My focus will be on two questions about Moore’s justification to believe the premises and the conclusion of the argument above. At stake is what makes it possible for our experiences to justify our beliefs, and what makes it possible for us to be justified in disbelieving skeptical..
Process reliabilists hold that in order for a belief to be justified, it must result from a reliable cognitive process. They also hold that a belief can be basically justified: justified in this manner without having any justification to believe that belief is reliably produced. Fumerton (1995), Vogel (2000), and Cohen (2002) have objected that such basicjustification leads to implausible easy justification by means of either epistemic closure principles or so-called track record arguments. I argue (...) that once we carefully distinguish closure principles from transmission principles, and epistemic consequences from epistemic preconditions, neither version of this objection succeeds. (shrink)
Epistemologists often offer theories of justification without paying much attention to the variety and diversity of locutions in which the notion of justification appears. For example, consider the following claims which contain some notion of justification: B is a justified belief, S's belief that p is justified, p is justified for S, S is justified in believing that p, S justifiably believes that p, S's believing p is justified, there is justification for S to believe that (...) p, there is justification for S's believing p, and S has a justification for believing that p. In addition to these passive uses of the notion of justification, there are active uses as well: S justified his belief in p, believing e justifies believing p, etc. The syntactic variety involves semantic difference as well. For example, the proposition S has a justification for believing that p does not entail that S believes p, whereas the proposition S justifiably believes that p does entail that S believes p. Our ultimate goal is to show that this diversity is only superficial by arguing that there is a basic kind of justification. On the way, however, we shall argue that there are three central uses of a notion of justifica- tion in the above list: propositional justification (as in p is justified for S), personal justification (as in S is justified in believing that p) and doxastic justification (as in S's believing p is justified). Our preliminary argument will be that the multiplicity above can be explained in terms of these three locutions, and the substance of our argument will be to show that one of these three is the basic kind of justification. Success in this task will thereby justify, at least in part, the practice of contem- porary epistemologists. Our conclusions, however, shall not be of much comfort to contemporary epistemology, for the way in which the apparent diversity in the uses of the notion of justification is eliminated undermines much of recent epistemology. (shrink)
This article offers a perspective on the critical theory of justice by presenting a structural and processual reconstruction of Rainer Forst’s intriguing yet somewhatopaque concept of a basic structure of justification which is central to his proposed critique of justificatory relations. It shows from a cognitive-sociological perspective what a cooperative relation between a philosophical theory of justice and a social scientific approach could mean for critical theory. A basic structure of justification is revealed to be a (...) cognitively available reflexive order above the order of substantive social and political relations that allows the identifi cation, explanation and transformative critique of reflexivity deficits induced by hegemonic, ideological, repressive or obfuscating means. Far from being exclusively a theoretical and methodological tool, however, it is in principle accessible to those involved and affected on whose experience, suffering and critique critical theory vitally depends. (shrink)
I examine Manuel Vargas's revisionist justification for continuing with our responsibility-characteristic practices in the absence of basic desert. I query his claim that this justification need not depend on how we settle questions about the content of morality, arguing that it requires us to reject the Kantian principle that prohibits treating anyone merely as a means. I maintain that any convincing argument against this principle would have to be driven by concerns that arise within the sphere of (...) moral theory itself, whereas Vargas's argument draws solely on concerns about the expensive metaphysics involved in a libertarian conception of freedom. I argue that this amounts not just to changing the concept of free will by stipulation, but also to changing our moral principles by stipulation. (shrink)
ABSTRACTMatthew Clayton, David Stevens and Laura D’Olimpio have advanced a series of objections to arguments I set out in my recent book A Theory of Moral Education – in particular to the problem-of-sociality justification for basic moral standards. Here I reply to their objections.
Self-Ownership, Liberal Neutrality and the Realm of Freedom: New Reflections on the Justification of Basic Income. A review of Axel Gosseries and Yannick Vanderborght (eds), Arguing about Justice: Essays for Philippe Van Parijs.
