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Res Philosophica

Volume 90, Issue 2, April 2013

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Displaying: 1-12 of 12 documents

1. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Trent Dougherty Introduction
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2. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Robert Audi Knowledge, Justification, and the Normativity of Epistemology
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Epistemology is sometimes said to be a normative discipline, but what this characterization means is often left unclear. This paper distinguishes two kindsof normativity and thereby provides a new way of understanding attributions of normativity. Associated with this distinction are two kinds of epistemological reflection. These are shown to be parallel to two kinds of ethical reflection. In the light of what emerges in showing these points, the paper clarifies the requirements for naturalizing epistemology, the place normativity might have, given certain kinds of naturalization, and the sense in which knowledge and justification may be viewed as normative.
3. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
E. J. Coffman, Matt Deaton Problems for Foley’s Accounts of Rational Belief and Responsible Belief
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In this paper, we argue that Richard Foley’s account of rational belief faces an as yet undefeated objection, then try to repair one of Foley’s two failed repliesto that objection. In §§I-III, we explain Foley’s accounts of all-things-considered rational belief and responsible belief, along with his replies to two pressing objections to those accounts—what we call the Irrelevance Objection(to Foley’s account of rational belief) and the Insufficiency Objection (to his account of responsible belief). In §IV, we argue that both of Foley’s replies to the Irrelevance Objection fail as currently developed, and raise the question whether either of his replies can be salvaged. In §V, we invoke cases involving religious beliefs (broadly construed) to show that one of Foley’s failed replies to the Irrelevance Objection conflicts with his reply to the Insufficiency Objection; and we provide reason to think Foley should resolve this conflict in the latter’s favor. We conclude in §VI by suggesting a way to repair Foley’s other failed reply to the Irrelevance Objection, yielding an improved overall defense of Foley’s accounts of rationaland responsible belief. We look forward to discussing the important question to what extent this improved overall defense succeeds.
4. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
John Zeis Holding the Faith True
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In this paper, I argue that the objections to both doxastic volitionism and doxastic voluntarism fail. Objections to doxastic volitionism and doxastic voluntarismassume a generic notion of belief, a notion which covers both beliefs about things which we know or think we know or are evident to us, as well as beliefs which have some degree of credence but are not clearly evident to the subject. The generic notion of belief includes both sorts of beliefs, but the position against doxastic volitionism is supported only by appeal to beliefs about things which are evident or that we think we know. However, by showing that beliefs which we think we know to be true are not voluntary, the objections leaves open the question whether belief as such is voluntary. Contrary to the opponents of doxastic volitionism, I will show that if what we are after is a generic notion of belief, it ought to be construed as holding true; and if this is what constitutes belief as such, the arguments against doxastic volitionism for faith beliefs fail. The strongest argument against doxastic voluntarism is an evidentialist argument concerning the ethics of belief. That argument is basically that even if choosing belief is psychologically possible, evidentialism rules it out as epistemically irresponsible. In the last section of this article, I will argue that if religious belief is constituted by true propositions of the faith, the evidentialist objection to doxastic voluntarism fails.
5. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Ali Hasan Internalist Foundationalism and the Sellarsian Dilemma
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According to foundationalism, some beliefs are justified but do not depend for their justification on any other beliefs. According to access internalism, a subject isjustified in believing some proposition only if that subject is aware of or has access to some reason to think that the proposition is true or probable. In this paper I discusses a fundamental challenge to internalist foundationalism often referred to as the Sellarsian dilemma. I consider three attempts to respond to the dilemma—phenomenal conservatism, BonJour’s classical foundationalism, and Fumerton’s classical foundationalism. I argue that, of these three, only the last seems to avoid getting impaled on one or the other horn of the dilemma. I end by responding to some concerns with Fumerton’s account.
6. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Ted Poston BonJour and the Myth of the Given
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The Sellarsian dilemma is a powerful argument against internalistic foundationalist views that aim to end the regress of reasons in experiential states. LaurenceBonJour once defended the soundness of this dilemma as part of a larger argument for epistemic coherentism. BonJour has now renounced his earlier conclusions about the dilemma and has offered an account of internalistic foundationalism aimed, in part, at showing the errors of his former ways. I contend that BonJour’s early concerns about the Sellarsian dilemma are correct, and that his latest position does not adequately handle the dilemma. I focus my attention on BonJour’s claim that a nonconceptual experiential state can provide a subject with a reason to believe some proposition. It is crucial for the viability of internalistic foundationalism to evaluate whether this claim is true. I argue it is false. The requirement that the states that provide justification give reasons to a subject conflicts with the idea that these states are nonconceptual. In the final section I consider David Chalmers’s attempt to defend a view closely similar to BonJour’s. Chalmers’s useful theory of phenomenal concepts provides a helpful framework for identifying a crucial problem with attempts to end the regress of reasons in pure experiential states.
7. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Thomas D. Senor Justified Belief and Demon Worlds
