This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...) naturalist’s commitment to scientific methodology in that it allows for apriori-justified claims to be sensitive to further conceptual developments and the expansion of evidence. The fallibilist apriorist allows that an a priori claim is revisable in only a purely epistemic sense. This modal claim is weaker than what is required for a revisability thesis to establish empiricism, so fallibilist apriorism represents a distinct position. (shrink)
A central feature of ordinary moral thought is that moral judgment is mind-independent in the following sense: judging something to be morally wrong does not thereby make it morally wrong. To deny this would be to accept a form of subjectivism. Neil Sinclair (2008) makes a novel attempt to show how expressivism is simultaneously committed to (1) an understanding of moral judgments as expressions of attitudes and (2) the rejection of subjectivism. In this paper, I discuss Sinclair’s defense of anti-subjectivist (...) moral mind-independence on behalf of the expressivist, and I argue that the account does not fully succeed. An examination of why it does not is instructive, and it reveals a fundamental dilemma for the expressivist. I offer a suggestion for how the expressivist might respond to the dilemma and so uphold Sinclair’s defense. (shrink)
This very short paper highlights some of my recent and forthcoming work on “good epistemic practices” in the financial services industry. It identifies some epistemic dimensions of risk management in banking and illustrates how managing for good epistemic practices might be helpful.
Epistemology needs to account for the success of science. In True Enough, Catherine Elgin argues that a veritist epistemology is inadequate to this task. She advocates shifting epistemology’s focus away from true belief and toward understanding, and further, jettisoning truth from its privileged place in epistemological theorizing. Pace Elgin, I argue that epistemology’s accommodation of science does not require rejecting truth as the central epistemic value. Instead, it requires understanding veritism in an ecumenical way that acknowledges a rich array of (...) truth-oriented values. ¶ In place of veritism, Elgin offers a holistic epistemology that takes epistemic norms to have their genesis in our collective practice of deliberation. The acceptability of epistemic norms turns on epistemic responsibility, as opposed to reliability, and truth-conduciveness is rejected as the standard of evaluation for arguments and methods of inquiry. I argue, by way of an extended discussion of a high-profile and controversial criminal case, that this leaves epistemic practices and their products inadequately grounded. I offer an alternative, veritistic account of epistemic norms that retains a modified version of truth-conduciveness as a standard of evaluation. However, my alternative account of epistemic norms is congenial to Elgin’s holistic epistemology, and, I suggest, could be incorporated within it. (shrink)
I argue that epistemic failings are a significant and underappreciated moral hazard in the financial services industry. I argue further that an analysis of these epistemic failings and their means of redress is best developed by identifying policies and procedures that are likely to facilitate good judgment. These policies and procedures are “best epistemic practices.” I explain how best epistemic practices support good reasoning, thereby facilitating accurate judgments about risk and reward. Failures to promote and adhere to best epistemic practices (...) contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. I identify and discuss some of the ways in which best epistemic practices were violated in the events that led to the crisis, with a focus on the role of the credit rating agencies. I go on to discuss some of the ways in which these failings have been redressed. I conclude by observing how proactive regulation for best epistemic practices might help us to anticipate and avoid future crises. (shrink)
This article examines the epistemology of risk assessment in the context of financial modelling for the purposes of making loan underwriting decisions. A financing request for a company in the paper and pulp industry is considered in some detail. The paper and pulp industry was chosen because it is subject to some specific risks that have been identified and studied by bankers, investors and managers of paper and pulp companies and certain features of the industry enable analysts to quantify the (...) impact of specific risk events of a given dimension on a company's future financial performance. While companies in other industries may be subject to similar risk factors, the impact of risk events may be more difficult to gauge in those industries. The ability of financial analysts to model the impact of a risk event, and hence quantify a credit risk, increases the predictive accuracy of the model. I argue that bankers and regulators should recognise the uncertainty associated with unquantifiable credit risk in financial models, and they should view this uncertainty as a credit risk factor in and of itself. Evaluating the relative degree to which credit risk is quantifiable in financial models is a potentially significant yet largely unrecognised tool for credit risk management. I consider some possible applications of this assessment tool for managing risk within the banking industry. (shrink)
Leonard Cohen’s celebrated song “Suzanne” exhibits a certain conception of self-awareness and intersubjectivity that is embraced by phenomenologists and some psychologists. A key element of this conception is that we have pre-reflective self-awareness, including and especially bodily self-awareness. We are tacitly and pre-reflectively aware of ourselves in experience. A second, related element concerns reflective functioning. Reflective functioning is the ability to appreciate oneself and others as being “minded,” that is to say, as having beliefs, desires, and emotions with intentional content. (...) Reflective functioning develops in the context of social relations. In particular, it is part of a maturational process that is activated in the context of parent-child relationships in which the adult “mirrors” the developing child’s experiences and feelings. In this essay, I consider how pre-reflective bodily awareness and reflective functioning, in combination with an appreciation of the epistemic value of love, can help us to comprehend what it is to “touch a perfect body with a mind.” I also explain why, even if we come to fully understand the workings of reflective functioning, the mirror will retain its mystery. (shrink)
