This article provides a discussion of the principle of transmission of evidential support across entailment from the perspective of belief revision theory in the AGM tradition. After outlining and briefly defending a small number of basic principles of belief change, which include a number of belief contraction analogues of the Darwiche-Pearl postulates for iterated revision, a proposal is then made concerning the connection between evidential beliefs and belief change policies in rational agents. This proposal is found to be suffcient (...) to establish the truth of a much-discussed intuition regarding transmissionfailure. (shrink)
Crispin Wright has given an explanation of how a first time warrant can fall short of transmitting across a known entailment. Formal epistemologists have struggled to turn Wright’s informal explanation into cogent Bayesian reasoning. In this paper, I analyse two Bayesian models of Wright’s account respectively proposed by Samir Okasha and Jake Chandler. I argue that both formalizations are unsatisfactory for different reasons, and I lay down a third Bayesian model that appears to me to capture the valid kernel of (...) Wright’s explanation. After this, I consider a recent development in Wright’s account of transmissionfailure. Wright suggests that his condition sufficient for transmissionfailure of first time warrant also suffices for transmissionfailure of supplementary warrant. I propose an interpretation of Wright’s suggestion that shield it from objections. I then lay down a fourth Bayesian framework that provides a simplified model of the unified explanation of transmissionfailure envisaged by Wright. (shrink)
Many epistemologists hold that the Zebra Deduction fails to transmit knowledge to its conclusion, but there is little agreement concerning why it has this defect. A natural idea is, roughly, that it fails to transmit because it fails to improve the safety of its conclusion. In his, Martin Smith defends a transmission principle which is supposed to underwrite this natural idea. There are two problems with Smith's account. First, Smith's argument for his transmission principle relies on a dubious (...) premise. I suspect that the failures of Smith's account will be instructive for anyone who wants to connect transmissionfailure with a failure to enhance the safety, reliability or probability of one's conclusion. (shrink)
Within his overarching program aiming to defend an epistemic conception of analyticity, Boghossian (1996 and 1997) has offered a clear-cut explanation of how we can acquire a priori knowledge of logical truths and logical rules through implicit definition. The explanation is based on a special template or general form of argument. Ebert (2005) has argued that an enhanced version of this template is flawed because a segment of it is unable to transmit warrant from its premises to the conclusion. This (...) article aims to defend the template from this objection. We provide an accurate description of the type of non-transmissivity that Ebert attributes to the template and clarify why this is a novel type of non-transmissivity. Then, we argue that Jenkins (2008)’s response to Ebert fails because it focuses on doxastic rather than propositional warrant. Finally, we rebut Ebert’s objection on Boghossian’s behalf by showing that it rests on an unwarranted assumption and is internally incoherent. (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.
Boghossian (1996) has put forward an interesting explanation of how we can acquire logical knowledge via implicit definitions that makes use of a special template. Ebert (2005) has argued that the template is unserviceable, as it doesn't transmit warrant. In this paper, we defend the template. We first suggest that Jenkins (2008)’s response to Ebert fails because it focuses on doxastic rather than propositional warrant. We then reject Ebert’s objection by showing that it depends on an implausible and incoherent assumption.