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The New Demon World Objection claims that reliabilist accounts of justification are mistaken because there are justified empirical beliefs at demon worlds—worlds at which the subjects are systematically deceived by a Cartesian demon. In this paper, I defend strongly verific (but not necessarily reliabilist) accounts of justification by claiming that there are two ways to construct a theory of justification: by analyzing our ordinary concept of justification or by taking justification to be a theoretic term defined by its role in the theory of knowledge. The former route is not promising because of the splintered nature of our ordinary concept of justification—or perhaps because there is no single such concept. On the other hand, if justification is defined by the role it plays in the theory of knowledge, then there is good reason to think that justification must be strongly truth-conductive since the term was introduced by Edmund Gettier to play the primary role in converting true belief into knowledge. And if that is right, then there will be no justified empirical belief at demon worlds. The real lesson of the demon world is then turned on its head: justification does not supervene on what one shares with one’s deceived doppelganger.
8. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Matthias Steup Is Epistemic Circularity Bad?
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Is it possible to argue that one’s memory is reliable without using one’s memory? I argue that it is not. Since it is not, it is impossible to defend the reliability ofone’s memory without employing reasoning that is epistemically circular. Hence, if epistemic circularity is vicious, it is impossible to succeed in producing a cogent argument for the reliability of one’s memory. The same applies to any other one of one’s cognitive faculties. I further argue that, if epistemic circularity is vicious, it is impossible to produce a cogent argument for the reliability of anything. For example, if epistemic circularity were vicious, a cogent argument for the reliability of one’s car would not be possible. The seeming viciousness of epistemic circularity even threatens, I propose, the possibility of justification and knowledge. Much, therefore, hangs one the question of whether epistemic circularity is indeed bad. I argue that epistemic circularity, or bootstrapping, need not be bad. When we use a crystal ball—a source perspicuously guilty of unreliability—to confirm its own reliability, bootstrapping is foolish. When we attribute reliability to a witness solely because the witness says he is reliable, bootstrapping is dogmatic. Foolish and dogmatic bootstrapping are bad. However, when a witness provides a rich body of testimony, using that testimony to gauge the witness’s reliability need not be a vicious form of circularity. When done critically, I argue, such reasoning exemplifies a form of bootstrapping that is benign.
9. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Juan Comesaña Epistemic Pragmatism: An Argument Against Moderation
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By “epistemic pragmatism” in general I will understand the claim that whether propositions instantiate certain key epistemic properties (such as being known orbeing justifiably believed) depends not just on factors traditionally recognized as epistemic, but also on pragmatic factors, such as how costly it would be to the subject if the proposition were false. In what follows I consider two varieties of epistemic pragmatism. According to what I shall call moderate epistemic pragmatism, how much evidence we need in favor of a proposition in order to know that the proposition is true depends on our preferences. According to what I shall call extreme epistemic pragmatism, on the other hand, our preferences influence our epistemic position at a more basic level, because they help determinehow much justification we actually have in favor of the proposition in question. Simplifying brutally, moderate epistemic pragmatism has it that the more worried we are about a proposition’s being false, the more justification we need in order to know it, whereas extreme epistemic pragmatism has it that the more worried we are about a proposition’s being false, the less justification we have for it. Recently, Fantl and McGrath have presented an interesting argument for moderate epistemic pragmatism, an argument which relies on the principle that (roughly) knowledge is sufficient for action (KA). In this paper I argue that KA, together with a plausible principle about second-order evidence, entails extreme epistemic pragmatism.
10. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Anne Meylan The Value Problem of Knowledge: An Axiological Diagnosis of the Credit Solution
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The value problem of knowledge is one of the prominent problems that philosophical accounts of knowledge are expected to solve. According to the creditsolution, a well-known solution to this problem, knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief because the former is creditable to a subject’s cognitive competence. But what is “credit value”? How does it connect to the already existing distinctions between values? The purpose of the present paper is to answer these questions. Its most important conclusion is that credit value is not—contrary to what the upholders of the credit solution have frequently claimed—final value.
11. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Sandy Goldberg Self-Trust and Extended Trust: A Reliabilist Account
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Where most discussions of trust focus on the rationality of trust, in this paper I explore the doxastic justification of beliefs formed through trust. I examinetwo forms of trust: the self-trust that is involved when one trusts one’s own basic cognitive faculties, and the interpersonal trust that is involved when one trusts another speaker. Both cases involve regarding a source of information as dependable for the truth. In thinking about the epistemic significance regarding a source in this way, I call upon Process Reliabilism (PR). With its core idea that the epistemic goodness of a belief tracks the reliability of the process through which the belief was formed, PR suggests one way to think about the (potential) epistemic benefits and risks of trust: in cases of trust the process through which belief is formed includes reliance on an information source, where the reliability with which the source produced its information is the main determinant of the epistemic status of the beliefs formed through trusting that source. While it is much more common to find something like this picture endorsed in connection withcases of self-trust, I argue that it ought to be endorsed for cases of interpersonal trust as well. The failure to do so, I submit, reflects a commitment to an individualistic orientation that proponents of PR need not, and should not, endorse.
12. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Linda Zagzebski A Defense of Epistemic Authority
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In this paper I argue that epistemic authority can be justified in the same way as political authority in the tradition of political liberalism. I propose principlesof epistemic authority modeled on the general principles of authority proposed by Joseph Raz. These include the Content-Independence thesis, the Pre-emption thesis, the Dependency thesis, and the Normal Justification thesis. The focus is on the authority of a person’s beliefs, although the principles can be applied to the authority of another person’s testimony and the authority of epistemic communities.