Open-minded people should endorse dogmatism because of its explanatory power. Dogmatism holds that, in the absence of defeaters, a seeming that P necessarily provides non-inferential justification for P. I show that dogmatism provides an intuitive explanation of four issues concerning non-inferential justification. It is particularly impressive that dogmatism can explain these issues because prominent epistemologists have argued that it can’t address at least two of them. Prominent epistemologists also object that dogmatism is absurdly permissive because (...) it allows a seeming to provide justification even if the seeming was caused in some apparently inappropriate way. I conclude by disarming this objection. (shrink)
According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, when you have an experience with content p, you often have prima facie justification for believing p that doesn’t rest on your independent justification for believing any proposition. Although dogmatism has an intuitive appeal and seems to have an antisceptical bite, it has been targeted by various objections. This paper principally aims to answer the objections by Roger White according to which dogmatism is inconsistent with the Bayesian account of how evidence affects (...) our rational credences. If this were true, the rational acceptability of dogmatism would be seriously questionable. I respond that these objections don’t get off the ground because they assume that our experiences and our introspective beliefs that we have experiences have the same evidential force, whereas the dogmatist is uncommitted to this assumption. I also consider the question whether dogmatism has an antisceptical bite. I suggest that the answer turns on whether or not the Bayesian can determine the priors of hypotheses and conjectures on the grounds of their extra-empirical virtues. If the Bayesian can do so, the thesis that dogmatism has an antisceptical bite is probably false. (shrink)
"Dogmatism" is a term renovated by James Pryor  to stand for a certain kind of neo-Moorean response to Scepticism and an associated conception of the architecture of basic perceptual warrant. Pryor runs the response only for (some kinds of) perceptual knowledge but here I will be concerned with its general structure and potential as a possible global anti-sceptical strategy. Something like it is arguably also present in recent writings of Burge 1 and Peacocke.2 If the global strategy could (...) succeed, (...) it would pre-empt any role in the diagnosis and treatment of sceptical paradoxes for the kind of notion of entitlement (rational, non-evidential warrant) I have proposed elsewhere [Wright 2004]. But my overarching contention will be that Dogmatism is, generally and locally, too problematic a stance to be helpful in that project. (shrink)
According to the Dogmatism Puzzle, knowledge breeds dogmatism: if a subject knows a proposition h, then she is justified in disregarding any future evidence against h, for she knows that such evidence is misleading. The standard, widely accepted, solution to the puzzle appeals to the defeasibility of knowledge. I argue that the defeat solution leaves intact a residual dogmatist puzzle. Solving this puzzle requires proponents of defeat to deny a plausible principle that the original puzzle relies on called (...) Entitlement, a principle stating roughly that knowing that a piece of evidence is misleading entitles one to disregard it. The plausibility of Entitlement should cast doubt not only on the defeat solution, but on an assumption that has often been taken for granted: the falsity of the dogmatist conclusion of the original puzzle. I conclude that we face a dilemma between giving up Entitlement and living with dogmatism. (shrink)
ABSTRACTRational agents have consistent beliefs. Bayesianism is a theory of consistency for partial belief states. Rational agents also respond appropriately to experience. Dogmatism is a theory of how to respond appropriately to experience. Hence, Dogmatism and Bayesianism are theories of two very different aspects of rationality. It's surprising, then, that in recent years it has become common to claim that Dogmatism and Bayesianism are jointly inconsistent: how can two independently consistent theories with distinct subject matter be jointly (...) inconsistent? In this essay I argue that Bayesianism and Dogmatism are inconsistent only with the addition of a specific hypothesis about how the appropriate responses to perceptual experience are to be incorporated into the formal models of the Bayesian. That hypothesis isn't essential either to Bayesianism or to Dogmatism, and so Bayesianism and Dogmatism are jointly consistent. That leaves the matter of how experiences and credences are related, a... (shrink)
