We propose a Bayesian framework for the attribution of knowledge, and apply this framework to generate novel predictions about knowledgeattribution for different types of “Gettier cases”, in which an agent is led to a justified true belief yet has made erroneous assumptions. We tested these predictions using a paradigm based on semantic integration. We coded the frequencies with which participants falsely recalled the word “thought” as “knew” (or a near synonym), yielding an implicit measure of (...) conceptual activation. Our experiments confirmed the predictions of our Bayesian account of knowledgeattribution across three experiments. We found that Gettier cases due to counterfeit objects were not treated as knowledge (Experiment 1), but those due to intentionally-replaced evidence were (Experiment 2). Our findings are not well explained by an alternative account focused only on luck, because accidentally-replaced evidence activated the knowledge concept more strongly than did similar false belief cases (Experiment 3). We observed a consistent pattern of results across a number of different vignettes that varied the quality and type of evidence available to agents, the relative stakes involved, and surface details of content. Accordingly, the present findings establish basic phenomena surrounding people’s knowledge attributions in Gettier cases, and provide explanations of these phenomena within a Bayesian framework. (shrink)
According to the usual way of understanding how true knowledgeattribution works, it is not right to attribute knowledge of p to S unless p is true and S is justified in believing p. This assumption seems to hold even if we shun away from the idea that we can give an analysis of knowledge in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. I want to raise some suspicions on the correctness of this traditional picture. I suggest (...) that justification is not always perceived as a necessary condition for true knowledgeattribution, according to our pre-theoretical usage of standard epistemic terms. This is not to say that justification is never seen as an important requirement; sometimes it certainly is. Still, the full-fledged, traditional position on epistemic justification needs to be seriously qualified. Ultimately, I will contend that this result lends support to a rival epistemological standpoint — what we might dub a Moderate Peircean stance on epistemic matters. (shrink)
That organisms have a concept “see” does not necessarily entail that they attribute knowledge to others or predict others' behaviors on the basis of inferred mental states. An alternative experimental protocol is proposed in which accurate prediction of the location of an experimenters' impending appearance is contingent upon subjects' attribution of knowledge to the experimenter.
My purposes in this dissertation are to defend Chisholm's direct attribution theory as a theory of reference and intentionality and to propose a revised version of that theory with respect to the problems of perception and epistemic justification in perceptual knowledge. The direct attribution theory of reference has a remarkable merit that it can solve some theoretical difficulties with other theories of reference and explain comprehensively our intentional acts. Although I accept Chisholm's viewpoint on reference and intentionality, (...) however, I disagree in part with his analysis of perception which is based on adverbialism and with his internalistic version of epistemic justification theory. In the case of the analysis of perception, first of all, adverbialism plays no substantial role in explaining our perceptual mechanism and only makes us implicated in the polemics related with the awkward usage of adverbialistic locutions. Moreover there is no room in Chisholm's theory of perception for generalizing various experimental data of cognitive psychology. In the case of epistemic justification, his internalistic theory incurs some troubles in explaining our epistemic acts. Thus my major concern is with how to elaborate his epistemological theory to overcome such difficulties. (shrink)
We consider a range of cases—both hypothetical and actual—in which agents apparently know how to \ but fail to believe that the way in which they in fact \ is a way for them to \. These “no-belief” cases present a prima facie problem for Intellectualism about knowledge-how. The problem is this: if knowledge-that entails belief, and if knowing how to \ just is knowing that some w is a way for one to \, then an agent cannot (...) both know how to \ and fail to believe that w, the way that she \s, is a way for her to \. We discuss a variety of ways in which Intellectualists might respond to this challenge and argue that, ultimately, this debate converges with another, seemingly distinct debate in contemporary epistemology: how to attribute belief in cases of conflict between an agent’s avowals and her behavior. No-belief cases, we argue, reveal how Intellectualism depends on the plausibility of positing something like “implicit beliefs”—which conflict with an agent’s avowed beliefs—in many cases of apparent knowledge-how. While there may be good reason to posit implicit beliefs elsewhere, we suggest that there are at least some grounds for thinking that these reasons fail to carry over to no-belief cases, thus applying new pressure to Intellectualism. (shrink)
In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as being in pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental state attribution includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines the reasons why developmental, comparative and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers--with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson-- have not. The disagreement is traced (...) back to a difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally have disagreed about which of the pair is prior and which is derivative. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution. (shrink)
