Modern societies are characterized by a division of epistemic labor between laypeople and epistemic authorities. Authorities are often far more competent than laypeople and can thus, ideally, inform their beliefs. But how should laypeople rationally respond to an authority’s beliefs if they already have beliefs and reasons of their own concerning some subject matter? According to the standard view, the beliefs of epistemic authorities are just further, albeit weighty, pieces of evidence. In contrast, the Preemption View claims that, when one (...) discovers what an authority believes, it is not permissible to rely on any of one’s own reasons concerning the subject matter. The original version of this view, as proposed by Linda Zagzebski, has recently been severely criticized for recommending blind trust and for abandoning even minimal standards for critical thinking. In our paper, we defend a new version of the Preemption View—Defeatist Preemptionism—in a way that differs radically from Zagzebski’s. We argue that our view can be derived from certain widely accepted general epistemic principles. In particular, we claim that preemption can be identified as a special case of source sensitive defeat. Moreover, we argue that Defeatist Preemptionism does not lead to the undesirable consequences that critics ascribe to the Preemption View. The paper thus articulates the foundations and refinements of the Preemption View, such that it adequately captures the phenomenon of epistemic authority and the rational requirements related to it. (shrink)
In this paper I will offer a comprehensive defense of the safety account of knowledge against counterexamples that have been recently put forward. In section 1, I will discuss different versions of safety, arguing that a specific variant of method-relativized safety is the most plausible. I will then use this specific version of safety to respond to counterexamples in the recent literature. In section 2, I will address alleged examples of safe beliefs that still constitute Gettier cases. In section 3, (...) I will discuss alleged examples of unsafe (and in this sense lucky) knowledge. In section 4, I will address alleged cases of safe belief that do not constitute knowledge for non-Gettier reasons. My overall goal is to show that there are no successful counterexamples to robust anti-luck epistemology and to highlight some major presuppositions of my reply. (shrink)
In a recent paper Weinberg (2007) claims that there is an essential mark of trustworthiness which typical sources of evidence as perception or memory have, but philosophical intuitions lack, namely that we are able to detect and correct errors produced by these “hopeful” sources. In my paper I will argue that being a hopeful source isn't necessary for providing us with evidence. I then will show that, given some plausible background assumptions, intuitions at least come close to being hopeful, if (...) they are reliable. If this is true, Weinberg's new challenge comes down to the claim that philosophical intuitions are not reliable since they are significantly unstable. In the second part of my paper I will argue that and why the experimentally established instability of folk intuitions about philosophical cases does not show that philosopher's expert intuitions about these cases are instable. (shrink)
Erratum to: Philos Stud DOI 10.1007/s11098-013-0226-3Dear Reader, due to production systems the following changes could not be made to this article:In the paragraph immediately preceding the case description (ford-iii), the sentenceHere we explicitly state that Smith’s inference is based only on his belief that Jones owns a Ford, and that this logical inference provides Smith’s only justification for believing that someone in his office owns a Ford (to make things fully precise, we also add a time index).should be replaced withHere (...) we explicitly state that Smith’s inference is based only on his belief that Jones owns a Ford (plus the justified background belief that Jones is in his office), and that this logical inference provides Smith’s only justification for believing that someone in his office owns a Ford (to make things fully precise, we also add a time index).The added part is highlighted in boldface.And within the case description (ford-iii), the sentenceFrom this belief alone. (shrink)
Descriptions of Gettier cases can be interpreted in ways that are incompatible with the standard judgment that they are cases of justified true belief without knowledge. Timothy Williamson claims that this problem cannot be avoided by adding further stipulations to the case descriptions. To the contrary, we argue that there is a fairly simple way to amend the Ford case, a standard description of a Gettier case, in such a manner that all deviant interpretations are ruled out. This removes one (...) major objection to interpreting our judgments about Gettier cases as strict conditionals. (shrink)
In the first part of this paper I will characterize the specific nature of rational intuition. It will be claimed that rational intuition is an evidential state with modal content that has an a priori source. This claim will be defended against several objections. The second part of the paper deals with the so-called explanationist objection against rational intuition as a justifying source. According to the best reading of this objection, intuition cannot justify any judgment since there is no metaphysical (...) explanation of its reliability. It will be argued that in the case of intuition the very demand of such an explanation is based on a category mistake. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that justification is defeasible, e.g. that under certain conditions counterevidence removes prior justification of beliefs. In this paper I will first (sect. 1) explain why this feature of justification poses a prima facie problem for reliabilism. I then will try out different reliabilist strategies to deal with the problem. Among them I will discuss conservative strategies (sect. 2), eliminativist stragies (sect. 3) and revisionist strategies (sect. 4). In the final section I will present an improved revisionist (...) approach to defeaters that is able to overcome the main shortcomings of the other approaches. (shrink)