It may seem that when you have an emotional response to a perceived object or event that makes it seem to you that the perceived source of the emotion possesses some evaluative property, then you thereby have prima facie, immediate justification for believing that the object or event possesses the evaluative property. Call this view ‘dogmatism about emotional justification’. We defend a view of the structure of emotional awareness according to which the objects of emotional awareness are derived from (...) other experiences such as bodily sensation, inner awareness, sensory perception, memory, and imagination. On this basis, we argue that dogmatism about emotional justification is an untenable position, regardless of whether the special feature of an immediate justifier that makes it an immediate justifier is its presentational phenomenology or its evidence insensitivity. (shrink)
Wittgenstein on philosophical problems : from one fundamental problem to particular problems -- The Tractatus on philosophical problems -- Wittgenstein's later conception of philosophical problems -- Examples of philosophical problems as based on misunderstandings -- Tendencies and inclinations of thinking : philosophy as therapy -- Wittgenstein's notion of peace in philosophy : the contrast with the Tractatus -- Two conceptions of clarification -- The Tractatus's conception of philosophy as logical analysis -- Wittgenstein's later critique of the Tractatus's notion of logical (...) analysis -- Clarification in Wittgenstein's later philosophy -- From metaphysics and philosophical theses to grammar : Wittgenstein's turn -- Philosophical theses, metaphysical philosophy, and the Tractatus -- Metaphysics and conceptual investigation : the problem with metaphysics -- Conceptual investigation and the problem of dogmatism -- Wittgenstein's turn -- The turn and the role of rules -- Rules as objects of comparison -- Rules, metaphysical projection, and the logic of language -- Grammar, meaning, and language -- Grammar, use, and meaning : the problem of the status of Wittgenstein's remarks -- Wittgenstein's formulation of his conception of meaning -- The concept of language : comparisons with instruments and games -- Wittgenstein's development and the advantages of his mature view -- Examples as centers of variation and the conception of language as a family -- Avoiding dogmatism about meaning -- Wittgenstein's methodological shift and analyses in terms of necessary conditions -- The concepts of essence and necessity -- Constructivist readings and the arbitrariness/nonarbitrariness of grammar -- Problems with constructivism -- The methodological dimension of Wittgenstein's conception of essence -- The nontemporality of grammatical statements -- Explanations of necessity in terms of factual regularities -- Wittgenstein's account of essence and necessity -- Beyond theses about the source of necessity -- Philosophical hierarchies and the status of clarificatory statements -- Philosophical hierarchies and Wittgenstein's "leading principle" -- The concept of perspicuous presentation -- The (alleged) necessity of accepting philosophical statements -- The concept of agreement and the problem of injustice -- The criteria of the correctness of grammatical remarks -- Multidimensional descriptions and the new use of old dogmatic claims -- Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy, everyday language, and ethics -- Metaphysics disguised as methodology -- The historicity of philosophy -- Philosophy and the everyday. (shrink)
I aim at dissolving Kripke's dogmatism paradox by arguing that, with respect to any particular proposition p which is known by a subject A, it is not irrational for A to ignore all evidence against p. Along the way, I offer a definition of 'A is dogmatic with respect to p', and make a distinction between an objective and a subjective sense of 'should' in the statement 'A should ignore all the evidence against p'. For the most part, I (...) deal with Kripke's original version of the paradox, wherein the subject wishes, above all else, to avoid losing her true belief or gaining a false one; in the final section I investigate the possibility of having a paradox for a subject who values knowledge above anything else. (shrink)
