This paper explores the relationship between Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel, Beloved, and F. W. J. Schelling’s 1813 draft of Ages of the World. It shows that Die Weltalter, contrary to much recent scholarship, which often stresses the many ways Schelling anticipated the antimetaphysical trends of post-Hegelian thought, should be first approached as a genuine attempt tobe faithful to the event of first creation and time’s “indivisible remainders”. The paper will show that Schelling’s “indivisible remainders”, the forgotten and “disremembered” of history, (...) force his thought to the limits of Romantic and idealist reflection and toward the traumatic encounters of Beloved. Morrison’s depiction of the irrepressible longing for life and recognition amid the pain and ugliness of American slavery parallels Schelling’s efforts to understand the tremendous need for life and fellowship that first urged god toward creation, when primordial longing was overcome in a child and a god entered time. (shrink)
Like other epistemic activities, inquiry seems to be governed by norms. Some have argued that one such norm forbids us from believing the answer to a question and inquiring into it at the same time. But another, hither-to neglected norm seems to permit just this sort of cognitive arrangement when we seek to confirm what we currently believe. In this paper, I suggest that both norms are plausible and that the conflict between them constitutes a puzzle. Drawing on the felicity (...) conditions of confirmation requests and the biased interrogatives used to perform them, I argue that the puzzle is genuine. I conclude by considering a response to the puzzle that has implications for the debate regarding the relationship between credences and beliefs. (shrink)
Conceptual engineers have recently turned to the notion of conceptual functions to do a variety of explanatory work. Functions are supposed to explain what speakers are debating about in metalinguistic negotiations, to capture when two concepts are about the same thing, and to help guide our normative inquiries into which concepts we should use. In this paper, I argue that this recent “functional turn” should be deflated. Contra most interpreters, we should not try to use a substantive notion of conceptual (...) functions to handle various problems for conceptual engineering. The primary accounts of function appealed to by conceptual engineers, namely etiological and system functions, are not suited to handle many of the problems functions are supposed to handle, and it’s dubious whether any other account of function would do better. Instead of trying to use substantive functions to solve theoretical problems, we should deflate those problems themselves by focusing only on what matters to us, as speakers or theorists, in a given inquiry. (shrink)
Here I defend dispositionalism about meaning and rule-following from Kripkenstein's infamous anti-dispositionalist arguments. The problems of finitude, error, and normativity are all addressed. The general lesson I draw is that Kripkenstein's arguments trade on an overly simplistic version of dispositionalism.
Conceptual engineers sometimes say they want to change what our words mean. If a certain kind of externalism is true, it might be nearly impossible to do that. For some of the external factors that determine meaning, like metaphysical naturalness or past usage, are not within our power to change. And if we can’t change what determines meaning, then we can’t change meaning. I argue that, if this sort of externalism is true, then conceptual engineers didn’t want to change what (...) our words mean anyway. And if they did, they could always engineer externalism out of the language, or engineer a new sense of ‘meaning’ which could be changed. So the truth of externalism does not pose a threat to the possibility of conceptual engineering. (shrink)
The study of defeasible reasoning unites epistemologists with those working in AI, in part, because both are interested in epistemic rationality. While it is traditionally thought to govern the formation and (with)holding of beliefs, epistemic rationality may also apply to the interrogative attitudes associated with our core epistemic practice of inquiry, such as wondering, investigating, and curiosity. Since generally intelligent systems should be capable of rational inquiry, AI researchers have a natural interest in the norms that govern interrogative attitudes. Following (...) its recent coinage, we use the term ``zetetic'' to refer to the properties and norms associated with the capacity to inquire. In this paper, we argue that zetetic norms can be modeled via defeasible inferences to and from questions---a.k.a erotetic inferences---in a manner similar to the way norms of epistemic rationality are represented by defeasible inference rules. We offer a sequent calculus that accommodates the unique features of ``erotetic defeat" and that exhibits the computational properties needed to inform the design of zetetic agents. The calculus presented here is an improved version of the one presented in Millson (2019), extended to cover a new class of defeasible erotetic inferences. (shrink)