Epistemically circular arguments have been receiving quite a bit of attention in the literature for the past decade or so. Often the goal is to determine whether reliabilists (or other foundationalists) are committed to the legitimacy of epistemically circular arguments. It is often assumed that epistemic circularity is objectionable, though sometimes reliabilists accept that their position entails the legitimacy of some epistemically circular arguments, and then go on to affirm that such arguments really are good ones. My goal in this (...) paper is to argue against the legitimacy of epistemically circular arguments. My strategy is to give a direct argument against the legitimacy of epistemically circular arguments, which rests on a principle of basis-relative safety, and then to argue that reliabilists do not have the resources to resist the argument. I argue that even if the premises of an epistemically circular argument enjoy reliabilist justification, the argument does not transmit that justification to its conclusion. The main goal of my argument is to show that epistemic circularity is always a bad thing, but it also has the positive consequence that reliabilists are freed from an awkward commitment to the legitimacy of some intuitively bad arguments. (shrink)
I set out the standard view about alleged examples of failure of transmission of warrant, respond to two cases for the view, and argue that the view is false. The first argument for the view neglects the distinction between believing a proposition on the basis of a justification and merely having a justification to believe a proposition. The second argument for the view neglects the position that one's justification for believing a conclusion can be one's premise for the (...) conclusion, rather than simply one's justification for the premise. Finally, the view is false since it is inconsistent with the closure of knowledge as closure is properly understood. (shrink)
In this paper I draw attention to a peculiar epistemic feature exhibited by certain deductively valid inferences. Certain deductively valid inferences are unable to enhance the reliability of one's belief that the conclusion is true—in a sense that will be fully explained. As I shall show, this feature is demonstrably present in certain philosophically significant inferences—such as GE Moore's notorious 'proof' of the existence of the external world. I suggest that this peculiar epistemic feature might be correlated with the much (...) discussed phenomenon that Crispin Wright and Martin Davies have called 'transmissionfailure'—the apparent failure, on the part of some deductively valid inferences to transmit one's justification for believing the premises. (shrink)
Even if our justified beliefs are closed under known entailment, there may still be instances of transmissionfailure. Transmissionfailure occurs when P entails Q, but a subject cannot acquire a justified belief that Q by deducing it from P. Paradigm cases of transmissionfailure involve inferences from mundane beliefs (e.g., that the wall in front of you is red) to the denials of skeptical hypotheses relative to those beliefs (e.g., that the wall in (...) front of you is not white and lit by red lights). According to the Bayesian explanation, transmissionfailure occurs when (i) the subject’s belief that P is based on E, and (ii) P(Q|E) P(Q). No modifications of the Bayesian explanation are capable of accommodating such cases, so the explanation must be rejected as inadequate. Alternative explanations employing simple subjunctive conditionals are fully capable of capturing all of the paradigm cases, as well as those missed by the Bayesian explanation. (shrink)
In the contemporary expanding literature on transmissionfailure and its connections with issues such as the Closure principle, the nature of perceptual warrant, Moore’s proof of an external world and the effectiveness of Humean scepticism, it has often been assumed that there is just one kind of it: the one made familiar by the writings of Crispin Wright and Martin Davies. Although it might be thought that one kind of failure is more than enough, Davies has recently (...) challenged this view: apparently, there are more ways in heaven and earth that warrant can fail to transmit across valid inference from one (set of) belief(s) to another, than have been dreamt of in philosophy so far. More specifically, Davies thinks that a second kind of transmissionfailure has to be countenanced. He connects each kind of failure of transmission of warrant with two different kinds of epistemic project, respectively, and with the exploration of whether the current dispute between conservatives such as Wright, and liberals such as Jim Pryor, on the nature of perceptual warrant, would have a bearing on them. I point out why Davies’s second kind of transmissionfailure is indeed no such thing. I then move on to canvass another kind of transmissionfailure, different from the one studied by both Wright and Davies, and dependent on an alternative conception of the structure of empirical warrants, which I dub “moderatism”. I then consider how this alternative notion of transmissionfailure fares with respect to Moore’s proof, its relationship with Wright’s kind of transmissionfailure and with the Closure principle. In closing, I defend it from criticisms that can be elicited from Pryor’s recent work. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that Boghossian's explanation of how we can acquire a priori knowledge of logical principles through implicit definitions commits a transmission of warrant-failure. To this end, I will briefly outline Boghossian's account, followed by an explanation of what a transmission of warrant-failure consists in. I will also show that this charge is independent of the worry of rule-circularity which has been raised concerning the justification of logical principles and of which Boghossian (...) is fully aware. My argument comes in two steps: firstly, I will argue for the insufficiency of Boghossian's template which is meant to explain how a subject can acquire a warrant for logical principles. I will show however that this insufficiency of his template can be remedied by adopting what I call the Disquotational Step. Secondly, I will argue that incorporating this further step makes his template subject to a transmission of warrant-failure, assuming that certain rather basic and individually motivated principles hold. Thus, Boghossian's account faces a dilemma: either he adopts the Disquotational Step and subjects his account to the charge of a transmission of warrant-failure, or he drops this additional step leaving the account confronted with explaining the gap that has previously been highlighted. I will then suggest various rejoinders that Boghossian might adopt but none of which - I will argue - can resolve the dilemma. Lastly, I will raise and briefly discuss the question whether this worry generalizes to other accounts, such as Hale and Wright's that aim to explain our knowledge of logic and/or mathematics in virtue of implicit definitions. (shrink)
