Eleven pairs of newly commissioned essays face off on opposite sides of fundamental problems in current theories of knowledge. Brings together fresh debates on eleven of the most controversial issues in epistemology. Questions addressed include: Is knowledge contextual? Can skepticism be refuted? Can beliefs be justified through coherence alone? Is justified belief responsible belief? Lively debate format sharply defines the issues, and paves the way for further discussion. Will serve as an accessible introduction to the major topics in contemporary epistemology, (...) whilst also capturing the imagination of professional philosophers. (shrink)
Matthias Vogel challenges the belief, dominant in contemporary philosophy, that reason is determined solely by our discursive, linguistic abilities as communicative beings. In his view, the medium of language is not the only force of reason. Music, art, and other nonlinguistic forms of communication and understanding are also significant. Introducing an expansive theory of mind that accounts for highly sophisticated, penetrative media, Vogel advances a novel conception of rationality while freeing philosophy from its exclusive attachment to linguistics. Vogel's media (...) of reason treats all kinds of understanding and thought, propositional and nonpropositional, as important to the processes and production of knowledge and thinking. By developing an account of rationality grounded in a new conception of media, he raises the profile of the prelinguistic and nonlinguistic dimensions of rationality and advances the Enlightenment project, buffering it against the postmodern critique that the movement fails to appreciate aesthetic experience. Guided by the work of Jürgen Habermas, Donald Davidson, and a range of media theorists, including Marshall McLuhan, Vogel rebuilds, if he does not remake, the relationship among various forms of media -- books, movies, newspapers, the Internet, and television -- while offering an original and exciting contribution to media theory. (shrink)
I develop a theory of counterfactuals about relative computability, i.e. counterfactuals such as 'If the validity problem were algorithmically decidable, then the halting problem would also be algorithmically decidable,' which is true, and 'If the validity problem were algorithmically decidable, then arithmetical truth would also be algorithmically decidable,' which is false. These counterfactuals are counterpossibles, i.e. they have metaphysically impossible antecedents. They thus pose a challenge to the orthodoxy about counterfactuals, which would treat them as uniformly true. What’s more, I (...) argue that these counterpossibles don’t just appear in the periphery of relative computability theory but instead they play an ineliminable role in the development of the theory. Finally, I present and discuss a model theory for these counterfactuals that is a straightforward extension of the familiar comparative similarity models. (shrink)
According to William Alston, we lack voluntary control over our propositional attitudes because we cannot believe intentionally, and we cannot believe intentionally because our will is not causally connected to belief formation. Against Alston, I argue that we can believe intentionally because our will is causally connected to belief formation. My defense of this claim is based on examples in which agents have reasons for and against believing p, deliberate on what attitude to take towards p, and subsequently acquire an (...) attitude A towards p because they have decided to take attitude A. From the possibility of intentional belief, two conclusions follow. First, the kind of control we have over our propositional attitudes is direct; it is possible for us to believe at will. Second, the question of whether what we believe is under our control ultimately depends on whether our will itself is under our control. It is, therefore, a question of the metaphysics of free will. (shrink)
Traditionally, the manufacturer/operator of a machine is held (morally and legally) responsible for the consequences of its operation. Autonomous, learning machines, based on neural networks, genetic algorithms and agent architectures, create a new situation, where the manufacturer/operator of the machine is in principle not capable of predicting the future machine behaviour any more, and thus cannot be held morally responsible or liable for it. The society must decide between not using this kind of machine any more (which is not a (...) realistic option), or facing a responsibility gap, which cannot be bridged by traditional concepts of responsibility ascription. (shrink)
Epistemic deontology is the view that the concept of epistemic justification is deontological: a justified belief is, by definition, an epistemically permissible belief. I defend this view against the argument from doxastic involuntarism, according to which our doxastic attitudes are not under our voluntary control, and thus are not proper objects for deontological evaluation. I argue that, in order to assess this argument, we must distinguish between a compatibilist and a libertarian construal of the concept of voluntary control. If we (...) endorse a compatibilist construal, it turns out that we enjoy voluntary control over our doxastic attitudes after all. If, on the other hand, we endorse a libertarian construal, the result is that, for our doxastic attitudes to be suitable objects of deontological evaluation, they need not be under our voluntary control. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the rejection of doxastic voluntarism is not as straightforward as its opponents take it to be. I begin with a critical examination of William Alston's defense of involuntarism and then focus on the question of whether belief is intentional.
The paper explains in what sense the GRW matter density theory is a primitive ontology theory of quantum mechanics and why, thus conceived, the standard objections against the GRW formalism do not apply to GRWm. We consider the different options for conceiving the quantum state in GRWm and argue that dispositionalism is the most attractive one.