In philosophy, as in many other disciplines and domains, stable disagreement among peers is a widespread and well-known phenomenon. Our intuitions about paradigm cases, e.g. Christensen's Restaurant Case, suggest that in such controversies suspension of judgment is rationally required. This would prima facie suggest a robust suspension of judgment in philosophy. But we are still lacking a deeper theoretical explanation of why and under what conditions suspension is rationally mandatory. In the first part of this paper I will focus on (...) this question. After a critical survey of some recent alternative approaches (diversity as a thread to the reliability, decision problem, acquisition of undercutting defeaters), I will argue that in fact discovering disagreement with an opponent provides me with a rebutting defeater, but only if some further non-trivial conditions are satisfied - among them my acknowledging her as my reliability peer. In the second part of the paper I will explore in more detail the skeptical implications this account has for philosophy. Here, I will defend two claims. First, skepticism about philosophy is mandatory only if the relevant peerness assumption can be justified. Second, in philosophy there is no basis available that would support the relevant peerness assumption. If this is correct, we are not forced into skepticism about philosophy and may rationally retain our philosophical beliefs even in the face of controversy. (shrink)
Standard Analytic Epistemology typically relies on conceptual analysis of folk epistemic terms such as ‘knowledge’ or ‘justification’. A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic perspective on this method leads to the worry that there might not be universally shared epistemic concepts, and that different languages might use folk notions that have different extensions. Moreover, there is no reason to believe that our epistemic common-sense terms pick out what is epistemically most significant or valuable. In my paper, I take these issues as a starting (...) point for exploring the prospects of an alternative methodological approach that I call ‘alethic instrumentalism’. The core idea behind this approach is to start with a properly designed epistemic goal and then to develop a framework of instrumentally valuable methods oriented towards this goal. This results in a somewhat revisionary framework of newly constructed core epistemic terms. In the paper, I elucidate the foundations of this new framework and address a number of methodological and content-related objections to the approach. (shrink)
This paper provides a novel argument for granting memory the status of a generative source of justification and knowledge. Memory can produce justified output beliefs and knowledge on the basis of unjustified input beliefs alone. The key to understanding how memory can generate justification and knowledge, memory generativism, is to bear in mind that memory frequently omits part of the stored information. The proposed argument depends on a broadly reliabilist approach to justification.
In this brief introduction, we would first like to explain how these two special issues of Philosophical Psychology ( 23.3 and 23.4 ) actually came about. In addition, we will provide an outline of their overall structure and shortly summarize the featured papers.
According to the received view, externalist grounds or reasons need not be introspectively accessible. Roughly speaking, from an externalist point of view, a belief will be epistemically justified, iff it is based upon facts that make its truth objectively highly likely. This condition can be satisfied, even if the epistemic agent does not have actual or potential awareness of the justifying facts. No inner perspective on the belief-forming mechanism and its truth-ratio is needed for a belief to be justified. In (...) my view, this is not the whole story. While I agree that introspective access to our reasons is a defining feature of justification for the access internalist, not the externalist, I will argue that even for the latter, some kind of introspective access is an epistemic desideratum. Yet, even given that I am right, the desirable might not be achievable for us. Recent psychological research suggests that we do not dispose of reliable introspection into the sources of our own beliefs. This seems to undermine the claim that we can introspectively know about the reasons upon which our beliefs are based. In this paper I will therefore additionally show why these results do not threaten the kind of introspective access desirable from an externalist point of view. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss Michael Williamss inferential contextualism – a position that must be carefully distinguished from the currently more fashionable attributer contextualism. I will argue that Williamss contextualism is not stable, though it avoids some of the shortcomings of simple inferential contextualism. In particular, his criticism of epistemological realism cannot be supported on the basis of his own account. I will also argue that we need not give up epistemological realism in order to provide a successful diagnosis (...) of scepticism. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that Bernard William’s theory of frustrated desires is superior to Tom Nagel's theory of deprivation in explaining when and why death is harmful to oneself. The model of frustrated desires will then be applied contrastively to the altruist and the egoist. Contrary to what one might expect, death is not a misfortune only to the egoist. The truth is more nuanced. Nevertheless, there is a significant difference between what death means to the altruist and (...) what it means to the egoist. The paper will explore the details of this difference. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy is one of the most recent and controversial developments in philosophy. Its basic idea is rather simple: to test philosophical thought experiments and philosophers’ intuitions about them with scientific methods, mostly taken from psychology and the social sciences. The ensuing experimental results, such as the cultural relativity of certain philosophical intuitions, has engaged – and at times infuriated – many more traditionally minded "armchair" philosophers since then. In this volume, the metaphilosophical reflection on experimental philosophy is brought yet (...) another step forward by engaging some of its most renowned proponents and critics in a lively and controversial debate. In addition to that, the volume also contains original experimental research on personal identity and philosophical temperament, as well as state-of-the-art essays on central metaphilosophical issues, like thought experiments, the nature of intuitions, or the status of philosophical expertise. -/- This book was originally published as a special issue of Philosophical Psychology. (shrink)
This is a survey article about epistemic defeaters: what is defeated, how defeaters work, different kinds of defeaters, indefeasibility and how defeaters fit into epistemic internalism and externalism.