The Neo-Moorean Deduction (I have a hand, so I am not a brain-in-a-vat) and the Zebra Deduction (the creature is a zebra, so isn’t a cleverly disguised mule) are notorious. Crispin Wright, Martin Davies, Fred Dretske, and Brian McLaughlin, among others, argue that these deductions are instances of transmissionfailure. That is, they argue that these deductions cannot transmit justification to their conclusions. I contend, however, that the notoriety of these deductions is undeserved. My strategy is to clarify, (...) attack, defend, and apply. I clarify what transmission and transmissionfailure really are, thereby exposing two questionable but quotidian assumptions. I attack existing views of transmissionfailure, especially those of Crispin Wright. I defend a permissive view of transmissionfailure, one which holds that deductions of a certain kind fail to transmit only because of premise circularity. Finally, I apply this account to the Neo-Moorean and Zebra Deductions and show that, given my permissive view, these deductions transmit in an intuitively acceptable way—at least if either a certain type of circularity is benign or a certain view of perceptual justification is false. (shrink)
Transmission of justification across inference is a valuable and indeed ubiquitous epistemic phenomenon in everyday life and science. It is thanks to the phenomenon of epistemic transmission that inferential reasoning is a means for substantiating predictions of future events and, more generally, for expanding the sphere of our justified beliefs or reinforcing the justification of beliefs that we already entertain. However, transmission of justification is not without exceptions. As a few epistemologists have come to realise, more or (...) less trivial forms of circularity can prevent justification from transmitting from p to q even if one has justification for p and one is aware of the inferential link from p to q. In interesting cases this happens because one can acquire justification for p only if one has independent justification for q. In this case the justification for q cannot depend on the justification for p and the inferential link from p to q, as genuine transmission would require. The phenomenon of transmissionfailure seems to shed light on philosophical puzzles, such as Moore's proof of a material world and McKinsey's paradox, and it plays a central role in various philosophical debates. For this reason it is being granted continued and increasing attention. (shrink)
In this paper we focus on transmission and failure of transmission of warrant. We identify three individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for transmission of warrant, and we show that their satisfaction grounds a number of interesting epistemic phenomena that have not been sufficiently appreciated in the literature. We then scrutinise Wright’s analysis of transmissionfailure and improve on extant readings of it. Nonetheless, we present a Bayesian counterexample that shows that Wright’s analysis is (...) partially incoherent with our analysis of warrant transmission and prima facie defective. We conclude exploring three alternative lines of reply: developing a more satisfactory account of transmissionfailure, which we outline; dismissing the Bayesian counterexample by rejecting some of its assumptions; reinterpreting Wright’s analysis to make it immune to the counterexample. (shrink)
This article addresses and resolves an epistemological puzzle that has attracted much attention in the recent literature—namely, the puzzle arising from Moorean anti-sceptical reasoning and the phenomenon of transmissionfailure. The paper argues that an appealing account of Moorean reasoning can be given by distinguishing carefully between two subtly different ways of thinking about justification and evidence. Once the respective distinctions are in place we have a simple and straightforward way to model both the Wrightean position of (...) class='Hi'>transmissionfailure and the Moorean position of dogmatism. The approach developed in this article is, accordingly, ecumenical in that it allows us to embrace two positions that are widely considered to be incompatible. The paper further argues that the Moorean Puzzle can be resolved by noting the relevant distinctions and our insensitivity towards them: once we carefully tease apart the different senses of ‘justified’ and ‘evidence’ involved, the bewilderment caused by Moore’s anti-sceptical strategy subsides. (shrink)
Contemporary discussions of skepticism often frame the skeptic's argument around an instance of the closure principle. Roughly, the closure principle states that if a subject knows p, and knows that p entails q, then the subject knows q. The main contention of this paper is that the closure argument for skepticism is defective. We explore several possible classifications of the defect. The closure argument might plausibly be classified as begging the question, as exhibiting transmissionfailure, or as structurally (...) inefficient. (shrink)
According to many, to have epistemic justification to believe P is just for it to be epistemically permissible to believe P. Others think it is for believing P to be epistemically good. Yet others think it has to do with being epistemically blameless in believing P. All such views of justification encounter problems. Here, a new view of justification is proposed according to which justification is a kind of composite normative status. The result is a view of justification that offers (...) hope of solving some longstanding epistemological problems. (shrink)
Crispin Wright’s discussion of the notion of ‘transmission-failure’ promises to have important philosophical ramifications, both in epistemology and beyond. This paper offers a precise, formal characterisation of the concept within a Bayesian framework. The interpretation given avoids the serious shortcomings of a recent alternative proposal due to Samir Okasha.