Phenomenalist dogmatist experientialism (PDE) holds the following thesis: if $S$ has a perceptual experience that $p$ , then $S$ has immediate prima facie evidential justification for the belief that $p$ in virtue of the experience’s phenomenology. The benefits of PDE are that it (a) provides an undemanding view of perceptual justification that allows most of our ordinary perceptual beliefs to be justified, and (b) accommodates two important internalist intuitions, viz. the New Evil Demon Intuition and the Blindsight Intuition. However, in (...) the face of a specific version of the Sellarsian dilemma, PDE is ad hoc. PDE needs to explain what is so distinct about perceptual experience that enables it to fulfill its evidential role without being itself in need of justification. I argue that neither an experience’s presentational phenomenology, nor its phenomenal forcefulness can be used to answer this question, and that prospects look dim for any other phenomenalist account. The subjective distinctness of perceptual experience might instead just stem from a higher-order belief that the experience is a perceptual one, but this will only serve to strengthen the case for externalism: externalism is better suited to provide an account of how we attain justified higher-order beliefs and can use this account to accommodate the Blindsight Intuition. (shrink)
Barnett provides an interesting new challenge for Dogmatist accounts of perceptual justification. The challenge is that such accounts, by accepting that a perceptual experience can provide a distinctive kind of boost to one’s credences, would lead to a form of diachronic irrationality in cases where one has already learnt in advance that one will have such an experience. I show that this challenge rests on a misleading feature of using the 0–1 interval to express probabilities and show that if we (...) switch to using Odds or Log-Odds, the misleading appearance that there is only ‘a little room’ for one’s credences to increase evaporates. Moreover, there are familiar, independent reasons for taking the Log-Odds scale to provide a clearer picture of the confirmatory effect of evidence. Thus the Dogmatist can after all escape the charge of diachronic irrationality. (shrink)
According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, if you have an experience as if P, you acquire immediate prima facie justification for believing P. Pryor contends that dogmatism validates Moore’s infamous proof of a material world. Against Pryor, I argue that if dogmatism is true, Moore’s proof turns out to be non-transmissive of justification according to one of the senses of non-transmissivity defined by Crispin Wright. This type of non-transmissivity doesn’t deprive dogmatism of its apparent antisceptical bite.
Recently in epistemology a number of authors have mounted Bayesian objections to dogmatism. These objections depend on a Bayesian principle of evidential confirmation: Evidence E confirms hypothesis H just in case Pr(H|E) > Pr(H). I argue using Keynes' and Knight's distinction between risk and uncertainty that the Bayesian principle fails to accommodate the intuitive notion of having no reason to believe. Consider as an example an unfamiliar card game: at first, since you're unfamiliar with the game, you assign credences (...) based on the indifference principle. Later you learn how the game works and discover that the odds dictate you assign the very same credences. Examples like this show that if you initially have no reason to believe H, then intuitively E can give you reason to believe H even though Pr(H|E) ≤ Pr(H). I show that without the principle, the objections to dogmatism fail. (shrink)
According to the dogmatist, knowing p makes it rational to disregard future evidence against p. The standard response to the dogmatist holds that knowledge is defeasible: acquiring evidence against something you know undermines your knowledge. However, this response leaves a residual puzzle, according to which knowledge makes it rational to intend to disregard future counterevidence. I argue that we can resolve this residual puzzle by turning to an unlikely source: Kavka’s toxin puzzle. One lesson of the toxin puzzle is that (...) it is irrational to intend to do that which you know will be irrational. This yields a simple reply to the dogmatist: it is irrational to intend to disregard future evidence because you can know in advance that it will be irrational to do so. (shrink)
Does intellectual humility preclude the possibility of religious dogmatism and firm religious commitments? Does intellectual humility require religious beliefs to be held with diffidence? What is intellectual humility anyway? There are two things I aim to do in this short article. First, I want to briefly sketch an account of intellectual humility. Second, drawing from such an account, I want to explore whether intellectual humility could be compatible with virtuous religious dogmatism.
