A common objection to sense-datum theories of perception is that they cannot give an adequate account of the fact that introspection indicates that our sensory experiences are directed on, or are about, the mind-independent entities in the world around us, that our sense experience is transparent to the world. In this paper I point out that the main force of this claim is to point out an explanatory challenge to sense-datum theories.
Different people reason differently, which means that sometimes they reach different conclusions from the same evidence. We maintain that this is not only natural, but rational. In this essay we explore the epistemology of that state of affairs. First we will canvass arguments for and against the claim that rational methods of reasoning must always reach the same conclusions from the same evidence. Then we will consider whether the acknowledgment that people have divergent rational reasoning methods should undermine one’s confidence (...) in one’s own reasoning. Finally we will explore how agents who employ distinct yet equally rational methods of reasoning should respond to interactions with the products of each others’ reasoning. We find that the epistemology of multiple reasoning methods has been misunderstood by a number of authors writing on epistemic permissiveness and peer disagreement. (shrink)
Disjunctivism about perceptual appearances, as I conceive of it, is a theory which seeks to preserve a naïve realist conception of veridical perception in the light of the challenge from the argument from hallucination. The naïve realist claims that some sensory experiences are relations to mind-independent objects. That is to say, taking experiences to be episodes or events, the naïve realist supposes that some such episodes have as constituents mind-independent objects. In turn, the disjunctivist claims that in a case of (...) veridical perception like this very kind of experience that you now have, the experiential episode you enjoy is of a kind which could not be occurring were you having an hallucination. The common strategy of arguments from hallucination set out to show that certain things are true of hallucinations, and hence must be true of perceptions. For example, it is argued that hallucinations must have non-physical objects of awareness, or that such states are not relations to anything at all, but are at best seeming relations to objects. In insisting that veridical perceptual experience is of a distinct kind from hallucination, the disjunctivist denies that any of these conceptions of hallucination challenges our conception of veridical perceptions as relations to mind-independent objects. More specifically, I assume that the disjunctivist advocates naïve realism because they think that this position best articulates how sensory experience seems to us to be just through reflection. If the disjunctivist is correct in this contention, then anyone who accepts the conclusion of the argument from hallucination must also accept that the nature of sensory experience is other than it seems to us to be. In turn, one may complain that any such error theory is liable to lead to sceptical consequences. A Humean scepticism about the senses launches a challenge about our knowledge of the world through questioning the conception we have of what sense experience is, and how it can provide knowledge of the world. (shrink)
This article defends the Fixed Point Thesis: that it is always a rational mistake to have false beliefs about the requirements of rationality. The Fixed Point Thesis is inspired by logical omniscience requirements in formal epistemology. It argues to the Fixed Point Thesis from the Akratic Principle: that rationality forbids having an attitude while believing that attitude is rationally forbidden. It then draws out surprising consequences of the Fixed Point Thesis, for instance that certain kinds of a priori justification are (...) indefeasible and that misleading all-things-considered evidence about rational requirements is impossible. Finally, the Fixed Point Thesis is applied to defend the Right Reasons position on peer disagreement, according to which an agent who has drawn the correct conclusion from her evidence should retain belief in that conclusion even in the face of disagreeing peers. (shrink)
The disjunctive theory of perception claims that we should understand statements about how things appear to a perceiver to be equivalent to statements of a disjunction that either one is perceiving such and such or one is suffering an illusion (or hallucination); and that such statements are not to be viewed as introducing a report of a distinctive mental event or state common to these various disjoint situations. When Michael Hinton ﬁrst introduced the idea, he suggested that the burden (...) of proof or disproof lay with his opponent, that what was needed was to show that our talk of how things look or appear to one.. (shrink)
The Sleeping Beauty Problem attracts so much attention because it connects to a wide variety of unresolved issues in formal epistemology, decision theory, and the philosophy of science. The problem raises unanswered questions concerning relative frequencies, objective chances, the relation between self-locating and non-self-locating information, the relation between self-location and updating, Dutch Books, accuracy arguments, memory loss, indifference principles, the existence of multiple universes, and many-worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics. After stating the problem, this article surveys its connections to all (...) of these areas. (shrink)
Abstract. Richard Feldman’s Uniqueness Thesis holds that “a body of evidence justifies at most one proposition out of a competing set of proposi- tions”. The opposing position, permissivism, allows distinct rational agents to adopt differing attitudes towards a proposition given the same body of evidence. We assess various motivations that have been offered for Uniqueness, including: concerns about achieving consensus, a strong form of evidentialism, worries about epistemically arbitrary influences on belief, a focus on truth-conduciveness, and consequences for peer disagreement. (...) We argue that each of these motivations either misunderstands the commitments of permissivism or is question-begging. Better understanding permissivism makes it a much more plausible position. (shrink)
The Uniqueness Thesis holds, roughly speaking, that there is a unique rational response to any particular body of evidence. We first sketch some varieties of Uniqueness that appear in the literature. We then discuss some popular views that conflict with Uniqueness and others that require Uniqueness to be true. We then examine some arguments that have been presented in its favor and discuss why permissivists find them unconvincing. Last, we present some purported counterexamples that have been raised against Uniqueness and (...) discuss some possible reasons why proponents of Uniqueness might find these similarly unconvincing. (shrink)
A response to G.A. Cohen's argument that a prevailing "ethos" of justice would prevent a Rawlsian just society from having any income inequalities. I suggest that Cohen's argument fails because a Rawlsian ethos would involve correlates of both of Rawls' principles of justice.