Nearly all success is due to some mix of ability and luck. But some successes we attribute to the agent’s ability, whereas others we attribute to luck. To better understand the criteria distinguishing credit from luck, we conducted a series of four studies on knowledge attributions. Knowledge is an achievement that involves reaching the truth. But many factors affecting the truth are beyond our control and reaching the truth is often partly due to luck. Which sorts of luck (...) are compatible with knowledge? We find that knowledge attributions are highly sensitive to lucky events that change the explanation for why a belief is true. By contrast, knowledge attributions are surprisingly insensitive to lucky events that threaten but ultimately fail to change the explanation for why a belief is true. These results shed light on our concept of knowledge, help explain apparent inconsistencies in prior work on knowledge attributions, and constitute progress toward a general understanding of the relation between success and luck. (shrink)
Intuitively, there is a difference between knowledge and mere belief. Contemporary philosophical work on the nature of this difference has focused on scenarios known as “Gettier cases.” Designed as counterexamples to the classical theory that knowledge is justified true belief, these cases feature agents who arrive at true beliefs in ways which seem reasonable or justified, while nevertheless seeming to lack knowledge. Prior empirical investigation of these cases has raised questions about whether lay people generally share philosophers’ (...) intuitions about these cases, or whether lay intuitions vary depending on individual factors (e.g. ethnicity) or factors related to specific types of Gettier cases (e.g. cases that include apparent evidence). We report an experiment on lay attributions of knowledge and justification for a wide range of Gettier Cases and for a related class of controversial cases known as Skeptical Pressure cases, which are also thought by philosophers to elicit intuitive denials of knowledge. Although participants rated true beliefs in Gettier and Skeptical Pressure cases as being justified, they were significantly less likely to attribute knowledge for these cases than for matched true belief cases. This pattern of response was consistent across different variations of Gettier cases and did not vary by ethnicity or gender, although attributions of justification were found to be positively related to measures of empathy. These findings therefore suggest that across demographic groups, laypeople share similar epistemic concepts with philosophers, recognizing a difference between knowledge and justified true belief. (shrink)
Any knowledge-fallibilist needs to solve the conceptual problem posed by concessive knowledge-attributions (such as ‘I know that p, but possibly not-p’). These seem to challenge the coherence of knowledge-fallibilism. This paper defuses that challenge via a gradualist refinement of what Fantl and McGrath (2009) call weak epistemic fallibilism.
Factive mental states, such as knowing or being aware, can only link an agent to the truth; by contrast, non-factive states, such as believing or thinking, can link an agent to either truths or falsehoods. Researchers on mental state attribution often draw a sharp line between the capacity to attribute accurate states of mind, and the capacity to attribute inaccurate or ‘reality-incongruent’ states of mind, such as false belief. This article argues that the contrast that really matters for mental (...) state attribution does not divide accurate from inaccurate states, but factive from non-factive ones. (shrink)
According to David Lewis, the predicate ‘knows’ is context-sensitive in the sense that its truth conditions vary across conversational contexts, which stretch or compress the domain of error possibilities to be eliminated by the subject’s evidence. Our concern in this paper is to thematize, assess, and overcome within a neo-Lewisian contextualist project two important mismatches between our use of ‘know’ in ordinary life and the use of ‘know’ by ‘Lewisian’ ordinary speakers. The first mismatch is that Lewisian contextualism still overgenerates (...) the error possibilities which cannot be ignored in a given context, since it is oblivious to the distinction between ‘invented’ and ‘discovered’ possibilities. The second mismatch is a full-scale one: an adequate account of knowledgeattribution is not exhausted by the subject’s negative capacity of pruning branches off the tree of counterpossibilities. We therefore introduce a new vector of value, which explains how ‘know’ comes in degrees: the satisfaction of ‘know better’ is made to depend on the capacity of imagining possibilities connected in a relevant way with the subject’s beliefs. (shrink)
Roderick Chisholm argues that in giving an account of knowledge, we must either begin with an account of what knowledge is, and proceed on that basis to identify the particular things that we know, or else start with instances of knowledge, and proceed on that basis to formulate a definition of knowledge. Either approach begs the question against the other. This is the epistemic wheel. This article responds to Chisholm's challenge. It begins with cases of (...) class='Hi'>knowledgeattribution and builds its account from there, identifying those features that we take to be present in the cases where we have attributed knowledge and those features that seem important when we want to withhold an attribution of knowledge. The proposal does not beg the question against either particularists or methodists; it takes the best features of each view, without beginning with either, and thereby removes us from the wheel. (shrink)