Saul Kripke argued that the requirement that knowledge eliminate all possibilities of error leads to dogmatism . According to this view, the dogmatism puzzle arises because of a requirement on knowledge that is too strong. The paper argues that dogmatism can be avoided even if we hold on to the strong requirement on knowledge. I show how the argument for dogmatism can be blocked and I argue that the only other approach to the puzzle in the (...) literature is mistaken. (shrink)
Harman and Lewis credit Kripke with having formulated a puzzle that seems to show that knowledge entails dogmatism. The puzzle is widely regarded as having been solved. In this paper we argue that this standard solution, in its various versions, addresses only a limited aspect of the puzzle and holds no promise of fully resolving it. Analyzing this failure and the proper rendering of the puzzle, it is suggested that it poses a significant challenge for the defense of epistemic (...) closure. (shrink)
Perceptual dogmatism is a prominent theory in epistemology concerning the relationship between perceptual experience and reasonable belief. It holds that, in the absence of counterevidence, it is reasonable to believe what your perceptual experience tells you. Thus, if you are not aware of your experience’s casual history, then it doesn’t matter. Critics object that the causal history does matter: when a perceptual experience is caused in certain ways, it is unreasonable to trust what it tells you. These objections regularly (...) appeal to cognitive penetration and biased searches for evidence. Given the myriad accounts of what covert attention is, one wonders (at least I wondered) if biased patterns of covert attention could raise a new objection to dogmatism. I argue that, while covert selection might raise various problems for dogmatism, none of them are new. This is good news for dogmatism, because the fewer distinct problems it faces, the more likely it can resolve them all. (shrink)
There is a sceptical puzzle according to which knowledge appears to license an unacceptable kind of dogmatism. Here is a version of the corresponding sceptical argument: (1) If a subject S knows a proposition p, then it is OK for S to ignore all evidence against p as misleading; (2) It is never OK for any subject to ignore any evidence against their beliefs as misleading; (3) Hence, nobody knows anything.I distinguish between different versions of the puzzle (mainly a (...) ‘permissibility’ version and a ‘closure’ version) and offer a solution for one version (the permissibility version) of the problem. No matter how much a subject knows, knowledge never gives one a license to ignore evidence against a proposition. Premise (1) of the argument is false and the puzzle can thus be resolved. (shrink)
Many epistemologists hold that an agent can come to justifiably believe that p is true by seeing that it appears that p is true, without having any antecedent reason to believe that visual impressions are generally reliable. Certain reliabilists think this, at least if the agent’s vision is generally reliable. And it is a central tenet of dogmatism (as described by Pryor (2000) and Pryor (2004)) that this is possible. Against these positions it has been argued (e.g. by Cohen (...) (2005) and White (2006)) that this violates some principles from probabilistic learning theory. To see the problem, let’s note what the dogmatist thinks we can learn by paying attention to how things appear. (The reliabilist says the same things, but we’ll focus on the dogmatist.) Suppose an agent receives an appearance that p, and comes to believe that p. Letting Ap be the proposition that it appears to the agent that p, and → be the material implication, we can say that the agent learns that p, and hence is in a position to infer Ap → p, once they receive the evidence Ap.1 This is surprising, because we can prove the following. (shrink)
ABSTRACTAccording to the Dogmatism Puzzle presented by Gilbert Harman, knowledge induces dogmatism because, if one knows that p, one knows that any evidence against p is misleading and therefore one can ignore it when gaining the evidence in the future. I try to offer a new solution to the puzzle by explaining why the principle is false that evidence known to be misleading can be ignored. I argue that knowing that some evidence is misleading doesn't always damage the (...) credential of the evidence, and therefore it doesn't always entitle one to ignore it. I also explain in what kind of cases and to what degree such knowledge allows one to ignore evidence. Hopefully, through the discussion, we can not only understand better where the dogmatism puzzle goes wrong, but also understand better in what sense rational believers should rely on their evidence and when they can ignore it. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend Moorean Dogmatism against a novel objection raised by Adam Leite. Leite locates the defectiveness of the Moorean reasoning explicitly not in the failure of the Moorean argument to transmit warrant from its premises to its conclusion but rather in the failure of an epistemic agent to satisfy certain epistemic responsibilities that arise in the course of conscious and deliberate reasoning. I will first show that there exist cases of Moorean reasoning that are not put (...) into jeopardy by the considerations that Leite presents. Second, I will argue that certain commitments of Leite’s concerning the notion of warrant are in tension with his verdict that the Moorean reasoning is defective. (shrink)
One common way of attacking dogmatism is to attack its alleged Mooreanism. The thought is that dogmatism includes (or perhaps entails) Mooreanism, but that Mooreanism is false and thus so is dogmatism. One way of responding to this charge is to defend Mooreanism. Another strategy is to articulate a version of dogmatism without Mooreanism. This paper is an attempt to articulate the latter view.
