_Epistemology_ is an accessible and indispensable volume for undergraduates studying philosophy. Essential introduction to epistemology, a field of fundamental philosophical importance Offers concise and well-written synopses of different epistemological debates and concerns.
The contributions in this volume make an important effort to resurrect a rather old fashioned form of foundationalism. They defend the position that there are some beliefs that are justified, and are not themselves justified by any further beliefs. This epistemic foundationalism has been the subject of rigorous attack by a wide range of theorists in recent years, leading to the impression that foundationalism is a thing of the past. DePaul argues that it is precisely the volume and virulence of (...) the assaults which points directly to the strength and coherence of the position. (shrink)
The relationship between mind and matter, mental states and physical states, has occupied the attention of philosophers for thousands of years. Richard Fumerton's primary concern is the knowledge argument for dualism - an argument that proceeds from the idea that we can know truths about our existence and our mental states without knowing any truths about the physical world. This view has come under relentless criticism, but here Fumerton makes a powerful case for its rehabilitation, demonstrating clearly the importance of (...) its interconnections with a wide range of other controversies within philosophy. Fumerton analyzes philosophical views about the nature of thought and the relation of those views to arguments for dualism, and investigates the connection between a traditional form of foundationalism about knowledge, and a foundationalist view about thought that underlies traditional arguments for dualism. His book will be of great interest to those studying epistemology and the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In Metaepistemology and Skepticism (Rowman & Littlefield:\n1995), Richard Fumerton defends foundationalism. As part of\nthe defense he rejects infinitism--the view that holds that\nthe solution to the problem of the regress of justificatory\nreasons is that the reasons are infinitely many and\nnonrepeating. I examine some of those arguments and attempt\nto show that they are not really telling against (at least\nsome versions of) infinitism. Along the way I present some\nobjections to his account of inferential justification.
Coady’s book is probably the single most comprehensive treatment of philosophical questions relating to testimony and as such must be read by anyone interested in the topic. His epistemological conclusions concerning testimony challenge much of the philosophical tradition.
In this article, I try to defend my conception of noninferential justification from important criticisms raised by Ted Poston in a recent article published in Philosophical Studies. More specifically, I argue that from within the framework of an acquaintance theory, one can still allow for fallible noninferential justification, and one can do so without losing the advantages I claim for the theory.
In this paper I want to cast doubt on the claim that there is a legitimate process of reasoning to the best explanation which can serve as an alternative to either straightforward inductive reasoning or a combination of inductive and deductive reasoning. I shall argue a) that paradigmatic cases of acceptable arguments to the best explanation must be considered enthymemes and b) that when the suppressed premises are made explicit we have all of the premises we need to present either (...) a straightforward inductive argument or an argument employing both induction and deduction. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that there is no viable alternative to construing our knowledge and justified belief as resting on a foundation restricted to truths about our internal states. Against Williamson and others I defend the claim that the internal life of a cognizer really does constitute a special sort of cognitive home that is importantly different from the rest of what we think we know and justifiably believe.
In this paper I examine contemporary accounts of noninferential justification in light of what I take to be the Cartesian project of building epistemology on foundations made secure by the impossibility of error. I argue that familiar abstract arguments for foundationalism, by themselves, don’t seem to motivate Cartesianism. But I further argue that there is one version of foundationalism that is more closely linked to the way in which Descartes sought ideal knowledge.
In “Theories of Justification,” Richard Fumerton begins an overview of several prominent positions on the nature of justification by isolating epistemic justification from nonepistemic justification. He also distinguishes between “having justification for a belief” and “having a justified belief,” arguing that the former is conceptually more fundamental. Fumerton then addresses the possibility that justification is a normative matter, suggesting that this possibility has little to offer as a concept of epistemic justification. He also critically examines more specific attempts to capture (...) the structure and content of epistemic justification. These include traditional foundationalism and variants thereof, externalist versions of foundationalism, contextualism, coherentism, and “mixed” theories which combine aspects of coherentism and foundationalism. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the idea of developing something like Sosa's influential distinction between cognitio and scientia to epistemic justification. On the assumption that we should, I explore the question of whether we should do so by either beginning with a really basic, intellectually undemanding kind of justification, recognizing more sophisticated intellectually rewarding justification by layering more demanding requirements on that basic sort, or beginning with an ideal sort of justification and recognizing less demanding sorts of justification by stripping (...) away conditions from that ideal justification. (shrink)
Let’s define epistemological direct realism as the view that we have noninferentially justified beliefs in at least some contingent propositions describing the external physical world. I add the adjective “external” here so as to leave open the question of whether sensations and other mental phenomena are themselves physical. I take it that an indirect realist can consistently maintain both that all knowledge of external physical reality must be inferred from knowledge of subjective sensations and also conclude that subjective sensations are, (...) for example, brain states. It’s a bit awkward, however, to use the cumbersome expression “external physical reality” and so for ease of exposition I shall often omit the adjective “external.” I shall say that a proposition describes the physical world only if its truth entails a proposition which attributes to some object those properties in virtue of which the thing is physical. So, for example, I might be able to know that the F exists, where the F is, in fact, a physical object. But if the proposition that the F exists does not entail that the F is physical, the proposition that the F exists is not, in this sense, a proposition describing the physical world. Berkeley, for example, sometimes posed as an epistemological direct realist when he claimed both that we can know unproblematically that certain ideas exist and that a physical object is nothing but a bundle of ideas. But when he was being careful he made clear that the ideas we know directly are never by themselves constitutive of a physical object—at best they are logical “parts” of objects. On his more sophisticated view, knowledge that a given physical object exists would always require inference—complex inference at that. Berkeley was no epistemological direct realist. (shrink)
After arguing that truth-making is properly construed as a partnership between truth bearers and truth-makers, I focus on two prominent arguments against the category of fact as one of the key relata in the truth-making relation. After rejecting those arguments, I go on to examine a more difficult issue, one that might force us to appreciate more fully the robust role that thought has in “creating” truth.
To begin with the obvious, both philosophers and empirical scientists in various fields are interested in learning about the mind and mental states. That the philosophical task is different from the scientific task was once taken for granted. It has become increasingly more common, however, to hear philosophers of mind suggesting some sort of "partnership" between philosophy and cognitive science. There is no bright line separating philosophy and science, the argument goes. Each field, it is said, can learn from the (...) other. These suggested partnerships have always struck me as shaky at best—bewildering at worst. In this paper I want to defend the traditional separation of philosophical and empirical questions. I want to urge that we render unto cognitive science its empirical investigation, while we render unto philosophy the fundamental epistemological and ontological questions that empirical science never will and never could answer. (shrink)
In this paper I am primarily interested in establishing that a coherence theory of truth is conceptually incoherent. Although my primary concern is with the coherence theory of truth, I shall point out that the problem I raise has a striking parallel in a now well-known objection to coherence theories of justification (an objection that, ironically, was brought to the fore by a proponent of a coherence theory of justification, Laurence Bonjour).