This paper investigates the determinacy of mathematics. We begin by clarifying how we are understanding the notion of determinacy before turning to the questions of whether and how famous independence results bear on issues of determinacy in mathematics. From there, we pose a metasemantic challenge for those who believe that mathematical language is determinate, motivate two important constraints on attempts to meet our challenge, and then use these constraints to develop an argument against determinacy and discuss a particularly popular approach (...) to resolving indeterminacy, before offering some brief closing reflections. We believe our discussion poses a serious challenge for most philosophical theories of mathematics, since it puts considerable pressure on all views that accept a non-trivial amount of determinacy for even basic arithmetic. (shrink)
In recent years, the e ffort to formalize erotetic inferences (i.e., inferences to and from questions) has become a central concern for those working in erotetic logic. However, few have sought to formulate a proof theory for these inferences. To fill this lacuna, we construct a calculus for (classes of) sequents that are sound and complete for two species of erotetic inferences studied by Inferential Erotetic Logic (IEL): erotetic evocation and regular erotetic implication. While an attempt has been made to (...) axiomatize the former in a sequent system, there is currently no proof theory for the latter. Moreover, the extant axiomatization of erotetic evocation fails to capture its defeasible character and provides no rules for introducing or eliminating question-forming operators. In contrast, our calculus encodes defeasibility conditions on sequents and provides rules governing the introduction and elimination of erotetic formulas. We demonstrate that an elimination theorem holds for a version of the cut rule that applies to both declarative and erotetic formulas and that the rules for the axiomatic account of question evocation in IEL are admissible in our system. (shrink)
This paper formulates a general epistemological argument against what I call non-causal realism, generalizing domain specific arguments by Benacerraf, Field, and others. First I lay out the background to the argument, making a number of distinctions that are sometimes missed in discussions of epistemological arguments against realism. Then I define the target of the argument—non-causal realism—and argue that any non-causal realist theory, no matter the subject matter, cannot be given a reasonable epistemology and so should be rejected. Finally I discuss (...) and respond to several possible responses to the argument. In addition to clearing up and avoiding numerous misunderstandings of arguments of this kind that are quite common in the literature, this paper aims to present and endorse a rigorous and fully general epistemological argument against realism. (shrink)
What is the source of logical and mathematical truth? This book revitalizes conventionalism as an answer to this question. Conventionalism takes logical and mathematical truth to have their source in linguistic conventions. This was an extremely popular view in the early 20th century, but it was never worked out in detail and is now almost universally rejected in mainstream philosophical circles. Shadows of Syntax is the first book-length treatment and defense of a combined conventionalist theory of logic and mathematics. It (...) argues that our conventions, in the form of syntactic rules of language use, are perfectly suited to explain the truth, necessity, and a priority of logical and mathematical claims, as well as our logical and mathematical knowledge. (shrink)
Distinguishing “business” concerns from “ethical” values is not only an unfruitful and meaningless task, it is also an impossible endeavor. Nevertheless, fruitless attempts to separate facts from values produce detrimental second-order effects, both for theory and practice, and should therefore be abandoned. We highlight examples of exemplary research that integrate economic and moral considerations, and point the way to a business ethics discipline that breaks new groundby putting ideas and narratives about business together with ideas and narratives about ethics.
Several recent epistemologists have used understanding-assent links in theories of a priori knowledge and justification, but Williamson influentially argued against the existence of such links. Here I (1) clarify the nature of understanding-assent links and their role in epistemology; (2) clarify and clearly formulate Williamson’s arguments against their existence; (3) argue that Williamson has failed to successfully establish his conclusion; and (4) rebut Williamson’s claim that accepting understanding-assent links amounts to a form of dogmatism.