This chapter offers a fresh perspective on Fichte’s controversial critique of dogmatism in the “First and Second Introductions” to the Attempt at a New Presentation of the Science of Knowledge. It argues that the issue at stake in Fichte’s anti-dogmatism is the demand that reason be thoroughly determined from within itself and hence not be determined by anything outside it. It then addresses the charge of Fichte’s two-mindedness about the effectiveness of his refutation of dogmatism by arguing (...) that the absolute autonomy of reason deprives the idealist of any objective foothold upon which to refute the dogmatist outside of moral belief, it furnishes him with the subjective ground of rational justified by means of which the dogmatist can be refuted in his own terms. (shrink)
While Cavell is well known for his reinterpretation of the later Wittgenstein, he has never really engaged himself with post-Investigations writings like On Certainty. This collection may, however, seem to undermine the profoundly anti-dogmatic reading of Wittgenstein that Cavell has developed. In addition to apparently arguing against what Cavell calls ‘the truth of skepticism’ – a phrase contested by other Wittgensteinians – On Certainty may seem to justify the rejection of whoever dares to question one’s basic presuppositions. According to On (...) Certainty, or so it seems, the only right response to someone with different certainties is a reproach like ‘Fool!’ or ‘Heretic!’. This article aims to show that On Certainty need not be taken to prove Cavell wrong. It explains that Wittgenstein, in line with the first two parts of The Claim of Reason, does not reject scepticism out of hand but rather questions the sceptic’s self-understanding. Using arguments from Part Three of The Claim, the article moreover argues that a confrontation with divergence calls for self-examination rather than self-righteousness. Precisely because Wittgenstein acknowledges ‘the groundlessness of our believing’ or, in Cavellian terms, ‘the truth of skepticism’, he is not the authoritarian thinker that some have taken him to be. (shrink)
The author argues, that the exigencies of inter‐school rivalry, initially between the Academy and the Peripatos, but then between later Platonists and both Stoics and Aristotelians, demanded that Platonism become more formalized than it was left by Plato himself, and that it was primarily Xenocrates, in a vast array of treatises, both general and particular, who provided the bones of this organized corpus of doctrine. Not that the Platonists were ever subject to anything like a monolithic orthodoxy. Platonic doctrine was (...) not anything handed down centrally, from above; it was rather a self‐regulating system, in which everyone knew what it meant, broadly, to be a Platonist, and managed to stay within those parameters, while squabbling vigorously with each other, as well as with the other schools. (shrink)
I argue that its appearing to you that P does not provide justification for believing that P unless you have independent justification for the denial of skeptical alternatives – hypotheses incompatible with P but such that if they were true, it would still appear to you that P. Thus I challenge the popular view of ‘dogmatism,’ according to which for some contents P, you need only lack reason to suspect that skeptical alternatives are true, in order for an experience (...) as of P to justify belief that P. I pursue three lines of objection to dogmatism, having to do with probabilistic reasoning, considerations of future or hypothetically available justification, and epistemic circularity. I briefly sketch a fall-back position which avoids the problems raised. (shrink)
The primary aim of this book is to understand how seemings relate to justification and whether some version of dogmatism or phenomenal conservatism can be sustained. It also addresses a number of other issues, including the nature of seemings, cognitive penetration, Bayesianism, and the epistemology of morality and disagreement.
