John MacFarlane explores how we might make sense of the idea that truth is relative. He provides new, satisfying accounts of parts of our thought and talk that have resisted traditional methods of analysis, including what we mean when we talk about what is tasty, what we know, what will happen, what might be the case, and what we ought to do.
In this paper I explore the relationship between skill and sensitivity to reasons for action. I want to know to what degree we can explain the fact that the skilled agent is very good at performing a cluster of actions within some domain in terms of the fact that the skilled agent has a refined sensitivity to the reasons for action common to the cluster. The picture is a little bit complex. While skill can be partially explained by (...)sensitivity to reasons – a sensitivity often produced by rational practice – the skilled human agent, because imperfect, must navigate a trade-off between full sensitivity and a capacity to succeed. (shrink)
Modal knowledge accounts that are based on standards possible-worlds semantics face well-known problems when it comes to knowledge of necessities. Beliefs in necessities are trivially sensitive and safe and, therefore, trivially constitute knowledge according to these accounts. In this paper, I will first argue that existing solutions to this necessity problem, which accept standard possible-worlds semantics, are unsatisfactory. In order to solve the necessity problem, I will utilize an unorthodox account of counterfactuals, as proposed by Nolan, on which we also (...) consider impossible worlds. Nolan’s account for counterpossibles delivers the intuitively correct result for sensitivity i.e. S’s belief is sensitive in intuitive cases of knowledge of necessities and insensitive in intuitive cases of knowledge failure. However, we acquire the same plausible result for safety only if we reject his strangeness of impossibility condition and accept the modal closeness of impossible worlds. In this case, the necessity problem can be analogously solved for sensitivity and safety. For some, such non-moderate accounts might come at too high a cost. In this respect, sensitivity is better off than safety when it comes to knowing necessities. (shrink)
The sensitivity principle is a compelling idea in epistemology and is typically characterized as a necessary condition for knowledge. This collection of thirteen new essays constitutes a state-of-the-art discussion of this important principle. Some of the essays build on and strengthen sensitivity-based accounts of knowledge and offer novel defences of those accounts. Others present original objections to sensitivity-based accounts and offer comprehensive analysis and discussion of sensitivity's virtues and problems. The resulting collection will stimulate new debate (...) about the sensitivity principle and will be of great interest and value to scholars and advanced students of epistemology. (shrink)
Sensitivity account of knowledge states that if one knows that p, then were p false, one would not believe that p via M. This account has been highly controversial. However, even its critics tend to agree that the account enjoys an important advantage of solving the Gettier problem—that is, it explains why Gettierized beliefs are not knowledge. In this paper, I argue that this purported advantage of sensitivity is merely illusory. The account cannot, in principle, solve the Gettier (...) problem. Moreover, another formulation of sensitivity—which is fully in line with Nozick’s original account—is not unscathed either. (shrink)
Recent attempts to resolve the Paradox of the Gatecrasher rest on a now familiar distinction between individual and bare statistical evidence. This paper investigates two such approaches, the causal approach to individual evidence and a recently influential (and award-winning) modal account that explicates individual evidence in terms of Nozick's notion of sensitivity. This paper offers counterexamples to both approaches, explicates a problem concerning necessary truths for the sensitivity account, and argues that either view is implausibly committed to the (...) impossibility of no-fault wrongful convictions. The paper finally concludes that the distinction between individual and bare statistical evidence cannot be maintained in terms of causation or sensitivity. We have to look elsewhere for a solution of the Paradox of the Gatecrasher. (shrink)
Sensitivity has sometimes been thought to be a highly epistemologically significant property, serving as a proxy for a kind of responsiveness to the facts that ensure that the truth of our beliefs isn’t just a lucky coincidence. But it's an imperfect proxy: there are various well-known cases in which sensitivity-based anti-luck conditions return the wrong verdicts. And as a result of these failures, contemporary theorists often dismiss such conditions out of hand. I show here, though, that a (...) class='Hi'>sensitivity-based understanding of epistemic luck can be developed that respects what was attractive about sensitivity-based approaches in the first place but that's immune to these failures. (shrink)
Healthcare is becoming increasingly automated with the development and deployment of care robots. There are many benefits to care robots but they also pose many challenging ethical issues. This paper takes care robots for the elderly as the subject of analysis, building on previous literature in the domain of the ethics and design of care robots. Using the value sensitive design approach to technology design, this paper extends its application to care robots by integrating the values of care, values that (...) are specific to AI, and higher-scale values such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The ethical issues specific to care robots for the elderly are discussed at length alongside examples of specific design requirements that work to ameliorate these ethical concerns. (shrink)
Vogel, Sosa, and Huemer have all argued that sensitivity is incompatible with knowing that you do not believe falsely, therefore the sensitivity condition must be false. I show that this objection misses its mark because it fails to take account of the basis of belief. Moreover, if the objection is modified to account for the basis of belief then it collapses into the more familiar objection that sensitivity is incompatible with closure.
