Jennifer Church presents a new account of perception, which shows how imagining alternative perspectives and possibilities plays a key role in creating and validating experiences of self-evident objectivity. She explores the nature of moral perception and aesthetic perception, and argues that perception can be both literal and substantive.
Delusions play a fundamental role in the history of psychology, philosophy and culture, dividing not only the mad from the sane but reason from unreason. Yet the very nature and extent of delusions are poorly understood. What are delusions? How do they differ from everyday errors or mistaken beliefs? Are they scientific categories? In this superb, panoramic investigation of delusion Jennifer Radden explores these questions and more, unravelling a fascinating story that ranges from Descartes’s demon to famous first-hand accounts (...) of delusion, such as Daniel Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Radden places delusion in both a clinical and cultural context and explores a fascinating range of themes: delusions as both individually and collectively held, including the phenomenon of folies á deux ; spiritual and religious delusions, in particular what distinguishes normal religious belief from delusions with religious themes; how we assess those suffering from delusion from a moral standpoint; and how we are to interpret violent actions when they are the result of delusional thinking. As well as more common delusions, such as those of grandeur, she also discusses some of the most interesting and perplexing forms of clinical delusion, such as Cotard and Capgras. (shrink)
This is a conversation held at the book launch for Christopher Insole’s Kant and the Divine: From Contemplation to the Moral Law, hosted jointly, in November 2020, by the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, and the Australian Catholic University. The conversation covers the claim made by Insole that Kant believes in God, but is not a Christian, the way in which reason itself is divine for Kant, and the suggestion that reading Kant can open up new possibilities for dialogue (...) between Christian thinkers and contemporary forms of secular religiosity. (shrink)
Testimony is an invaluable source of knowledge. We rely on the reports of those around us for everything from the ingredients in our food and medicine to the identity of our family members. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the epistemology of testimony. Despite the multitude of views offered, a single thesis is nearly universally accepted: testimonial knowledge is acquired through the process of transmission from speaker to hearer. In this book, Jennifer Lackey shows that this (...) thesis is false and, hence, that the literature on testimony has been shaped at its core by a view that is fundamentally misguided. She then defends a detailed alternative to this conception of testimony: whereas the views currently dominant focus on the epistemic status of what speakers believe, Lackey advances a theory that instead centers on what speakers say. The upshot is that, strictly speaking, we do not learn from one another's beliefs - we learn from one another's words. Once this shift in focus is in place, Lackey goes on to argue that, though positive reasons are necessary for testimonial knowledge, testimony itself is an irreducible epistemic source. This leads to the development of a theory that gives proper credence to testimony's epistemologically dual nature: both the speaker and the hearer must make a positive epistemic contribution to testimonial knowledge. The resulting view not only reveals that testimony has the capacity to generate knowledge, but it also gives appropriate weight to our nature as both socially indebted and individually rational creatures. The approach found in this book will, then, represent a radical departure from the views currently dominating the epistemology of testimony, and thus is intended to reshape our understanding of the deep and ubiquitous reliance we have on the testimony of those around us. (shrink)
During this period, when disciples were growing in number, a grievance arose on the part of those who spoke Greek, against those who spoke the language of the Jews; they complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. When Americans think of ethnic conflict, conflict between blacks and whites comes to mind most immediately. Yet ethnic conflict is pervasive around the world. Azerbijanis and Turks in the Soviet Union; Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland; Arabs and Jews (...) in the Middle East; Maoris and English settlers in New Zealand; Muslims and Hindus in India and Pakistan; French and English speakers in Quebec; Africans, Afrikaaners, and mixed-race people in South Africa, in addition to the tribal warfare among the Africans themselves: these are just a few of the more obvious conflicts currently in the news. We observe an even more dizzying array of ethnic conflicts if we look back just a few years. Japanese and Koreans; Mongols and Chinese; Serbs and Croats; Christians and Buddhists in Viet Nam: these ancient antagonisms are not immediately in the news, but they could erupt at any time. And the history of the early Christian Church recounted in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that suspicion among ethnic groups is not a modern phenomenon; rather, it is ancient. The present paper seeks to address the problem of ethnic conflict in modern western democracies. How can our tools and traditions of participatory governments, relatively free markets, and the common law contribute to some resolution of the ancient problems that we find within our midst? In particular, I want to focus here on the question of ethnic integration. (shrink)
In Kant’s Organicism, Jennifer Mensch draws a crucial link between these spheres by showing how the concept of epigenesis—a radical theory of biological formation—lies at the heart of Kant’s conception of reason.
