Allan Hazlett challenges the philosophical assumption of the value of true belief. He critiques the view that true belief is better for us than false belief, and the view that truth is "the aim of belief". An alternative picture is provided, on which the fact that some people love truth is all there is to "the value of true belief".
In “The Myth of Factive Verbs” (Hazlett 2010), I had four closely related goals. The first (pp. 497-99, p. 522) was to criticize appeals to ordinary language in epistemology. The second (p. 499) was to criticize the argument that truth is a necessary condition on knowledge because “knows” is factive. The third (pp. 507-19) – which was the intended means of achieving the first two – was to defend a semantics for “knows” on which <S knows p> can be (...) true even if p isn’t true. The fourth (Ibid.) – which seemed necessary for the success of the third – was to defend a pragmatic account of the fact that utterances of <S knows p> typically imply p, on which the implication in those cases is down to conversational implicature. In this paper I’ll go after these goals again, with an emphasis on the second. Our topic will be whether the factivity of “knows” (whatever this amounts to) supports the truth condition on knowledge. A new goal will be to defend my argument against some criticisms from John Turri (2011) and Savas Tsohatzidis (forthcoming). We’ll first look at the truth condition (§1) and factive presupposition (§§2 – 3), before turning to replies to Turri and Tsohatzidis (§§4 – 7). (shrink)
Perspectives on global warming Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-29 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9639-9 Authors Steven Yearley, ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AQ UK David Mercer, Science and Technology Studies Program, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia Naomi Oreskes, Department of History, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0104, USA Erik Conway, (...) Caltech, 1200 East California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. These scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers. -/- Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and (...) scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly-some of the same figures who have claimed that the science of global warming is "not settled" denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. "Doubt is our product," wrote one tobacco executive. These "experts" supplied it. -/- Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, historians of science, roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how ideology and corporate interests, aided by a too-compliant media, have skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era. (shrink)
Most people not only think that it is possible for reasonable people to disagree, but that it is possible for people to recognize that they are parties to a reasonable disagreement. The aim of this paper is to explain how such mutually recognized reasonable disagreements are possible. I appeal to an which implies a form of relativism about reasonable belief, based on the idea that whether a belief is reasonable for a person can depend on the fact that she has (...) inherited a particular worldview from her community. (shrink)
You are clever, Thrasymachus, I said, for you know very well that if you asked anyone how much is twelve, and as you asked him you warned him: "Do not, my man, say that twelve is twice six, or three times four, or six times two, or four times three, for I will not accept such nonsense," it would be quite clear to you that no one can answer a question asked in those terms. (Republic 337b).
Skepticism remains a central and defining issue in epistemology, and in the wider tradition of Western philosophy. To better understand the contemporary position of this important philosophical subject, Allan Hazlett introduces a range of topics, including: -/- • Ancient skepticism • skeptical arguments in the work of Hume and Descartes • Cartesian skepticism in contemporary epistemology • anti-skeptical strategies, including Mooreanism, nonclosure, and contextualism • additional varieties of skepticism • the practical consequences of Cartesian skepticism -/- Presenting a comprehensive (...) survey of the key problems, arguments, and theories, together with additional readings, A Critical Introduction to Skepticism is an ideal guide for students and scholars looking to understand how skepticism is shaping epistemology today. (shrink)
Introduction; A.Hazlett Quantification, Naturalness, and Ontology; R.P.Cameron Two Problems of Composition in Collective Action; S.R.Chant Another Look at the Reality of Race, By Which I Mean Racef; J.Glasgow Bringing Things About; N.Judisch Interpretation: Its Scope and Limits; U.Kriegel Empirical Analyses of Causation; D.Kutach Brutal Individuation; A.Hazlett Ghosts in the World Machine? Humility and Its Alternatives; R.Langton& C.Robichaud Is Everything Relative? Anti-Realism, Truth, and Feminism; M.Mikkola Minimalism and Modality: The Nature of Mathematical Objects; K.Miller Are There Fundamental Intrinsic Properties?; (...) A.Ney On the Very Idea of an Ecosystem; J.Odenbaugh The Prince of Wales Problem for Counterfactual Theories of Causation; C.Sartorio Index. (shrink)