Contemporary epistemologists typically define a priori justification as justification that is independent of sense experience. However, sense experience plays at least some role in the production of many paradigm cases of a priori justified belief. This raises the question of when experience is epistemically relevant to the justificatory status of the belief that is based on it. In this paper, I will outline the answers that can be given by the two currently dominant accounts of justification, i.e. evidentialism and reliabilism. (...) While for the evidentialist, experience is epistemically relevant only if it is used as evidence, the reliabilist requires that the reliability of the relevant process depends on the reliability of experiential processes. I will argue that the reliabilist account accommodates our pre-theoretic classifications much better. In the final part of my paper I will use the reliabilist criterion to defend the a priori—a posteriori distinction against recent challenges by Hawthorne and Williamson. (shrink)
One of the most influential arguments for the coherence theory of empirical justification is BonJours a priori argument from the internalist regress. According to this argument, foundationalism cannot solve the problem of the internalist regress since internalism is incompatible with basic beliefs. Hence, coherentism seems to be the only option. In my article I contend that this argument is doomed to failure. It is either too strong or too weak. Too strong, since even coherentism cannot stop the internalist regress in (...) any legitimate way. In order to demonstrate this claim I will discuss various coherentist strategies. Too weak, since, were coherentism able to stop the regress, the argument against foundationalism would collapse. (shrink)
Wenn von dem epistemischen Regreßargument die Rede ist, dann denkt man gewöhnlich an ein Argument für den erkenntnistheoretischen Fundamentalismus: Um einen drohenden Begründungsregreß zu vermeiden, muß man annehmen, daß es sogenannte basale Meinungen gibt, die nicht durch andere Meinungen (oder propositionale Zustände inferentiell gerechtfertigt werden, sondern unmittelbar gerechtfertigt sind. Das fundamentalistische Regreßargument ist jedoch nur eine mögliche Reaktion auf das zugrundeliegende epistemische Regreßproblem. Der Beitrag beschäftigt sich genauer mit den Bedingungen und Konsequenzen des skeptischen Regreßarguments und vertritt die These, daß (...) sich mit Hilfe des Regreßarguments der Skeptizismus nicht rechtfertigen läßt. (shrink)
Skeptical dream-arguments are intended as general challenges to our epistemic claims concerning the world. They argue that we can never rule out the possibility of merely dreaming what we believe to perceive. In my paper I will scrutinize whether any kind of such argument is sound. On my view, many versions of this argument are defective. They are either too weak to challenge all kinds of our epistemic claims or they rely on implausibly strong epistemic principles. More plausible versions of (...) the argument can be rebutted by the results of recent empirical dream research. As I will argue, there is an introspective criterion for currently being awake. Nevertheless there is one version of the dream-argument, which I will call quasi-dream-argument, that survives all criticism and brings out the structure of a compelling skeptical argument very clearly. (shrink)
Philosophen berufen sich in Gedankenexperimenten oft auf Intuitionen. Doch werden diese Intuitionen auch von anderen Philosophen oder von philosophischen Laien geteilt? Und durch welche Faktoren werden sie eigentlich bestimmt? Experimentelle Philosophen gehen solchen Fragen seit einigen Jahren mit empirischen Methoden auf den Grund. Ihre Ergebnisse sind mitunter verblüffend und haben für Aufsehen gesorgt. Der vorliegende Band lässt führende Vertreter und Gegner dieser wachsenden Bewegung zu Wort kommen und will die bislang überwiegend englischsprachige Debatte verstärkt in die deutsche Philosophie hineintragen.