The basic idea of conversational contextualism is that knowledge attributions are context sensitive in that a given knowledgeattribution may be true if made in one context but false if made in another, owing to differences in the attributors’ conversational contexts. Moreover, the context sensitivity involved is traced back to the context sensitivity of the word “know,” which, in turn, is commonly modelled on the case either of genuine indexicals such as “I” or “here” or of comparative (...) adjectives such as “tall” or “rich.” But contextualism faces various problems. I argue that in order to solve these problems we need to look for another account of the context sensitivity involved in knowledge attributions and I sketch an alternative proposal. (shrink)
The latest newcomer on the epistemology scene is Subject-Sensitive Invariantism (SSI), which is the view that even though the semantics of the verb “know” is invariant, the answer to the question of whether someone knows something is sensitive to factors about that person. Factors about the context of the purported knower are relevant to whether he knows some proposition p or not. In this paper I present Jason Stanley's version of SSI, a theory Stanley calls Interest-Relative Invariantism (IRI). The core (...) epistemological claim of IRI is that knowledge is conceptually connected to practical interests. Stanley's defence of IRI is closely connected to practical reasoning, but unfortunately, I argue, IRI leads to bad practical reasoning. I furthermore show that Stanley's IRI cannot accommodate all of Stanley's five test cases for knowledgeattribution, test cases that are supposed to (more or less) make or break theories of knowledgeattribution. IRI also has some quite counterintuitive results and derives much of its appeal from one-sidedness of Stanley's examples. The net effect, I claim, is that IRI should be resisted. (shrink)
In this chapter, the author offers another explanation of the variation in contents, which is explained by contextualism as being related to a variation in standards. The author’s explanation posits that the contents of knowledge attributions are invariant. The variation lies in what knowledge attributions we are willing to make or accept. Although not easy to acknowledge, what contextualism counts as knowledge varies with the context in which it is attributed. A new rival to contextualism, known as (...) Subject-Sensitive Invariantism, goes so far as to suggest that practical importance to the subject can affect the truth-value of a knowledgeattribution. John MacFarlane puts forth another view in which the truth-value of a knowledgeattribution is not absolute but relative. These two views raise interesting questions in their own right, but it is only contextualism which implies that the content of a knowledgeattribution can vary with facts about the context in which it is made. (shrink)
Aristotle's emphasis on sameness of character in his description of the virtuous friend as "another self" figures centrally in all his arguments for the necessity of friendship to self-knowledge. Although the attribution of the Magna Moralia to Aristotle is disputed, the comparison of the friend to a mirror in this work has encouraged many commentators to view the friend as a mirror that provides the clearest and most immediate image of one's own virtue. I will offer my own (...) reading of Aristotle's theory of friendship, suggesting that the friend constitutes "another self" not as a mirror image but rather as a partner in moral perception. (shrink)
You can come to know that you believe that p partly by reflecting on whether p and then judging that p. Call this procedure “the transparency method for belief.” How exactly does the transparency method generate known self-attributions of belief? To answer that question, we cannot interpret the transparency method as involving a transition between the contents p and I believe that p. It is hard to see how some such transition could be warranted. Instead, in this context, one mental (...) action is both a judgment that p and a self-attribution of a belief that p. The notion of embedded mental action is introduced here to explain how this can be so and to provide a full epistemic explanation of the transparency method. That explanation makes sense of first-person authority and immediacy in transparent self-knowledge. In generalized form, it gives sufficient conditions on an attitude’s being known transparently. (shrink)
Recent theories of epistemic contextualism have challenged traditional invariantist positions in epistemology by claiming that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions fluctuate between conversational contexts. Contextualists often garner support for this view by appealing to folk intuitions regarding ordinary knowledge practices. Proposed is an experiment designed to test the descriptive conditions upon which these types of contextualist defenses rely. In the cases tested, the folk pattern of knowledgeattribution runs contrary to what contextualism predicts. While preliminary, (...) these data inspire prima facie skepticism for the contextualist hypothesis regarding folk knowledge claims, as well as challenge certain predictions made by recent theories of subject-sensitive invariantism. It is further argued that such results raise methodological questions concerning the practice of relying on an assumption of intuitions, with respect to ordinary language practices, as evidence for philosophical conclusions regarding knowledge. (shrink)
