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Kevin McCain
University of Alabama, Birmingham
  1. Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification.Kevin McCain - 2014 - Routledge.
    Evidentialism is a popular theory of epistemic justification, yet, as early proponents of the theory Earl Conee and Richard Feldman admit, there are many elements that must be developed before Evidentialism can provide a full account of epistemic justification, or well-founded belief. It is the aim of this book to provide the details that are lacking; here McCain moves past Evidentialism as a mere schema by putting forward and defending a full-fledged theory of epistemic justification. In this book McCain offers (...)
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  2.  70
    Forgetting Memory Skepticism.Matthew Frise & Kevin McCain - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Memory skepticism denies our memory beliefs could have any notable epistemic good. One route to memory skepticism is to challenge memory’s epistemic trustworthiness, that is, its functioning in a way necessary for it to provide epistemic justification. In this paper we develop and respond to this challenge. It could threaten memory in such a way that we altogether lack doxastic attitudes. If it threatens memory in this way, then the challenge is importantly self-defeating. If it does not threaten memory in (...)
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  3. The Interventionist Account of Causation and the Basing Relation.Kevin McCain - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (3):357-382.
    It is commonplace to distinguish between propositional justification (having good reasons for believing p) and doxastic justification (believing p on the basis of those good reasons).One necessary requirement for bridging the gap between S’s merely having propositional justification that p and S’s having doxastic justification that p is that S base her belief that p on her reasons (propositional justification).A plausible suggestion for what it takes for S’s belief to be based on her reasons is that her reasons must contribute (...)
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  4. Why Explanatoriness Is Evidentially Relevant.Kevin McCain & Ted Poston - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (2):145-153.
    William Roche and Elliott Sober argue that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant. This conclusion is surprising since it conflicts with a plausible assumption—the fact that a hypothesis best explains a given set of data is evidence that the hypothesis is true. We argue that Roche and Sober's screening-off argument fails to account for a key aspect of evidential strength: the weight of a body of evidence. The weight of a body of evidence affects the resiliency of probabilities in the light of (...)
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  5.  67
    The Nature of Scientific Knowledge: An Explanatory Approach.Kevin McCain - 2016 - Springer.
    This book offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the epistemology of science. It not only introduces readers to the general epistemological discussion of the nature of knowledge, but also provides key insights into the particular nuances of scientific knowledge. No prior knowledge of philosophy or science is assumed by The Nature of Scientific Knowledge. Nevertheless, the reader is taken on a journey through several core concepts of epistemology and philosophy of science that not only explores the characteristics of the (...)
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  6. Evolutionary Theory and the Epistemology of Science.Kevin McCain & Brad Weslake - 2013 - In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer. pp. 101-119.
    Evolutionary theory is a paradigmatic example of a well-supported scientific theory. In this chapter we consider a number of objections to evolutionary theory, and show how responding to these objections reveals aspects of the way in which scientific theories are supported by evidence. Teaching these objections can therefore serve two pedagogical aims: students can learn the right way to respond to some popular arguments against evolutionary theory, and they can learn some basic features of the structure of scientific theories and (...)
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  7. Explanationism: Defended on All Sides.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (3):333-349.
    Explanationists about epistemic justification hold that justification depends upon explanatory considerations. After a bit of a lull, there has recently been a resurgence of defenses of such views. Despite the plausibility of these defenses, explanationism still faces challenges. Recently, T. Ryan Byerly and Kraig Martin have argued that explanationist views fail to provide either necessary or sufficient conditions for epistemic justification. I argue that Byerly and Martin are mistaken on both accounts.
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  8. The Virtues of Epistemic Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2008 - Synthese 164 (2):185-200.
    Although several important methodologies implicitly assume the truth of epistemic conservatism, the view that holding a belief confers some measure of justification on the belief, recent criticisms have led some to conclude that epistemic conservatism is an implausible view. That conclusion is mistaken. In this article, I propose a new formulation of epistemic conservatism that is not susceptible to the criticisms leveled at earlier formulations of epistemic conservatism. In addition to withstanding these criticisms, this formulation of epistemic conservatism has several (...)
