Tracking theories of knowledge are widely known to have the consequence that knowledge is not closed. Recent arguments by Vogel and Hawthorne claim both that there are no legitimate examples of knowledge without closure and that the costs of theories that deny closure are too great. This paper considers the tracking theories of Dretske and Nozick and the arguments by Vogel and Hawthorne. We reject the arguments of Vogel and Hawthorne and evaluate the costs of closure denial for tracking theories (...) of knowledge. (shrink)
Transplantation continues to push the frontiers of medicine into domains that summon forth troublesome ethical questions. Looming on the frontier today is human facial transplantation. We develop criteria that, we maintain, must be satisfied in order to ethically undertake this as-yet-untried transplant procedure. We draw on the criteria advanced by Dr. Francis Moore in the late 1980s for introducing innovative procedures in transplant surgery. In addition to these we also insist that human face transplantation must meet all the ethical requirements (...) usually applied to health care research. We summarize the achievements of transplant surgery to date, focusing in particular on the safety and efficacy of immunosuppressive medications. We also emphasize the importance of risk/benefit assessments that take into account the physical, aesthetic, psychological, and social dimensions of facial disfiguration, reconstruction, and transplantation. Finally, we maintain that the time has come to move facial transplantation research into the clinical phase. (shrink)
We examine a distinctive kind of problem for decision theory, involving what we call discontinuity at infinity. Roughly, it arises when an infinite sequence of choices, each apparently sanctioned by plausible principles, converges to a ‘limit choice’ whose utility is much lower than the limit approached by the utilities of the choices in the sequence. We give examples of this phenomenon, focusing on Arntzenius et al.’s Satan’s apple, and give a general characterization of it. In these examples, repeated dominance reasoning (...) (a paradigm of rationality) apparently gives rise to a situation closely analogous to having intransitive preferences (a paradigm of irrationality). Indeed, the agents in these examples are vulnerable to a money pump set-up despite having preferences that exhibit no obvious defect of rationality. We explore several putative solutions to such problems, particularly those that appeal to binding and to deliberative dynamics. We consider the prospects for these solutions, concluding that if they fail, the examples show that money pump arguments are invalid. (shrink)
In a recent very interesting and important challenge to tracking theories of knowledge, Williams & Sinhababu claim to have devised a counter-example to tracking theories of knowledge of a sort that escapes the defense of those theories by Adams & Clarke. In this paper we will explain why this is not true. Tracking theories are not undermined by the example of the backward clock, as interesting as the case is.
ABSTRACT Drawing inspiration from Fred Dretske, L. S. Carrier, John A. Barker, and Robert Nozick, we develop a tracking analysis of knowing according to which a true belief constitutes knowledge if and only if it is based on reasons that are sensitive to the fact that makes it true, that is, reasons that wouldn’t obtain if the belief weren’t true. We show that our sensitivity analysis handles numerous Gettier-type cases and lottery problems, blocks pathways leading to skepticism, and validates the (...) epistemic closure thesis that correct inferences from known premises yield knowledge of the conclusions. We discuss the plausible views of Ted Warfield and Branden Fitelson regarding cases of knowledge acquired via inference from false premises, and we show how our sensitivity analysis can account for such cases. We present arguments designed to discredit putative counterexamples to sensitivity analyses recently proffered by Tristan Haze, John Williams and Neil Sinhababu, which involve true statements made by untrustworthy informants and strange clocks that sometimes display the correct time while running backwards. Finally, we show that in virtue of employing the paradox-free subjunctive conditionals codified by Relevance Logic theorists instead of the paradox-laden subjunctive conditionals codified by Robert Stalnaker and David Lewis. (shrink)
Closure is the epistemological thesis that if S knows that P and knows that P implies Q, then if S infers that Q, S knows that Q. Fred Dretske acknowledges that closure is plausible but contends that it should be rejected because it conflicts with the plausible thesis: Conclusive reasons : S knows that P only if S believes P on the basis of conclusive reasons, i.e., reasons S wouldn‘t have if it weren‘t the case that P. Dretske develops an (...) analysis of knowing that centers on CR, and argues that the requirement undermines skepticism by implying the falsity of closure. We develop a Dretske-style analysis of knowing that incorporates CR, and we argue that this analysis not only accords with closure, but also implies it. In addition, we argue that the analysis accounts for the prima facie plausibility of closure-invoking skeptical arguments, and nonetheless implies that they are fallacious. If our arguments turn out to be sound, the acceptability of Dretske‘s analysis of knowing will be significantly enhanced by the fact that, despite implying closure, it undermines closure-based skepticism. (shrink)
The article presents information on the capabilities of Dretske-style analysis of knowing (DAK) and of several competing analyses with respect to accounting for the apparent facts. It informs that the DAK can ground plausible verdicts about knowledge and ignorance in cases involving lotteries. It further informs that the knowledge-efficacy donor imply the implausible thesis.