The ascription of intentional states to the self involves knowledge, or at least claims to knowledge. Armed with the working definition of knowledge as 'the ability to do things, or refrain from doing things, or believe, or want, or doubt things, for reasons that are facts' [Hyman, J. Philos. Quart. 49:432—451], I sketch a simple competence model of acting and believing from knowledge and when knowledge is defeated by un-experienced changes of state. The model takes (...) the form of three concentric circles. The 'periphery' is analogous to Fodor's [(1983), The modularity of mind. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA] input systems. The 'core' contains copies of peripheral representations, and between these representations there is executive competition. At the 'nucleus', operations are performed on the core representations of, at least, negation and recursion. I argue that this provides a fruitful way in which to conceptualise why theory-of-mind tasks challenge pre-school children, how some degree of first-person authority is mental state attribution is possible, and how executive inhibition is achieved. (shrink)
One recent trend in contemporary epistemology is to study the way in which the concept of knowledge is actually applied in everyday settings. This approach has inspired an exciting new spirit of collaboration between experimental philosophers and traditional epistemologists, who have begun using the techniques of the social sciences to investigate the factors that influence ordinary judgments about knowledgeattribution. This paper provides an overview of some of the results these researchers have uncovered, suggesting that in addition (...) to traditionally considered factors like evidence and justification, a number of important non-truth-conducive factors play significant roles in determining when people ascribe knowledge. The present review focuses on four non-traditional factors: pragmatic load (in relation to contextualism and interest-relative invariantism), moral judgment, performance errors, and demographic variation. (shrink)
Attributor contextualism and subject-sensitive invariantism both suggest ways in which our concept of knowledge depends on a context. Both offer approaches that incorporate traditionally non-epistemic elements into our standards for knowledge. But neither can account for the fact that the social role of a subject affects the standards that the subject must meet in order to warrant a knowledgeattribution. I illustrate the dependence of the standards for knowledge on the social roles of the knower (...) with three types of examplesand show why neither attributor contextualism nor subject-sensitive invariantism can explain them. I then suggest that subject-sensitive invariantism should be supplemented with insights from virtue epistemology so that it can explain the dependence of the standards of knowledge on social roles. This supplementation of subject-sensitive invariantism helps to solve a persistent problem facing that theory: the case of knowledge attributions made by those in high-stakes contexts about subjects in low-stakes contexts. (shrink)
Strict moderate invariantism is the ho-hum, ‘obvious’ view about knowledge attributions. It says knowledge attributions are often true and that only traditional epistemic factors like belief, truth, and justification make them true. As commonsensical as strict moderate invariantism is, it is equally natural to withdraw a knowledgeattribution when error possibilities are made salient. If strict moderate invariantism is true, these knowledge-denials are often false because the subject does in fact know the proposition. I argue (...) that strict moderate invariantism needs an explanation of this phenomenon, but it does not have one. That is significant, for if strict moderate invariantism does not square with ordinary intuition, then it cannot rely on ordinary intuition for support. Section 1 introduces the concept of epistemic relevance blindness, which says ordinary subjects are generally insensitive to whether or not error possibilities are relevant to knowledge attributions. Section 2 focuses on Patrick Rysiew’s influential strict moderate invariantist pragmatic explanation of knowledge-denials and argues that such pragmatic explanations of knowledge-denials depend on attributors being epistemic relevance blind. Section 3 targets psychological explanations of epistemic relevance blindness offered separately by Jennifer Nagel and Mikkel Gerken. I argue that strict moderate invariantists lack a plausible explanation of epistemic relevance blindness. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's Über Gewißheit shows his de facto commitment to the Three Condition Theory, according to which a knowledge-attribution implies belief, justification and truth, i.e., one can't be said to know that p unless (a) he believes that p; (b) he is in a position to justify p; and (c) 'p' is true. However, when it comes to tackling the puzzling infinite regress of justifications Wittgenstein's argument becomes entangled in an epistemological circle. It seems to oscillate between an unwelcome (...) absolutism and a self-refuting relativism as far as epistemological matters are concerned. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's Über Gewißheit shows his de facto commitment to the Three Condition Theory, according to which a knowledge-attribution implies belief, justification and truth, i.e., one can't be said to know that p unless he believes that p; he is in a position to justify p; and 'p' is true. However, when it comes to tackling the puzzling infinite regress of justifications Wittgenstein's argument becomes entangled in an epistemological circle. It seems to oscillate between an unwelcome absolutism and a (...) self-refuting relativism as far as epistemological matters are concerned. (shrink)