Recently a number of works in meta-ontology have used a variant of J.H. Harris's collapse argument in the philosophy of logic as an argument against Eli Hirsch's quantifier variance. There have been several responses to the argument in the literature, but none of them have identified the central failing of the argument, viz., the argument has two readings: one on which it is sound but doesn't refute quantifier variance and another on which it is unsound. The central lesson I draw (...) is that arguments against quantifier variance must pay strict attention to issues of translation and interpretation. The paper also has a substantial appendix in which I prove the equivalence of plural mereological nihilism and standard first-order atomistic mereology; results of this kind are often appealed to in the literature on quantifier variance but without many details on the nature or proof of the result. (shrink)
Our relationship to the infinite is controversial. But it is widely agreed that our powers of reasoning are finite. I disagree with this consensus; I think that we can, and perhaps do, engage in infinite reasoning. Many think it is just obvious that we can't reason infinitely. This is mistaken. Infinite reasoning does not require constructing infinitely long proofs, nor would it gift us with non-recursive mental powers. To reason infinitely we only need an ability to perform infinite inferences. I (...) argue that we have this ability. My argument looks to our best current theories of inference and considers examples of apparent infinite reasoning. My position is controversial, but if I'm right, our theories of truth, mathematics, and beyond could be transformed. And even if I'm wrong, a more careful consideration of infinite reasoning can only deepen our understanding of thinking and reasoning. -/- (Note for readers: the paper's brief discussion of uniform reflection and omega inconsistency is misleading. The imagined interlocutor's argument makes an assumption about the PA-provability of provability generalizations that, while true for the Godel sentence's instances, is unjustified, in general. This means my position is stronger against this objection than the paper suggests, since omega inconsistent theories are not automatically inconsistent with their uniform reflection principles, you also need to assume the arithmetically true Pi-2 sentences.). (shrink)
In “Truth by Convention” W.V. Quine gave an influential argument against logical conventionalism. Even today his argument is often taken to decisively refute logical conventionalism. Here I break Quine’s arguments into two— the super-task argument and the regress argument—and argue that while these arguments together refute implausible explicit versions of conventionalism, they cannot be successfully mounted against a more plausible implicit version of conventionalism. Unlike some of his modern followers, Quine himself recognized this, but argued that implicit conventionalism was explanatorily (...) idle. Against this I show that pace Quine’s claim that implicit conventionalism has no content beyond the claim that logic is firmly accepted, implicit rules of inference can be used to distinguish the firmly accepted from the conventional. As part of my case, I argue that positing syntactic rules of inference as part of our linguistic competence follows from the same methodology that leads contemporary linguists and cognitive scientists to posit rules of phonology, morphology, and grammar. The upshot of my discussion is a diagnosis of the fallacy in Quine’s master critique of logical conventionalism and a re-opening of possibilities for an attractive conventionalist theory of logic. (shrink)
An influential argument against the possibility of truth by linguistic convention holds that while conventions can determine which proposition a given sentence expresses, they (conventions) are powerless to make propositions true or false. This argument has been offered in the literature by Lewy, Yablo, Boghossian, Sider and others. But despite its influence and prima facie plausibility, the argument: (i) equivocates between different senses of “making true”; (ii) mistakenly assumes hyperintensional contexts are intensional; and (iii) relies upon an implausible vision of (...) the way that language works. (shrink)