Roger White argued for a principle of indifference. Hart and Titelbaum showed that White’s argument relied on an intuition about conditioning on biconditionals that, while widely shared, is incorrect. Hawthorne, Landes, Wallmann, and Williamson argue for a principle of indifference. Remarkably, their argument relies on the same faulty intuition. We explain their intuition, explain why it’s faulty, and show how it generates their principle of indifference. 1Introduction 2El Caminos and Indifference 2.1Overview 2.2Fins and antennas 2.3HLWW in the example 2.4The restrictiveness (...) of Condition 2 2.5Summary 3The Specifics of HLWW s Argument 3.1Mapping their conditions to our equations 3.2HLWW’s responses to objections. (shrink)
I argue that given standard deontic logic, wide-scope rational requirements entail narrow-scope rational requirements. In particular, the widely-embraced Enkratic Principle entails that if a particular combination of attitudes is rationally forbidden, it is also rationally forbidden to believe that that combination of attitudes is required.
Recent discussion of Vogel-style “bootstrapping” scenarios suggests that they provide counterexamples to a wide variety of epistemological theories. Yet it remains unclear why it’s bad for a theory to permit bootstrapping, or even exactly what counts as a bootstrapping case. Going back to Vogel's original bootstrapping example, I note that an agent who could gain justification through the method Vogel describes would have available a “no-lose investigation”: an investigation that can justify a proposition but has no possibility of undermining it. (...) The main suggestion of this article is that an epistemological theory should not permit no-lose investigations. I identify necessary and sufficient conditions for such investigations, then explore epistemological theories that rule them out. If we want to avoid both skepticism and no-lose investigations, we must eschew either Closure or epistemic externalism. (shrink)
“Double-halfers” think that throughout the Sleeping Beauty Problem, Beauty should keep her credence that a fair coin flip came up heads equal to 1/2. I introduce a new wrinkle to the problem that shows even double-halfers can't keep Beauty's credences equal to the objective chances for all coin-flip propositions. This leaves no way to deny that self-locating information generates an unexpected kind of inadmissible evidence.