Why do our intuitive knowledge ascriptions shift when a subject's practical interests are mentioned? Many efforts to answer this question have focused on empirical linguistic evidence for context sensitivity in knowledge claims, but the empirical psychology of belief formation and attribution also merits attention. The present paper examines a major psychological factor (called ?need-for-closure?) relevant to ascriptions involving practical interests. Need-for-closure plays an important role in determining whether one has a settled belief; it also influences the accuracy (...) of one's cognition. Given these effects, it is a mistake to assume that high- and low-stakes subjects provided with the same initial evidence are perceived to enjoy belief formation that is the same as far as truth-conducive factors are concerned. This mistaken assumption has underpinned contextualist and interest-relative invariantist treatments of cases in which contrasting knowledge ascriptions are elicited by descriptions of subjects with the same initial information and different stakes. The paper argues that intellectualist invariantism can easily accommodate such cases. (shrink)
According to proponents of the sensorimotor contingency theory of perception (Hurley & Noë 2003, Noë 2004, O’Regan 2011), active control of camera movement is necessary for the emergence of distal attribution in tactile-visual sensory substitution (TVSS) because it enables the subject to acquire knowledge of the way stimulation in the substituting modality varies as a function of self-initiated, bodily action. This chapter, by contrast, approaches distal attribution as a solution to a causal inference problem faced by the (...) subject’s perceptual systems. Given all of the available endogenous and exogenous evidence available to those systems, what is the most probable source of stimulation in the substituting modality? From this perspective, active control over the camera’s movements matters for rather different reasons. Most importantly, it generates proprioceptive and efference-copy based information about the camera’s body-relative position necessary to make use of the spatial cues present in the stimulation that the subject receives for purposes of egocentric object localization. (shrink)
The Paris Climate Agreement is an important step for international climate policy, but the compensation for negative effects of climate change based on clear assignment of responsibilities remains highly debated. From both a policy and a science perspective, it is unclear how responsibilities should be defined and on what evidence base. We explore different normative principles of justice relevant to climate change impacts, and ask how different forms of causal evidence of impacts drawn from detection and attribution research could (...) inform policy approaches in accordance with justice considerations. We reveal a procedural injustice based on the imbalance of observations and knowledge of impacts between developed and developing countries. This type of injustice needs to be considered in policy negotiations and decisions, and efforts strengthened to reduce it. (shrink)
Results from research in social psychology, such as findings about the fundamental attribution error and other situational influences on behaviour, are often used to justify attacking the existence of character traits. From this perspective, character development is an illusion, an impossibility, or both. We offer a different interpretation of how these issues interact with character development concerns. Rather than undermining the very idea of character traits, social psychology actually sheds light on the manner in which character development can occur. (...) It reaffirms Spinozistic and Aristotelian points about character, namely that: (1) knowledge of the fundamental attribution error can help us minimize the influence environment and situation have on our behaviour, and (2) proper habituation only takes place in appropriately structured environments. Acknowledging these important results from social psychology helps us improve some of our character education practices rather than destroying their basis. (shrink)
“Epistemic Dexterity: A Ramseyian Account of Epistemic Virtue” by Abrol Fairweather & Carlos Montemayor: A modification of F.P. Ramsey’s success semantics supports a naturalized theory of epistemic virtue that includes motivational components and can potentially explain both epistemic reliability and responsibility with a single normative-explanatory principle. An “epistemic Ramsey success” will also provide a better account of the “because of” condition central to virtue-reliabilist accounts of knowledge from Greco, Sosa and Pritchard. Ramsey said that the truth condition of a (...) belief is the condition that guarantees the success of desires based on that belief. Taken as a theory of epistemic achievements, the truth condition for the attribution of an epistemic achievement is the condition that guarantees the success of epistemic desires and is also a success based on abilities attributable to the agent. One of its major advantages is that it may be the best way to achieve a naturalistic version of the etiologcal requirement on knowledge in virtue epistemology while also supporting important responsibilist desiderata. The account defended is robustly agent-centered in the straightforward sense that individual desires are partly constitutive of epistemic successes like having a rational belief, justified belief, and even of knowledge once we see the both the reliabilist and repsonsibilist desiderata are met. Another important aspect of the paper is that it provides a plausible psychology for virtue epistemology that is grounded in important empirical findings on agency, and thus constitutes a form of naturalized virtue epistemology. (shrink)
We argue that the common attribution to Zhuangzi of both perspectivalism or relativism on the one hand, and scepticism on the other is fundamentally mistaken. While granting that it is reasonable to construe Zhuangzi as offering a perspectiva! position on judgement, we argue that Zhuangzi's perspectivalism does not commit him to a relativist position on truth or to scepticism about human knowledge. Rather, we maintain that Zhuangzi's attacks on the concepts of truth and knowledge are better seen (...) as his articulation of a species of epistemological nihilism which rejects, as ultimately meaningless, the concepts of truth, reality, and knowledge. (shrink)