Some philosophers have argued that putative logical disagreements aren't really disagreements at all since when you change your logic you thereby change the meanings of your logical constants. According to this picture classical logicians and intuitionists don't really disagree, they just mean different things by terms like “not” and “or”. Quine gave an infamous “translation argument” for this view. Here I clarify the change of logic, change of meaning (CLCM) thesis, examine and find fault with Quine's translation argument for the (...) thesis, offer a modified translation argument in its stead, defend my modified argument from a crucial objection, discuss where the CLCM thesis leaves logical disputes, and discuss if and how the thesis coheres with Quine's influential view of logic. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard is well-known as an original philosophical thinker, but less known is his reliance upon and development of the Christian tradition of the Seven Deadly Sins, in particular the vice of acedia, or sloth. As acedia has enjoyed renewed interest in the past century or so, commentators have attempted to pin down one or another Kierkegaardian concept (e.g., despair, heavy-mindedness, boredom, etc.) as the embodiment of the vice, but these attempts have yet to achieve any consensus. In our estimation, (...) the complicated reality is that, in using slightly different but related concepts, Kierkegaard is providing a unique look at acedia as it manifests differently at different stages on life’s way. Thus, on this “perspectival account”, acedia will manifest differently according to whether an individual inhabits the aesthetic, ethical, or religious sphere. We propose two axes for this perspectival account. Such descriptions of how acedia manifests make up the first, phenomenal axis, while the second, evaluative axis, accounts for the various bits of advice and wisdom we read in the diagnoses of acedia from one Kierkegaardian pseudonym to another. Our aim is to show that Kierkegaard was not only familiar with the concept of acedia, but his contributions helped to develop and extend the tradition. (shrink)
This essay clarifies quantifier variance and uses it to provide a theory of indefinite extensibility that I call the variance theory of indefinite extensibility. The indefinite extensibility response to the set-theoretic paradoxes sees each argument for paradox as a demonstration that we have come to a different and more expansive understanding of ‘all sets’. But indefinite extensibility is philosophically puzzling: extant accounts are either metasemantically suspect in requiring mysterious mechanisms of domain expansion, or metaphysically suspect in requiring nonstandard assumptions about (...) mathematical objects. Happily, the view of quantifier meanings that underwrites quantifier variance can be used to provide an account of indefinite extensibility that is both metasemantically and metaphysically satisfying. Section 1 introduces the puzzle of indefinite extensibility; section 2 develops and clarifies the metasemantics of quantifier variance; section 3 solves section 1's puzzle of indefinite extensibility by applying section 2's account of quantifier meanings; and section 4 compares the theory developed in section 3 to several other theories in the literature. (shrink)
Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained is probably the most widely read book about consciousness ever written by a philosopher. Despite this, the book has had a surprisingly small influence on how most philosophers of mind view consciousness. This might be because many philosophers badly misunderstand the book. They claim it does not even attempt to explain consciousness, but instead denies its very existence. Outside of philosophy the book has had more influence, but is saddled by the same misunderstanding. Now, 30 years (...) after publication, Consciousness Explained deserves reconsideration from anyone interested in consciousness. Here I make a case for this. To start, I will clear up the central misunderstanding of the book. With that done, I will explain and update Dennett’s tantalizing approach to consciousness and the mind. The result brings us very, very close to explaining consciousness. Or so I will argue. (shrink)
Conventionalism about mathematics claims that mathematical truths are true by linguistic convention. This is often spelled out by appealing to facts concerning rules of inference and formal systems, but this leads to a problem: since the incompleteness theorems we’ve known that syntactic notions can be expressed using arithmetical sentences. There is serious prima facie tension here: how can mathematics be a matter of convention and syntax a matter of fact given the arithmetization of syntax? This challenge has been pressed in (...) the literature by Hilary Putnam and Peter Koellner. In this paper I sketch a conventionalist theory of mathematics, show that this conventionalist theory can meet the challenge just raised , and clarify the type of mathematical pluralism endorsed by the conventionalist by introducing the notion of a semantic counterpart. The paper’s aim is an improved understanding of conventionalism, pluralism, and the relationship between them. (shrink)
Putting feelings into words, or “affect labeling,” can attenuate our emotional experiences. However, unlike explicit emotion regulation techniques, affect labeling may not even feel like a regulatory process as it occurs. Nevertheless, research investigating affect labeling has found it produces a pattern of effects like those seen during explicit emotion regulation, suggesting affect labeling is a form of implicit emotion regulation. In this review, we will outline research on affect labeling, comparing it to reappraisal, a form of explicit emotion regulation, (...) along four major domains of effects—experiential, autonomic, neural, and behavioral—that establish it as a form of implicit emotion regulation. This review will then speculate on possible mechanisms driving affect labeling effects and other remaining unanswered questions. (shrink)