This Introduction to the special issue on “Skepticism and Justification” provides a background to the nine articles collected here and a detailed summary of each, which highlights their interconnections and relevance to the debate at the heart of the issue.
This paper considers whether existing law could potentially be used to criminalize the transmission of genetic disease. The paper argues that even if an offence could be made out, the criminal law should not be involved in this context for many reasons, including the need to protect reproductive liberty and pregnant women’s rights. The paper also examines whether there might be scope for civil claims between reproductive partners for a ‘failure to warn’ of potential genetic harm and argues (...) there are strong policy grounds for resisting such claims. If such a duty were to exist, there might, in the future, be scope for a child to bring a claim under the Congenital Disabilities 1976. Such a claim could be for the failure by the child’s father to warn her mother, which in turn led to the loss of opportunity to have treatment in utero which could have prevented the disability. It is suggested that the same arguments which supported granting maternal immunity under the Act would also support paternal immunity and that, therefore the issue of the lack of paternal immunity under the Act should be revisited. (shrink)
Fred Dretske notoriously claimed that knowledge closure sometimes fails. Crispin Wright agrees that warrant does not transmit in the relevant cases, but only because the agent must already be warranted in believing the conclusion in order to acquire her warrant for the premise. So the agent ends up being warranted in believing, and so knowing, the conclusion in those cases too: closure is preserved. Wright's argument requires that the conclusion's having to be warranted beforehand explains transmissionfailure. I (...) argue that it doesn't, and that the correct explanation does not imply that the agent will end up warranted in believing the conclusion when transmission fails. Those who agree that transmission does fail in those cases, therefore, might as well follow Dretske in denying knowledge closure too. (shrink)
In Boghossian's 1997 paper, 'Analyticity' he presented an account of a prioriknowledge of basic logical principles as available by inference from knowledge of their role in determining the meaning of the logical constants by implicit definitiontogether with knowledge of the meanings so-determined that we possess through ourprivileged access to meaning. Some commentators (e.g. BonJour (1998), Glüer (2003),Jenkins (2008)) have objected that if the thesis of implicit definition on which he relieswere true, knowledge of the meaning of the constants would presuppose (...) knowledge of the very logical principles knowledge of which the account purports to explain. Aconsequence would seem to be that implicit definition is incompatible with privilegedaccess. I argue that whilst it is possible for Boghossian to defend against theseobjections the form of argument he proposes does exhibit a subtle form of questionbegging such that it exhibits a transmission of warrant-failure. (shrink)
This essay addresses the question of when evidence for a stronger claim H1 also constitutes evidence for a weaker claim H2. Although the answer “Always” is tempting, it is false on a natural Bayesian conception of evidence. This essay first describes some prima facie counterexamples to this answer and surveys some weaker answers and rejects them. Next, it proposes an answer, which appeals to the “Dragging Condition.” After explaining and arguing for its use of the Dragging Condition, the essay argues (...) that the Dragging Condition provides a general account of, and solution to, the counterexamples with which the essay began. The essay briefly discusses the relevance of the Dragging Condition to the recently much-discussed topic of “transmissionfailure” in epistemology, applies the Dragging Condition to the problem of “bootstrapping” in epistemology, and discusses three important objections to the view defended in the essay. (shrink)
Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology provides a novel account of the structure of epistemic justification. Its central claim builds upon Wittgenstein's idea in On Certainty that epistemic justifications hinge on some basic assumptions and that epistemic rationality extends to these very hinges. It exploits these ideas to address major problems in epistemology, such as the nature of perceptual justifications, external world skepticism, epistemic relativism, the epistemic status of basic logical laws, of the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature, of our (...) belief in the existence of the past and of other minds, and the nature of testimonial justification. Along the way, further technical issues, such as the scope of the Principle of Closure of epistemic operators under known entailment, the notion of transmissionfailure, and the existence of entitlements are addressed in new and illuminating ways. (shrink)
