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Displaying: 1-20 of 291 documents

1. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Sarah McGrath Moral Confirmation vs. Moral Explanation: A Tale of Two Challenges
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In the first chapter of The Nature of Morality (1977), Gilbert Harman sets out what he takes to be the “basic issue” confronting moral philosophy: whether moral principles can be “tested and confirmed in the way that scientific principles can . . . out in the world” (3–4). Harman argues that they can’t be. In this paper I argue that if we reject the Harmanian view that confirmation is the converse of explanation, then we can agree with the naturalist realist on the basic epistemological issue of whether moral principles can be tested and confirmed in the way that scientific principles can. But I argue that there nevertheless is an important metaphysical way in which moral explanations differ from certain kinds of non-moral explanations. An upshot is that even realists who think that moral facts are necessary, causally inefficacious, and knowable a priori can agree that moral claims are subject to empirical confirmation in the way that scientific claims are.
2. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Benjamin Winokur Critical Reasoning and the Inferential Transparency Method
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Alex Byrne (2005; 2011a; 2011b; 2018) has argued that we can gain self-knowledge of our current mental states through the use of a transparency method. A transparency method provides an extrospective rather than introspective route to self-knowledge. For example, one comes to know whether one believes P not by thinking about oneself but by considering the world-directed question of whether P is true. According to Byrne, this psychological process consists in drawing inferences from world-directed propositions to mind-directed conclusions. In this article, I consider whether this ‘Inferential Transparency Method’ can provide us with the self-knowledge that some philosophers have thought we require in order to “critically reason” (Burge 1996), and I conclude that it cannot provide such self-knowledge. The force of this objection depends on how much stock we should place in our status as critical reasoners. However, I conclude by suggesting a more general worry for Byrne’s account.
3. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Chien-hsing Ho Causation and Ontic Indeterminacy
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In this article, I first introduce an Indian Madhyamaka Buddhist critique of causality and discuss critically a contemporary Humean interpretation of the critique. After presenting a Chinese Madhyamaka interpretation, I resort to an ontological conception of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy, which draws on Chinese Madhyamaka thought together with Jessica Wilson’s account of metaphysical indeterminacy, to show that the conception is well equipped to unravel two puzzling issues that arise from the critique. I suggest that a world that consists of things that are indeterminate with respect to certain ways they are is sufficient for it to embody causal phenomena.
4. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Irem Kurtsal Persistence Egalitarianism
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Modal Plenitude—the view that, for every empirically adequate modal profile, there is an object whose modal profile it is—is held to be consistent with each of endurantist and perdurantist (three- and four-dimensionalist) views of persistence. Here I show that, because “endurer” and “perdurer” are two substantially different kinds of entity, compossible with each other and consistent with empirical data, Modal Plenitude actually entails a third view about persistence that I call “Persistence Egalitarianism.” In every non-empty spacetime region there are two persisting objects: one that endures through the temporal dimension of that region, and another that perdures through the region. Additionally, if the argument from anthropocentrism makes a strong case for Modal Plenitude, then an equally strong and parallel case supports Persistence Egalitarianism. I close with the meta-semantic consequences of persistence egalitarianism for ordinary object talk.
5. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Uriah Kriegel Nominalism and Material Plenitude
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The idea of “material plenitude” has been gaining traction in recent discussions of the metaphysics of material objects. My main goal here is to show that this idea may have important dialectical implications for the metaphysics of properties—more specifically, that it provides nominalists with new resources in their attempt to reject an ontology of universals. I will recapitulate one of the main arguments against nominalism—due to David Armstrong—and show how plenitude helps the nominalist overcome the argument.
book symposium
6. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Ben Bramble Précis of "The Passing of Temporal Well-Being"
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7. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Ben Bradley A Defense of Temporal Well-Being
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8. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Connie S. Rosati The Normative Significance of Temporal Well-Being
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9. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Tatjana Visak How to Resist Bramble's Arguments against Temporal Well-Being?
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10. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Ben Bramble Replies to Bradley, Rosait, and Visak
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11. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Adam Bjorndahl Knowledge Second
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Classical philosophical analyses seek to explain knowledge as deriving from more basic notions. The influential “knowledge first” program in epistemology reverses this tradition, taking knowledge as its starting point. From the perspective of epistemic logic, however, this is not so much a reversal as it is the default—the field arguably begins with the specialization of “necessity” to “epistemic necessity”—that is, it begins with knowledge. In this context, putting knowledge second would be the reversal. This article motivates, develops, and explores such a “knowledge second” approach in epistemic logic, founded on distinguishing what a body of evidence actually entails from what it is (merely) believed to entail. We import a logical framework that captures exactly this distinction, use it to define formal notions of (internal and external) justification and knowledge, and investigate applications to the KK principle, the “strong belief” postulate, and the regress problem.
12. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Catharine Saint-Croix Privilege and Position
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How does being a woman affect one’s epistemic life? What about being Black? Or queer? Standpoint theorists argue that such social positions can give rise to otherwise unavailable epistemic privilege. “Epistemic privilege” is a murky concept, however. Critics of standpoint theory argue that the view is offered without a clear explanation of how standpoints confer their benefits, what those benefits are, or why social positions are particularly apt to produce them. For this reason, many regard standpoint theory as being out of step with epistemology more broadly. But this need not be so. This article articulates a minimal version of standpoint epistemology that avoids these criticisms and supports the normative goals of its feminist forerunners. This account serves as the foundation for developing a formal model in which to explore standpoint epistemology using neighborhood semantics for modal logic.
13. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Brandon Carey A Counterfactual Theory of Epistemic Possibility
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Standard theories of epistemic possibility analyze this relation in terms of knowledge, entailment, or probability. These theories are mistaken. Here, I present counterexamples to the standard theories and defend a new theory: that a proposition is epistemically possible on a body of evidence just in case that evidence supports that if the proposition were true, then the evidence might exist. In addition to avoiding the problems of the standard views, this new theory captures good reasoning about epistemic possibilities and matches intuitive judgments in a wide range of cases, giving us good reason to accept it.
14. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Niklaas Tepelmann A Case for Weak Safety
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Safety theorists prefer a strong version of safety over a weak version, in order to account for our intuition that we do not know lottery propositions. I argue that weak safety has advantages that can outweigh our intuitions in lottery cases. First, I argue that for the nonepistemic domain, we should adopt weak safety to account for experts’ claims about cyber security. Second, I argue that a unified account of safety is preferable. Hence, we should adopt weak safety for the epistemic domain as well. My argument can also be put as follows. It is more plausible to suppose that our intuitions about lottery cases are misguided than to suppose either that experts’ judgments about cyber security are misguided or that there are different versions of safety.
15. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Landon D. C. Elkind A Case Study in Formalizing Contingent a priori Claims
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Some philosophers, like Kripke, Williamson, Hawthorne, and Turri, have offered examples of claims that are allegedly contingent and a priori justifiable. If any of these examples is genuine, this would upend the traditional epistemological classification on which (a) all and only a priori justifiable claims are necessary and (b) all and only a posteriori ones are contingent. I argue here that these examples are not genuine. This conclusion is not new, but the strategy pursued here is to formalize these muchdiscussed examples in symbolic logics. Once formalized, a perspicuous representation of their logical form will bring into sharp relief that these examples are not both contingent and a priori. Two takeaways are (1) that the traditional epistemological classification remains plausible and (2) that one’s proposed examples of contingent a priori claims should be supported by a formalization in one’s preferred background symbolic logic.
16. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Albert Casullo Is Knowledge of Essence the Basis of Modal Knowledge?
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E. J. Lowe offers an account of modal knowledge that involves two primary theses. First, the basis of modal knowledge is essential knowledge, and the source of essential knowledge is grasp of essence. Second, all empirical knowledge ultimately depends on some modal knowledge. This article assesses Lowe’s account and defends four conclusions. First, there is a tension in Lowe’s account of grasp of essence; it wavers between an undemanding version, which holds that grasp of essence requires no more than our ordinary understanding of propositions, and a more demanding version, which holds that it requires rational insight into necessary relationships between essences. Second, both versions face serious challenges. Third, Lowe’s account of knowledge of essence does not provide a basis for modal knowledge. Fourth, Lowe’s supporting argument for his second thesis contains two significant gaps and the principles necessary to close the gaps reveal further tensions in his epistemological views.
17. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Felipe Morales Carbonell Epistemic Projects, Indispensability, and the Structure of Modal Thought
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I argue that modal epistemology should pay more attention to questions about the structure and function of modal thought. We can treat these questions from synchronic and diachronic angles. From a synchronic perspective, I consider whether a general argument for the epistemic support of modal though can be made on the basis of modal thoughs’s indispensability for what Enoch and Schechter (2008) call rationally required epistemic projects. After formulating the argument, I defend it from various objections. I also examine the possibility of considering the indispensability of modal thought in terms of its components. Finally, I argue that we also need to approach these issues from a diachronic perspective, and I sketch how to approach this task.
18. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Tom Schoonen The Problem of Modally Bad Company
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A particular family of imagination-based epistemologies of possibility promises to provide an account that overcomes problems raised by Kripkean a posteriori impossibilities. That is, they maintain that imagination plays a significant role in the epistemology of possibility. They claim that imagination consists of both linguistic and qualitative content, where the linguistic content is independently verified not to give rise to any impossibilities in the epistemically significant uses of imagination. However, I will argue that these accounts fail to provide a satisfactory basis for an epistemology of possibility as they fall victim to, what I call, the problem of modally bad company. In particular, I will argue that there is a deep methodological problem that these accounts face: to deliver the significant epistemology of possibility that they promise, they have to rely on problematic prior knowledge of necessities.
19. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Daniel Nolan Imaginative Resistance and Modal Knowledge
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Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This “imaginative resistance” is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability or readers’ normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical work that has been asked of it. Resistance to taking things to be fictional is often best explained by unfamiliarity with kinds of fictions than any representational, normative, or cognitive limits. With training and experience, any understandable proposition can be made fictional and be taken to be fictional by readers. This requires a new understanding both of imaginative resistance and what it might be able to tell us about topics like conceivability or the bounds of possibility.
20. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 3
Jamie Dreier Two Models of Agent-Centered Value
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The consequentializing project relies on agentcentered value (aka agent-relative value), but many philosophers find the idea incomprehensible or incoherent. Discussions of agent-centered value often model it with a theory that assigns distinct better-than rankings of states of affairs to each agent, rather than assigning a single ranking common to all. A less popular kind of model uses a single ranking, but takes the value-bearing objects to be properties (sets of centered worlds) rather than states of affairs (sets of worlds). There are rhetorical, presentational differences between these kinds of models, but are there also structural differences? Do the two kinds of models differ in their capacity to represent normative theories? Despite an initial appearance of equivalence, the two kinds of models are different. The single ranking of properties has greater representational power; its representations contain more information. The main question I address in this article is whether this extra information is useful, in the sense that it distinguishes between normative views that we think are really different, or whether it is just junk information.