Consider the skeptic about the external world. Let’s straightaway concede to such a skeptic that perception gives us no conclusive or certain knowledge about our surroundings. Our perceptual justification for beliefs about our surroundings is always defeasible—there are always possible improvements in our epistemic state which would no longer support those beliefs. Let’s also concede to the skeptic that it’s metaphysically possible for us to have all the experiences we’re now having while all those experiences are false. Some philosophers dispute (...) this, but I do not. The skeptic I want to consider goes beyond these familiar points to the much more radical conclusion that our perceptual experiences can’t give us any knowledge or even justification for believing that our surroundings are one way rather than another. (shrink)
Given a few assumptions, the probability of a conjunction is raised, and the probability of its negation is lowered, by conditionalising upon one of the conjuncts. This simple result appears to bring Bayesian confirmation theory into tension with the prominent dogmatist view of perceptual justification – a tension often portrayed as a kind of ‘Bayesian objection’ to dogmatism. In a recent paper, David Jehle and Brian Weatherson observe that, while this crucial result holds within classical probability theory, it fails (...) within intuitionistic probability theory. They conclude that the dogmatist who is willing to take intuitionistic logic seriously can make a convincing reply to the Bayesian objection. In this paper, I argue that this conclusion is premature – the Bayesian objection can survive the transition from classical to intuitionistic probability, albeit in a slightly altered form. I shall conclude with some general thoughts about what the Bayesian objection to dogmatism does and doesn’t show. (shrink)
Perceptual Dogmatism holds that if it perceptually seems to S that p, then S has immediate prima facie justification for the belief that p. Various philosophers have made the notion of a perceptual seeming more precise by distinguishing perceptual seemings from both sensations and beliefs to accommodate a) the epistemic difference between perceptual judgments of novices and experts, and, b) the problem of the speckled hen. Using somewhat different terminology, perceptual seemings are supposed to be high-level percepts instead of (...) low-level sensations. I argue that although it is right that perceptual seemings should not be identified with sensations, they should also not be identified with percepts. There is no strong reason to assume that sensations and percepts exist as separate conscious states, and it appears therefore best to identify perceptual seemings simply with perceptual experiences interpreted as entities incorporating aspects from both sensations and percepts. However, even with this plausible identification in hand, the speckled hen will remain problematic for PD. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that Wittgenstein's conception of grammar and the role he allocated to grammar (in his sense of the term) in philosophy changed between the Big Typescript and the Philosophical Investigations. It is also held that some of the grammatical propositions Wittgenstein asserted prior to his writing of the Philosophical Investigations are theses, doctrines, opinions or dogmatism, which he abandoned by 1936/37. The purpose of this paper is to show these claims to be misunderstandings and misinterpretations. On (...) all important matters, his conception of grammar and of grammatical investigations, of grammatical statements or propositions and of grammatical clarification did not change between the Big Typescript and the Investigations. Grammatical propositions (e.g. the meaning of a word is its use; a sample in an ostensive definition belongs to the means of representation; belief is not a mental state) are no more theses, doctrines or opinions than is “a bachelor is an unmarried man.” Nor are they in any way dogmatic. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 29 Underdetermination arguments for skepticism maintain that our common sense view of the external world is no better, evidentially speaking, than some skeptical competitors. An important and well-known response by dogmatists, those who believe our commonsense view is justified, appeals to abduction or inference to the best explanation. The predominant version of this strategy, going back at least to Locke, invokes Occam’s razor: dogmatists claim the common sense view is simpler than any of its skeptical alternatives (...) and so has more to recommend it, evidentially speaking. This dispute has overshadowed another possible view: skeptical dogmatism. Skeptical dogmatists hold that we are justified in believing that the common sense view is probably false. I argue that skeptical dogmatism presents some interesting complications to the dialectic between the dogmatist and the skeptic. On the one hand, even if the dogmatist’s use of Occam’s razor is sufficient to rebut skepticism, in itself it is not sufficient to refute skeptical dogmatism. On the other hand, skeptics themselves, ironically, must, given the assumptions of the paper, appeal to something like Occam’s razor in order to avoid capitulating to skeptical dogmatism. (shrink)