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one that you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
Book description: The capacity to represent and think about time is one of the most fundamental and least understood aspects of human cognition and consciousness. This book throws new light on central issues in the study of the mind by uniting, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches dealing with the connection between temporal representation and memory. Fifteen specially written essays by leading psychologists and philosophers investigate the way in which time is represented in memory, and the role memory (...) plays in our ability to reason about time. They offer insights into current theories of memory processes and of the mechanisms and cognitive abilities underlying temporal judgements, and draw out fundamental issues concerning the phenomenology and epistemology of memory and our understanding of time. The chapters are arranged into four sections, each focused on one area of current research: Keeping Track of Time, and Temporal Representation; Memory, Awareness and the Past; Memory and Experience; Knowledge and the Past: The Epistemology and Metaphysics of Time. A general introduction gives an overview of the topics discussed and makes explicit central themes which unify the different philosophical and psychological approaches. (shrink)
Consumers are increasingly facing product evaluation and choice situations that include information about product sustainability, i.e., information about a product’s relative environmental and social impact. In many cases, consumers have to make decisions that involve a trade-off between product sustainability and other valued product attributes. Similarly, product and marketing managers need to make decisions that reflect how consumers will respond to different trade-off scenarios. In the current research, we study consumer responses across two different possible trade-off scenarios: one in which (...) consumers face a trade-off between product sustainability and hedonic value, and another in which they must trade-off between product sustainability and utilitarian value. Our results suggest that, overall, consumers are more likely to trade-off hedonic value for sustainability than to trade-off utilitarian value for sustainability. In Studies 1A and 1B, we presented participants with a product choice task and also measured their anticipatory emotions as they contemplated their options. The results suggest that given a trade-off, consumers are more likely to choose a sustainable product when they have to trade-off hedonic value than when they have to trade-off utilitarian value. Further, these studies provide some insight into the emotions underlying this effect. In Study 2, we use a different consumer response measure, relative purchase likelihood, and investigate the effect of trade-off type across categories that vary in the degree to which hedonic and utilitarian attributes are perceived to be important. Our results suggest that the effect of trade-off type still holds, yet is moderated by product type such that consumers’ greater willingness to trade-off hedonic value for sustainability is attenuated as the relative importance of hedonic attributes increases. In addition to building on our theoretical understanding of decision making given trade-offs with moral attributes, this research is also intended to support managers as they define and choose among various strategic, product development, and marketing promotion options. (shrink)
Metaethicists have recently devoted a great deal of attention to questions about when a fact counts as a reason for or against a particular conclusion, and how such reasons interact. Chapter 9 asks a broader question: When a set of facts counts in favor of some conclusion, is that always because at least one of those facts is a reason for that conclusion? Examples are offered in which a set supports a conclusion without any fact in that set’s being a (...) reason for. The chapter then assesses the significance of such examples for philosophical methodology, the ‘reasons-first’ program, and metanormative realism. (shrink)
A plea: If you're going to propose a Bayesian framework for updating self-locating degrees of belief, please read this piece first. I've tried to survey all the extant formalisms, group them by their general approach, then describe challenges faced by every formalism employing a given approach. Hopefully this survey will prevent further instances of authors' re-inventing updating rules already proposed elsewhere in the literature.
What goes wrong, from a rational point of view, when an agent’s beliefs change while her evidence remains constant? I canvass a number of answers to this question suggested by recent literature, then identify some desiderata I would like any potential answer to meet. Finally, I suggest that the rational problem results from the undermining of reasoning processes that are necessarily extended in time.
The novel coronavirus disease has become a global pandemic, causing substantial anxiety. One potential factor in the spread of anxiety in response to a pandemic threat is emotion contagion, the finding that emotional experiences can be socially spread through conscious and unconscious pathways. Some individuals are more susceptible to social contagion effects and may be more likely to experience anxiety and other mental health symptoms in response to a pandemic threat. Therefore, we studied the relationship between emotion contagion and mental (...) health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. We administered the Emotion Contagion Scale along with a measure of anxiety in response to COVID-19 and secondary outcome measures of depression, anxiety, stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms. These measures were completed by a large student sample in the United States. Data were collected in the months of April and May of 2020 when the fear of COVID-19 was widespread. Results revealed that greater susceptibility to emotion contagion was associated with greater concern about the spread of COVID-19, more depression, anxiety, stress, and OCD symptoms. Consumption of media about COVID-19 also predicted anxiety about COVID-19, though results were not moderated by emotion contagion. However, emotion contagion did moderate the relationship between COVID-19-related media consumption and elevated OCD symptoms. Although limited by a cross-sectional design that precludes causal inferences, the present results highlight the need for study of how illness fears may be transmitted socially during a pandemic. (shrink)