I defend the view that there is a privileged class of propositions – that there is an external world, among other such 'hinge propositions'– that possess a special epistemic status: justified belief in these propositions is not defeated unless one has sufficient reason to believe their negation. Two arguments are given for this conclusion. Finally, three proposals are offered as morals of the preceding story: first, our justification for hinge propositions must be understood as defeatable, second, antiskeptics must explain our (...) knowledge in the face of 'actual world' skepticism (like dreaming skepticism) as much as in the face of the usual sort (like brain-in-vat skepticism), and, finally, our justification for hinge propositions is basic (i.e. non-inferential). (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an analysis of unrealistic fiction that captures the everyday sense of ‘unrealistic’. On our view, unrealistic fictions are a species of inconsistent fictions, but fictions for which such inconsistency, given the supporting role we claim played by genre, needn’t be a critical defect. We first consider and reject an analysis of unrealistic fiction as fiction that depicts or describes unlikely events; we then develop our own account and make an initial statement of it: unrealistic fictions (...) are those that invite us to believe something false. We further develop this account and restate it in terms of the notion of “import-export inconsistency.” That is, unrealistic fictions invite us to import certain propositions true in the actual world then invite us to export propositions entailing the negation of those imported. Finally, we consider whether for fiction being unrealistic is always an aesthetic flaw. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the claim, made by G. E. M. Anscombe and J. L. Austin, that you can insult someone by refusing her testimony. I argue that refusing someone’s testimony can manifest doubt about her credibility, which in the relevant cases is offensive to her, given that she presupposed her credibility by telling what she did. I conclude by sketching three applications of my conclusion: to the issue of valuable false belief, to the issue of testimonial injustice, and (...) to the issue of skepticism about testimonial knowledge. (shrink)
In the Phaedrus, Socreates sympathetically describes the ability “to cut up each kind according to its species along its natural joints, and to try not to splinter any part, as a bad butcher might do.” (265e) In contemporary philosophy, Ted Sider (2009, 2011) defends the same idea. As I shall put it, Plato and Sider’s idea is that limning structure is an epistemic goal. My aim in this paper is to articulate and defend this idea. First, I’ll articulate the notion (...) of a structural proposition (§1), and the notion of an epistemic goal (§2), where I’ll assume that epistemic goals are species of accuracy. Then (§3), I’ll argue against some proposals for understanding the idea that limning structure is an epistemic goal: limning structure is neither an aim of belief (§3.1), nor of inquiry (§3.2), nor of concept possession (§3.3). Importantly, non-structural belief is not thereby inaccurate; belief does not “aim” at being structural. Next (§4), I’ll propose a framework for understanding the idea that limning structure is an epistemic goal, and defend that idea. What is required, to defend the view that limning structure is an epistemic goal, is the notion of (what I call) theorizing – a propositional attitude that, unlike belief, does “aim” at being structural (§4.1). I’ll argue that structural truths constitute a species of “important” truths (§4.2), and that apt theorizing is a species of understanding (§4.3). Finally (§5), I’ll discuss the possibility that there is no structure. (shrink)
Here I defend response moralism, the view that some emotional responses to fi ctions are morally right, and others morally wrong, from the objection that responses to merely fi ctional characters and events cannot be morally evaluated. I defend the view that emotional responses to fi ctions can be morally evaluated only to the extent that said responses are responses to real people and events.
A number of epistemologists have recently concluded that a piece of reasoning may be epistemically permissible even when it is impossible for the reasoning subject to present her reasoning as an argument without begging the question. I agree with these epistemologists, but argue that none has sufficiently divorced the notion of begging the question from epistemic notions. I present a proposal for a characterization of begging the question in purely pragmatic terms.
There is, I shall assume, such a thing as moral evil (more on which below). My question is whether is also such a thing as non-moral evil, and in particular whether there are such things as aesthetic evil and epistemic evil. More exactly, my question is whether there is such a thing as moral evil but not such a thing as non-moral evil, in some sense that reveals something special about the moral, as opposed to such would-be non-moral domains as (...) the aesthetic and the epistemic. The philosophical issue at stake here is that of the nature of these different normative domains, and the nature and extent of their difference. (shrink)
Grice’s Razor is a principle of parsimony which states a preference for linguistic explanations in terms of conversational implicature, to explanations in terms of semantic context-dependence. Here I propose a Gricean theory of knowledge attributions, and contend on the basis of Grice’s Razor that it is superior to contextualism about ‘knows’.