Social scientists have traditionally attempted to avoid extending strategies for acquiring experimental knowledge to the sphere of the social. Bruno Latour, however, has introduced a notion of the collective experiment, an experiment conducted by and with us all. In this short paper I seek to explore, by way of elucidating the talk of collective experiments, that Latour's notion has long since existed in the theory and practice of ecological design and restoration. Practitioners in ecological restoration projects find themselves in a (...) situation of double contingency, since neither do they know how nature will respond to their intervention nor is their interpretation of these responses already certain. Experimental practice in society then becomes the proceduralization of this contingency. (shrink)
I argue that scientific realism, insofar as it is only committed to those scientific posits of which we have causal knowledge, is immune to Kyle Stanford’s argument from unconceived alternatives. This causal strategy is shown not to repeat the shortcomings of previous realist responses to Stanford’s argument. Furthermore, I show that the notion of causal knowledge underlying it can be made sufficiently precise by means of conceptual tools recently introduced into the debate on scientific realism. Finally, I apply this strategy (...) to the case of Jean Perrin’s experimental work on the atomic hypothesis, disputing Stanford’s claim that the problem of unconceived alternatives invalidates a realist interpretation of this historical episode. 1 Stanford’s Argument from Unconceived Alternatives2 Previous Attempts to Undermine the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives2.1 The plausibility of unconceived alternatives2.2 The distinctness of unconceived alternatives2.3 The induction from past to present3 Causal Knowledge as a Criterion for the Realist3.1 How Chakravartty’s proposal differs from earlier causal strategies3.2 Causal realism and the detection/auxiliary distinction4 Causal Realism, Unconceived Alternatives, and the Atomic Hypothesis4.1 Perrin and the philosophers: some initial observations4.2 Roush and Stanford on Perrin4.3 From Brownian motion to the reality of atoms4.4 What we know about atoms5 Conclusion. (shrink)
This paper argues that the MBA, probably the most successful academic program of the last 50 years, negatively affects the theory and practice of management with regard to ethics through its pedagogy, structure, and its underlying epistemic assumptions. In particular I seek to demonstrate how the syllabus, the pedagogy and the epistemological assumptions of MBA programs together make managers/leaders unable and unwilling to deal with ethics. I also argue that while the what and the how play a very important role, (...) it was only the emergence of a radical philosophical underpinning that has put management education on a negative trajectory. The paper thus examines MBA education from a meta-level perspective, connecting the pedagogical model with epistemological beliefs. (shrink)
Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? (...) Understood more broadly, epistemology is about issues having to do with the creation and dissemination of knowledge in particular areas of inquiry. This article will provide a systematic overview of the problems that the questions above raise and focus in some depth on issues relating to the structure and the limits of knowledge and justification. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Alston's arguments for doxastic involuntarism. Alston fails to distinguish (i) between volitional and executional lack of control, and (ii) between compatibilist and libertarian control. As a result, he fails to notice that, if one endorses a compatibilist notion of voluntary control, the outcome is a straightforward and compelling case for doxastic voluntarism. Advocates of involuntarism have recently argued that the compatibilist case for doxastic voluntarism can be blocked by pointing out that belief is never intentional. (...) In response to this strategy, I distinguish between two types of intentionality and argue that belief is no less intentional than action is. (shrink)
After briefly discussing the relevance of the notions computation and implementation for cognitive science, I summarize some of the problems that have been found in their most common interpretations. In particular, I argue that standard notions of computation together with a state-to-state correspondence view of implementation cannot overcome difficulties posed by Putnam's Realization Theorem and that, therefore, a different approach to implementation is required. The notion realization of a function, developed out of physical theories, is then introduced as a replacement (...) for the notional pair computation-implementation. After gradual refinement, taking practical constraints into account, this notion gives rise to the notion digital system which singles out physical systems that could be actually used, and possibly even built. (shrink)
This volume gathers eleven new and three previously unpublished essays that take on questions of epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue. It contains the best recent work in this area by major figures such as Ernest Sosa, Robert Audi, Alvin Goldman, and Susan Haak.
When I take a sip from the coffee in my cup, I can taste that it is sweet. When I hold the cup with my hands, I can feel that it is hot. Why does the experience of feeling that the cup is hot give me justification for believing that the cup is hot?And why does the experience of tasting that the coffee is sweet give me justification for believing that the coffee is sweet?In general terms: Why is it that (...) a sense experience that P is a source of justification—a reason—for believing that P? Call this the Question. I will discuss various answers to the Question, and defend the one I myself favor. (shrink)
Conditional structures lie at the heart of the sciences, humanities, and everyday reasoning. It is hence not surprising that conditional logics – logics specifically designed to account for natural language conditionals – are an active and interdisciplinary area. The present book gives a formal and a philosophical account of indicative and counterfactual conditionals in terms of Chellas-Segerberg semantics. For that purpose a range of topics are discussed such as Bennett’s arguments against truth value based semantics for indicative conditionals.
Sections “Introduction: Hume’s Principle, Basic Law V and Cardinal Arithmetic” and “The Julius Caesar Problem in Grundlagen—A Brief Characterization” are peparatory. In Section “Analyticity”, I consider the options that Frege might have had to establish the analyticity of Hume’s Principle, bearing in mind that with its analytic or non-analytic status the intended logical foundation of cardinal arithmetic stands or falls. Section “Thought Identity and Hume’s Principle” is concerned with the two criteria of thought identity that Frege states in 1906 and (...) their application to Hume’s Principle. In Section “The Nature ofion: A Critical Assessment of Grundlagen, §64”, I scrutinize Frege’s characterization of abstraction in Grundlagen, §64 and criticize in this context the currently widespread use of the terms “recarving” and “reconceptualization”. Section “Frege’s Proof of Hume’s Principle” is devoted to the formal details of Frege’s proof of Hume’s Principle. I begin by considering his proof sketch in Grundlagen and subsequently reconstruct in modern notation essential parts of the formal proof in Grundgesetze. In Section “Equinumerosity and Coextensiveness: Hume’s Principle and Basic Law V Again”, I discuss the criteria of identity embodied in Hume’s Principle and in Basic Law V, equinumerosity and coextensiveness. In Section “Julius Caesar and Cardinal Numbers—A Brief Comparison Between Grundlagen and Grundgesetze ”, I comment on the Julius Caesar problem arising from Hume’s Principle in Grundlagen and analyze the reasons for its absence in this form in Grundgesetze. I conclude with reflections on the introduction of the cardinals and the reals by abstraction in the context of Frege’s logicism. (shrink)