§1 It is not always true that recognizably valid reasoning from known, or otherwise epistemically warranted premises, can be enlisted to produce knowledge, or other epistemic warrant, for a conclusion. The counterexamples are cases that exhibit what I have elsewhere called warrant transmission-failure. It is nowadays widely accepted that there are indeed such counterexamples, though individual cases remain controversial. One such controversial case is the so-called McKinsey paradox. The paradox presents as a simple collision between three claims that (...) many would find attractive. (shrink)
One finds a surprising number of defenses of the legitimacy of some kinds of question-begging arguments or beliefs in the literature. Without wanting to deny the importance of dialectical analyses of begging the question, what I do here is explore the epistemic side of the issue. In particular, I want to explore the legitimacy of “epistemically circular” arguments and beliefs. My tentative conclusion is that epistemically circular arguments and beliefs are never legitimate. *Note: this is an unpublished manuscript presented at (...) the 2011 conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation. A copy of the manuscript is hosted at the OSSA conference archive, linked above. Some of the central ideas in this paper appear in my "Epistemic Circularity, Reliabilism, and TransmissionFailure," Episteme (2014). (shrink)
Crispin Wright’s epistemic response to McKinsey’s paradox is to argue that introspective knowledge of the first premise fails to transmit across the semantic externalist entailment in the second premise to the conclusion that one has such untoward knowledge of the external world. This paper argues first that Stewart Cohen and Jonathan Vogel’s bootstrapping arguments suffer from a novel kind of epistemic circularity, which triggers failure of transmission but allows for the possibility of basic perceptual knowledge. It is then (...) argued that McKinsey’s paradox falls out as a special case of this template for transmissionfailure. The circularity in play is semantic: the paradox illicitly imports semantically relevant properties of knowledge-individuating sources into the contents of the knowledge states that those sources individuate by instantiating those properties. Importantly, this diagnosis permits the possibility of basic introspective knowledge as propounded by Tyler Burge and other semantic ex.. (shrink)
This paper explores the dynamics of cultural interactions between early modern China and Europe initiated by the Jesuits and other Catholic missionaries through a case study of Wang Honghan, a seventeenth-century Chinese Catholic who systematically sought to integrate European learning introduced by the missionaries with pre-modern Chinese medicine. Focusing on the ways in which Wang combined his Western and Chinese sources to develop and articulate his views on xin , this paper argues that Wang arrived at a peculiar hybrid between (...) scholastic psychology and Chinese medicine, not so much through a course of haphazard misunderstanding as through his conscious and patterned use and abuse of his Western sources, which was motivated most possibly by a wish to define a theoretical position that most suited his social roles as a Catholic convert and a Chinese medical doctor. Thus, rather than seeing Wang as an epitome of "transmissionfailure," this paper offers it as a showcase for the tremendous dynamism and creativity occurring at this East-West "contact zone" as representatives of both cultures sought to appropriate and transform the symbolic and textual resources of the other side. (shrink)
Transmission views of testimony hold that the epistemic state of a speaker can, in some robust sense, be transmitted to their audience. That is, the speaker's knowledge or justification can become the audience's knowledge or justification via testimony. We argue that transmission views are incompatible with the hypothesis that one's epistemic state, together with one's practical circumstances (one's interests, stakes, ability to acquire new evidence etc.), determines what actions are rationally permissible for an agent. We argue that there (...) are cases where, if the speaker's epistemic state were (in any robust sense) transmitted to the audience, then the audience would be warranted in acting in particular ways. Yet, the audience in these cases is not warranted in acting in the relevant ways, as their strength of justification does not come close to the speaker's. So transmission views of testimony are false. (shrink)
If you ought to perform a certain act, and some other action is a necessary means for you to perform that act, then you ought to perform that other action as well – or so it seems plausible to say. This transmission principle is of both practical and theoretical significance. The aim of this paper is to defend this principle against a number of recent objections, which (as I show) are all based on core assumptions of the view called (...) actualism. I reject actualism, provide an alternative explanation of its plausible features, and present an independent argument for the transmission principle. (shrink)