Philippe Van Parijs's ethical justification of basic income is based on the argument that job resources must be shared equally. Underlying this idea are two important claims: all individuals in society hold an ex ante entitlement in job resources and job resources are tradable. First, I present the real-libertarian argument for sharing job resources. Next, I identify and critically review three different objections against this view: the liability objection, the cooperation objection and the parasitism objection. I believe the (...) parasitism objection poses a serious challenge to basic income, and argue that Van Parijs's most plausible response - based on the idea that job resources are socially owned - is flawed. I provide the outline of an alternative normative basis for grounding a person's ex ante entitlement to job resources using an institutionalist approach. (shrink)
It is commonly held that when there is a conflict of basic ideals, e.g. a humane man v. an elitist or a Social Darwinist or someone who holds a revenge ethic, no moral justification is possible. This paper attempts to go further and show that such a justification would be undesirable, would carry a price few would be willing to pay. The thesis is developed to shed light not only on classical thinkers (Plato, Locke, Kant) but also (...) on the attractions of naturalism and intuitionism - and to suggest the need for a non-moral approach to justification, an approach emphasizing appeals to logic, self-interest, and personal happiness. (shrink)
The leading approaches to the nature of epistemic justification are the sides taken in two controversies: coherentism versus foundationalism, and externalism versus internalism. The former dispute has time-tested durability; the latter threatens to become equally persistent. Nevertheless, it will be argued here that these controversies have satisfactory resolutions. It will be argued that each of the four approaches is fundamentally right. Each has a plausible core that combines consistently with the others. This paper offers a prolegomenon. Its goals are (...) to clear away apparent obstacles to a reconciliation among the approaches and to outline the resulting inclusive view. (shrink)
Discussions of conservatism in epistemology often fail to demonstrate that the principle of conservatism is supported by epistemic considerations. In this paper, I hope to show two things. First, there is a defensible version of the principle of conservatism, a version that applies only to what I will call our basic beliefs. Those who deny that conservatism is supported by epistemic considerations do so because they fail to take into account the necessarily social, diachronic and self-correcting nature of our (...) epistemic practice. Second, I will attempt to show how our basic beliefs are justified via this principle of conservatism. (shrink)
Take a correct sequent of formal logic, perhaps a simple logical truth, like the law of excluded middle, or something with premises, like disjunctive syllogism, but basically a claim of the form \.Γ can be empty. If you don’t like my examples, feel free to choose your own, everything I have to say should apply to those as well. Such a sequent attributes the properties of logical truth or logical consequence to a schematic sentence or argument. This paper aims to (...) answer the question of how beliefs in such attributions are justified, on both its descriptive and normative interpretations; I aim to say when we generally take ourselves to be justified in forming such beliefs, and to make it plausible that beliefs formed this way really are justified.We can ask such questions about many domains but there are special difficulties for answering them in logic. Some of the difficulties stem from the fact that logic is thought t.. (shrink)
This paper argues that social and political philosophy should evaluate how groups justify, the reasons they accept. This conception arises out of a critical examination of Rawls’s notion of the basic structure of society.
In a previous paper "A Mistake About Foundationalism" [_The Southern Journal of Philosophy (1992) Vol. 30:111-125] I try to show that the conception of foundationalism used by critics like Sellars and Lehrer distort the foundationalist's idea of a basic belief. Foundationalists view basic beliefs as ones that do not depend on other beliefs. The Sellars-Lehrer conception misrepresents the way the foundationalist's basic beliefs are independent of other beliefs. In a reply to my paper, Yalcin criticizes my line (...) or argument, trying to show that my own conception of foundationalism is inadequate. I show that Yalcin's criticism fails to establish this conclusion. (shrink)
This paper argues that social and political philosophy should evaluate how groups justify, the reasons they accept. This conception arises out of a critical examination of Rawls’s notion of the basic structure of society.
James Van Cleve raises some objections to my attempt to solve the bootstrapping problem for what I call “basicjustification theories.” I argue that given 1 the inference rules endorsed by basicjustification theorists, we are a priori (propositionally) justified in believing that perception is reliable. This blocks the bootstrapping result.
