Many philosophers claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. In light of recent empirical evidence, however, some skeptics conclude that philosophers should stop assuming the principle unconditionally. Streumer, however, does not simply assume the principle’s truth; he provides arguments for it. In this article, we argue that his arguments fail to support the claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’.
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)
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 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)
While philosophers generally accept some version of the principle ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, recent work in experimental philosophy and cognitive science provides evidence against a presupposition or a conceptual entailment from ‘ought’ to ‘can’. Here, we review some of this evidence, its effect on particular formulations of the principle, and future directions for cognitive scientists and philosophers.
In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers--with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson-- have not. The disagreement is traced back to a (...) difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution. (shrink)
Hurley’s is a difficult book to work through—partly because of its length and the complexity of its arguments, but also because each of the ten essays of which it is composed has a rather different starting point and focus, and because few of her arguments achieve real closure. Essay 2 discusses competing interpretations of Kant, essay 4 articulates nonconceptual forms of self-consciousness, essay 5 offers fresh interpretations of commissurotomy patients’ behavior, essay 6 develops an objection to Wittgenstein on rule following, (...) essay 8 attacks an alleged assumption of externalism, and chapter 10 explores the possibility of combining a “motor theory” and a “control theory” of perception. This is a very rich brew, and at least half the challenge this book presents consists in discerning its central argument and conclusion with enough precision to bring criticism to bear. (shrink)
This book presents an events-based view of human action somewhat different from that of what is known as "standard story". A thesis about trying-to-do-something is distinguished from various volitionist theses. It is argued then that given a correct conception of action's antecedents, actions will be identified not with bodily movements but with causes of such movements.
Book synopsis: How is our conception of what there is affected by our counting ourselves as inhabitants of the natural world? How do our actions fit into a world that is altered through our agency? And how do we accommodate our understanding of one another as fellow subjects of experience—as beings with thoughts and wants and hopes and fears? These questions provide the impetus for the detailed discussions of ontology, human agency, and everyday psychological explanation presented in this book. The (...) answers offer a distinctive view of questions about “the mind’s place in nature,” and they argue for a particular position in philosophy of mind: naive naturalism. This position opposes the whole drift of the last thirty or forty years’ philosophy of mind in the English-speaking world. Jennifer Hornsby sets naive naturalism against dualism, but without advancing the claims of “materialism,” “physicalism,” or “naturalism” as these have come to be known. She shows how we can, and why we should, abandon the view that thoughts and actions, to be seen as real, must be subject to scientific explanation. (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)
Traditional views on philosophical methodology characterize our primary philosophical goal as production of a successful conceptual analysis. The notion of conceptual analysis, however, faces several challenges—from experimental philosophy to more traditional worries such as the paradox of analysis. This paper explores an alternate approach, commonly called conceptual engineering, which aims at recommending conceptual revisions. An important question for the conceptual engineer is as follows: what counts as a case of successful conceptual engineering? What sorts of revisions are permitted, and what (...) sorts are too revisionary? In this paper I examine ‘functional’ approaches to conceptual engineering, ultimately arguing for a ‘radical’ functionalism according to which even revisions which ‘change the subject’ are permitted, and successful re-engineering is constrained only by the requirement that continuity in needed functions of a pre-engineering concept be maintained somewhere in the postengineering conceptual scheme. I further argue that this approach suggests a heightened role, in metaphilosophical discourse, for a neglected epistemic goal—conceptual efficacy. (shrink)
A fundamental entity is an entity that is ‘ontologically independent’; it does not depend on anything else for its existence or essence. It seems to follow that a fundamental entity is ‘modally free’ in some sense. This assumption, that fundamentality entails modal freedom (or ‘FEMF’ as I shall label the thesis), is used in the service of other arguments in metaphysics. But as I will argue, the road from fundamentality to modal freedom is not so straightforward. The defender of FEMF (...) should provide positive reasons for believing it, especially in light of recent views that are incompatible with it. I examine both direct and indirect routes to FEMF. (shrink)
A disjunctivist conception of acting for reasons is introduced by way of showing that a view of acting for reasons must give a place to knowledge. Two principal claims are made. 1. This conception has a rôle analogous to that of the disjunctive conception that John McDowell recommends in thinking about perception; and when the two disjunctivist conceptions are treated as counterparts, they can be shown to have work to do in combination. 2. This conception of acting for reasons safeguards (...) the connection between considerations that move us to act in particular ways and considerations that favour our acting in particular ways. (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.