Deontological internalism is the family of views where justification is a positive deontological appraisal of someone's epistemic agency: S is justified, that is, when S is blameless, praiseworthy, or responsible in believing that p. Brian Weatherson discusses very briefly how a plausible principle of ampliative transmission reveals a worry for versions of deontological internalism formulated in terms of epistemic blame. Weatherson denies, however, that similar principles reveal similar worries for other versions. I disagree. In this article, I argue that (...) plausible principles of ampliative transmission reveal a worry for deontological internalism in general. (shrink)
Using samples from three diverse populations, we test evolutionary hypotheses regarding how people reason about the inheritance of various traits. First, we provide a framework for differentiat-ing the outputs of mechanisms that evolved for reasoning about variation within and between biological taxa and culturally evolved ethnic categories from a broader set of beliefs and categories that are the outputs of structured learning mechanisms. Second, we describe the results of a modified “switched-at-birth” vignette study that we administered among children and adults (...) in Puno, Yasawa, and adults in the United States. This protocol permits us to study perceptions of prenatal and social transmission pathways for various traits and to differentiate the latter into vertical versus horizontal cultural influence. These lines of evidence suggest that people use all three mechanisms to reason about the distribution of traits in the population. Participants at all three sites develop expectations that morphological traits are under prenatal influence, and that belief traits are more culturally influenced. On the other hand, each population holds culturally specific beliefs about the degree of social influence on non-morphological traits and about the degree of vertical transmission—with only participants in the United States expecting parents to have much social influence over their children. We reinterpret people's differentiation of trait transmission pathways in light of humans' evolutionary history as a cultural species. (shrink)
Jennifer Lackey’s case “Creationist Teacher,” in which students acquire knowledge of evolutionary theory from a teacher who does not herself believe the theory, has been discussed widely as a counterexample to so-called transmission theories of testimonial knowledge and justification. The case purports to show that a speaker need not herself have knowledge or justification in order to enable listeners to acquire knowledge or justification from her assertion. The original case has been criticized on the ground that it does not (...) really refute the transmission theory, because there is still somebody in a chain of testifiers—the person from whom the creationist teacher acquired what she testifies—who knows the truth of the testified statements. In this paper, we provide a kind of pattern for generating counterexample cases, one that avoids objections discussed by Peter Graham and others in relation to such cases. (shrink)
[Paul Boghossian] The paper asks under what conditions deductive reasoning transmits justification from its premises to its conclusion. It argues that both standard externalist and standard internalist accounts of this phenomenon fail. The nature of this failure is taken to indicate the way forward: basic forms of deductive reasoning must justify by being instances of ’blind but blameless’ reasoning. Finally, the paper explores the suggestion that an inferentialist account of the logical constants can help explain how such reasoning is (...) possible. /// [Timothy Williamson] The paper challenges the inferentialist account of concept possession that Paul Boghossian takes as a premise in his account of the transmission of justification by deductive reasoning in his paper ’Blind Reasoning’. Unorthodox speakers who reject the inferences in an alleged possession condition can still have the concept by understanding a word for it. In that sense, the inferences are not analytic. Inferentialist accounts of logical constants, theoretical terms (using the Ramsey-Carnap-Lewis method) and pejorative expressions such as ’Boche’ are examined and rejected. It is suggested that epistemological questions cannot be reduced to questions in the theory of thought and meaning. (shrink)
Introduction : low theory -- Animating revolt and revolting animation -- Dude, where's my phallus? forgetting, losing, looping -- The queer art of failure -- Shadow feminisms : queer negativity and radical passivity -- "The killer in me is the killer in you" : homosexuality and fascism -- Animating failure: ending, fleeing, surviving.
