In at least some cases of justified perceptual belief, our perceptual experience itself, as opposed to beliefs about it, evidences and thereby justifies our belief. While the phenomenon is common, it is also mysterious. There are good reasons to think that perceptions cannot justify beliefs directly, and there is a significant challenge in explaining how they do. After explaining just how direct perceptual justification is mysterious, I considerMichael Huemers (Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, 2001) and Bill Brewers (Perception and (...) Reason, 1999) recent, but radically different, attempts to eliminate it. I argue that both are unsuccessful, though a consideration of their mistakes deepens our appreciation of the mystery. (shrink)
Stewart Cohen has recently presented solutions to two forms of what he calls "The Problem of Easy Knowledge" ("Basic Knowledge and the Problem of Easy Knowledge," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LXV, 2, September 2002, pp. 309-329). I offer alternative solutions. Like Cohen's, my solutions allow for basic knowledge. Unlike his, they do not require that we distinguish between animal and reflective knowledge, restrict the applicability of closure under known entailments, or deny the ability of basic knowledge to combine with self-knowledge (...) to provide inductive evidential support. My solution to the closure version of the problem covers a variation on the problem that is immune to Cohen's approach. My response to the bootstrapping version presents reasons to question whether the problem case, as Cohen presents it, is even possible, and, assuming it is, my solution avoids a false implication of Cohen's own. The key to my solutions for both versions is the distinction between an inference's transferring epistemic support, on the one hand, and its not begging the question against skeptics, on the other. (shrink)
How does a particular experience evidence a particular perceptual belief for us? As Alvin Plantinga (Warrant and Proper Function, Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 98) puts it, "[W]hat makes it the case that a particular way of being appeared to--being appeared to greenly, say--is evidence for the proposition that I see something green?" Promising, but unsuccessful, answers cite a reliable connection between our having the experience and the belief's being true, our having good reason to believe in such a connection, (...) the proper functioning of our faculties, and objective epistemic norms. A superior view, developed here, is that our experience of being appeared to greenly evidences for us that something is green because we have learned to identify green objects by experiences of that sort. Our learning to do so amounts to our adopting an epistemic norm directing us to form that belief on the basis of that experience. (shrink)
Rational intuitions involve a particular form of understanding that gives them a special epistemic status. This form of understanding and its epistemic efficacy are not explained by several current theories of rational intuition, including Phenomenal Conservatism (Huemer, Skepticism and the veil of perception, 2001 ; Ethical intuitionism, 2005 ; Philos Phenomenol Res 74:30–55, 2007 ), Proper Functionalism (Plantinga, Warrant and proper function, 1993 ), the Competency Theory (Bealer Pac Philos Q 81:1–30, 2000 ; Sosa, A virtue epistemology, 2007 ) and (...) the Direct Awareness View (Conee, Philos Phenomenol Res 4:847–857, 1998 ; Bonjour, In defense of pure reason, 1998 ). Some overlook it; others try to account for it but fail. We can account for the role of understanding in rational intuition by returning to the view of some of the early Rationalists, e.g. Descartes and Leibniz. While that view carries a prohibitive cost, it does contain an insight that may help us solve the problem of giving understanding its due. (shrink)
Know-how has a distinctive, non-instrumental value that a mere reliable ability lacks. Some, including Bengson and Moffett Knowing how, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 161–195, 2011) and Carter and Pritchard :799–816, 2015b) have cited a close relation between knowhow and cognitive achievement, and it is tempting to think that the value of know-how rests in that relation. That’s not so, however. The value of know-how lies in its relation to the fundamental value of autonomy.