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)
In this article I explore various facets of Nozick’s famous thought experiment involving the experience machine. Nozick’s original target is hedonism—the view that the only intrinsic prudential value is pleasure. But the argument, if successful, undermines any experientialist theory, i.e. any theory that limits intrinsic prudential value to mental states. I first highlight problems arising from the way Nozick sets up the thought experiment. He asks us to imagine choosing whether or not to enter the machine and uses our choice (...) (or rather the choice he assumes most people will have) as evidence against experientialist theories. But for this strategy to succeed it must be possible to distinguish between self-interested and non-self-interested reasons for declining to enter the machine, and there is no obvious way to do this without begging the question against the hedonist. In successive sections I then (a) consider a common misconception of Nozick’s conclusion (that he thinks machine life is the worst life), (b) consider different intuitions about what is important to well-being but missing from machine life, and finally (c) explain what “the experience requirement” is, and describe its relationship to debates about experientialist theories. (shrink)
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)
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)
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)
No concept is more important for clear thinking about medical ethics than the concept of well-being or (what I take to be the same thing) the concept of what’s good for a person. Yet for a variety of reasons medical ethicists have generally had little to say about this notion. Medical ethics education, and bioethics more generally, would be better if people learned to think about welfare in a more substantial and structured way. Philosophers would typically approach such a problem (...) by teaching theories of well-being, in particular the “big three”: hedonism, desire satisfactionism, and objective list theories. I argue, however, that these theories are not helpful in the context of practical ethics. I develop an alternative approach to thinking about welfare in practical ethical contexts. It is philosophically informed yet avoids discussion of the “big three” theories. I call it the “theory- without-theories” approach. It has two elements. First is a focus on examining important and relatively uncontroversial constituents of welfare. These elements can be introduced and their nature questioned and probed without invoking general theories. The second key element is a framework for thinking about choice in relation to welfare, a framework that I refer to as “the mild objectivity framework.” I aim to convince readers, first, that the standard philosophical approach will not work in the practical context, and second, that the theory-without- theories approach will. (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)
In Moody Minds Distempered philosopher Jennifer Radden assembles several decades of her research on melancholy and depression. The chapters are ordered into three categories: those about intellectual and medical history of melancholy and depression; those that emphasize aspects of the moral, psychological and medical features of these concepts; and finally, those that explore the sad and apprehensive mood states long associated with melancholy and depressive subjectivity. A newly written introduction maps the conceptual landscape, and draws out the analytic and (...) thematic interconnections between the chapters. Radden emphasizes and develops several new themes: the implications, theoretical phenomenological and moral, of recognizing melancholy and depressive states as mood states; questions of method, as they affect how we understand and characterize claims about melancholy and depression; and the persistence and force of cultural tropes linking such states to brilliance, creativity, and sagacity. Insights from literature and the history of medicine, psychology, and psychiatry are woven together with those from the more recent disciplines of feminist theory and cultural studies. This is interdisciplinary writing at its best-part analytic philosophy, and part history of ideas. (shrink)
Philosophers concerned with what would be good for a person sometimes consider a person’s past desires. Indeed, some theorists have argued by appeal to past desires that it is in the best interests of certain dementia patients to die. I reject this conclusion. I consider three different ways one might appeal to a person’s past desires in arguing for conclusions about the good of such patients, finding flaws with each. Of the views I reject, the most interesting one is the (...) view that prudential value is, at least partly, concerned with the shape of a life as a whole. (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)
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)