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  9. Undaunted Explanationism.Kevin McCain - 2017 - Logos and Episteme 8 (1):117-127.
    Explanationism is a plausible view of epistemic justification according to which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations. Despite its plausibility, explanationism is not without its critics. In a recent issue of this journal T. Ryan Byerly and Kraig Martin have charged that explanationism fails to provide necessary or sufficient conditions for epistemic justification. In this article I examine Byerly and Martin’s arguments and explain where they go wrong.
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  10.  60
    Evidentialism, Explanationism, and Beliefs About the Future.Kevin McCain - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (1):99-109.
    Earl Conee and Richard Feldman have argued that epistemic support should be understood in terms of explanatory considerations. Very roughly, they hold that one’s evidence supports a given proposition when that proposition is part of the best explanation of one’s evidence. This proposal is attractive, but T. Ryan Byerly has recently argued that it is false. Byerly claims that such explanationist accounts of epistemic support cannot account for the fact that one’s evidence can support propositions about the future. Although Byerly (...)
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  11. Interventionism Defended.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (1):61-73.
    James Woodward’s Making Things Happen presents the most fully developed version of a manipulability theory of causation. Although the ‘interventionist’account of causation that Woodward defends in Making Things Happen has many admirable qualities, Michael Strevens argues that it has a fatal flaw. Strevens maintains that Woodward’s interventionist account of causation renders facts about causation relative to an individual’s perspective. In response to this charge, Woodward claims that although on his account X might be a relativized cause of Y relative to (...)
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  12.  89
    Explanationist Evidentialism.Kevin McCain - 2013 - Episteme 10 (3):299-315.
    In their most recent co-authored work, Conee and Feldman (2008) suggest that epistemic support should be understood in terms of best explanations. Although this suggestion is plausible, Conee and Feldman admit that they have not provided the necessary details for a complete account of epistemic support. This article offers an explanationist account of epistemic support of the kind that Conee and Feldman suggest. It is argued that this account of epistemic support yields the intuitively correct results in a wide variety (...)
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  13.  68
    No Knowledge Without Evidence.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40:369-376.
    The Evidence Thesis is the intuitively plausible principle that in order to know that p one must base her belief that p on adequate evidence. Despite the plausibility of this principle, Andrew Moon (2012) has recently argued that the principle is false. Moon’s argument consists of presenting what he takes to be a clear instance of knowledge and arguing that the subject in the case does not have this knowledge on the basis of any evidence. I argue that Moon’s example (...)
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  14.  29
    Explanation and the Nature of Scientific Knowledge.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Science & Education 24 (7-8):827-854.
    Explaining phenomena is a primary goal of science. Consequently, it is unsurprising that gaining a proper understanding of the nature of explanation is an important goal of science education. In order to properly understand explanation, however, it is not enough to simply consider theories of the nature of explanation. Properly understanding explanation requires grasping the relation between explanation and understanding, as well as how explanations can lead to scientific knowledge. This article examines the nature of explanation, its relation to understanding, (...)
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  15.  47
    Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation.Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.) - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Twenty philosophers offer new essays examining the form of reasoning known as inference to the best explanation - widely used in science and in our everyday lives, yet still controversial. Best Explanations represents the state of the art when it comes to understanding, criticizing, and defending this form of reasoning.
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  16. Against Hanna on Phenomenal Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (1):45-54.
    Against Hanna on Phenomenal Conservatism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0148-2 Authors Kevin McCain, Department of Philosophy, University of Rochester, Box 270078, Rochester, NY 14627-0078, USA Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150.
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  17. A Predictivist Argument Against Scepticism.Kevin McCain - 2012 - Analysis 72 (4):660-665.
    Predictivism, the thesis that all things being equal a hypothesis that predicts a piece of evidence is better supported by that evidence than a hypothesis that only accommodates that evidence, comes in strong and weak forms. Interestingly, weak predictivism, which is widely accepted, can be used to formulate a persuasive argument against some forms of external world scepticism. In this article I formulate this predictivist argument and I explain why it deserves serious consideration despite the fact that it only succeeds (...)
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  18.  90
    Explanationist Aid for Phenomenal Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3035-3050.
