An argument that takes issue with the contemporary epistemological consensus that justification is distinct from knowledge, proposing instead that justified belief simply is knowledge, and arguing in detail that a belief is justified when ...
I will be arguing that a subject’s belief that p is justified if and only if he knows that p: justification is knowledge. I will start by describing two broad classes of allegedly justified beliefs that do not constitute knowledge and which, hence, cannot be what they are often taken to be if my view is correct. It is far from clear what my view is until I say a lot more about the relevant concept or concepts of justification that (...) concern me. The following section describes several concepts of justification that epistemologists have employed, and, in particular, identifies the two concepts of justification that I claim are coextensive with the concept of knowledge. One of those is the deontological conception of justification: I will be arguing that one ought not believe that p unless one knows that p. I imagine that the major opposition to my view will be that it is simply obvious that there are justified false beliefs, a feeling that I try to dispel in the lengthy section on concepts of justification before I finally get around to giving the main arguments in favor of my view. A view as unorthodox as mine demands more than a single argument: I offer four in the third section. Everyone allows that many people have many unjustified beliefs, and everyone has some unjustified beliefs, but such beliefs appear to be far more prevalent on my view than on more orthodox views. In the last section, I argue that unjustified beliefs, although widespread, are not quite as common as they might appear to be on my view. (shrink)
I argue that thoughts and concepts are mental representations rather than abstracta. I propose that the most important difference between the two views is that the mentalist believes that there are concept and thought tokens as well as types; this reveals that the dispute is not terminological but ontological. I proceed to offer an argument for mentalism. The key step is to establish that concepts and thoughts have lexical as well as semantic properties. I then show that this entails that (...) concepts and thoughts are susceptible to the type/token distinction. I finish by considering some objections to the argument. (shrink)
By introducing a name ‘one meter’ and stipulating that it refers to the length of stick S, the stipulator appears to be in a position to gain immediate knowledge of a mind- and language-independent fact-the fact that the length of stick S is one meter. It appears that other users of the name can gain this knowledge only through empirical enquiry. I argue that this presents a paradox. After clarifying the nature of the paradox, I offer a solution by arguing (...) that, contrary to appearances, other users of ‘one meter’ implicitly knew that the length of stick S is one meter before learning the name, as did the stipulator prior to introducing the name. There is some distinct knowledge that other users of the name can only gain empirically, but the stipulator cannot gain this knowledge without empirical enquiry either. (shrink)
By introducing a name ‘one meter’ and stipulating that it refers to the length of stick S, the stipulator appears to be in a position to gain immediate (and arguably a priori) knowledge of a mind- and language-independent fact-the fact that the length of stick S is one meter. It appears that other users of the name can gain this knowledge only through empirical enquiry. I argue that this presents a paradox. After clarifying the nature of the paradox, I offer (...) a solution by arguing that, contrary to appearances, other users of ‘one meter’ implicitly knew that the length of stick S is one meter before learning the name, as did the stipulator prior to introducing the name. There is some distinct knowledge that other users of the name can only gain empirically, but the stipulator cannot gain this knowledge without empirical enquiry either. (shrink)
I am justified in believing that my lottery ticket—call it t1—will not win, on statistical grounds. Those grounds apply equally to any other ticket, so I am justified in believing of any other ticket ti (let i take values from 2 to 1000000) that it will not win. I am not, however, justified in believing the giant conjunctive proposition that t1 will not win & t2 will not win & . . . & t1,000,000 will not win. On the contrary, (...) I am justified in believing that some ticket will win, hence that one of those conjuncts is false. Suggested solution: justified belief is not closed under conjunction. It does not follow from the fact that I am justified in believing p and justified in believing q that I am justified in believing p & q. (shrink)
My aim is to motivate and develop a view of what senses are. Senses, as I conceive of them, avoid a number of the problems that plague a broadly Fregean approach to the semantics of belief ascriptions, as I hope to show. The chief innovation of my view that enables these solutions is that beliefs are taken to have multiple, truth-conditionally equivalent contents. In traditional Fregean terminology, a belief does not involve a relation to a single thought, but to many (...) thoughts, some of which are very fine-grained, and some of which are rather coarse-grained. Each thought is a structured entity ultimately composed of unstructured senses that themselves vary in their level of grain. It is no part of my attempted vindication of senses that senses are closely related to the meanings of words, phrases, and sentences; this feature of historical Fregeanism I disavow. I endorse rather the equally traditional claim that senses are concepts or, if truth-evaluable, the propositional contents of belief. (shrink)
This is an examination of two essays on minimal religion by Mikhail Epstein (1982 and 1999), assessing the usefulness of the term ‘minimal religion’ for the analysis of religion in contemporary Russia.
It appears that the objects of belief and the objects of assertion are, often, one and the same. The objects of assertion must be communicable – if an assertion leads to successful communication, the audience grasps what the speaker said. There are good reasons for thinking that beliefs are relations to very fine-grained contents, however, which appear to be unsuitable for reliable transmission from speaker to audience. I consider two accounts of the apparent intersection of the objects of belief and (...) the objects of assertion, and find them unable to embrace both of these claims. I defend the view that beliefs have multiple, truth-conditionally equivalent contents on the grounds that it is able to reconcile the apparently conflicting claims. (shrink)