Philosophers of language have long recognized that in opaque contexts, such as those involving propositional attitude reports, substitution of co-referring names may not preserve truth value. For example, the name ‘Clark Kent’ cannot be substituted for ‘Superman’ in a context like:1. Lois believes that Superman can flywithout a change in truth value. In an earlier paper , Jennifer Saul demonstrated that substitution failure could also occur in ‘simple sentences’ where none of the ordinary opacity-producing conditions existed, such as:2. Superman (...) leaps more tall buildings than Clark Kent does.Accounts focusing on opacity were unable to explain our ‘anti-substitution intuitions’ in such cases.In Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Saul extends her earlier work. She provides a comprehensive presentation and criticism of recent accounts of simple sentence substitution failure, and proposes a new approach drawing on psychological evidence about cognitive processing. Saul's purpose is not merely to solve the substitution puzzle cases, but to make …. (shrink)
There is no conservative thought in America, only “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas,” wrote Lionel Trilling in 1950, thus providing a generation of historians with a convenient set piece to demonstrate the inadequacies of mid-century liberalism and its blindness to the nascent conservative intellectual movement gathering strength and purpose just as Trilling wrote. Two excellent new books about American intellectual history cast this quote in yet another light. Patrick Allitt's The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities throughout American History (...) carefully documents a centuries-long tradition of conservative thought in America, from the founding era through the end of the twentieth century. In The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers, and the Lessons of Anti-Communism, Michael Kimmage asserts that Trilling himself be considered a source of conservative ideas in postwar America. Taken together, the books by Allitt and Kimmage indicate that a new cycle of writing about conservative thought has reached full flower. For far too long, the field of conservative intellectual history has been dominated by the figure of George Nash, author of the classic 1976 The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. These books provide an updated and more critically sophisticated way to examine the terrain Nash strode alone for so long. More significantly, they indicate that intellectual historians are ready to consider conservatism in dialogue with liberalism, bringing new balance to the study of American ideas. Furthermore, both books, Kimmage's in particular, suggest that some of what we are calling conservative and liberal might be flying under the wrong flag. The key to sorting out the confusion will be drawing a more careful distinction between conservatism as a “movement” and as a body of ideas, and looking at both conservatisms as part of a typically American response to historical change, rather than as an exotic and abberant specimen. (shrink)
Human beings naturally desire knowledge. But what is knowledge? Is it the same as having an opinion? Highlighting the major developments in the theory of knowledge from Ancient Greece to the present day, Jennifer Nagel uses a number of simple everyday examples to explore the key themes and current debates of epistemology.
Augustine famously claimed that the virtues of pagan Rome were nothing more than splendid vices. This critique reinvented itself as a suspicion of acquired virtue as such, and true Christian virtue has, ever since, been set against a false, hypocritical virtue alleged merely to conceal pride. _Putting On Virtue_ reveals how a distrust of learned and habituated virtue shaped both early modern Christian moral reflection and secular forms of ethical thought. Jennifer Herdt develops her claims through an argument of (...) broad historical sweep, which brings together the Aristotelian tradition as taken up by Thomas Aquinas with the early modern thinkers who shaped modern liberalism. In chapters on Luther, Bunyan, the Jansenists, Mandeville, Hume, Rousseau, and Kant, she argues that efforts to make a radical distinction between true Christian virtue and its tainted imitations actually created an autonomous natural ethics separate from Christianity. This secular value system valorized pride and authenticity, while rendering graced human agency less meaningful. Ultimately, _Putting On Virtue_ traces a path from suspicion of virtue to its secular inversion, from confession of dependence to assertion of independence. (shrink)
Jennifer Lackey presents a ground-breaking exploration of the epistemology of groups, and its implications for group agency and responsibility. She argues that group belief and knowledge depend on what individual group members do or are capable of doing, while being subject to group-level normative requirements.
