Disagreement is common: even informed, intelligent, and generally reasonable people often come to different conclusions when confronted with what seems to be the same evidence. Can the competing conclusions be reasonable? If not, what can we reasonably think about the situation? This volume examines the epistemology of disagreement. Philosophical questions about disagreement arise in various areas, notably politics, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of religion: but this will be the first book focusing on the general epistemic issues arising from informed (...) disagreement. Ten leading philosophers offer specially written essays which together will offer a starting-point for future work on this topic. (shrink)
Many critics of libertarian freedom have charged that freedom is incompatible with indeterminism. We show that the strongest argument that has been provided for this claim is invalid. The invalidity of the argument in question, however, implies the invalidity of the standard Consequence argument for the incompatibility of freedom and determinism. We show how to repair the Consequence argument and argue that no similar improvement will revive the worry about the compatibility of indeterminism and freedom.
Recently, new life has been breathed into the ancient philosophical topic of skepticism. The subject of some of the best and most provocative work in contemporary philosophy, skepticism has been addressed not only by top epistemologists but also by several of the world's finest philosophers who are most known for their work in other areas of the discipline. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader brings together the most important recent contributions to the discussion of skepticism. Covering major approaches to the skeptical problem, (...) it features essays by Anthony Brueckner, Keith DeRose, Fred Dretske, Graeme Forbes, Christopher Hill, David Lewis, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, Hilary Putnam, Ernest Sosa, Gail Stine, Barry Stroud, Peter Unger, and Ted Warfield. The book opens with a thorough introduction that outlines the skeptical problem, explains the dominant responses to skepticism, and discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and unresolved issues of each response, providing undergraduate students and nonphilosophers with the background and context necessary to understand the essays. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader serves as an ideal text for courses in epistemology and skepticism and will also appeal to professional philosophers and interested general readers. (shrink)
I argue that externalism about mental content is consistent with the thesis that individuals need not investigate their environment to come to know the contents of their thoughts. In particular, externalism is consistent with the thesis that we come to know the contents of our thoughts on the basis of introspection.
Incompatibilism about freedom and causal determinism is commonly supported by appeal to versions of the well known Consequence argument. Critics of theConsequence argument have presented counterexamples to the Consequence argument’s central inference principle. The thesis of this article is that proponents of the Consequence argument can easily bypass even the best of these counterexamples.
In this paper we raise three questions of clarification about Alfred Mele's fine recent book, Free Will and Luck. Our questions concern the following topics: (i) Mele's combination of 'luck' and 'Frankfurt-style' objections to libertarianism, (ii) Mele's stipulations about 'compatibilism' and the relation between questions about free action and questions about moral responsibility, and (iii) Mele's treatment of the Consequence Argument.
In recent years, the primary focus of many philosophers of mind has shifted to consciousness. And a growing number of philosophers, attempting to exploit some of the advances of the previous decade's work on intentionality, are advocating representational theories of consciousness. Representationalists have spent much time defending their characteristic thesis and have devoted much effort to some of the peculiar problems facing theories of consciousness . They have expended precious little energy answering more basic questions like ‘What makes a conscious (...) state a conscious state?', ‘What conditions are necessary and sufficient for consciousness?', and ‘What can be said on behalf of the naturalization of consciousness?’ It is my suspicion, fuelled by the remarks of Armstrong, Lycan and Levine quoted in the paper, that representationalists have thought that these problems are solved if RT is correct. But this, I have argued, is a mistake. It's time for representationalists to address these issues. (shrink)
The question of whether externalism about mental content is compatible with privileged access is a question of ongoing concern within philosophy of mind. Some philosophers think that Tyler Burge's early work on what he calls "basic self-knowledge" shows that externalism and privileged access are compatible. I critically assess this claim, arguing that Burge's work does not establish the compatbility thesis.
In a recent article in this journal (Adams and Aizawa 1992), Fred Adams and Ken Aizawa argued that Jerry Fodor's proposed naturalistic sufficient condition for meaning is unsatisfactory. In this paper, I respond to Adams and Aizawa, noting that (1) they have overestimated the importance of their “pathologies” objection, perhaps as a consequence of misunderstanding Fodor's asymmetric dependency condition, (2) they have misunderstood Fodor's asymmetric dependency condition in formulating their Twin Earth objection, and (3) they have, in addition to under (...) describing their “clear counterexample” to Fodor's proposal, in fact identified a satisfactory Fodorian rejoiner to their objection. I conclude that Fodor's proposal is, for all Adams and Aizawa have shown, adequate as a naturalistic theory of content. (shrink)
The logical fatalist holds that the past truth of future tense propositions is incompatible with libertarian freedom. The theological fatalist holds that the combination of God’s past beliefs with His essential omniscience is incompatible with libertarian freedom. There is an ongoing dispute over the relation between these two kinds of fatalism: some philosophers believe that the problems are equivalent while others believe that the theological problem is more difficult. We offer a diagnosis of this dispute showing that one’s view of (...) the modal status of God’s existence and God’s rdation to free creatures should determine one’s position on the relation between the two fatalisms. (shrink)
Incompatibilism about freedom and causal determinism is commonly supported by appeal to versions of the well known Consequence argument. Critics of the Consequence argument have presented counterexamples to the Consequence argument's central inference principle. The thesis of this article is that proponents of the Consequence argument can easily bypass even the best of these counterexamples.
There is currently a debate over whether cognitive architecture is classical or connectionist in nature. One finds the following three comparisons between classical architecture and connectionist architecture made in the pro-connectionist literature in this debate: (1) connectionist architecture is neurally plausible and classical architecture is not; (2) connectionist architecture is far better suited to model pattern recognition capacities than is classical architecture; and (3) connectionist architecture is far better suited to model the acquisition of pattern recognition capacities by learning than (...) is classical architecture. If true, (1)-(3) would yield a compelling case against the view that cognitive architecture is classical, and would offer some reason to think that cognitive architecture may be connectionist. We first present the case for (1)-(3) in the very words of connectionist enthusiasts. We then argue that the currently available evidence fails to support any of (1)-(3). (shrink)