The traditional view in epistemology is that we must distinguish between being rational and being right (that is also, by the way, the traditional view about practical rationality). In his paper in this volume, Williamson proposes an alternative view according to which only beliefs that amount to knowledge are rational (and, thus, no false belief is rational). It is healthy to challenge tradition, in philosophy as much as elsewhere. But, in this instance, we think that tradition has it right. In (...) this paper we defend our version of the traditional view and argue against Williamson’s alternative. (shrink)
This paper compares two kinds of epistemic principles-an underdetermination principle and a deductive closure principle. It argues that each principle provides the basis for an independently motivated skeptical argument. It examines the logical relations between the premises of the two kinds of skeptical argument and concludes that the deductive closure argument cannot be refuted without refuting the underdetermination argument. The underdetermination argument, however, can be refuted without refuting the deductive closure argument. In this respect, the deductive closure argument is the (...) stronger of the two. (shrink)
A central issue in epistemology concerns the connection between truth and justification. The burden of our paper is to explain this connection. Reliabilism, defended by Goldman, assumes that the connection is one of reliability. We argue that this assumption is too strong. We argue that foundational theories, such as those articulated by Pollock and Chisholm fail to elucidate the connection. We consider the potentiality of coherence theories to explain the truth connection by means of higher level convictions about probabilities, which (...) we call doxastic ascent, and defend such a theory. Our defense appeals to the work of Reid and contemporary cognitive psychology in order to account for the psychological reality of higher level evaluations. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has fruitfully exploited formal resources to shed considerable light on the nature of knowledge. In the paper under examination, Williamson turns his attention to Gettier cases, showing how they can be motivated formally. At the same time, he disparages the kind of justification he thinks gives rise to these cases. He favors instead his own notion of justification for which Gettier cases cannot arise. We take issue both with his disparagement of the kind of justification that figures in (...) Gettier cases and the specifics of the formal motivation. (shrink)
I argue that epistemologists’ use of the term ‘epistemic’ has led to serious confusion in the discussion of epistemological issues. The source of the problem is that ‘epistemic’ functions largely as an undefined technical term. I show how this confusion has infected discussions of the nature of epistemic justification, epistemic norms for evidence gathering, and knowledge norms for assertion and belief.
This paper defends the view that standards, which are typically social in nature, play a role in determining whether a subject has knowledge. While the argument focuses on standards that pertain to reasoning, I also consider whether there are similar standards for memory and perception.Ultimately, I argue that the standards are context sensitive and, as such, we must view attributions of knowledge as indexical. I exploit similarities between this view and a version of the relevant alternatives reply to skepticism in (...) order to defend this reply against the objection that it is ad hoc. (shrink)
I contrast two solutions to the lottery paradox concerning knowledge: contextualism and subject-sensitive invariantism. I defend contextualism against an objection that it cannot explain how 'knows' and its cognates function inside propositional attitude reports. I then argue that subject-sensitive invariantism fails to provide a satisfactory resolution of the paradox.
James Van Cleve raises some objections to my attempt to solve the bootstrapping problem for what I call “basic justification theories.” I argue that given 1 the inference rules endorsed by basic justification theorists, we are a priori (propositionally) justified in believing that perception is reliable. This blocks the bootstrapping result.
I raise several objections to Sosa’s account of knowledge as aptness. I argue that aptness is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge. I also raise some objection to Sosa’s treatment of dreaming skepticism.