Broadly speaking, the principle of public justifiability requires that the exercise of political power be justifiable to each and every person over whom that power is exercised. The idea of being justifiable to every person means being acceptable to any reasonable or otherwise qualified person, without such persons having to give up the comprehensive religious or philosophical doctrine they reasonably espouse. Public justifiability thus involves a partly idealized unanimity requirement, or as I will say, a criterion of multi-perspectival acceptability. The (...) demand for public justifiability can be specified in different ways, depending on what exactly has to be publicly justifiable, who is supposed to apply the principle, who counts as reasonable or otherwise qualified, and so on. One of these dimensions concerns the notion of acceptability. Should we care about acceptability to each reasonable perspective, based on all of the reasons that perspective accepts, or should we care about acceptability to all, based on only those reasons that all reasonable perspectives accept? This choice has been referred to by the distinction between "consensus" and "convergence." Sometimes people agree about practical conclusions but for different reasons, in which case their reasoning can be said to converge from different moral or philosophical starting points. Other times, people agree about their moral or philosophical starting points, but reach different practical conclusions, based on different beliefs about the factual context, different rankings of shared concerns, or different judgments about how to apply these concerns to specific situations. (shrink)
Broadly speaking, the principle of public justifiability requires that the exercise of political power be justifiable to each and every person over whom that power is exercised. The idea of being justifiable to every person means being acceptable to any reasonable or otherwise qualified person , without such persons having to give up the comprehensive religious or philosophical doctrine they reasonably espouse. Public justifiability thus involves a partly idealized unanimity requirement, or as I will say, a criterion of multi-perspectival acceptability. (...) The demand for public justifiability can be specified in different ways, depending on what exactly has to be publicly justifiable, who is supposed to apply the principle, who counts as reasonable or otherwise qualified, and so on. One of these dimensions concerns the notion of acceptability. Should we care about acceptability to each reasonable perspective, based on all of the reasons that perspective accepts, or should we care about acceptability to all, based on only those reasons that all reasonable perspectives accept? This choice has been referred to by the distinction between "consensus" and "convergence." Sometimes people agree about practical conclusions but for different reasons, in which case their reasoning can be said to converge from different moral or philosophical starting points. Other times, people agree about their moral or philosophical starting points, but reach different practical conclusions, based on different beliefs about the factual context, different rankings of shared concerns, or different judgments about how to apply these concerns to specific situations. (shrink)
In this chapter I investigate epistemological consequences of the fact that seeming-based justification is elusive, in the sense that the subject can lose this justification simply by reflecting on her seemings. I argue that since seeming-based justification is elusive, the antisceptical bite of phenomenal conservatism is importantly limited. I also contend that since seeming-based justification has this feature, phenomenal conservatism isn’t actually afflicted by easy justification problems.
An infuential twenty-first century philosophical project posits a central role for knowledge: knowledge is more fundamental than epistemic states like belief and justification. So-called “knowledge first” theorists find support for this thought in identifying central theoretical roles for knowledge. I argue that a similar methodology supports a privileged role for more specific category of basic knowledge. Some of the roles that knowledge first theorists have posited for knowledge generally are better suited for basic knowledge.
In this paper, I aim to demonstrate the importance of liberal engagement in public debate, in the face of Nagel’s claim that respect for privacy requires liberals to withdraw from their ‘control of the culture’. The paper starts by outlining a pluralist conception of privacy. I then proceed to examine whether there really is liberal cultural control, as Nagel affirms it, and whether such control truly involves a violation of privacy. Moreover, I argue that Nagel’s desire to leave the social (...) and cultural space radically neutral is incompatible with Rawls’ conception of public reason and clashes with the need to justify liberal institutions. (shrink)
This paper defends a regularly paid basic income as being better equipped to tackle unfair inequalities of outcome. It is argued that the timing of "option-luck" failures – in particular, whether they occur early in a lifetime of calculated gambles, and whether they are clustered together – may lead to a form of "brute bad luck," referred to as "cumulative misfortune." A basic income that is paid on a regular basis provides a way to prevent the emergence of (...) cumulative misfortune, because the basic income at least partially replenishes the individual's ability to take the next calculated gamble. The upshot of this is a nonpaternalistic justification for an unconditional basic income that is paid regularly and is nonmortgageable. This has an important bearing on the debate between those who advocate a one-off endowment at the start of adult life and those who advocate a basic income paid regularly throughout one's life. The paper contends that a regular basic income represents a superior social policy because it prevents the emergence of cumulative misfortune, rather than belatedly attempting to compensate for its effects during our senior years. (shrink)