A number of prominent epistemologists claim that the principle of sensitivity “play[s] a starring role in the solution to some important epistemological problems”. I argue that traditional sensitivity accounts fail to explain even the most basic data that are usually considered to constitute their primary motivation. To establish this result I develop Gettier and lottery cases involving necessary truths. Since beliefs in necessary truths are sensitive by default, the resulting cases give rise to a serious explanatory problem for (...) the defenders of sensitivity accounts. It is furthermore argued that attempts to modally strengthen traditional sensitivity accounts to avoid the problem must appeal to a notion of safety—the primary competitor of sensitivity in the literature. The paper concludes that the explanatory virtues of sensitivity accounts are largely illusory. In the framework of modal epistemology, it is safety rather than sensitivity that does the heavy explanatory lifting with respect to Gettier cases, lottery examples, and other pertinent cases. (shrink)
Charles Travis presents a series of essays in which he has developed his distinctive view of the relation of thought to language. The key idea is "occasion-sensitivity": what it is for words to express a given concept is for them to be apt for contributing to any of many different conditions of correctness (notably truth conditions). Since words mean what they do by expressing a given concept, it follows that meaning does not determine truth conditions. This view ties thoughts (...) less tightly to the linguistic forms which express them than traditional views of the matter, and in two directions: a given linguistic form, meaning fixed, may express an indefinite variety of thoughts; one thought can be expressed in an indefinite number of syntactically and semantically distinct ways. Travis highlights the importance of this view for linguistic theory, and shows how it gives new form to a variety of traditional philosophical problems. (shrink)
Value Sensitive Design (VSD) is an established method for integrating values into technical design. It has been applied to different technologies and, more recently, to artificial intelligence (AI). We argue that AI poses a number of challenges specific to VSD that require a somewhat modified VSD approach. Machine learning (ML), in particular, poses two challenges. First, humans may not understand how an AI system learns certain things. This requires paying attention to values such as transparency, explicability, and accountability. Second, ML (...) may lead to AI systems adapting in ways that ‘disembody’ the values embedded in them. To address this, we propose a threefold modified VSD approach: 1) integrating a known set of VSD principles (AI4SG) as design norms from which more specific design requirements can be derived; 2) distinguishing between values that are promoted and respected by the design to ensure outcomes that not only do no harm but also contribute to good; and 3) extending the VSD process to encompass the whole life cycle of an AI technology in order to monitor unintended value consequences and redesign as needed. We illustrate our VSD for AI approach with an example use case of a SARS-CoV-2 contact tracing app. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn a recent paper, Michael Pardo argues that the epistemic property that is legally relevant is the one called Safety, rather than Sensitivity. In the process, he argues against our Sensitivity-related account of statistical evidence. Here we revisit these issues, partly in order to respond to Pardo, and partly in order to make general claims about legal epistemology. We clarify our account, we show how it adequately deals with counterexamples and other worries, we raise suspicions about Safety's value (...) here, and we revisit our general skepticism about the role that epistemological considerations should play in determining legal policy. (shrink)
This paper surveys attempts in the recent literature to offer a modal condition on knowledge as a way of resolving the problem of scepticism. In particular, safety-based and sensitivity-based theories of knowledge are considered in detail, along with the anti-sceptical prospects of an explicitly anti-luck epistemology.