This research examined how and why group membership diminishes the attribution of mind to individuals. We found that mind attribution was inversely related to the size of the group to which an individual belonged . Mind attribution was affected by group membership rather than the total number of entities perceived at once . Moreover, mind attribution to an individual varied with the perception that the individual was a group member. Participants attributed more mind to an individual (...) that appeared distinct or distant from other group members than to an individual that was perceived to be similar or proximal to a cohesive group . This effect occurred for both human and nonhuman targets, and was driven by the perception of the target as an entitative group member rather than by the knowledge that the target was an entitative group member. (shrink)
In Dienes & Perner's analysis, implicitly represented knowledge differs from explicitly represented knowledge only in the attribution of properties to specific events and to self-awareness of the knower. This commentary questions whether implicit knowledge should be thought of as being represented in the same conceptual vocabulary; rather, it may involve a quite different form of representation.
We propose a naturalistic version of the “guesser–knower” paradigm in which the experimental subject has an opportunity to choose which individual to follow to a hidden food source. This design allows nonhumans to display the attribution of knowledge to another conspecific, rather than a human, in a naturalistic context (finding food), and it is readily adapted to different species.
Psychological Metaphysics is an exploration of the most basic and important assumptions in the psychological construction of reality, with the aim of showing what they are, how they originate, and what they are there for. Peter White proposes that people basically understand causation in terms of stable, special powers of things operating to produce effects under suitable conditions. This underpins an analysis of people's understanding of causal processes in the physical world, and of human action. In making a radical break (...) with the Heiderian tradition, Psychological Metaphysics suggests that causal attribution is in the service of the person's practical concerns and any interest in accuracy or understanding is subservient to this. Indeed, a notion of regularity in the world is of no more than minor importance, and social cognition is not a matter of cognitive mechanisms or processes but of cultural ways of thinking imposed upon tacit, unquestioned, universalassumptions. Incorporating not only research and theory in social cognition and developmental psychology, but also philosophy and the history of ideas, Psychological Metaphysics will be challenging to everyone interested in how we try to understand the world. (shrink)
128 female Ss were asked to make 4 judgments about a young woman after reading her "job application portfolio." Five characteristics of the young woman were manipulated orthogonally. Ss were asked to report how each of the 5 manipulated factors had influenced each of their judgments. "Observer Ss," who had access only to very impoverished descriptions of each of the 5 factors, were asked to predict how each of the factors would influence each of the judgments. Results show that S (...) reports about the effects of the factors on the judgments were in general highly inaccurate; observer predictions were extremely similar to S reports; for the single judgment for which Ss showed substantial accuracy, observer predictions were as accurate as S reports. Results indicate that whatever introspective access to cognitive processes may exist, it is not sufficient to produce generally accurate reports about such processes, nor even to produce reports that differ much from those of poorly informed outside observers. (shrink)
We report the results of four empirical studies designed to investigate the extent to which an epistemic closure principle for knowledge is reflected in folk epistemology. Previous work by Turri (2015a) suggested that our shared epistemic practices may only include a source-relative closure principle—one that applies to perceptual beliefs but not to inferential beliefs. We argue that the results of our studies provide reason for thinking that individuals are making a performance error when their knowledge attributions and denials (...) conflict with the closure principle. When we used research materials that overcome what we think are difficulties with Turri’s original materials, we found that participants did not reject closure. Furthermore, when we presented Turri’s original materials to non-philosophers with expertise in deductive reasoning (viz., professional mathematicians), they endorsed closure for both perceptual and inferential beliefs. Our results suggest that an unrestricted closure principle—one that applies to all beliefs, regardless of their source—provides a better model of folk patterns of knowledgeattribution than a source-relative closure principle. (shrink)
According to a view widely held by epistemic contextualists, the truth conditions of a knowledge claim depend on features of the context such as the presuppositions, interests and purposes of the conversational participants. Against this view, I defend an intentionalist account, according to which the truth conditions of a knowledgeattribution are determined by the speaker’s intention. I show that an intentionalist version of contextualism has several advantages over its more widely accepted rival account.
