Cover of Logos & Episteme
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1. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Dionysis Christias A Critical Examination of BonJour’s, Haack’s, and Dancy’s Theory of Empirical Justification
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In this paper, we shall describe and critically evaluate four contemporary theories which attempt to solve the problem of the infinite regress of reasons: BonJour's ‘impure’ coherentism, BonJour's foundationalism, Haack's ‘foundherentism’ and Dancy's pure coherentism. These theories are initially put forward as theories about the justification of our empirical beliefs; however, in fact they also attempt to provide a successful response to the question of their own ‘metajustification.’ Yet, it will be argued that 1) none of the examined theories is successful as a theory of justification of our empirical beliefs, and that 2) they also fall short of being adequate theories of metajustification. It will be further suggested that the failure of these views on justification is not coincidental, but is actually a consequence of deeper and tacitly held problematic epistemological assumptions (namely, the requirements of justificatory generality and epistemic priority), whose acceptance paves the way towards a generalized scepticism about empirical justification.
2. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Robert Hudson Defending Standards Contextualism
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It has become more common recently for epistemologists to advocate the pragmatic encroachment on knowledge, the claim that the appropriateness ofknowledge ascriptions is dependent on the relevant practical circumstances. Advocacy of practicalism in epistemology has come at the expense of contextualism, the view that knowledge ascriptions are independent of pragmatic factors and depend alternatively on distinctively epistemological, semantic factors with the result that knowledge ascriptions express different knowledge properties on different occasions of use. Overall, my goal here is to defend a particular version of contextualism drawn from work by Peter Ludlow, called ‘standards contextualism.’ My strategy will be to elaborate on this form of contextualism by defending it from various objections raised by the practicalists Jason Stanley, Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath. In showing how standards contextualism can effectively repel these criticisms I hope to establish that standards contextualism is a viable alternative to practicalism.
3. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Kevin McCain Interventionism Defended
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James Woodward’s Making Things Happen presents the most fully developed version of a manipulability theory of causation. Although the ‘interventionist’account of causation that Woodward defends in Making Things Happen has many admirable qualities, Michael Strevens argues that it has a fatal flaw. Strevens maintains that Woodward’s interventionist account of causation renders facts about causation relative to an individual’s perspective. In response to this charge, Woodward claims that although on his account X might be a relativized cause of Y relative to some perspective, this does not lead to the problematic relativity that Strevens claims. Roughly, Woodward argues this is so because if X is a relativized cause of Y with respect to some perspective, then X is a cause of Y simpliciter. So, the truth of whether X is a cause of Y is not relative to one’s perspective. Strevens counters by arguing that Woodward’s response fails because relativized causation is not monotonic. In this paper I argue that Strevens’ argument that relativized causation is not monotonic is unsound.
4. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Mihai Rusu On the Epistemology of Modal Rationalism: The Main Problems and Their Significance
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In this paper, I discuss the main characteristics of the epistemology of modal rationalism by proceeding from the critical investigation of Peacocke’s theory ofmodality. I build on arguments by Crispin Wright and Sonia Roca-Royes, which are generalised and supplemented by further analysis, in order to show that principle-based accounts have little prospects of succeeding in their task of providing an integrated account of the metaphysics and the epistemology of modality. I argue that it is unlikely that we will able to develop an exhaustive and accurate principle-based account that discriminates objectively between correct and deviant modal knowledge. Even if such an account can be formulated, a non-circular way of justifying its necessity also seems to be out of our reach.
5. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Ju Wang A Davidsonian Response to Radical Scepticism
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In this paper, I attempt to show how Davidson’s anti-sceptical argument can respond to the closureRK-based radical scepticism. My approach will focus on theclosureRK principle rather than the possibility that our beliefs could be massively wrong. I first review Davidson’s principle of charity and the triangulation argument, and then I extract his theory on content of a belief. According to this theory, content of a belief is determined by its typical cause and other relevant beliefs. With this constraint on content, I argue that doubt must be local. Furthermore, since one cannot rationally believe that one’s commitment to the cause of beliefs could be false, our commitment to the denial of a sceptical hypothesis is not a knowledge-apt belief. Therefore, the closureRK principle is not applicable to rational evaluations of this commitment. As a result, the closureRK-based sceptical argument fails while the closureRK principle remains.
discussion notes/debate
6. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Brent Ables Disagreement and Philosophical Progress
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In “Belief in the Face of Controversy,” Hilary Kornblith argues for a radical form of epistemic modesty: given that there has been no demonstrable cumulativeprogress in the history of philosophy – as there has been in formal logic, math, and science – Kornblith concludes that philosophers do not have the epistemic credibility to be trusted as authorities on the questions they attempt to answer. After reconstructing Kornblith's position, I will suggest that it requires us to adopt a different conception of philosophy's epistemic value. First, I will argue that ‘progress’ has a different meaning in logic, science and philosophy, and that to judge one of these disciplines by the standards appropriate to one of the others obscures the unique epistemic functions of all. Second, I will argue that philosophy is epistemically unique in that it is a non-relativistic but historically determined excavation of foundations. Finally, drawing on Frank Herbert's Dune, I will suggest that Kornblith leaves us with a choice between two epistemic ideals: the hyper-logical ‘Mentat,’ or the historically informed ‘pre-born.’
7. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Muralidharan Anantharaman Defending the Uniqueness Thesis: A Reply to Luis Rosa
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The Uniqueness Thesis (U), according to Richard Feldman and Roger White, says that for a given set of evidence E and a proposition P, only one doxasticattitude about P is rational given E. Luis Rosa has recently provided two counterexamples against U which are supposed to show that even if there is a sense inwhich choosing between two doxastic attitudes is arbitrary, both options are equally and maximally rational. Both counterexamples work by exploiting the idea that ‘ought implies can’ and trying to spell out situations in which some inferences are beyond the capabilities of some reasoners. I argue that on a descriptive account of doxastic rationality, questions of whether ‘epistemic ought implies can’ can be bracketed and that at least one of the inferential moves that Rosa describes in his cases is irrational. I further argue that a descriptive account of doxastic rationality is the appropriate notion of rationality that is to be considered when evaluating U. If my argument for a descriptive account of rationality is successful, then we have reason to revise our use of the term rationality to fit this descriptive understanding.
8. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Erik J. Wielenberg Difference-Making and Easy Knowledge: Reply to Comesaña and Sartorio
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Juan Comesaña and Carolina Sartorio have recently proposed a diagnosis of what goes wrong in apparently illegitimate cases of ‘bootstrapping’ one’s way toexcessively easy knowledge. They argue that in such cases the bootstrapper bases at least one of her beliefs on evidence that does not evidentially support the proposition believed. I explicate the principle that underlies Comesaña and Sartorio’s diagnosis of such cases and show that their account of what goes wrong in such cases is mistaken.
9. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Notes on the Contributors
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