Broadly speaking, a naturalistic approach to epistemology seeks to explain human knowledge – and justification in particular – as a phenomenon in the natural world, in keeping with the tenets of naturalism. Naturalism is typically defined, in part, by a commitment to scientific method as the only legitimate means of attaining knowledge of the natural world. Naturalism is often thought to entail empiricism by virtue of this methodological commitment. However, scientific methods themselves may incorporate a priori elements, so empiricism does (...) not follow from the methodological commitments of naturalism alone. And given a suitably-naturalistic conception of the a priori, a priori forms of justification may be compatible with naturalism generally. A priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism – and hence naturalistic epistemologies – if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of some of the inessential properties that have been associated with the concept. I argue that some of the more prominent strategies for accommodating normative notions within a naturalistic framework allow for the possibility of a priori justification. These include reliabilism, instrumental rationality, and nonfactualism about justification. A priori justification thus need not be seen as standing in opposition to all naturalistic epistemologies. It is only with nonnormative naturalistic epistemologies that a priori justification per se is incompatible, and this only because the notion of justification itself has no role to play within a nonnormative approach to epistemology. (shrink)
This is an imagined dialogue between one of the more famous skeptics regarding moral attribution, Thrasymachus, and an imagined Socrates who, through the convenient miracle of time travel, returns to Athens after exposure to contemporary metaethics, now a devoted and formidable quasi-realist expressivist. The dialogue focuses on the characterization of moral conflict and moral justification available to the expressivist, and the authors attempt to lay out the distinctive strengths and weaknesses of the expressivist view.
I give a brief overview of Albert Casullo’s Essays on A Priori Knowledge and Justification, followed by a summary of his diagnostic framework for evaluating accounts of a priori knowledge and a priori justification. I then discuss Casullo’s strategy for countering deficiency arguments against empiricism. A deficiency argument against empiricism can be countered by mounting a parallel argument against moderate rationalism that shows moderate rationalism to be defective in a similar way. I argue that a particular deficiency argument put forth (...) by George Bealer in “The Incoherence of Empiricism” can withstand a parallel challenge mounted by Casullo.I then consider Casullo’s preferred analysis of the concept of a priori justification, which identifies a belief’s being justified by some nonexperiential source as the feature by virtue of which it is justified a priori. On the analysis, an apriori-justfied belief that is justified to a degree that is sufficient for knowledge is not taken to be empirically indefeasible. I argue that Casullo could avail himself of an empirical indefeasibility requirement that is consistent with his minimal and fallibilist conception of a priori knowledge. Doing so would capture a feature of the concept of a priori knowledge that is of particular interest and significance. (shrink)
Erratum to: Naturalism, fallibilism, and the a priori Content Type Journal Article Category Erratum Pages 1-1 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9889-4 Authors Lisa Warenski, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In production with Oxford University Press (Oxford), eds., Joakim Sandberg and Lisa Warenski. (Projected date of publication: January 2024.) This collection of essays introduces scholars and students to the emerging field of the philosophy of money and finance. The field is a relatively new subdiscipline within the subject of philosophy. Although philosophical theorizing about money and finance dates back to Antiquity, the events of the 2008 financial crisis brought new urgency to a broad array of questions about finance, and the (...) body of philosophical research on the topic is growing. To date, there is no comprehensive introduction to this body of research – especially none which acknowledges its full breadth and potential. This volume aims to provide a much-needed introduction. -/- The volume is divided into the following four sections: Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Financial Economics, Ethics, and Political Philosophy. -/- . (shrink)
I give a brief overview of Albert Casullo’s Essays on A Priori Knowledge and Justification (2012), followed by a summary of his diagnostic framework for evaluating accounts of a priori knowledge and a priori justification. I then discuss Casullo’s strategy for countering deficiency arguments against empiricism. A deficiency argument against empiricism can be countered by mounting a parallel argument against moderate rationalism that shows moderate rationalism to be defective in a similar way. I argue that a particular deficiency argument put (...) forth by George Bealer in “The Incoherence of Empiricism” (1992) can withstand a parallel challenge mounted by Casullo (2012, Ch.6). -/- I then consider Casullo’s preferred analysis of the concept of a priori justification, which identifies a belief’s being justified by some nonexperiential source as the feature by virtue of which it is justified a priori. On the analysis, an apriori-justfied belief that is justified to a degree that is sufficient for knowledge is not taken to be empirically indefeasible. I argue that Casullo could avail himself of an empirical indefeasibility requirement that is consistent with his minimal and fallibilist conception of a priori knowledge. Doing so would capture a feature of the concept of a priori knowledge that is of particular interest and significance. (shrink)