Propositionalism explains the nature of knowledge-how as follows: P: To know how to ϕ is to stand in a special propositional attitude relation to propositions about how to ϕ. To know how to ride a bike is to have the required propositional attitude to propositions about how to do so. Dispositionalism offers an alternative view.D: To know how to ϕ is to stand in a behavioral-dispositional relation, a being-able-to relation, to ϕ-ing. To know how to ride a bike is to (...) have an ability to do so in the form of a complex disposition to behave in ways that constitute bike riding. Objectualism presents a third option.O: To know how to ϕ is to stand in a non-propositional, non-behavioral-dispositional objective attitude relation to a way of j-ing. To know how to ride a bike is to have an objectual attitude, perhaps a form of knowledge of, to a way of doing so.Dispositionalism is often dismissed on the basis of two criticisms designed to show its shortcomings relative to Propositionalism and Objectualism. According to the Epistemic Improvement Objection, Dispositionalism cannot account for the fact that gaining knowledge-how is an improvement in our epistemic state. According to the Modified Ability Objection, it cannot account for the fact that being able to do something is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowing how to do it. I develop a form of Dispositionalism, the Special Ability View, that avoids both objections. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection of its kind, Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Third Edition, is organized into three parts, providing instructors with flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of courses in moral philosophy. The first part, Historical Sources, moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus) through medieval views (Augustine and Aquinas) to modern theories (Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Kant, Bentham, and Mill), culminating with leading nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers (Nietzsche, James, Dewey, Camus, and Sartre). The second part, (...) Modern Ethical Theory, includes many of the most important essays of the past century. The discussion of utilitarianism, Kantianism, egoism, and relativism continues in the work of major contemporary philosophers (Foot, Brandt, Williams, Wolf, and Nagel). Landmark selections (Moore, Prichard, Ross, Ayer, Stevenson, Hare, Baier, Anscombe, Gauthier, and Harman) reflect concern with moral language and the justification of morality. The concepts of justice (Rawls) and rights (Feinberg) are explored, as well as recent views on the importance of virtue ethics (Rachels) and an ethic influenced by feminist concerns (Held). In the third part, Contemporary Moral Problems, the readings present the current debates over abortion, euthanasia, famine relief, animal rights, the death penalty, and whether numbers should play a role in making moral decisions. The third edition expands Part II, Modern Ethical Theory, adding essays by Onora O'Neill, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Allan Gibbard, Nicholas L. Sturgeon, and Martha Nussbaum. Part III, Contemporary Moral Problems, features new essays on abortion by Mary Anne Warren, Don Marquis, and Rosalind Hursthouse; an essay on the death penalty by Stephen Nathanson; and a debate between John M. Taurek and Derek Parfit on when and why one should save from harm a greater rather than a lesser number of people. The book concludes with an essay by Judith Jarvis Thomson on the trolley problem. Wherever possible, each reading is printed in its entirety. (shrink)
In Justification Without Awareness, Michael Bergmann attacks Internalism and Mentalism. His attack on Internalism refutes some versions of an awareness requirement for justification but leaves another standing and well-motivated. His attack on Mentalism, while successful, leaves us with a difficult question—what non-mental features play a role in determining justification?—that his own externalist theory fails to answer correctly.
In A Professor's Duties, distinguished philosopher Peter J. Markie adds to the expanding discussion of the ethics of college teaching. Part One concentrates on the obligations of individual professors, primarily with regard to issues about what and how to teach. Part Two expands Professor Markie's views by providing a selection of the most significant previously published writings on the ethics of college teaching.
How does a particular experience evidence a particular perceptual belief for us? As Alvin Plantinga puts it, “[W]hat makes it the case that a particular way of being appeared to--being appeared to greenly, say--is evidence for the proposition that I see something green?” Promising, but unsuccessful, answers cite a reliable connection between our having the experience and the belief’s being true, our having good reason to believe in such a connection, the proper functioning of our faculties, and objective epistemic norms. (...) A superior view, developed here, is that our experience of being appeared to greenly evidences for us that something is green because we have learned to identify green objects by experiences of that sort. Our learning to do so amounts to our adopting an epistemic norm directing us to form that belief on the basis of that experience. (shrink)
This collection of recent articles by leading scholars is designed to illuminate one of the greatest and most influential philosophical books of all time. It includes incisive commentary on every major theme and argument in the Meditations, and will be valuable not only to philosophers but to historians, theologians, literary scholars, and interested general readers.