Comparisons, and by that I mean the hunt for essential similarities or at least serious family resemblances, between the ethical views of Western and non-Western thinkers have been a staple of comparative philosophy for quite some time now. Some of these comparisons, such as between the views of Aristotle and Confucius, seem especially apt and revealing. However, I’ve often wondered whether Western “ethical theory”—virtue ethics, deontology, or consequentialism—is always the best lens through which to approach non-Western ethical thought. Particularly when (...) the discussion has turned to Buddhism and Buddhist ethics, theories of this sort at best seem to have an uncertain application. This is not to say that .. (shrink)
In the human quest for meaning, work occupies a central position. Most adults spend the majority of their waking hours at work, which often serves as a primary source of purpose, belongingness, and identity. In light of these benefits to employees and their organizations, organizational scholars are increasingly interested in understanding the factors that contribute to meaningful work, such as the design of jobs, interpersonal relationships, and organizational missions and cultures. In a separate line of inquiry, scholars of business ethics (...) have examined meaningful work as a moral issue concerning the management of others and ourselves, exploring whether there are definable characteristics of meaningful work to which we have moral rights, and whether there are moral duties to ourselves and others to fulfill those rights. In this article, we examine contemporary developments in both disciplines about the nature, causes, and consequences of meaningful work; we explore linkages between these disciplines; and we offer conclusions and research opportunities regarding the interface of ethical and organizational perspectives on performing and providing meaningful work. (shrink)
Infectious disease outbreaks in residential care are complex to manage and difficult to control. Research in this setting that includes individuals who lack capacity must conform to national legislation. We report here on our study that is investigating outbreaks of scabies, an itchy skin infection, in the residential care setting in the southeast of England. There appears to be a gap in legislative advice regarding the inclusion of people who lack capacity in research that takes place during time-limited acute scenarios (...) such as outbreaks. We received inconsistent advice from experts regarding, in particular, the role of nominated consultees. There is a potential inequality for vulnerable populations who cannot themselves provide informed consent in terms of their access to participation in a range of health-related research. (shrink)
The recent publication of Heidegger’s 1936 lectures on Schelling’s essay on human freedom reveals yet another point of transition along the way from Being and Time to the later works on language and poetry. It brings to light an influence on Heidegger almost as weighty as his reading of Hölderlin and Nietzsche in that same decade, an influence hitherto only hinted at in published works. It now appears that Heidegger’s essays on identity, on grounding, on being, all bear the imprint (...) of a dialogue with Schelling, that he discovered in the latter thinker a valuable prototype of his notion of being. If the reader is not aware of the direction of Heidegger’s own thought, the 1936 lectures on their own reveal little of the dialogue. Schelling’s Investigations is a difficult and obscure work, and Heidegger confines himself to close textual work, with care and insight bringing even the most obscure passages out of allegory into lucid philosophical statement. The lectures are a triumph of pedagogy, the most careful attempt to date to read Schelling as an ontological thinker. Yet their smooth surface, scholarly poise, and objectivity leave hidden a question of real interest: Why should Schelling, commonly thought a weak link to Hegel or the first symptom of “existentialist” anti-Hegelian reaction, be of interest to Heidegger the philosopher? And why, in particular, should this most exotic of Schelling’s works, touched by the influence of theosophists like Boehme, be accepted by Heidegger as one of the crucial moments of the West’s historical thinking through of being? (shrink)
Responding to Cappelen and Dever’s claim that there is no distinctive role for perspectivality in epistemology, I argue that facts about the outcomes of one’s own reasoning processes may have a different evidential significance than facts about the outcomes of others’.
Promises raise two main philosophical problems, one moral and the other conceptual. The moral problem concerns the normative significance of promising: what is the nature and basis of the obligations and rights to which promises typically give rise? The conceptual problem is to say what a promise is: what is involved in making a promise? In this paper I defend three controversial claims about promising. One is about the moral problem of promising, one is about the conceptual problem, and the (...) last one is about the relationship between my conceptual claim and my moral claim. My conceptual claim is that a speaker makes a promise only if he communicates an intention to undertake an obligation to the hearer. (I refer to this as the “Obligation Conception Thesis.”) My moral claim is that the obligations typically attached to promises are such that they can be acquired only by those who communicate an intention to undertake an obligation. (I refer to this as the “Voluntary Obligation Thesis.”) My third claim is that if the Obligation Conception Thesis is true, the Voluntary Obligation Thesis is true. (shrink)
For many, the case of the Exxon Valdez oil spill has become a symbol of unethical corporate behavior. Had Exxon’s managers not callously pursued their own interests at the expense of the environment and other parties, the accident would not have happened. In this paper, we (1) present a short case study of the Valdez incident; (2) argue that many analyses of the case either ignore or fail to give sufficient weight to the uncertainties managers often face when they make (...) decisions; and (3) propose a framework for moral management grounded in principles of communicative ethics, moral dialogue, and in the non-traditional ideas of many current management and behavioral decision theorists. From this view, the moral manager is not expected to know the “correct” answer to every ethical issue, but rather to participate responsibly in an open dialogue with other interested parties. (shrink)