Testimony is a crucial source of knowledge: we are to a large extent reliant upon what others tell us. It has been the subject of much recent interest in epistemology, and this volume collects twelve original essays on the topic by some of the world's leading philosophers. It will be the starting point for future research in this fertile field. Contributors include Robert Audi, C. A. J. Coady, Elizabeth Fricker, Richard Fumerton, Sanford C. Goldberg, Peter Graham, Jennifer Lackey, Keith (...) Lehrer, Richard Moran, Frederick F. Schmitt, Ernest Sosa, and James Van Cleve. (shrink)
Users have adopted a wide range of digital technologies into their communication repertoire. It remains unclear why they adopt multiple forms of communication instead of substituting one medium for another. It also raises the question: What type of need does each of these media fulfill? In the present article, the authors conduct comparative work that examines the gratifications obtained from Facebook with those from instant messaging. This comparison between media allows one to draw conclusions about how different social media fulfill (...) user needs. Data were collected from undergraduate students through a multimethod study based on 77 surveys and 21 interviews. A factor analysis of gratifications obtained from Facebook revealed six key dimensions: pastime, affection, fashion, share problems, sociability, and social information. Comparative analysis showed that Facebook is about having fun and knowing about the social activities occurring in one’s social network, whereas instant messaging is geared more toward relationship maintenance and development. The authors discuss differences in the two technologies and outline a framework based on uses and gratifications theory as to why young people integrate numerous media into their communication habits. (shrink)
In this book, McMahon argues that a reading of Kant’s body of work in the light of a pragmatist theory of meaning and language leads one to put community reception ahead of individual reception in the order of aesthetic relations. A core premise of the book is that neo-pragmatism draws attention to an otherwise overlooked aspect of Kant’s "Critique of Aesthetic Judgment," and this is the conception of community which it sets forth. While offering an interpretation of Kant’s aesthetic theory, (...) the book focuses on the implications of Kant’s third critique for contemporary art. McMahon draws upon Kant and his legacy in pragmatist theories of meaning and language to argue that aesthetic judgment is a version of moral judgment: a way to cultivate attitudes conducive to community, which plays a pivotal role in the evolution of language, meaning, and knowledge. (shrink)
A view of knowledge—what I call the "Deserving Credit View of Knowledge" —found in much of the recent epistemological literature, particularly among so-called virtue epistemologists, centres around the thesis that knowledge is something for which a subject deserves credit. Indeed, this is said to be the central difference between those true beliefs that qualify as knowledge and those that are true merely by luck—the former, unlike the latter, are achievements of the subject and are thereby creditable to her. Moreover, it (...) is often further noted that deserving credit is what explains the additional value that knowledge has over merely lucky true belief. In this paper, I argue that the general conception of knowledge found in the DCVK is fundamentally incorrect. In particular, I show that deserving credit cannot be what distinguishes knowledge from merely lucky true belief since knowledge is not something for which a subject always deserves credit. (shrink)
We often talk about groups believing, knowing, and testifying. Epistemic claims of this sort are of significant consequence, given that they bear on the moral and legal responsibilities of collective entities. A team of leading experts in the field present new, cutting edge theories, insights, and approaches in collective epistemology.
This essay raises new objections to the two dominant approaches to understanding the justification of group beliefs—_inflationary_ views, where groups are treated as entities that can float freely from the epistemic status of their members’ beliefs, and _deflationary_ views, where justified group belief is understood as nothing more than the aggregation of the justified beliefs of the group's members. If this essay is right, we need to look in an altogether different place for an adequate account of justified group belief. (...) From these objections emerges the skeleton of the positive view that this essay goes on to develop and defend, called the _group epistemic agent account_: groups are epistemic agents in their own right, with justified beliefs that respond to both evidence and normative requirements that arise only at the group level but that are nonetheless importantly constrained by the epistemic status of the beliefs of their individual members. (shrink)
While much of our knowledge relies on testimony or the words of others, until recently few philosophers had much to say about the nature of testimony or how we learn from another's words, but testimony has now become a popular topic. Jennifer Lackey's Learning from Words: Testimony as a Source of Knowledge is a useful and intelligent guide, a well informed and appreciative but critical and provocative commentary on a large and growing body of literature.According to Lackey, most of (...) the literature assumes that testimony can spread but not create knowledge, much as memory can be a reminder of old but not a source of new truth. Lackey maintains that the assumption is mistaken and offers an account of testimony, according to which, testimony can give rise to new knowledge as well as transmit old truths from one person to another.In her introduction, Lackey characterizes what she calls the belief view of testimony and suggests that this view dominates today's literature. On the belief view, testimony is a vehicle for expressing belief, and when I tell you that p, I express my belief that p with the intention …. (shrink)
We often talk about knowledge being transmitted via testimony. This suggests a picture of testimony with striking similarities to memory. For instance, it is often assumed that neither is a generative source of knowledge: while the former transmits knowledge from one speaker to another, the latter preserves beliefs from one time to another. These considerations give rise to a stronger and a weaker thesis regarding the transmission of testimonial knowledge. The stronger thesis is that each speaker in a chain of (...) testimonial transmission must know that p in order to pass this knowledge to a hearer. The weaker thesis is that at least the first speaker must know that p in order for any hearer in the chain to come to know that p via testimony. I argue that both theses are false, and hence testimony, unlike memory, can be a generative source of knowledge. (shrink)
Jennifer McKitrick offers an opinionated guide to the philosophy of dispositions. In her view, when an object has a disposition, it is such that, if a certain type of circumstance were to occur, a certain kind of event would occur. Since this is very common for this to be the case, dispositions are an abundant and diverse feature of our world.