[Paul Boghossian] The paper asks under what conditions deductive reasoning transmits justification from its premises to its conclusion. It argues that both standard externalist and standard internalist accounts of this phenomenon fail. The nature of this failure is taken to indicate the way forward: basic forms of deductive reasoning must justify by being instances of 'blind but blameless' reasoning. Finally, the paper explores the suggestion that an inferentialist account of the logical constants can help explain how such reasoning is (...) possible. /// [Timothy Williamson] The paper challenges the inferentialist account of concept possession that Paul Boghossian takes as a premise in his account of the transmission of justification by deductive reasoning in his paper 'Blind Reasoning'. Unorthodox speakers who reject the inferences in an alleged possession condition can still have the concept by understanding a word for it. In that sense, the inferences are not analytic. Inferentialist accounts of logical constants, theoretical terms and pejorative expressions such as 'Boche' are examined and rejected. It is suggested that epistemological questions cannot be reduced to questions in the theory of thought and meaning. (shrink)
This paper examines how coherence of the contents of evidence affects the transmission of probabilistic support from the evidence to the hypothesis. It is argued that coherence of the contents in the sense of the ratio of the positive intersection reduces the transmission of probabilistic support, though this negative impact of coherence may be offset by other aspects of the relations among the contents. It is argued further that there is no broader conception of coherence whose impact on (...) the transmission of probabilistic support is never offset by other aspects of the relations among the contents. The paper also examines reasons for the contrary impression that coherence of the contents increases the transmission of probabilistic support, especially in the special case where the hypothesis to evaluate is the conjunction of the contents of evidence. (shrink)
Much existing literature in anthropology suggests that teaching is rare in non-Western societies, and that cultural transmission is mostly vertical (parent-to-offspring). However, applications of evolutionary theory to humans predict both teaching and non-vertical transmission of culturally learned skills, behaviors, and knowledge should be common cross-culturally. Here, we review this body of theory to derive predictions about when teaching and non-vertical transmission should be adaptive, and thus more likely to be observed empirically. Using three interviews conducted with rural (...) Fijian populations, we find that parents are more likely to teach than are other kin types, high-skill and highly valued domains are more likely to be taught, and oblique transmission is associated with high-skill domains, which are learned later in life. Finally, we conclude that the apparent conflict between theory and empirical evidence is due to a mismatch of theoretical hypotheses and empirical claims across disciplines, and we reconcile theory with the existing literature in light of our results. (shrink)
This paper explains how the notion of justification transmission can be used to ground a notion of knowledge transmission. It then explains how transmission theories can characterise schoolteacher cases, which have prominently been presented as counterexamples to transmission theories.
Both Russell and Donnellan proposed direct, non-descriptive cognitive relations between thinkers and objects. They agreed that such relations couldn’t be initiated in evidence cases, but Donnellan, unlike Russell, thought direct cognitive relations could be transmitted from person to person. Kaplan (2012) suggests the issues of initiation and transmission are separable—allowing one to deny that evidence yields direct cognition while believing direct cognition is transmittable. Here, cases involving transmission, evidence, ordinary perception, and perception aided by technology are considered. It (...) is concluded that the same mechanism is at work in each case, and that the initiation issue cannot be separated from the transmission issue since transmission cases are evidence cases. Finally, it is argued that this doesn’t threaten the directness of the cognitive relations involved. (shrink)
ABSTRACTMother‐to‐child transmission of HIV represents a particularly dramatic aspect of the HIV epidemic with an estimated 600,000 newborns infected yearly, 90% of them living in sub‐Saharan Africa. Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, an estimated 5.1 million children worldwide have been infected with HIV. MTCT is responsible for 90% of these infections. Two‐thirds of the MTCT are believed to occur during pregnancy and delivery, and about one‐third through breastfeeding. As the number of women of child bearing age infected (...) with HIV rises, so does the number of infected children. It is apparent that voluntary testing in Botswana has made some valuable inroads in decreasing perinatal HIV transmission, but the statistics showing the increased rate of HIV infection among women 15–24 years of age are not very promising. After reviewing all the pertinent scientific data it is clear that mandatory HIV testing of all pregnant women in conjunction with the implementation of a full package of interventions would save thousands of lives – mothers, newborns and others who could be infected as a result of these women not being aware of their HIV status. If the protection and preservation of human life is a priority in Botswana, then it is time to allow for mandatory HIV testing of all pregnant women, before it is too late for those who are the most vulnerable. To do less would be medically inappropriate and ethically irresponsible. (shrink)