Antipoverty movements have generated many “little” or “near” basic income guarantee (BIG) proposals. Most theorists discussing BIG posit a full-fledged universal grant that entirely satisfies the core value guiding their theory. Debates are conducted about feasibility, desirability and rival values. This article looks into particular considerations that need to be made when debating a little BIG. If a “status” value, meaning “all or nothing,” is the core value under debate, then a grant falling short of securing this status will (...) need some other justification. If the core value is “scalar,” meaning there can be more or less of it, then a lower grant can be justified if it is an efficient way to add to that value. I offer two reasons that a little BIG can have merit: 1. Organizations will benefit because the grant provides a clear target for citizen action. 2. There are reasons to think that a BIG of whatever size will promote organizational capabilities more efficiently than money coming from an employer, family member or conditional public entitlement. (shrink)
We argue that informal logic is epistemological. Two central questions concern premise acceptability and connection adequacy. Both may be explicated in tenns of justification, a central epistemological concept. That some premises are basic parallels a foundationalist account of basic beliefs and epistemic support. Some epistemological accounts of these concepts may advance the analysis of premise acceptability and connection adequacy. Infonnallogic has implications for other aspects of philosophy. If causal interpretations are acceptable premises and thus justified, does the (...) world have a causal structure? If evaluative premises are acceptable, i.e., justified, is value an objective feature of the world? (shrink)
Introduction: the foundation of justice -- Practical reason and justifying reasons: on the foundation of morality -- Moral autonomy and the autonomy of morality : toward a theory of normativity after Kant -- Ethics and morality -- The justification of justice: Rawls's political liberalism and Habermas's discourse theory in dialogue -- Political liberty: integrating five conceptions of autonomy -- A critical theory of multicultural toleration -- The rule of reasons: three models of deliberative democracy -- Social justice, justification, (...) and power -- The basic right to justification: toward a constructivist conception of human rights -- Constructions of transnational justice: comparing John Rawls's the law of peoples and Otfried Höffe's democracy in an age of globalisation -- Justice, morality, and power in the global context -- Toward a critical theory of transnational justice. (shrink)
Theories of emotional justification investigate the conditions under which emotions are epistemically justified or unjustified. I make three contributions to this research program. First, I show that we can generalize some familiar epistemological concepts and distinctions to emotional experiences. Second, I use these concepts and distinctions to display the limits of the ‘simple view’ of emotional justification. On this approach, the justification of emotions stems only from the contents of the mental states they are based on, also (...) known as their cognitive bases. The simple view faces the ‘gap problem’: If cognitive bases and emotions (re)present their objects and properties in different ways, then cognitive bases are not sufficient to justify emotions. Third, I offer a novel solution to the gap problem based on emotional dispositions. This solution (1) draws a line between the justification of basic and non-basic emotions, (2) preserves a broadly cognitivist view of emotions, (3) avoids a form of value skepticism that threatens inferentialist views of emotional justification, and (4) sheds new light on the structure of our epistemic access to evaluative properties. (shrink)
Public reason accounts commonly claim that exercises of coercive political power must be justified by appeal to reasons accessible to all citizens. Such accounts are vulnerable to the objection that they cannot legitimate coercion to protect basic liberal rights against infringement by deeply illiberal people. This paper first elaborates the distinctive interpersonal conception of justification in public reason accounts in contrast to impersonal forms of justification. I then detail a core dissenter-based objection to public reason based on (...) a worrisome example advanced by Jonathan Quong. While we may be able to impersonally justify coercing the illiberal dissenter, public reason liberals must explain how we can interpersonally justify such coercion—meaning justify given the perspective of the dissenter. The two prominent strategies for dealing with dissenters involve idealization of reasoning and requiring liberal values; I show that these strategies do not succeed in a way compatible with the public reason project. That is, the prominent strategies leave public reason theorists with a dilemma between denying the legitimacy of using coercion to protect core freedoms against deeply illiberal people or abandoning the fundamental public reason project. I conclude by proposing a different answer to public reason liberalism’s fundamental question: what requires justification? On my account, it is not that coercion requires interpersonal justification for its permissibility, but that such justification is necessary as a constitutive element of a kind of moral community. (shrink)