A widely accepted view in recent work in epistemology is that knowledge is a cognitive achievement that is properly creditable to those subjects who possess it. More precisely, according to the Credit View of Knowledge, if S knows that p, then S deserves credit for truly believing that p. In spite of its intuitive appeal and explanatory power, I have elsewhere argued that the Credit View is false. Various responses have been offered to my argument and I here consider each (...) of these objections in turn. I show that none succeeds in undermining my argument and, thus, my original conclusion stands—the Credit View of Knowledge is false. (shrink)
The traditional view of lying holds that this phenomenon involves two central components: stating what one does not believe oneself and doing so with the intention to deceive. This view remained the generally accepted view of the nature of lying until very recently, with the intention-to-deceive requirement now coming under repeated attack. In this article, I argue that the tides have turned too quickly in the literature on lying. For while it is indeed true that there can be lies where (...) there is no intention on the part of the speaker to deceive the hearer, this does not warrant severing the connection between lying and deception altogether. Thus, I defend the following account of lying: A lies to B if and only if (1) A states that p to B, (2) A believes that p is false, and (3) A intends to be deceptive to B in stating that p. (shrink)
The question that will be the focus of this paper is this: what is the significance of disagreement between those who are epistemic peers? There are two answers to this question found in the recent literature. On the one hand, there are those who hold that one can continue to rationally believe that p despite the fact that one’s epistemic peer explicitly believes that not-p. I shall call those who hold this view nonconformists. In contrast, there are those who hold (...) that one cannot continue to rationally believe that p when one is faced with an epistemic peer who explicitly believes that not-p. I shall call those who hold this view conformists. Inthis paper, I shall argue that neither nonconformism nor conformism provides a plausible account of the epistemic significance of peer disagreement. I shall then develop my justificationist account of peer disagreement’s epistemic significance. Whereas current views maintain that disagreement, by itself, either simply does or does not possess epistemic power, my account holds that its epistemic power, or lack thereof, is explainable in terms of its interaction with other features,particularly the degree of justified confidence with which the belief in question is held and the presence of information that one possesses about one’s own epistemic situation. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically examine the two dominant views of the concept of luck in the current literature: lack of control accounts and modal accounts. In particular, I argue that the conditions proposed by such views—that is, a lack of control and the absence of counterfactual robustness—are neither necessary nor sufficient for an event's being lucky. Hence, I conclude that the two main accounts in the current literature both fail to capture what is distinctive of, and central to, the (...) concept of luck. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide the framework for an account of group assertion. On my view, there are two kinds of group assertion, coordinated and authority-based, with authority-based group assertion being the core notion. I argue against a deflationary view, according to which a group’s asserting is understood in terms of individual assertions, by showing that a group can assert a proposition even when no individual does. Instead, I argue on behalf of an inflationary view, according to which it is (...) the group itself that asserts, a conclusion supported by the fact that paradigmatic features of assertion apply only at the level of the group. A central virtue of my account is that it appreciates the important relationship that exists between most groups and their spokespersons, as well as the consequences that follow from this relationship. My view, thus, provides the framework for distinguishing when responsibility for an assertion lies at the collective level, and when it should be shouldered by an individual simply speaking for herself. (shrink)
Moral abolitionists claim that morality ought to be abolished. According to one of their most prominent arguments, this is because making moral judgments renders people significantly less tolerant toward anyone who holds divergent views. In this paper we investigate the hypothesis that morality’s tolerance-decreasing effect only occurs if people are realists about moral issues, i.e., they interpret these issues as objectively grounded. We found support for this hypothesis (Studies 1 and 2). Yet, it also turned out that the intolerance associated (...) with realism is mediated by moral conviction and perceived consensus. People tend to feel more strongly about those moral issues they ground objectively and, in doing so, are more prone to display the vice of moral smugness toward those who disagree with them. The remedy for this that has been recommended is humility which we found (Study 3) is indeed related to reduced intolerance, in part by predicting a reduction in realism, but also in part through a direct connection to intolerance. These results put pressure on abolitionists’ “argument from intolerance.”. (shrink)