What is the epistemological value of perceptual experience? In his recently influential paper, “The Skeptic and the Dogmatist”1, James Pryor develops a seemingly plausible answer to this question. Pryor’s answer comprises the following three theses: (F) “Our perceptual justification for beliefs about our surroundings is always defeasible – there are always possible improvements in our epistemic state which would no longer support those beliefs.” (517) (PK) “This justification that you get merely by having an experience as of p can sometimes (...) suffice to give you knowledge that p is the case.” (520) (D) “When it perceptually seems to you as if p is the case, you have a kind of justification for believing p that does not presuppose or rest on your justification for anything else, which could be cited in argument (even an ampliative argument) for p. To have this justification for believing p, you need only have an experience that represents p as being the case. No further awareness or reflection or background beliefs are required.” (519) Let’s use the phrase “fallibilist dogmatism” to refer to the conjunction of (F), (PK), and (D).2 Pryor does not argue for either (F) or (PK) in his paper; he simply shares the widespread and plausible assumption that (F) and (PK) are both true. But the conjunction of (F) and (PK) implies that we can have knowledge on the basis of defeasible justification. And this view leads to paradox. Consider the following individually plausible but jointly incompatible statements. (shrink)
This paper is a supplement to, and provides a proof of principle of, Kuhn vs. Popper on Criticism and Dogmatism in Science: A Resolution at the Group Level. It illustrates how calculations may be performed in order to determine how the balance between different functions in science—such as imaginative, critical, and dogmatic—should be struck, with respect to confirmation functions and rules of scientific method.
This paper is a supplement to, and provides a proof of principle of, Kuhn vs. Popper on Criticism and Dogmatism in Science: A Resolution at the Group Level. It illustrates how calculations may be performed in order to determine how the balance between different functions in science—such as imaginative, critical, and dogmatic—should be struck, with respect to confirmation (or corroboration) functions and rules of scientific method.
In “Wittgenstein on Grammar, Theses and Dogmatism,” Peter Hacker addresses what he takes to be misconceptions of Wittgenstein's philosophy with respect to the periodisation of his thought and to what should properly be counted as part of his work; his conception of grammar since the Big Typescript ; and his conception of philosophy as grammatical investigation. I argue that Hacker's restrictive conception of what ought to be considered part of Wittgenstein's philosophy and his conservative view of Wittgensteinian grammar are (...) unjustified and prevent him from appreciating the revolutionary importance of On Certainty for epistemology. Finally, while agreeing that Wittgenstein views philosophy as grammatical elucidation, I suggest some reasons for the resistance that this view has generated.In “Wittgenstein on Grammar, Theses and Dogmatism,” Peter Hacker deals with three of the “many misunderstandings, misrepresentations and misinterpretations of Wittgenstein's philosophy” ; the first of which concerns “the periodisation of Wittgenstein's thought”; the second, the supposition that what Wittgenstein called “grammar” in PI differed fundamentally from, and was more limited than, his conception of it when he was writing the Big Typescript; and the third, the claim that what Wittgenstein took to be grammatical statements are, in fact, dogmatisms, theories or doctrines inconsistent with his meta‐philosophical remarks in PI. I address each of these concerns seriatim. (shrink)
According to dogmatism, a perceptual experience with p as its content is always a source of justification for the belief that p. Thomas Reid has been an extant source of inspiration for this view. I argue, however, that, though there is a superficial consonance between Reid’s position and that of the dogmatists, their views are, more fundamentally, at variance with one another. While dogmatists take their position to express a necessary epistemic truth, discernible a priori, Reid holds that if (...) something like dogmatism is true, it is a mere contingent truth, discernible a posteriori. Owing to Reid’s epistemological naturalism, it might have been false that a perceptual experience is, by itself, a source of justification. On account of regarding something like dogmatism as only contingently true, then, Reid accepts the demand for a meta-justification of a sort that dogmatists squarely reject, and purports to meet it. Given that dogmatism essentially involves the rejection of the demand to meet this kind of meta-justification, it would seem that Reid should not be construed as endorsing dogmatism at all. I close by briefly considering how Reid’s view fits amongst dogmatism’s competitors. (shrink)
