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)
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)
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)
"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 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.
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)
Suppose that you and I disagree about some non-straightforward matter of fact (say, about whether capital punishment tends to have a deterrent effect on crime). Psychologists have demonstrated the following striking phenomenon: if you and I are subsequently exposed to a mixed body of evidence that bears on the question, doing so tends to increase the extent of our initial disagreement. That is, in response to exactly the same evidence, each of us grows increasingly confident of his or her original (...) view; we thus become increasingly polarized as our common evidence increases. I consider several alternative models of how people reason about newly-acquired evidence which seems to disconfirm their prior beliefs. I then explore the normative implications of these models for the phenomenon in question. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
In this article, I want to argue that scepticism for Kant must be seen in ancient and not just modern terms, and that if we take this into account we will need to take a different view of Kant's response to Hume from the one that is standardly presented in the literature. This standard view has been put forward recently by Paul Guyer, and it is therefore his view that I want to look at in some detail, and to try (...) to correct. (shrink)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Mainstream interpretations of the Phaedo take the dialogue to have a metaphysical theory at its core, primarily disagreeing on whether this theory is assumed without argument in the dialogue, or whether an attempt is made to justify it. This disagreement particularly bears on the interpretation of the ‘equals argument’ at 74a–c. The present discussion brings out a commitment shared by these different interpretations: they adopt a ‘top-down’ method, according to which the Phaedo must be understood in terms of premises and (...) arguments thought to be set out systematically in a wider group of Plato’s works. A rival ‘groundup’ approach is presented here, one which remains neutral on such questions, and instead makes use of material in the Phaedo itself to provide a philosophically interesting and plausible alternative. This interpretation develops a distinction between dramatic and philosophical levels of argument, and argues for a close connection between the discussion of equality and the ‘final argument’ at 100b–107b; it concludes that in the Phaedo Plato is primarily concerned with questions about explanation, rather than with presenting a metaphysical theory, and that the charges of dogmatism and obscurity occasioned by current interpretations are the result of distorted expectations about Plato’s aims. (shrink)
On Certainty remains one the mostprovocative and challenging parts ofWittgenstein's intellectual legacy.Philosophers generally read this text as anassault on the traditional sceptic/anti-scepticdebate. But some commentators identifypolitical – specifically `conservative' –sentiments at work here. Others embraceWittgenstein's (alleged) `pluralism', whilethose less enthused think the latter collapsesinto relativism. Although this mixed receptionis, I will argue, partly due to Wittgenstein'sown troubled engagement with the central themesof On Certainty, the real difficultyand value of this text lies in itsintertwining questions of epistemology,religious belief and ethical-politicaljudgement.
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)
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.
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)
_ 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)
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)
Following Wittgenstein’s lead, Crispin Wright and others have argued that hinge propositions are immune from skeptical doubt. In particular, the entitlement strategy, as we shall refer to it, says that hinge propositions have a special type of justification because of their role in our cognitive lives. Two major criticisms are raised here against the entitlement strategy when used in attempts to justify belief in the external world. First, the hinge strategy is not sufficient to thwart underdetermination skepticism, since underdetermination considerations (...) lead to a much stronger form of skepticism than is commonly realized. Second, the claim that hinge propositions are necessary to trust perception is false. There is an alternative to endorsing a particular hinge proposition about the external world, external world disjunctivism, which permits us to trust perception, while skirting the difficulties raised by skepticism. (shrink)
Dogmatism is the view that it is often legitimate to flatly dismiss counterarguments to a belief: your belief can count as knowledge even if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with the counterargument. Hume defended a version of dogmatism restricted to testimony in favor of miracles. Moore defended a dogmatism restricted to arguments for skepticism. In this paper it is argued that Hume’s and Moore’s dogmatisms should be generalized to all controversial matters. Dogmatism about controversial matters (...) is true if you can have knowledge about controversial matters. That’s because, when it comes to a belief about a controversial matter, there could easily be an apparently sound argument that the belief is false. But, often, if your knowledge can withstand this fact (which it can, the literature on disagreement notwithstanding), then it can withstand your discovering the apparently sound argument and finding it apparently sound. (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)
The objective is to show the peculiar way in which Cicero’s philosophical thinking is original and distances itself from the main representatives of the New Academy: the Roman thinker does not practice epoche, nor does he assign any special role to it in his thought. Instead, Cicero introduces the concept of doubt to characterize his own way of thinking.
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.