Ignorance is a neglected issue in philosophy. This is surprising for, contrary to what one might expect, it is not clear what ignorance is. Some philosophers say or assume that it is a lack of knowledge, whereas others claim or presuppose that it is an absence of true belief. What is one ignorant of when one is ignorant? What kinds of ignorance are there? This neglect is also remarkable because ignorance plays a crucial role in all sorts of controversial societal (...) issues. Ignorance is often thought to be a moral and legal excuse; it is a core concept in medical ethics and debates about privacy, and it features in religious traditions and debates about belief in God. This book does not only study an epistemic phenomenon that is interesting in itself, but also provides important tools that can be fruitfully used in debates within and beyond philosophy. (shrink)
Privacy is valued by many. But what it means to have privacy remains less than clear. In this paper, I argue that the notion of privacy should be understood in epistemic terms. What it means to have (some degree of) privacy is that other persons do not stand in significant epistemic relations to those truths one wishes to keep private.
Many philosophers are building a solid case in favour of the knowledge account of assertion (KAA). According to KAA, if one asserts that P one represents oneself as knowing that P. KAA has recently received support from linguistic data about prompting challenges, parenthetical positioning and predictions. In this article, I add another argument to this rapidly growing list: an argument from what I will call ‘reinforcing parenthesis’.
Subject sensitive invariantism is the view that whether a subject knows depends on what is at stake for that subject: the truth-value of a knowledge-attribution is sensitive to the subject's practical interests. I argue that subject sensitive invariantism cannot accept a very plausible principle for memory to transmit knowledge. I argue, furthermore, that semantic contextualism and contrastivism can accept this plausible principle for memory to transmit knowledge. I conclude that semantic contextualism and contrastivism are in a dialectical position better than (...) subject sensitive invariantism is. (shrink)
Contrastivism can be applied to a variety of problems within philosophy, and as such, it can be coherently seen as a unified movement. This volume brings together state-of-the-art research on the contrastive treatment of philosophical concepts and questions, including knowledge, belief, free will, moral luck, Bayesian confirmation theory, causation, and explanation.
In this introduction to the special issue of Social Epistemology on epistemological contrastivism, I make some remarks on the history of contrastivism, describe three main versions of contrastivism, and offer a guide through the papers that compose this issue.
A central intuition many epistemologists seem to have is that knowledge is distinctively valuable. In his paper 'Radical Scepticism, Epistemic Luck and Epistemic Value', Duncan Pritchard rejects the virtue-theoretic explanation of this intuition. This explanation says that knowledge is distinctively valuable because it is a cognitive achievement. It is maintained, in the first place, that the arguments Pritchard musters against the thesis that knowledge is a cognitive achievement are unconvincing. It is argued, in the second place, that even if the (...) arguments against the thesis that knowledge is a cognitive achievement were convincing, there is another explanation of the intuition that knowledge has final value available: the question-relative treatment of knowledge. (shrink)
In order to explain such puzzling cases as the Bank Case and the Airport Case, semantic contextualists defend two theses. First, that the truth-conditions of knowledge sentences fluctuate in accordance with features of the conversational context. Second, that this fluctuation can be explained by the fact that 'knows' is an indexical. In this paper, I challenge both theses. In particular, I argue that it isn't obvious that 'knows' is an indexical at all, and that contrastivism can do the same work (...) as contextualism is supposed to do, without being linguistically implausible. (shrink)
In order to explain such puzzling cases as the Bank Case and the Airport Case, semantic contextualists defend two theses. First, that the truth-conditions of knowledge sentences fluctuate in accordance with features of the conversational context. Second, that this fluctuation can be explained by the fact that 'knows' is an indexical. In this paper, I challenge both theses. In particular, I argue (i) that it isn't obvious that 'knows' is an indexical at all, and (ii) that contrastivism can do the (...) same work as contextualism is supposed to do, without being linguistically implausible. (shrink)
Contextualism is a quite popular research program nowadays. In essence, the contextualist holds that the truth conditions of knowledge attributing and of knowledge denying sentences vary in accordance with the context in which the sentences are uttered. This theory is positively motivated by its capability of best explaining certain intuitions we have about knowledge attributions and knowledge denials. In this paper, I will argue that this positive motivation isn't as compelling as the contextualists think it to be. This I will (...) do by construing a so-called ‘warranted assertability maneuver’ against contextualism which shows that, with respect to knowledge attributing and denying sentences, the con-textualist has confused a variance in warranted assertability conditions for a variance in truth conditions. (shrink)
One of the most interesting anti-skeptical theories that has been proposed in the recent literature is epistemological contrastivism. In this paper, I answer some important objections to contrastivism that have been put forward by Steven Luper. The upshot of this paper is that Luper’s objections fail to damage contrastivism.
John Turri has recently provided two problem cases for the knowledge account of assertion (KAA) to argue for the express knowledge account of assertion (EKAA). We defend KAA by explaining away the intuitions about the problem cases and by showing that our explanation is theoretically superior to EKAA.
In cases of imaginative contagion, imagining something has doxastic or doxastic-like consequences. In this reply to Tamar Szabó Gendler's article in this collection, I investigate what the philosophical consequences of these cases could be. I argue (i) that imaginative contagion has consequences for how we should understand the nature of imagination and (ii) that imaginative contagion has consequences for our understanding of what belief-forming mechanisms there are. Along the way, I make some remarks about what the consequences of the contagion (...) cases are for the relation between knowledge and imagination. (shrink)
In this paper I defend biblical miracles against the popular objection that they are impossible. Doing this requires three stages of development. First, we need to know what miracles are: if we do not know this, how can we then argue that miracles are not impossible? I start out by distinguishing between two categories of miracles: subjective miracles and objective miracles. Then I go on to point out that there are two types of subjective miracles as well as two types (...) of objective miracles. Second, we need to know what the concept ‘impossible’ means: if we do not know this, how can we then argue that miracles are not impossible? I say that there are at least three senses in which we can use the word ‘impossible’. Third, we need to show that miracles are not impossible . After having show that miracles are not impossible , I draw three theological and hermeneutical consequences from the preceding discussion. (shrink)
This volume introduces readers to the main problems and positions in epistemology. It shows where these problems and positions connect and where they part thereby providing a valuable resource both for following connections between ideas and for appreciating the place of key figures and concepts in the subject.
Contextualist theories of knowledge have received a lot of attention in the contemporary epistemological literature. The central idea of such theories is that contextual factors play an important role in determining whether a particular knowledge sentence is true or false. Thus, on contextualist theories of knowledge it might be the case that a particular subject knows a proposition in one context but fails to know that same proposition in another context--while the only thing that has changed is the context. Of (...) the extant contextualist theories of knowledge, attributer contextualism (that is, the type of contextualism that makes the context of the attributer of knowledge crucial in determining whether a subject knows a proposition) has been discussed the most. The papers in the present collection continue this focus on attributer contextualism, and offer a fairly critical treatment of this theory. Nevertheless, a number of papers also outline new types of contextualism. What results is a collection of papers that, though negative towards attributer contextualism, for the most part is sympathetic towards contextualism in general. (shrink)