Theodore Sider’s recent book, “Writing the Book of the World”, employs a primitive notion of metaphysical structure in order to make sense of substantive metaphysics. But Sider and others who employ metaphysical primitives face serious epistemological challenges. In the first section I develop a specific form of this challenge for Sider’s own proposed epistemology for structure; the second section develops a general reliability challenge for Sider’s theory; and the third and final section argues for the rejection of Siderean structure in (...) the course of answering a transcendental argument against such rejection. (shrink)
In recent years, direct brain interventions have shown increased success in manipulating neurobiological processes often associated with moral reasoning and decision-making. As current DBIs are refined, and new technologies are developed, the state will have an interest in administering DBIs to criminal offenders for rehabilitative purposes. However, it is generally assumed that the state is not justified in directly intruding in an offender’s brain without valid consent. Thomas Douglas challenges this view. The state already forces criminal offenders to go to (...) jail without their consent. This represents a serious interference with an offender’s rights. If criminal offenders are already morally liable to incarceration, why is the state not also entitled to administer DBIs without consent for the purposes of rehabilitation? Douglas argument focuses on the right to ‘bodily integrity’. He argues that there is no compelling reason to believe that bodily rights that protect an offender from non-consensual DBIs are stronger than rights that protect an offender from incarceration. This paper will extend Douglas’ analysis. It will consider the more fundamental right to ‘mental integrity’. The right to mental integrity defends an inner sphere of liberty. It protects critical capacities necessary for the exercise of autonomous human agency—without which a vast majority of moral rights could not exist. Thus, the right to mental integrity is ultimately more important for a moral assessment of DBIs. The right strongly suggests that both presently, and in the future, there may be many cases in which the state is not entitled to administer DBIs to criminal offenders without valid consent. (shrink)
I argue for two claims: that the ordinary English truth predicate is a gradable adjective and that truth is a property that comes in degrees. The first is a semantic claim, motivated by the linguistic evidence and the similarity of the truth predicate’s behavior to other gradable terms. The second is a claim in natural language metaphysics, motivated by interpreting the best semantic analysis of gradable terms as applied to the truth predicate. In addition to providing arguments for these two (...) claims, I draw out consequences for debates about deflationism and truth-based analyses of notions such as assertion and logical consequence. (shrink)
Achieving food system sustainability is one of the more pressing challenges of this century. Over the last decades, experts from diverse disciplines and intellectual traditions have worked to document the critical threats to food system sustainability and to define an appropriate agenda for action. Nevertheless, these efforts have tended to focus selectively on only a few components of the food system or have tended to be framed in particular discourses. Depending on the point of departure, what aspects of the food (...) system are considered threatened, and what must be sustained, can differ greatly between perspectives. In this article, we draw from systems-thinking and social-ecological systems concepts to focus on the underlying process-related attributes that could support a more sustainable food system. We then examine the support for specific system attributes in six different knowledge domains addressing sustainable agriculture and food. From this review, we identify five system attributes—diversity, modularity, transparency, innovation and congruence—that are repeatedly featured in the different knowledge domains as critical aspects of food system sustainability. We argue that in the face of considerable complexity and high uncertainty, these attributes can serve as a guide to conceptualizing food system choices adaptively and iteratively. (shrink)