    Phenomenal conservatism is a popular theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity and the fact that some think that phenomenal conservatism can provide a complete account of justification, it faces several challenges. Among these challenges are the need to provide accounts of defeaters and inferential justification. Fortunately, there is hope for phenomenal conservatism. Explanationism, the view on which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations, can help phenomenal conservatism with both of these challenges. The resulting view is one that respects (...)
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  19.  76
    Is Forgotten Evidence a Problem for Evidentialism?Kevin McCain - 2015 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (4):471-480.
    The “problem of forgotten evidence” is a common objection to evidentialist theories of epistemic justification. This objection is motivated by cases where someone forms a belief on the basis of supporting evidence and then later forgets this evidence while retaining the belief. Critics of evidentialist theories argue that in some of these cases the person's belief remains justified. So, these critics claim that one can have a justified belief that is not supported by any evidence the subject possesses. I argue (...)
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  20.  33
    Dispelling the Disjunction Objection to Explanatory Inference.Kevin McCain & Ted Poston - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    Although inference to the best explanation is ubiquitous in science and our everyday lives, there are numerous objections to the viability of IBE. Many of these objections have been thoroughly discussed, however, at least one objection to IBE has not received adequate treatment. We term this objection the “Disjunction Objection”. This objection challenges IBE on the grounds that it seems that even if H is the best explanation, it could be that the disjunction of its rivals is more likely to (...)
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  21.  73
    A New Evil Demon? No Problem for Moderate Internalists.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (1):97-105.
    The New Evil Demon Problem is often seen as a serious objection to externalist theories of justification. In fact, some internalists think it is a decisive counterexample to externalism. Recently, Moon has argued that internalists face their own New Evil Demon Problem. According to Moon, it is possible for a demon to remove one’s unaccessed mental states while leaving the justificatory status of her accessed mental states unaffected. Since this is contrary to the claims of many forms of internalism, Moon (...)
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  22.  19
    What the Debasing Demon Teaches Us About Wisdom.Kevin McCain - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-10.
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  23.  53
    An Isolation Objection to Phenomenal Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1381-1390.
    Phenomenal conservatism as developed by some philosophers faces a previously unnoticed problem. The problem stems from the fact that, as some develop the view, phenomenal conservatism holds that seemings alone justify—sensations have no justificatory impact. Given this, phenomenal conservatism faces a problem analogous to the isolation objection to coherentism. As foundationalists, supporters of phenomenal conservatism will want to allow that the isolation objection is effective against coherentism, and yet claim that a similar objection is not effective against their view. Unfortunately, (...)
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  24. Two Skeptical Arguments or Only One?Kevin McCain - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):289-300.
    The first step in responding to the challenge of external world skepticism is to get clear on the structure of the skeptic’s argument. The most prominent varieties of skeptical arguments either rely on closure principles or underdetermination principles. The relationship between these two sorts of arguments is contentious. Some argue that these arguments can independently motivate skepticism. Others argue that they are really equivalent. I argue that although these two arguments are distinct, their independence is not as obvious as some (...)
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  25.  64
    Skepticism and Elegance.Kevin McCain - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1):30-43.
    _ Source: _Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 30 - 43 Jonathan Vogel has argued in support of an explanationist response to skepticism in several works. Central to this explanationist response is the fact that our non-skeptical view of the world is a better explanation of our experiences than its skeptical rivals. Despite the plausibility of this response to skepticism, it is not without its critics. Recently, Matthew Gifford has argued that Vogel’s response has problems on two fronts. First, Gifford argues (...)
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  26. Problem of the Criterion.Kevin McCain - 2014 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The Problem of the Criterion The Problem of the Criterion is considered by many to be a fundamental problem of epistemology. In fact, Chisholm (1973, 1) claims that the Problem of the Criterion is “one of the most important and one of the most difficult of all the problems of philosophy.” A popular form of […].
     
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  27.  51
    Skepticism and Elegance.Kevin McCain - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1):30-43.
    _ Source: _Page Count 14 Jonathan Vogel has argued in support of an explanationist response to skepticism in several works. Central to this explanationist response is the fact that our non-skeptical view of the world is a better explanation of our experiences than its skeptical rivals. Despite the plausibility of this response to skepticism, it is not without its critics. Recently, Matthew Gifford has argued that Vogel’s response has problems on two fronts. First, Gifford argues that Vogel’s strategy for showing (...)
