Machery et al. presented data suggesting the existence of cross-cultural variation in judgments about the reference of proper names. In this paper, we examine a previously overlooked confound in the subsequent studies that attempt to replicate the results of Machery et al. using East Asian languages. Machery et al. and Sytsma et al. claim that they have successfully replicated the original finding with probes written in Chinese and Japanese, respectively. These studies, however, crucially rely on uses of articleless, ‘bare noun (...) phrases’ in Chinese and Japanese, which according to the linguistic literature are known to be multiply ambiguous. We argue that it becomes questionable whether the extant studies using East Asian languages revealed genuine cross-cultural variation when the probes are reevaluated based on a proper linguistic understanding of Chinese and Japanese bare noun phrases and English definite descriptions. We also present two experiments on native Japanese speakers that controlled the use of ambiguous bare noun phrases, the results of which suggest that the judgments of Japanese speakers concerning the reference of proper names may not diverge from those of English speakers. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the traditional conception of a prioricity as epistemic independence of evidence from sense experience. We investigate the fortunes of the traditional conception in the light of recent challenges by Timothy Williamson. We contend that Williamson’s arguments can be resisted in various ways. En route, we argue that Williamson’s views are not as distant from tradition as they might seem at first glance.
Jennifer Lackey challenges the sufficiency version of the knowledge-action principle, viz., that knowledge that p is sufficient to rationally act on p, by proposing a set of alleged counterexamples. Her aim is not only to attack the knowledge-action principle, but also to undermine an argument for subject-sensitive invariantism. Lackey holds that her examples are counterexamples to the sufficiency version of the knowledge-action principle because (a) S knows the proposition in question, but (b) it is not rational for S to act (...) on it. In this paper, first, I argue against (a) on intuitive and on theoretical grounds. Second, I point out that (b), even if combined with (a), is not sufficient to make for counterexamples to the knowledge-action principle of the relevant kind. Third, I offer two alternative explanations of the intuition Lackey relies on. If either one of them is right, (b) may not be satisfied in her examples. (shrink)
In this paper, first, I distinguish four questions concerning evidence: (a) the ontological question: what kind of entity qualifies as evidence? (b) the possession question: what is it for S to possess evidence? (c) the evidential relation question: what is it for one or a set of things to be evidence for another? And (d) the evidential basis question: how does S’s evidence contribute to forming, maintaining, or revising S’s doxastic attitudes? Williamson’s E = K thesis is only concerned with (...) question (b). Next, I argue that three recent arguments against the E = K thesis miss the target either because they combine the E = K thesis with something alien, or because they conflate these questions. The arguments I address are the argument from access to evidence, the argument from evidential bootstrapping, and the argument from true belief based on falsehood. The argument from access to evidence combines the E = K thesis with a quasi-skeptical consideration. The argument from evidential bootstrapping is only directed at Williamson’s theory of probability, which is his answer to question (c). The argument from true belief based on falsehood derives its force from an assumption about the basing relation as an answer to question (d). Although I do not deny that it is possible to argue for or against the E = K thesis by appealing to answers to other questions than (b), it is no easy task. (shrink)
Virtue epistemology has it that knowledge is a kind of success through ability, and explains the value of knowledge in terms of the general value of success through ability. However, Duncan Pritchard, in a series of recent writings, argues that knowledge is not merely a success through ability, and the virtue-theoretic explanation of the value of knowledge fails. He derives general claims about what he calls ‘environmental luck’ from certain examples, and uses them against virtue epistemology. First, I propose counterexamples (...) to Pritchard’s general claims about environmental luck. Second, I offer a diagnosis of both Pritchard’s and my examples, according to which they differ as to how many abilities are responsible for the performance in question. Different structures of performance make for different conditions for success to be fully creditable to a subject. Once this is taken account of, virtue epistemology can deal with all the examples, while maintaining its main tenet that the value of knowledge is explained in terms of the value of success through ability. Third, I show that my response to Pritchard’s argument against virtue epistemology is more plausible then the ones offered by John Greco and Ernest Sosa. (shrink)
In this paper, first, I briefly discuss various types of obstacles and difficulties for cross-cultural study and in particular failure of translational equivalence of linguistic stimuli and questions by referring to the literature in cultural psychology. Second, I summarize the extant cross-cultural studies of semantic judgments about reference and truth-value with regard to proper names, with a focus on Sytsma et al.’s (2015) study that examined the differences between English and Japanese. Lastly, I introduce and discuss the two recent studies (...) of semantic judgments in Japanese that my colleagues and I conducted. These two studies suggest that the translation Sytsma et al. used failed to consider the linguistic features characteristic of Japanese and other East Asian languages, and thereby failed to ensure translational equivalence. (shrink)
The generality problem is usually taken to arise only for externalist theories of knowledge or justification. In this paper, first, I argue that even internalist theories run afoul of a variant of the generality problem. This is because S may have multiple pieces of evidence concerning the reliability of the token process by which S forms the belief in question, and they determine the degree of Sʼs internalist justification differently. Second, I offer a solution to the generality problem for internalist (...) theories: Sʼs practical reason rather than epistemic reason picks out a piece of evidence concerning reliability as relevant. (shrink)