Skepticism about the epistemic value of intuition in theoretical and philosophical inquiry has recently been bolstered by empirical research suggesting that people’s concrete-case intuitions are vulnerable to irrational biases (e.g., the order effect). What is more, skeptics argue that we have no way to ‘‘calibrate” our intuitions against these biases and no way of anticipating intuitional instability. This paper challenges the skeptical position, introducing data from two studies that suggest not only that people’s concrete-case intuitions are often stable, but also (...) that people have introspective awareness of this stability, providing a promising means by which to assess the epistemic value of our intuitions. (shrink)
A dramatic shift in British and French ideas about empire unfolded in the sixty years straddling the turn of the nineteenth century. As Jennifer Pitts shows in A Turn to Empire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham were among many at the start of this period to criticize European empires as unjust as well as politically and economically disastrous for the conquering nations. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the most prominent British and French liberal thinkers, including John Stuart (...) Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, vigorously supported the conquest of non-European peoples. Pitts explains that this reflected a rise in civilizational self-confidence, as theories of human progress became more triumphalist, less nuanced, and less tolerant of cultural difference. At the same time, imperial expansion abroad came to be seen as a political project that might assist the emergence of stable liberal democracies within Europe. Pitts shows that liberal thinkers usually celebrated for respecting not only human equality and liberty but also pluralism supported an inegalitarian and decidedly nonhumanitarian international politics. Yet such moments represent not a necessary feature of liberal thought but a striking departure from views shared by precisely those late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville saw as their forebears. Fluently written, A Turn to Empire offers a novel assessment of modern political thought and international justice, and an illuminating perspective on continuing debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments. (shrink)
There is a widely accepted family of views in the epistemology of testimony centering around the claim that belief is the central item involved in a testimonial exchange. For instance, in describing the process of learning via testimony, Elizabeth Fricker provides the following: “one language-user has a belief, which gives rise to an utterance by him; as a result of observing this utterance another user of the same language, his audience, comes to share that belief.” In a similar spirit, Alvin (...) Plantinga says that “…a belief on the part of the testifiee has warrant only if that belief has warrant for the testifier.” In both of these passages, we find strands of what I shall call the Belief View of Testimony. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss the relationship between bodily experiences in dreams and the sleeping, physical body. I question the popular view that dreaming is a naturally and frequently occurring real-world example of cranial envatment. This view states that dreams are functionally disembodied states: in a majority of dreams, phenomenal experience, including the phenomenology of embodied selfhood, unfolds completely independently of external and peripheral stimuli and outward movement. I advance an alternative and more empirically plausible view of dreams as weakly (...) phenomenally-functionally embodied states. The view predicts that bodily experiences in dreams can be placed on a continuum with bodily illusions in wakefulness. It also acknowledges that there is a high degree of variation across dreams and different sleep stages in the degree of causal coupling between dream imagery, sensory input, and outward motor activity. Furthermore, I use the example of movement sensations in dreams and their relation to outward muscular activity to develop a predictive processing account. I propose that movement sensations in dreams are associated with a basic and developmentally early kind of bodily self-sampling. This account, which affords a central role to active inference, can then be broadened to explain other aspects of self- and world-simulation in dreams. Dreams are world-simulations centered on the self, and important aspects of both self- and world-simulation in dreams are closely linked to bodily self-sampling, including muscular activity, illusory own-body perception, and vestibular orienting in sleep. This is consistent with cognitive accounts of dream generation, in which long-term beliefs and expectations, as well as waking concerns and memories play an important role. What I add to this picture is an emphasis on the real-body basis of dream imagery. This offers a novel perspective on the formation of dream imagery and suggests new lines of research. (shrink)