In this paper I respond to Jacquette’s criticisms, in (Jacquette, 2008), of my (Barker, 2008). In so doing, I argue that the Liar paradox is in fact a problem about the disquotational schema, and that nothing in Jacquette’s paper undermines this diagnosis.
Jacquette’s proposed solution to the Liar paradox—namely, that the paradox can be defused by declaring Liar sentences to be false—is criticized. Specifically, it is argued that the proposed solution rests on misidentifying the condition that a sentence needs to satisfy in order to count as a Liar sentence. If Jacquette’s condition is used, then the resulting “Liar” sentences are indeed straightforwardly false; however, a genuine paradox remains if a more standard formulation is employed.
In “Beat the (Backward) Clock,” we argued that John Williams and Neil Sinhababu’s Backward Clock Case fails to be a counterexample to Robert Nozick’s or Fred Dretske’s Theories of Knowledge. Williams’ reply to our paper, “There’s Nothing to Beat a Backward Clock: A Rejoinder to Adams, Barker and Clarke,” is a further attempt to defend their counterexample against a range of objections. In this paper, we argue that, despite the number and length of footnotes, Williams is still wrong.
Although Paul Churchland and Jerry Fodor both subscribe to the so-called theory-theory– the theory that folk psychology (FP) is an empirical theory of behavior – they disagree strongly about FP’s fate. Churchland contends that FP is a fundamentally flawed view analogous to folk biology, and he argues that recent advances in computational neuroscience and connectionist AI point toward development of a scientifically respectable replacement theory that will give rise to a new common-sense psychology. Fodor, however, wagers that FP will be (...) largely preserved and vindicated by scientific investigations of behavior. Recent findings by developmental psychologists, I argue, will push both Churchlandians and Fodorians toward the pessimistic view that FP is a misguided theory that will never be displaced, because it is, so to speak, built into our cognitive systems. I explore the possibility of preserving optimism by rejecting the theory-theory and adopting the simulation theory, a competing view developed by Robert Gordon, Alvin Goldman, and Jane Heal. According to simulationists, common-sense interpretation of behavior is accomplished by means of pretense-like operations that deploy the cognitive system’s own reasoning capabilities in a disengaged manner. Since on this view no theory-like set of principles would be needed, the simulation theory seems to enjoy a simplicity advantage over the theory-theory. Steven Stich and Shawn Nichols, however, contend that as the cognitive system would require special mechanisms for disengaged operation, the simplicity question cannot be resolved until suitable computational models are developed. I describe a set of models I have constructed to meet this need, and I discuss the contribution such models can make to determining FP’s fate. (shrink)
Each chapter heading bears a phrase from a contemporary author, held to incorporate the character of that section of the study under consideration. Chapter 1 carries the title given to early English translations of the Lettres provinciales; chapter 2 recalls the description of Pascall by Boyle and other English scientists; and chapter 3 draws from Kennett's preface to his version of the Pensees. The heading of chapter 4 is from Pope's Essay on Man. The exclamation which introduces chapter 5 concludes (...) an essay in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1789, probably by Boswell; the words for chapter 6 come from a pastoral letter of John Wesley; and chapter 7 represents the verdict of Coleridge. The title of the book itself is derived from the heading to the twenty-first chapter of Kennett's Pensees, which seems to have forecast the essence of the eighteenth-century's perplexity upon the issues raised by Pascal: 'The strange Contrarieties discoverable in Human Nature, with regard to Truth, and Happiness, and many other things.'. (shrink)
After committing the original sin in paradise, mankind was forced to work for a living. After that only lazy scoundrels like apes have gotten away without needing to work. Later, the rise of capitalism and the co-occurrence of slaves, workers and citizens demanded scientific theories of racial hierarchy. These taxonomies of racialized social structure were never abandoned: in 2011, the media still referred to the London rioters as ‘apes’.
In this paper we provide a reflexive account of fieldwork in out of school clubs in a range of localities across England and Wales. By reflecting upon our personal experiences of researching with children aged between 5 and 12 years, we examine the impact of the positionality of the researcher on the research encounter, and highlight the ways in which relationships between adult researchers and child subjects are gendered. Finally, we identify a number of issues for researchers to consider when (...) working with children in the field. (shrink)