Kolodny and MacFarlane have made a pioneering contribution to our understanding of how the interpretation of deontic modals can be sensitive to evidence and information. But integrating the discussion of information-sensitivity into the standard Kratzerian framework for modals suggests ways of capturing the relevant data without treating deontic modals as “informational modals” in their sense. I show that though one such way of capturing the data within the standard semantics fails, an alternative does not. Nevertheless I argue that we (...) have good reasons to adopt an information-sensitive semantics of the general type Kolodny and MacFarlane describe. Contrary to the standard semantics, relative deontic value between possibilities sometimes depends on which possibilities are live. I develop an ordering semantics for deontic modals that captures this point and addresses various complications introduced by integrating the discussion of information-sensitivity into the standard semantic framework. By attending to these complexities, we can also illuminate various roles that information and evidence play in logical arguments, discourse, and deliberation. (shrink)
An important aspect of moral expertise is moral sensitivity, which is the ability to be sensitive to the presence of morally salient features in a context. This requires being able to see and acquire the morally relevant information, as well as organise and interpret it, so that you can undertake the related work of moral judgement, focus (or motivation) and action. As a distinct but interrelated component of ethical expertise, moral sensitivity can and must be trained and educated. (...) However, despite its importance to moral education, there has been comparatively little discussion about the role of ethical sensitivity and the ways that it can be trained within the context of Kant’s, and Kantian, ethics. This paper seeks to address this gap. While Kant does not explicitly focus in detail on moral sensitivity, by breaking sensitivity down into seven distinct aspects through drawing on the Four Component Model, we are able to identify a wealth of resources in Kant’s work from which we can con- struct an account of moral sensitivity education that draws on his underlying moral theory. (shrink)
Two studies demonstrate that a dispositional proneness to disgust (“disgust sensitivity”) is associated with intuitive disapproval of gay people. Study 1 was based on previous research showing that people are more likely to describe a behavior as intentional when they see it as morally wrong (see Knobe, 2006, for a review). As predicted, the more disgust sensitive participants were, the more likely they were to describe an agent whose behavior had the side effect of causing gay men to kiss (...) in public as having intentionally encouraged gay men to kiss publicly— even though most participants did not explicitly think it wrong to encourage gay men to kiss in public. No such effect occurred when subjects were asked about heterosexual kissing. Study 2 used the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Nosek, Banaji, & Greenwald, 2006) as a dependent measure. The more disgust sensitive participants were, the more they showed.. (shrink)
Prominent instances of anti-luck epistemology, in particular sensitivity and safety accounts of knowledge, introduce a modal condition on the pertinent belief in terms of closeness or similarity of possible worlds. Very roughly speaking, a belief must continue to be true in close possibilities in order to qualify as knowledge. Such closeness-accounts derive much support from their (alleged) ability to eliminate standard instances of epistemic luck as they appear in prominent Gettier-type examples. The article argues that there are new Gettier-type (...) examples which are grounded in “distant” epistemic luck. It is demonstrated that sensitivity and safety theories cannot handle such examples. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the heterogeneity problem for sensitivity accounts of knowledge against an objection that has been recently proposed by Wallbridge in Philosophia. I argue in, 479–496, 2015) that sensitivity accounts of knowledge face a heterogeneity problem when it comes to higher-level knowledge about the truth of one’s own beliefs. Beliefs in weaker higher-level propositions are insensitive, but beliefs in stronger higher-level propositions are sensitive. The resulting picture that we can know the stronger propositions without being (...) in a position to know the weaker propositions is too heterogeneous to be plausible. Wallbridge objects that there is no heterogeneity problem because beliefs in the weaker higher-level propositions are also sensitive. I argue against Wallbridge that the heterogeneity problem is not solved but only displaced. Only some beliefs in the weaker higher-level propositions are sensitive. I conclude that the heterogeneity problem is one of a family of instability problems that sensitivity accounts of knowledge face and that Wallbridge’s account raises a further problem of this kind. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Melchior pursues a novel argumentative strategy against the sensitivity condition. His claim is that sensitivity suffers from a ‘heterogeneity problem:’ although some higher-order beliefs are knowable, other, very similar, higher-order beliefs are insensitive and so not knowable. Similarly, the conclusions of some bootstrapping arguments are insensitive, but others are not. In reply, I show that sensitivity does not treat different higher-order beliefs differently in the way that Melchior states and that while genuine bootstrapping (...) arguments have insensitive conclusions, the cases that Melchior describes as sensitive ‘bootstrapping’ arguments don’t deserve the name, since they are a perfectly good way of getting to know their conclusions. In sum, sensitivity doesn’t have a heterogeneity problem. (shrink)
The law views with suspicion statistical evidence, even evidence that is probabilistically on a par with direct, individual evidence that the law is in no way suspicious of. But it has proved remarkably hard to either justify this suspicion, or to debunk it. In this paper, we connect the discussion of statistical evidence to broader epistemological discussions of similar phenomena. We highlight Sensitivity – the requirement that a belief be counterfactually sensitive to the truth in a specific way – (...) as a way of epistemically explaining the legal suspicion towards statistical evidence. Still, we do not think of this as a satisfactory vindication of the reluctance to rely on statistical evidence. Knowledge – and Sensitivity, and indeed epistemology in general – are of little, if any, legal value. Instead, we tell an incentive-based story vindicating the suspicion towards statistical evidence. We conclude by showing that the epistemological story and the incentive-based story are closely and interestingly related, and by offering initial thoughts about the role of statistical evidence in morality. (shrink)
Some contextually sensitive expressions are such that their context independent conventional meanings need to be in some way supplemented in context for the expressions to secure semantic values in those contexts. As we’ll see, it is not clear that there is a paradigm here, but ‘he’ used demonstratively is a clear example of such an expression. Call expressions of this sort supplementives in order to highlight the fact that their context independent meanings need to be supplemented in context for them (...) to have semantic values relative to the context. Many philosophers and linguists think that there is a lot of contextual sensitivity in natural language that goes well beyond the pure indexicals and supplementives like ‘he’. Constructions/expressions that are good candidates for being contextually sensitive include: quantifiers, gradable adjectives including “predicates of personal taste”, modals, conditionals, possessives and relational expressions taking implicit arguments. It would appear that in none of these cases does the expression/construction in question have a context independent meaning that when placed in context suffices to secure a semantic value for the expression/construction in the context. In each case, some sort of supplementation is required to do this. Hence, all these expressions are supplementives in my sense. For a given supplementive, the question arises as to what the mechanism is for supplementing its conventional meanings in context so as to secure a semantic value for it in context. That is, what form does the supplementation take? The question also arises as to whether different supplementives require different kinds of supplementation. Let us call an account of what, in addition to its conventional meaning, secures a semantic value for a supplementive in context a metasemantics for that supplementive. So we can put our two questions thus: what is the proper metasemantics for a given supplementive; and do all supplementives have the same metasemantics? In the present work, I sketch the metasemantics I formulated for demonstratives in earlier work. Next, I briefly consider a number of other supplementives that I think the metasemantics I propose plausibly applies to and explain why I think that. Finally, I consider the prospects for extending the account to all supplementives. In so doing, I take up arguments due to Michael Glanzberg to the effect that supplementives are governed by two different metasemantics and attempt to respond to them. (shrink)
It is widely thought that if knowledge requires sensitivity, knowledge is not closed because sensitivity is not closed. This paper argues that there is no valid argument from sensitivity failure to non-closure of knowledge. Sensitivity does not imply non-closure of knowledge. Closure considerations cannot be used to adjudicate between safety and sensitivity accounts of knowledge.