The notion of cognitive act is of importance for an epistemology that is apt for constructive type theory, and for epistemology in general. Instead of taking knowledge attributions as the primary use of the verb 'to know' that needs to be given an account of, and understanding a first-person knowledge claim as a special case of knowledgeattribution, the account of knowledge that is given here understands first-person knowledge claims as the primary use of (...) the verb 'to know'. This means that a cognitive act is an act that counts as cognitive from a first-person point of view. The method of linguistic phenomenology is used to explain or elucidate our epistemic notions. One of the advantages of the theory is that an answer can be given to some of the problems in modern epistemology, such as the Gettier problem. (shrink)
The interest of epistemic comparative conditionals comes from the fact that they represent genuine ‘comparative epistemic relations’ between propositions, situations, evidences, abilities, interests, etc. This paper argues that various types of epistemic comparative conditionals uniformly represent comparative epistemic relations via the comparison of epistemic positions rather than the comparison of epistemic standards. This consequence is considered as a general constraint on a theory of knowledgeattribution, and then further used to argue against the contextualist thesis that, in some (...) cases, considering a new counter- possibility can raise the epistemic standard of knowledgeattribution. Instead, the paper shows that considering a new counter-possibility can only lower the epistemic position of a putative knower. Moreover, since the comparison, by the nature of conditionals, is free from any commitment to the truth-values of specific knowledge attributions, my conclusion is free from the debate between contextualism and invariantism on whether the truth-value of a knowledgeattribution can actually vary with context. (shrink)
The literature on the nature of understanding can be divided into two broad camps. Explanationists believe that it is knowledge of explanations that is key to understanding. In contrast, their manipulationist rivals maintain that understanding essentially involves an ability to manipulate certain representations. The aim of this paper is to provide a novel knowledge based account of understanding. More specifically, it proposes an account of maximal understanding of a given phenomenon in terms of fully comprehensive and maximally well-connected (...)knowledge of it and of degrees of understanding in terms of approximations to such knowledge. It is completed by a contextualist semantics for outright attributions of understanding according to which an attribution of understanding is true of one just in case one knows enough about it to perform some contextually determined task. It is argued that this account has an edge over both its explanationist and manipulationist competitors. (shrink)
Four experiments investigate the folk concept of “understanding,” in particular when and why it is deployed differently from the concept of knowledge. We argue for the positions that people have higher demands with respect to explanatory depth when it comes to attributing understanding, and that this is true, in part, because understanding attributions play a functional role in identifying experts who should be heeded with respect to the general field in question. These claims are supported by our findings that (...) people differentially withhold attributions of understanding when the object of attribution has minimal explanatory information. We also show that this tendency significantly correlates with people’s willingness to defer to others as potential experts. This work bears on a pressing issue in epistemology concerning the place and value of understanding. Our results also provide reason against positing a simple equation of knowledge and understanding. We contend that, because deference plays a crucial role in many aspects of everyday reasoning, the fact that we use understanding attributions to demarcate experts reveals a potential mechanism for achieving our epistemic aims in many domains. (shrink)
This article presents a new criticisms of reductive approaches to knowledge-‘wh’ (i.e., those approaches on which whether one stands in the knowledge-‘wh’ relation to a question is determined by whether one stands in the knowledge-‘that’ relation to some answer(s) to the question). It argues in particular that the truth of a knowledge-‘wh’ attribution like ‘Janna knows where she can buy an Italian newspaper’ depends not only on what Janna knows about the availability of Italian newspapers, (...) but on what she believes about the matter. This dependence of Janna's knowledge-‘wh’ on her (possibly false) beliefs is incompatible with the reductive approach. (shrink)