Defeaters can prevent a perceptual belief from being justified. For example, when you know that red light is shining at the table before you, you would typically not be justified in believing that the table is red. However, can defeaters also destroy a perceptual experience as a source of justification? If the answer is ‘no’, the red light defeater blocks doxastic justification without destroying propositional justification. You have some-things-considered, but not all-things-considered, justification for believing that the table is red. If (...) the answer is ‘yes’, the red light defeater blocks doxastic justification by destroying propositional justification. You have neither all-things-considered nor some-things-considered justification for believing that the table is red. According to dogmatism, the justificational force of perceptual experiences is indestructible. According to conservatism about sense experience, a perceptual experience ceases to have justificational force if there is evidence against its reliability. Finally, according to meta-evidentialism, a perceptual experience is blocked from being a source of justification is there is no evidence of its reliability. I argue that, of these three theories, meta-evidentialism is the most plausible. (shrink)
Taber and Lodge's 2006 paper provides powerful evidence that one's prior beliefs shape one's reception of new evidence in a manner that can best be described as ?inadvertently dogmatic.? This is especially true for people who are well informed, which dovetails with findings going back to Converse (1964) showing political beliefs to be ideologically constrained (rigid) among the relatively well informed. What may explain the coincidence of dogmatism and knowledgeability is the very process of learning about politics, which must (...) use theories, schemas, ideologies, or Lippmannesque ?stereotypes? to target certain political information as germane by putting it into an interpretive framework. This interpretive process is likely to create for each of us a growing database of information that is congruent with our extant convictions but that excludes incongruent information: in light of the data we have already processed, incongruent information seems increasingly implausible (if not incomprehensible), and is therefore rationally ignored or dismissed. But this does not necessarily mean, as Taber and Lodge follow Robert Abelson in suggesting, that people are ?motivated? to be dogmatic rather than being unintentionally closed minded as a result of the plausibility they involuntarily accord to their priors. Recognizing the inadvertent (unmotivated) nature of dogmatism is essential if political science is to take seriously political actors' beliefs?and to assess the gravity of the problem posed by dogmatism. (shrink)
A claimed benefit of epistemic externalism is that it alone can avoid skepticism. Most epistemic externalists, however, allow a residual amount of internalism in terms of a defeasibility condition. The paper argues that this internal condition is sufficient for skeptics to cast doubt on many claims to justified belief about perceptual matters about the world. Furthermore, the internal defeasibility condition also opens the door to a darker form of skepticism; skeptical dogmatism, which maintains that many of our perceptually based (...) beliefs are probably false. Thus, the claimed benefits of externalism in avoiding skepticism are greatly exaggerated. (shrink)
Transcendental arguments have been described as undogmatic or non-dogmatic arguments. This paper examines this contention critically and addresses the question of what is required from an argument for which the characterization is valid. I shall argue that although transcendental arguments do in certain respects meet what one should require from non-dogmatic arguments, they - or more specifically, what I shall call 'general transcendental arguments' - involve an assumption about conceptual unity that constitutes a reason for not attributing to them the (...) status of non-dogmatic arguments. As a solution to this problem I distinguish general transcendental arguments from what I shall call 'specific transcendental arguments' and seek to explain how by limiting the use of transcendental arguments to the latter type it would be possible to avoid dogmatism. This methodological adjustment also opens up a possibility of re-interpreting transcendental arguments from the past in a novel non-dogmatic fashion. (shrink)
“Moorean Dogmatist” responses to external world skepticism endorse courses of reasoning that many people find objectionable. This paper seeks to locate this dissatisfaction in considerations about epistemic responsibility. I sketch a theory of immediate warrant and show how it can be combined with plausible “inferential internalist” demands arising from considerations of epistemic responsibility. The resulting view endorses immediate perceptual warrant but forbids the sort of reasoning that “Moorean Dogmatism” would allow. A surprising result is that Dogmatism’s commitment to (...) immediate epistemic warrant isn’t enough to avoid certain standard arguments for skepticism about the external world. (shrink)