In recent years, the effort to formalize erotetic inferences—i.e., inferences to and from questions—has become a central concern for those working in erotetic logic. However, few have sought to formulate a proof theory for these inferences. To fill this lacuna, we construct a calculus for sequents that are sound and complete for two species of erotetic inferences studied by Inferential Erotetic Logic : erotetic evocation and erotetic implication. While an effort has been made to axiomatize the former in a sequent (...) system, there is currently no proof theory for the latter. Moreover, the extant axiomatization of erotetic evocation fails to capture its defeasible character and provides no rules for introducing or eliminating question-forming operators. In contrast, our calculus encodes defeasibility conditions on sequents and provides rules governing the introduction and elimination of erotetic formulas. We demonstrate that an elimination theorem holds for a version of the cut rule that applies to both declarative and erotetic formulas and that the rules for the axiomatic account of question evocation in IEL are admissible in our system. (shrink)
Efforts to formalize qualitative accounts of inference to the best explanation (IBE) confront two obstacles: the imprecise nature of such accounts and the unusual logical properties that explanations exhibit, such as contradiction-intolerance and irreflexivity. This paper aims to surmount these challenges by utilising a new, more precise theory that treats explanations as expressions that codify defeasible inferences. To formalise this account, we provide a sequent calculus in which IBE serves as an elimination rule for a connective that exhibits many of (...) the properties associated with the behaviour of the English expression ‘That... best explains why ... ’. We first construct a calculus that encodes these properties at the level of the turnstile, i.e. as a metalinguistic expression for classes of defeasible consequence relations. We then show how this calculus can be conservatively extended over a language that contains a best-explains-why operator. (shrink)
Inferences are familiar movements of thought, but despite important recent work on the topic, we do not yet have a fully satisfying theory of inference. Here I provide a functionalist theory of inference. I argue that the functionalist framework allows us the flexibility to meet various demands on a theory of inference that have been proposed (such as that it must explain inferential Moorean phenomena and epistemological ‘taking’). While also allowing us to compare, contrast, adapt, and combine features of extant (...) theories of inference into one unified theory. In fleshing out the inference role, I also criticize the common assumption that inference requires rule-following. (shrink)
Unrestricted inferentialism holds both that any collection of inference rules can determine a meaning for an expression and meaning constituting rules are automatically valid. Prior's infamous tonk connective refuted unrestricted inferentialism, or so it is universally thought. This paper argues against this consensus. I start by formulating the metasemantic theses of inferentialism with more care than they have hitherto received; I then consider a tonk language — Tonklish — and argue that the unrestricted inferentialist's treatment of this language is only (...) problematic if it is mistakenly assumed that Tonklish can be homophonically translated into English. Next, I discuss the proper, non-homophonic, translation of Tonklish into English, rebut various objections, and consider several variants of Tonklish. The paper closes by highlighting the philosophical advantages that unrestricted inferentialism has over its competitors once the terrors of tonk have been tamed. (shrink)
This paper examines the tension between the mainstream belief in international law as a source of objectivity distinct from politics and its new stream critics that question the validity of such a distinction. It is argued that, as a type of language, international law is not distinct from politics as a function of objectivity, but rather by the fact that it serves the international community’s thymos. The phenomena of global administrative law and NATO’s use of force in Kosovo are analyzed (...) as examples of how the thymos drives international law. Building on feminist theories of international law, the article sets forth a vision of international law as the primary communicative device for the international community’s thymos. (shrink)
In the mid twentieth century, logical positivists and many other philosophers endorsed a simple equation: something was necessary just in case it was analytic just in case it was a priori. Kripke’s examples of a posteriori necessary truths showed that the simple equation is false. But while positivist-style inferentialist approaches to logic and mathematics remain popular, there is no inferentialist account of necessity a posteriori. I give such an account. This sounds like an anti-Kripkean project, but it is not. Some (...) of Kripke’s remarks even suggest this kind of approach. This inferentialist approach reinstates neither the simple equation nor pure conventionalism about necessity a posteriori. But it does lead to something near enough, a type of impure conventionalism. In recent years, metaphysically heavyweight approaches to modality have been popular, while other approaches have lagged behind. The inferentialist, impure conventionalist theory of necessity I describe aims to provide a metaphysically lightweight option in modal metaphysics. