a wide range of cases are riddled with unreliable cognitive heuristics and biases. Likewise, they both conclude that we know a lot less than we have hitherto supposed, at least on standard conceptions of what knowledge involves. It is argued that even if one grants the empirical claims that (...) Saul and Alfano make, the sceptical conclusion that they canvass might not be as dramatic as it first appears. It is further argued, however, that one can reinstate a more dramatic sceptical conclusion by targeting their argument not at knowledge but rather at the distinct epistemic standing of understanding. (shrink)
Extended Cognition examines the way in which features of a subject's cognitive environment can become constituent parts of the cognitive process itself. This volume explores the epistemological ramifications of this idea, bringing together academics from a variety of different areas, to investigate the very idea of an extended epistemology.