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  28.  31
    Skepticism and Elegance.Kevin McCain - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1):30-43.
    _ Source: _Page Count 14 Jonathan Vogel has argued in support of an explanationist response to skepticism in several works. Central to this explanationist response is the fact that our non-skeptical view of the world is a better explanation of our experiences than its skeptical rivals. Despite the plausibility of this response to skepticism, it is not without its critics. Recently, Matthew Gifford has argued that Vogel’s response has problems on two fronts. First, Gifford argues that Vogel’s strategy for showing (...)
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  29.  11
    What the Debasing Demon Teaches Us About Wisdom.Kevin McCain - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-10.
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  30.  72
    In Defense of the Explanationist Response to Skepticism.Kevin McCain - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (1):38-50.
    _ Source: _Page Count 13 A promising response to the threat of external world skepticism involves arguing that our commonsense view of the world best explains the sensory experiences that we have. Since our commonsense view of the world best explains our evidence, we are justified in accepting this commonsense view of the world. Despite the plausibility of this Explanationist Response, it has recently come under attack. James Beebe has argued that only a version of the Explanationist Response that provides (...)
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  31.  70
    Testimonial Knowledge From Lies.Kevin McCain - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):459-468.
    Recently, Dan O’Brien has argued that there are situations in which a hearer can gain testimonial knowledge from a speaker who is lying. In order to make his case, O’Brien presents two examples where a speaker lies to a hearer, but supposedly the hearer comes to have testimonial knowledge on the basis of the lying speaker’s testimony. O’Brien claims that his examples demonstrate that lies can be used to pass on knowledge in a non-inferential fashion. I argue that O’Brien is (...)
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  32.  61
    Pick Your Poison: Beg the Question or Embrace Circularity.Kevin McCain & William Rowley - 2014 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 4 (2):125-140.
    According to Roderick Chisholm, there are three ways of responding to the Problem of the Criterion and they all leave something to be desired. Michael DePaul, Paul Moser, and Earl Conee have each proposed variations of a fourth way of responding to this problem that rely on reflective equilibrium. We argue that these four options for responding to the Problem of the Criterion leave one with a tough choice: accept one of the three that Chisholm describes or DePaul’s reflective equilibrium (...)
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  33.  39
    Indispensable Falsehoods.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Science & Education 27 (5-6):547-550.
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  34.  39
    Explanatory Virtues Are Indicative of Truth.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Logos and Episteme 9 (1):63-73.
    In a recent issue of this journal, Miloud Belkoniene challenges explanationist accounts of evidential support in two ways. First, he alleges that there are cases that show explanatory virtues are not linked to the truth of hypotheses. Second, he maintains that attempts to show that explanatoriness is relevant to evidential support because it adds to the resiliency of probability functions fail. I contest both of Belkoniene’s claims.
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  35.  11
    Pick Your Poison: Beg the Question or Embrace Circularity.Kevin Mccain & William Rowley - 2014 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 4 (1):1-16.
    According to Roderick Chisholm, there are three ways of responding to the Problem of the Criterion and they all leave something to be desired. Michael DePaul, Paul Moser, and Earl Conee have each proposed variations of a fourth way of responding to this problem that rely on reflective equilibrium. We argue that these four options for responding to the Problem of the Criterion leave one with a tough choice: accept one of the three that Chisholm describes or DePaul’s reflective equilibrium (...)
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  36.  7
    What the Debasing Demon Teaches Us About Wisdom.Kevin McCain - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-10.
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  37.  16
    Pick Your Poison: Beg the Question or Embrace Circularity.Kevin Mccain & William Rowley - 2013 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (4).
    According to Roderick Chisholm, there are three ways of responding to the Problem of the Criterion and they all leave something to be desired. Michael DePaul, Paul Moser, and Earl Conee have each proposed variations of a fourth way of responding to this problem that rely on reflective equilibrium. We argue that these four options for responding to the Problem of the Criterion leave one with a tough choice: accept one of the three that Chisholm describes or DePaul’s reflective equilibrium (...)