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel puzzle about desire consisting of three independently plausible but jointly inconsistent propositions: all desires are dispositional states, we have privileged access to some of our desires, and we do not have privileged access to any dispositional state. Proponents of the view that all desires are dispositional states might think the most promising way out of this puzzle is to deny. I argue, however, that such attempts fail because the most plausible accounts of self-knowledge of desires (...) do not explain how we possess privileged access to dispositional desires. I conclude by offering what I take to be a more promising solution to the puzzle, one that involves the rejection of on the grounds that some desires possess phenomenology. (shrink)
The standard account of ontological commitment is quantificational. There are many old and well-chewed-over challenges to the account, but recently Kit Fine added a new challenge. Fine claimed that the ‘‘quantificational account gets the basic logic of ontological commitment wrong’’ and offered an alternative account that used an existence predicate. While Fine’s argument does point to a real lacuna in the standard approach, I show that his own account also gets ‘‘the basic logic of ontological commitment wrong’’. In response, I (...) offer a full quantificational account, using the resources of plural logic, and argue that it leads to a complete theory of natural language ontological commitment. (shrink)
One argument for reductive physicalism, the explanatory argument, rests on its ability to explain the vast and growing body of acknowledged psychophysical correlations. Jaegwon Kim has recently levelled four objections against the explanatory argument. I assess all of Kim's objections, showing that none is successful. The result is a defence of the explanatory argument for physicalism.
I broadly explore the question by examining several common criticisms of CEO pay through both philosophical and empirical lenses. While some criticisms appear to be unfounded, the analysis shows not only that current compensation practices are problematic both from the standpoint of distributive justice and fairness, but also that incentive pay ultimately exacerbates the very agency problem it is purported to solve.
This paper discusses the relevance of supertask computation for the determinacy of arithmetic. Recent work in the philosophy of physics has made plausible the possibility of supertask computers, capable of running through infinitely many individual computations in a finite time. A natural thought is that, if supertask computers are possible, this implies that arithmetical truth is determinate. In this paper we argue, via a careful analysis of putative arguments from supertask computations to determinacy, that this natural thought is mistaken: supertasks (...) are of no help in explaining arithmetical determinacy. (shrink)
The swamping problem is the problem of explaining why reliabilist knowledge (reliable true belief) has greater value than mere true belief. Swamping problem advocates see the lack of a solution to the swamping problem (i.e., the lack of a value-difference between reliabilist knowledge and mere true belief) as grounds for rejecting reliabilism. My aims here are (i) to specify clear requirements for a solution to the swamping problem that are as congenial to reliabilism's critics as possible, (ii) to clear away (...) various existing reliabilist solutions on the basis of these requirements, and (iii) to present a reliabilist solution that succeeds in meeting all of them. To meet all the requirements, my solution develops a more nuanced understanding of the epistemic end than is currently discussed, and with it a novel way of individuating beliefs. I close with a brief discussion of the question whether reliabilism's critics might impose further demands which reliabilism cannot possibly meet. (shrink)
Some philosophers are metaphilosophical deflationists for metasemantic reasons. These theorists take standard philosophical assertions to be defective in some manner. There are various versions of metasemantic metaphilosophical deflationism, but a trap awaits any global version of it: metasemantics itself is a part of philosophy, so in deflating philosophy these theorists have thereby deflated the foundation of their deflationism. The present article discusses this issue and the prospects for an adequate response to the trap. Contrary to most historical responses, the article (...) argues that the best response to the trap is to adopt a local but still pervasive metasemantic deflationism. Such a response might seem ad hoc, but the article argues that the human activity of philosophy isn't a natural kind, and that a heterogeneous metaphilosophy of the appropriate kind is well motivated. (shrink)