We often prefer non-deferential belief to deferential belief. In the last twenty years, epistemology has seen a surge of sympathetic interest in testimony as a source of knowledge. We are urged to abandon ‘epistemic individualism’ and the ideal of the ‘autonomous knower’ in favour of ‘social epistemology’. In this connection, you might think that a preference for non-deferential belief is a manifestation of vicious individualism, egotism, or egoism. I shall call this the selfishness challenge to preferring non-deferential belief. The aim (...) of this paper is to meet the selfishness challenge by arguing that non-deferential belief is socially valuable. (shrink)
Edmund Gettier’s paper “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” first appeared in an issue of Analysis , dated June of 1963, and although it’s tempting to wax hyperbolic when discussing the paper’s importance and influence, it is fair to say that its impact on contemporary philosophy has been substantial and wide-ranging. Epistemology has benefited from 50 years of sincere and rigorous discussion of issues arising from the paper, and Gettier’s conclusion that knowledge is not justified true belief is sometimes offered as (...) an example of the reality of philosophical progress. However, what can be called the Gettier problem has little to do with the text of the famous paper itself. The importance of the Gettier problem does not depend on the attribution of the tripartite theory of knowledge to Plato, Chisholm, and Ayer, nor on the psychological plausibility of the par .. (shrink)
It is often said that, according to common sense, there is a fundamental asymmetry between the past and future; namely, that the past is closed and the future is open. Eternalism in the ontology of time is often seen as conflicting with common sense on this point. Here I argue against the claim that common sense is committed to this fundamental asymmetry between the past and the future, on the grounds that facts about the past often depend on facts about (...) the future.1. (shrink)
Consider the claim that openmindedness is an epistemic virtue, the claim that true belief is epistemically valuable, and the claim that one epistemically ought to cleave to one’s evidence. These are examples of what I’ll call “ epistemic discourse.” In this paper I’ll propose and defend a view called “convention-relativism about epistemic discourse.” In particular, I’ll argue that convention-relativismis superior to its main rival, expressivism about epistemic discourse. Expressivism and conventionalism both jibe with anti-realism about epistemic normativity, which is motivated (...) by appeal to philosophical naturalism. Convention-relativism says that epistemic discourse describes how things stands relative to a conventional set of “ epistemic ” values; such discourse is akin to normative discourse relative to the conventional rules of a club. I defend conventionalism by appeal to a “reverse open question argument,” which says, pace expressivism, that epistemic discourse leaves the relevant normative questions open. (shrink)
Naomi Scheman argues that the concerns of philosophy emerge not from the universal human condition but from conditions of privilege. Her books represents a powerful challenge to the notion that gender makes no difference in the construction of philosophical reasoning. At the same time, it criticizes the narrow focus of most feminist theorizing and calls for a more inclusive form of inquiry.
Author note: Naomi Zack is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Albany. She herself is of mixed race: Jewish, African American, and Native American.
It is commonly assumed that grounding relations are asymmetric. Here I develop and argue for a theory of metaphysical structure that takes grounding to be nonsymmetric rather than asymmetric. Even without infinite descending chains of dependence, it might be that every entity is grounded in some other entity. Having first addressed an immediate objection to the position under discussion, I introduce two examples of symmetric grounding. I give three arguments for the view that grounding is nonsymmetric (I call this view (...) ‘metaphysical interdependence’). These arguments are: (i) that metaphysical interdependence is the only theory able to reconcile competing intuitions about grounding; (ii) that it is the only theory consistent with both ‘gunk’ and ‘junk’; and (iii) that offers a satisfactory solution to the problem concerning whether or not grounding is itself grounded. (shrink)
Attempts to elucidate grounding are often made by connecting grounding to metaphysical explanation, but the notion of metaphysical explanation is itself opaque, and has received little attention in the literature. We can appeal to theories of explanation in the philosophy of science to give us a characterization of metaphysical explanation, but this reveals a tension between three theses: that grounding relations are objective and mind-independent; that there are pragmatic elements to metaphysical explanation; and that grounding and metaphysical explanation share a (...) close connection. Holding fixed the mind-independence of grounding, I show that neither horn of the resultant dilemma can be blunted. Consequently, we should reject the assumption that grounding relations are mind-independent. (shrink)
Naomi Zack pioneers a new theory of justice starting from a correction of current injustices. While the present justice paradigm in political philosophy and related fields begins from John Rawls’s 1970 Theory of Justice, Zack insists that what people in reality care about is not justice as an ideal, but injustice as a correctable ill.