BackgroundBehavioral and physiological regulation in early life is crucial for the understanding of childhood development and adjustment. The autonomic nervous system is a main player in the regulative system and should therefore be modulated by the quality of interactive behavior of the caregiver. We experimentally investigated the ANS response of 18–36-month-old children in response to the quality of maternal behavior during a mother–child-interacting paradigm.MethodEighty mothers and their children came to our laboratory and took part in an experimental paradigm, consisting of (...) three episodes: a resting phase, a structured play phase, and a free play situation between mothers and their child. Children’s and mother’s heart rate, the sympathetic nervous system activity via the pre-ejection period and the left ventricular ejection time, and the parasympathetic nervous system activity via the respiratory sinus arrhythmia were continuously measured by an electrocardiogram. Maternal sensitivity of interactive behavior was assessed by using the Emotional Availability Scales.ResultsChildren of mothers with insensitive behavior had a significantly lower RSA at baseline, showed a lack of RSA withdrawal during structured and free play, and had shorter LVET across all episodes compared to children of sensitive mothers.ConclusionOur findings depict the influence of low-quality maternal interaction on the child’s ANS regulation, in calm and more stressful play situations. The overall higher SNS mode with impaired PNS reactivity may negatively influence child’s ANS homoeostasis, which may result in a long-term impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Further, the maternal sensitivity may function as a buffer for the stress response of their child. These results could serve as a basis for the development of appropriate psychoeducational programs for mothers of low sensitivity in their interaction with the child. (shrink)
Sense and Sensitivity explores the semantics and pragmatics of focus in natural language discourse, advancing a new account of focus sensitivity which posits a three-way distinction between different effects of focus. Makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing research in the field of focus sensitivity Discusses the features of QFC, an original theory of focus implying a new typology of focus-sensitive expressions Presents novel cross-linguistic data on focus and focus sensitivity Concludes with a case study of (...) exclusives (like “only”), arguing that the entire existing literature (reviewed in detail) has missed crucial generalizations, and that the focus sensitivity of these expressions must be understood in terms of their meaning and discourse function. (shrink)
In this paper I offer some critical comments to MacFarlane's recent book "Assessment Sensitivity". I focus primarily on MacFarlane's understanding of the normative aspects of enquiry—in particular I take issue with the phenomena of retraction and disagreement as preclusion of joint accuracy. I argue that both notions are problematic and that—at least in the case of basic taste—they are not needed in order to account for our intuitions.
In this paper, I argue that Contextualist theories of semantics are not undermined by their purported failure to explain the practice of indirect reporting. I adoptCappelen & Lepore's test for context sensitivity to show that the scope of context sensitivity is much broader than Semantic Minimalists are willing to accept. Thefailure of their arguments turns on their insistence that the content of indirect reports is semantically minimal.