Many epistemologists are attracted to the claim that knowledge possession excludes luck. Virtue epistemologists attempt to clarify this idea by holding that knowledge requires apt belief: belief that is true because of an agent's epistemic virtues, and not because of luck. Thinking about aptness may have the potential to make progress on important questions in epistemology, but first we must possess an adequate account of when a belief is true because of luck. Existing treatments of aptness assume a (...) simple and natural view of luck attribution, according to which the success of a performance is attributable to luck if one of the principal causes of the success is a lucky event. I show that this view is false, and should be replaced. This has major implications for virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge, as well as the role of luck in epistemology more generally. (shrink)
Abstract Relativism about knowledge attributions is the view that a single occurrence of ‘S knows [does not know] that p’ may be true as assessed in one context and false as assessed in another context. It has been argued that relativism is equipped to accommodate all the data from speakers’ use of ‘know’ without recourse to an error theory. This is supposed to be relativism’s main advantage over contextualist and invariantist views. This paper argues that relativism does require the (...)attribution of semantic blindness to speakers, viz. to account for sceptical paradoxes and epistemic closure puzzles. To that end, the notion of semantic blindness is clarified by distinguishing between content-blindness and index-blindness, and it is argued that the attribution of index-blindness required by the relativist account is implausible. Along the way, it is shown that error-theoretic objections from speakers’ inter-contextual judgments fail against relativism. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9783-5 Authors Dirk Kindermann, Arché, University of St Andrews, 17–19 College Street, St Andrews, KY16 9AL UK Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
Two variables are usually recognised as determinants of human causal learning: the contingency between a candidate cause and effect, and the temporal and/or spatial contiguity between them. A common finding is that reductions in temporal contiguity produce concomitant decrements in causal judgement. This finding had previously (Shanks & Dickinson, 1987) been interpreted as evidence that causal induction is based on associative learning processes. Buehner and May (2002, 2003, 2004) have challenged this notion by demonstrating that the impact of temporal delay (...) depends on expectations about the timeframe between cause and effect. A corollary of this knowledge-mediation account is that in certain situations longer delays could facilitate, while shorter delays should impair, causal learning. Here we present two experiments involving a physical apparatus that demonstrate a detrimental effect of contiguity under certain conditions. In contrast to all previous studies, delays universally promoted causal learning. This evidence is clearly at variance with the notion of a bottom-up contiguity bias in causal induction. A new, more general timeframe bias is discussed. (shrink)
In this innovative study of the relationship between persons and their bodies, E. J. Lowe demonstrates the inadequacy of physicalism, even in its mildest, non-reductionist guises, as a basis for a scientifically and philosophically acceptable account of human beings as subjects of experience, thought and action. He defends a substantival theory of the self as an enduring and irreducible entity - a theory which is unashamedly committed to a distinctly non-Cartesian dualism of self and body. Taking up the physicalist challenge (...) to any robust form of psychophysical interactionism, he shows how an attribution of independent causal powers to the mental states of human subjects is perfectly consistent with a thoroughly naturalistic world view. He concludes his study by examining in detail the role which conscious mental states play in the human subject's exercise of its most central capacities for perception, action, thought and self-knowledge. (shrink)
Do we have introspective access to our own thoughts? Peter Carruthers challenges the consensus that we do: he argues that access to our own thoughts is always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness and sensory imagery. He proposes a bold new theory of self-knowledge, with radical implications for understanding of consciousness and agency.
This book presents an attempt to develop a theory of knowledge and a philosophy of mind using ideas derived from the mathematical theory of communication developed by Claude Shannon. Information is seen as an objective commodity defined by the dependency relations between distinct events. Knowledge is then analyzed as information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information in analog form for conceptual utilization by cognitive mechanisms. The final chapters attempt to develop a theory of meaning by viewing (...) meaning as a certain kind of information-carrying role. (shrink)