Socrates was not a moral philosopher. Instead he was a theorist who showed how human desire and human knowledge complement one another in the pursuit of human happiness. His theory allowed him to demonstrate that actions and objects have no value other than that which they derive from their employment by individuals who, inevitably, desire their own happiness and have the knowledge to use actions and objects as a means for its attainment. The result is a naturalised, practical, and demystified (...) account of good and bad, and right and wrong. Professor Reshotko presents a freshly envisioned Socratic theory residing at the intersection of the philosophy of mind and ethics. It makes an important contribution to the study of the Platonic dialogues and will also interest all scholars of ethics and moral psychology. (shrink)
Examining racial profiling in American policing, Naomi Zack argues against white privilege discourse while introducing a new theory of applicative justice. Deepening understanding without abandoning hope, Zack shows why it is more important to consider black rights than white privilege as we move forward through today's culture of inequality.
Grounding talk has become increasingly familiar in contemporary philosophical discussion. Most discussants of grounding think that grounding talk is useful, intelligible, and accurately describes metaphysical reality. Call them realists about grounding. Some dissenters reject grounding talk on the grounds that it is unintelligible, or unmotivated. They would prefer to eliminate grounding talk from philosophy, so we can call them eliminitivists about grounding. This paper outlines a new position in the debate about grounding, defending the view that grounding talk is intelligible (...) and useful. Grounding talk does not, however, provide a literal and veridical description of mind-independent metaphysical reality. This irrealism about grounding treads a path between realism and eliminativism. (shrink)
We argue that the value of authenticity does not explain the value of self-knowledge. There are a plurality of species of authenticity; in this paper we consider four species: avoiding pretense (section 2), Frankfurtian wholeheartedness (section 3), existential self-knowledge (section 4), and spontaneity (section 5). Our thesis is that, for each of these species, the value of (that species of) authenticity does not (partially) explain the value of self-knowledge. Moreover, when it comes to spontaneity, the value of (that species of) (...) authenticity conflicts with the value of self-knowledge. (shrink)
Naomi Zack brings us an indispensable work in the ethics of race through an inquiry into the history of moral philosophy. The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality after the History of Philosophy enters into a web of ideas, ethics, and morals that untangle our evolving ideas of racial equality straight into the twenty-first century.
Sometime around their first birthday most infants begin to engage in relatively sustained bouts of attending together with their caretakers to objects in their environment. By the age of 18 months, on most accounts, they are engaging in full-blown episodes of joint attention. As developmental psychologists (usually) use the term, for such joint attention to be in play, it is not sufficient that the infant and the adult are in fact attending to the same object, nor that the one’s attention (...) cause the other’s. The latter can and does happen much earlier, whenever the adult follows the baby’s gaze and homes in on the same object as the baby is attending to; or, from the age of six months, when babies begin to follow the gaze of an adult. We have the relevant sense of joint attention in play only when the fact that both child and adult are attending to the same object is, to use Sperber and Wilson’s (1986) phrase, ‘mutually manifest’. Psychologists sometimes speak of such jointness as a case of attention being ‘shared’ by infant and adult, or of a ‘meeting of minds’ between infant and adult, all phrases intended to capture the idea that when joint attention occurs everything about the fact that both subjects are attending to the same object is out in the open, manifest to both participants. (shrink)
Spatial Representation presents original, specially written essays by leading psychologists and philosophers on a fascinating set of topics at the intersection of these two disciplines. They address such questions as these: Do the extraordinary navigational abilities of birds mean that these birds have the same kind of grip on the idea of a spatial world as we do? Is there a difference between the way sighted and blind subjects represent the world 'out there'? Does the study of brain-injured subjects, such (...) as 'blind seers', tell us anything about the working of normal spatial consciousness? -/- The essays are arranged into five sections, each of which reflects a central area of research into spatial cognition, and opens with a short introduction by the editors, designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary reading. The volume as a whole offers a rich and compelling expression of the view that to advance our understanding of the way we represent the external world it is necessary to draw on both philosophical and psychological approaches. (shrink)