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is currently defined as a cognitive/behavioral developmental disorder where all clinical criteria are behavioral. Inattentiveness, overactivity, and impulsiveness are presently regarded as the main clinical symptoms. The dynamic developmental behavioral theory is based on the hypothesis that altered dopaminergic function plays a pivotal role by failing to modulate nondopaminergic (primarily glutamate and GABA) signal transmission appropriately. A hypofunctioning mesolimbic dopamine branch produces altered reinforcement of behavior and deficient extinction of previously reinforced behavior. This gives rise to (...) delay aversion, development of hyperactivity in novel situations, impulsiveness, deficient sustained attention, increased behavioral variability, and failure to “inhibit” responses (“disinhibition”). A hypofunctioning mesocortical dopamine branch will cause attention response deficiencies (deficient orienting responses, impaired saccadic eye movements, and poorer attention responses toward a target) and poor behavioral planning (poor executive functions). A hypofunctioning nigrostriatal dopamine branch will cause impaired modulation of motor functions and deficient nondeclarative habit learning and memory. These impairments will give rise to apparent developmental delay, clumsiness, neurological “soft signs,” and a “failure to inhibit” responses when quick reactions are required. Hypofunctioning dopamine branches represent the main individual predispositions in the present theory. The theory predicts that behavior and symptoms in ADHD result from the interplay between individual predispositions and the surroundings. The exact ADHD symptoms at a particular time in life will vary and be influenced by factors having positive or negative effects on symptom development. Altered or deficient learning and motor functions will produce special needs for optimal parenting and societal styles. Medication will to some degree normalize the underlying dopamine dysfunction and reduce the special needs of these children. The theory describes how individual predispositions interact with these conditions to produce behavioral, emotional, and cognitive effects that can turn into relatively stable behavioral patterns. Key Words: catecholamine; clumsiness; dopamine; hyperkinesis; hyperkinetic disorder; impulsivity; monoamine; neuromodulator; overactivity; pollutants; reinforcement; reward; verbally governed behavior; soft signs; variability. (shrink)
The event that King Kuai of Yan demised the crown to his premier Zizhi, is a tentative way of political power transmission happened in the social transforming Warring States Period, which was influenced by the popular theory of Yao and Shun’s demise of that time. However, this tentative was obviously a failure, coming under attacks from all Confucian, Taoist and Legalist scholars. We may understand the development of the thinking concerning the issue of political legitimacy during the Warring (...) States Period by analyzing the different commentaries by different schools on this unusual event, and get some beneficial inspirations. (shrink)
Ethics failure in academia is not new, yet its prevalence, causes, and methods to prevent it remain a matter of debate. The author’s premise is that value dissonance underlies most of the reasons ethics failure occurs. Vignettes are used to illustrate value dissonance at the individual and institutional levels. Suggestions are offered for ways academic institutions can assume greater responsibility as a moral agency to prevent the occurrence of ethics failure.
This paper presents the hypothesis that linguistic capacity evolved through the action of natural selection as an instrument which increased the efficiency of the cultural transmission system of early hominids. We suggest that during the early stages of hominization, hominid social learning, based on indirect social learning mechanisms and true imitation, came to constitute cumulative cultural transmission based on true imitation and the approval or disapproval of the learned behaviour of offspring. A key factor for this transformation was (...) the development of a conceptual capacity for categorizing learned behaviour in value terms - positive or negative, good or bad. We believe that some hominids developed this capacity for categorizing behaviour, and such an ability allowed them to approve or disapprove of their offsprings- learned behaviour. With such an ability, hominids were favoured, as they could transmit to their offspring all their behavioural experience about what can and cannot be done. This capacity triggered a cultural transmission system similar to the human one, though pre-linguistic. We suggest that the adaptive advantage provided by this new system of social learning generated a selection pressure in favour of the development of a linguistic capacity allowing children to better understand the new kind of evaluative information received from parents. (shrink)