In morally grounding a public justification requirement, public reason liberals frequently invoke the idea that persons should be construed as “free and equal.” But this tells us little with regard to what it is about us that makes us free or how a claim about our status as persons can ultimately ground a requirement of public justification. In light of this worry, I argue that a public justification requirement can be grounded in a Nozick-inspired argument from the (...) separateness of persons (one that is consistent with the idea that individuals are free and equal). As I claim, one particular feature of the fact of our separateness – the possession of a basic psychology consisting of beliefs, intentions, sentiments, and a variety of desire-like psychological states – does the most work in grounding both a principle of liberty (PL) and a requirement of public justification (RPJ). Together, PL and RPJ provide the basic framework for a theory of public reason liberalism. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Phenomenal Conservatism (PC) is not superior to alternative theories of basic propositional justification insofar as those theories that reject PC are self-defeating. I show that self-defeat arguments similar to Michael Huemer’s Self-Defeat Argument for PC can be constructed for other theories of basic propositional justification as well. If this is correct, then there is nothing special about PC in that respect. In other words, if self-defeat arguments can be advanced in (...) support of alternatives to PC, then Huemer’s Self-Defeat argument doesn’t uniquely motivate PC. (shrink)
This paper concerns the epistemology of difficult moral cases where the difficulty is not traceable to ignorance about non-moral matters. The paper first argues for a principle concerning the epistemic status of moral beliefs about difficult moral cases. The basic idea behind the principle is that one’s belief about the moral status of a potential action in a difficult moral case is not justified unless one has some appreciation of what the relevant moral considerations are and how they bear (...) on the moral status of the potential action. The paper then argues that this principle has important ramifications for moral epistemology and moral metaphysics. It puts pressure on some views of the justification of moral belief, such as ethical intuitionism and reliabilism. It puts pressure on some antirealist views of moral metaphysics, including simple versions of relativism. It also provides some direct positive support for broadly realist views of morality. (shrink)
In present-day political and moral philosophy the idea that all persons are in some way moral equals is an almost universal premise, with its defenders often claiming that philosophical positions that reject the principle of equal respect and concern do not deserve to be taken seriously. This has led to relatively few attempts to clarify, or indeed justify, 'basic equality' and the principle of equal respect and concern. Such clarification and justification, however, would be direly needed. After all, (...) the ideas, for instance, that Adolf Hitler and Nelson Mandela have equal moral worth, or that a rape victim owes equal respect and concern to both her rapist and to her own caring brother, seem to be utterly implausible. Thus, if someone insists on the truth of such ideas, he or she owes his or her audience an explanation. The authors in this volume - which breaks new ground by engaging egalitarians and anti-egalitarians in a genuine dialogue - attempt to shed light into the dark. They try to clarify the concepts of "basic equality", "equal moral worth","equal respect and concern", "dignity," etc; and they try to justify-or to refute-the resulting clarified doctrines. The volume thus demonstrates that the claim that all persons have equal moral worth, are owed equal concern and respect, or have the same rights is anything but obvious. This finding has not only significant philosophical but also political implications. (shrink)
Public justification-based accounts of liberal legitimacy rely on the idea that a polity’s basic structure should, in some sense, be acceptable to its citizens. In this paper I discuss the prospects of that approach through the lens of Gerald Gaus’ critique of John Rawls’ paradigmatic account of democratic public justification. I argue that Gaus does succeed in pointing out some significant problems for Rawls’ political liberalism; yet his alternative, justificatory liberalism, is not voluntaristic enough to satisfy the (...) desiderata of a genuinely democratic theory of public justification. So I contend that—pace Gaus, but also Rawls—rather than simply amending political liberalism, the claims of justificatory liberalism bring out fatal tensions between the desiderata of any theory of liberal-democratic legitimacy through public justification. (shrink)
According to the bootstrapping problem, any view that allows for basic knowledge (knowledge obtained from a reliable source prior to one’s knowing that that source is reliable) is forced to accept that one can utilize a track-record argument to acquire justification for believing that one’s belief source is reliable; yet, we tend to think that acquiring justification in this way is too easy. In this paper I argue, first, that those who respond to the bootstrapping problem by (...) denying basic knowledge succumb to over-intellectualizing epistemology, and secondly, reliabilist views avoid over-intellectualization only at the expense of sanctioning bootstrapping as a benign procedure. Both of these outcomes are difficult to bear. To ward off each of these unsavory outcomes, I propose an alternative solution that draws on a distinction between two separate epistemic concepts: entitlement and justification. (shrink)