We offer an alternative to two influential accounts of virtue epistemology: Robust Virtue Epistemology and Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology. We argue that while traditional RVE does offer an explanation of the distinctive value of knowledge, it is unable to effectively deal with cases of epistemic luck; and while ALVE does effectively deal with cases of epistemic luck, it lacks RVE’s resources to account for the distinctive value of knowledge. The account we provide, however, is both robustly virtue-theoretic and anti-luck, having the (...) respective benefits of both rival accounts without their respective shortcomings. We describe this view here. (shrink)
Several studies have found a robust effect of truth on epistemic evaluation of belief, decision, action and assertion. Thus, truth has a significant effect on normative participant evaluations. Some theorists take this truth effect to motivate factive epistemic norms of belief, action, assertion etc. In contrast, I argue that the truth effect is best understood as an epistemic instance of the familiar and ubiquitous phenomenon of outcome bias. I support this diagnosis from three interrelating perspectives: (1) by epistemological theorizing, (2) (...) by considerations from cognitive psychology and (3) by methodological reflections on the relationship between folk epistemology and epistemological theorizing. (shrink)
Historically the focus of moral decision-making in games has been narrow, mostly confined to challenges of moral judgement (deciding right and wrong). In this paper, we look to moral psychology to get a broader view of the skills involved in ethical behaviour and how these skills can be employed in games. Following the Four Component Model of Rest and colleagues, we identify four “lenses” – perspectives for considering moral gameplay in terms of focus, sensitivity, judgement and action – and (...) describe the design problems raised by each. To conclude, we analyse two recent games, The Walking Dead and Papers, Please, and show how the lenses give us insight into important design differences between these games. (shrink)
A number of authors have argued that the fact that certain indexicals depend for their reference-determination on the speaker’s referential intentions demonstrates the inadequacy of associating such expressions with functions from contexts to referents (characters). By distinguishing between different uses to which the notion of context is put in these argument, I show that this line of argument fails. In the course of doing so, I develop a way of incorporating the role played by intentions into a character-based semantics for (...) indexicals and I argue that the framework I prefer is superior to an alternative which has been proposed by others. (shrink)
This paper argues that if knowledge is defined in terms of probabilistic tracking then the benefits of epistemic closure follow without the addition of a closure clause. (This updates my definition of knowledge in Tracking Truth 2005.) An important condition on this result is found in "Closure Failure and Scientific Inquiry" (2017).
Sosa, Pritchard, and Vogel have all argued that there are cases in which one knows something inductively but does not believe it sensitively, and that sensitivity therefore cannot be necessary for knowledge. I defend sensitivity by showing that inductive knowledge is sensitive.
We propose a new relevance sensitive model for representing and revising belief structures, which relies on a notion of partial language splitting and tolerates some amount of inconsistency while retaining classical logic. The model preserves an agent's ability to answer queries in a coherent way using Belnap's four-valued logic. Axioms analogous to the AGM axioms hold for this new model. The distinction between implicit and explicit beliefs is represented and psychologically plausible, computationally tractable procedures for query answering and belief..
This article presents the framework Capability Sensitive Design, which consists of merging the design methodology Value Sensitive Design with Martha Nussbaum's capability theory. CSD aims to normatively assess technology design in general, and technology design for health and wellbeing in particular. Unique to CSD is its ability to account for human diversity and to counter injustices that manifest in technology design. The basic framework of CSD is demonstrated by applying it to the hypothetical design case of a therapy chatbot for (...) mental health. By applying CSD to a design case, the merits of this new framework over the standard VSD approach become apparent. Also, the application demonstrates what a technology design would look like when attention is paid to capabilities right from the start of the design process. (shrink)
Jennifer Lackey challenges the sufficiency version of the knowledge-action principle, viz., that knowledge that p is sufficient to rationally act on p, by proposing a set of alleged counterexamples. Her aim is not only to attack the knowledge-action principle, but also to undermine an argument for subject-sensitive invariantism. Lackey holds that her examples are counterexamples to the sufficiency version of the knowledge-action principle because (a) S knows the proposition in question, but (b) it is not rational for S to act (...) on it. In this paper, first, I argue against (a) on intuitive and on theoretical grounds. Second, I point out that (b), even if combined with (a), is not sufficient to make for counterexamples to the knowledge-action principle of the relevant kind. Third, I offer two alternative explanations of the intuition Lackey relies on. If either one of them is right, (b) may not be satisfied in her examples. (shrink)
It is proposed here that there is a sensitive period in the first two to three years of life during which humans acquire a basic knowledge of what foods are safe to eat. In support of this, it is shown that willingness to eat a wide variety of foods is greatest between the ages of one and two years, and then declines to low levels by age four. These data also show that children who are introduced to solids unusually late (...) have a narrower diet breadth throughout childhood, perhaps because the duration of the sensitive period has been shortened. By reducing the costs associated with learning, a sensitive period for food learning should be adaptive for any omnivore (including early humans) that remains in the same environment throughout its life. (shrink)