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  38.  19
    Making Understanding Intelligible.Kevin McCain - 2019 - Science & Education 28 (6-7):797-799.
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  39.  11
    Explanationist Evidentialism: A Defense.Kevin McCain - 2018 - In McCain Kevin (ed.), Believing in Accordance with the Evidence. Springer Verlag.
    In this chapter I defend Explanationist Evidentialism, the theory developed and argued for in Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification, from the objections raised by Richard Fumerton, Jonathan Kvanvig, and Matthias Steup. Ultimately, I conclude that although each of these philosophers presents interesting challenges, none of the challenges succeed in undermining Explanationist Evidentialism. It remains a viable theory of epistemic justification.
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  40.  83
    Scientific Method in Brief, by Hugh G. Gauch, Jr. [REVIEW]Kevin McCain - 2013 - Teaching Philosophy 36 (3):310-313.
  41.  30
    Tough Love for Science: Henry H. Bauer: Science is Not What You Think: How It has Changed, Why We Can’T Trust It, How It Can Be Fixed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2017, Viii + 251 Pp, $35.00 PB.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):351-353.
  42.  10
    Evidentialism: A Primer.Kevin McCain - 2018 - In McCain Kevin (ed.), Believing in Accordance with the Evidence. Springer Verlag.
    This brief chapter provides a general overview of evidentialism by explaining evidentialism’s most fundamental claim about epistemic justification, that such justification supervenes on an agent’s evidence. Additionally, the chapter explains that evidentialism requires more clarification and detailing. Finally, short summaries of the other chapters included in this book are provided in this chapter.
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  43.  17
    Matthias Steup and Ernest Sosa : Contemporary Debates in Epistemology.Kevin McCain - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (5):1257-1263.
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  44. Response to Levinas.Kevin McCain - 2006 - Gnosis 8 (1):66-71.
     
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  45.  16
    Robert Audi: Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge.Kevin McCain - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (3):747-752.
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  46.  11
    Uncertainty: How It Makes Science Advance.Kostas Kampourakis & Kevin McCain - 2019 - Oxford University Press.
    Scientific knowledge is the most solid and robust kind of knowledge that humans have because of its inherent self-correcting character. Nevertheless, anti-evolutionists, climate denialists, and anti-vaxxers, among others, question some of the best-established scientific findings, making claims unsupported by empirical evidence. A common aspect of these claims is reference to the uncertainties of science concerning evolution, climate change, vaccination, and so on. This is inaccurate: whereas the broad picture is clear, there will always exist uncertainties about the details of the (...)
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  47.  73
    Appearance and Explanation: A Defense of Phenomenal Explanationism (OUP, Under Contract).Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - manuscript
    Phenomenal Conservatism (PC) is a promising, and popular, internalist theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity it faces numerous objections and challenges. In Seemings and Epistemic Justification (Springer, 2020), Moretti suggests that integrating PC with a theory of reflective/inferential justification would have the potential to shield PC from various challenges. Moretti also suggests that this sort of integration is worth exploring because it may allow PC to provide a more forceful response to skepticism and better account for ordinary cognitive practices. (...)
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  48. Epistemic Duties.Kevin McCain & Scott Stapleford (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  49.  10
    The Mystery of Skepticism: New Explorations.Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.) - 2018 - Brill.
    The thirteen newly commissioned essays in _The Mystery of Skepticism: New Explorations_ represent the cutting-edge of research on underexplored skeptical challenges, dimensions of the skeptical problematic, and responses to various kinds of skepticism.
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  50.  48
    What is Scientific Knowledge? An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology of Science.Kevin McCain (ed.) - 2019 - New York: Routledge.
    What Is Scientific Knowledge? is a much-needed collection of introductory-level chapters on the epistemology of science. Renowned historians, philosophers, science educators, and cognitive scientists have authored 19 original contributions specifically for this volume. The chapters, accessible for students in both philosophy and the sciences, serve as helpful introductions to the primary debates surrounding scientific knowledge.First-year undergraduates can readily understand the variety of discussions in the volume, and yet advanced students and scholars will encounter chapters rich enough to engage their many (...)
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