True to his longstanding bias against grand unifying theories, Hacking chooses to pursue these questions by focusing on a specific case of memory-thinking: the history of multiple personality. His excavation of the contemporary terrain leads him, however, to the surprisingly grand conclusion that the various sciences of memory—including neurological studies of localization, experimental studies of recall, and studies in the psychodynamics of memory—all emerged in connection with attempts to “scientize the soul,” as a result of which spiritual battles have been (...) recast as scientific controversies “where we suppose there is such a thing as knowledge to be had”. (shrink)
Dispositionality is a modal notion of a certain sort. When an object is said to have a disposition, we typically understand this to mean that under certain circumstances, the object would behave in a certain way. For instance, a fragile object is disposed to break when dropped onto a concrete surface. It need not actually break - its being fragile has implications that, so to speak, point beyond the actual world. According to dispositionalism, all modal features of the world may (...) be accounted for in terms of its dispositional features. My aim in this paper is to assess the prospects for dispositionalism by examining the most promising theories. Sections 1 and 2 clarify the assumptions and desiderata of a successful dispositionalist theory of modality. Section 3 introduces the principles governing the dispositionalist theories that apparently meet the desiderata. Sections 4 through 6 show that dispositionalism nonetheless faces three problems: while dispositions help account for modal features of the world that are local, diachronic, or gradable, they cannot account for certain modal features of the world that are global, synchronic, or absolute. I end by discussing the costs of preserving dispositionalism. (shrink)
Who are the best subjects for judgment tasks intended to test grammatical hypotheses? Michael Devitt ( [2006a] , [2006b] ) argues, on the basis of a hypothesis concerning the psychology of such judgments, that linguists themselves are. We present empirical evidence suggesting that the relevant divide is not between linguists and non-linguists, but between subjects with and without minimally sufficient task-specific knowledge. In particular, we show that subjects with at least some minimal exposure to or knowledge of such tasks tend (...) to perform consistently with one another—greater knowledge of linguistics makes no further difference—while at the same time exhibiting markedly greater in-group consistency than those who have no previous exposure to or knowledge of such tasks and their goals. (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)
This book was inspired originally by the debates at the turn of the century about placebo controlled trials of antiretrovirals in HIV positive pregnant women in developing countries. Moving forward from this one limited example, the book includes several additional controversial cases of clinical research conducted in developing countries, and asks probing philosophical questions about the ethics of such trials. All clinical research by its very nature uses people to acquire generalizable knowledge to help future people. But what sorts of (...) "use" are morally permissible? What is it to exploit people? Suppose that a trial conducted in a developing country would not be ethically permissible in the developed world. Can we automatically conclude from this that the trial is unethical, that some sort of morally problematic double standard is in operation? Or might the differences in the two settings justify differences in trial design? This collection of philosophical essays examines these important questions about what exploitation is and when clinical research counts as exploitative. -/- "This is an outstanding contribution to the growing literature on the ethics of research with human subjects and a fine example of what bioethics can offer at its best. Anyone with a serious interest in these issues will need to read this book from start to finish." -Daniel Wikler, Harvard School of Public Health "This book contributes significantly to the literature on exploitation in clinical research conducted in the developing world."--Patricia Marshall, Case Western Reserve University . (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.
Recent, well-publicized scandals, involving unethical conduct have rekindled interest in academic misconduct. Prior studies of academic misconduct have focussed exclusively on situational factors (e.g., integrity culture, honor codes), demographic variables or personality constructs. We contend that it is important to also examine how␣these classes of variables interact to influence perceptions of and intentions relating to academic misconduct. In a sample of 217 business students, we examined how integrity culture interacts with Prudence and Adjustment to explain variance in estimated frequency of (...) cheating, suspicions of cheating, considering cheating and reporting cheating. Age, integrity culture, and personality variables were significantly related to different criteria. Overall, personality variables explained the most unique variance in academic misconduct, and Adjustment interacted with integrity culture, such that integrity culture had more influence on intentions to cheat for less well-adjusted individuals. Implications for practice are discussed and future research directions are offered. (shrink)
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)
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)