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101. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
Michael J. Shaffer Moorean Sentences and the Norm of Assertion
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In this paper Timothy Williamson’s argument that the knowledge norm of assertion is the best explanation of the unassertability of Morrean sentences ischallenged and an alternative account of the norm of assertion is defended.
102. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
Rachael Briggs, Daniel Nolan Epistemic Dispositions: Reply to Turri and Bronner
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We reply to recent papers by John Turri and Ben Bronner, who criticise the dispositionalised Nozickian tracking account we discuss in “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.” We argue that the account we suggested can handle the problems raised by Turri and Bronner. In the course of responding to Turri and Bronner’s objections, we draw three general lessons for theories of epistemic dispositions: that epistemic dispositions are to some extent extrinsic, that epistemic dispositions can have manifestation conditions concerning circumstances where their bearers fail to exist, and that contrast is relevant to disposition attributions.
103. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
John Turri Preempting Paradox
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Charlie Pelling has recently argued that two leading accounts of the norm of assertion, the truth account and a version of the knowledge account, invite paradoxand so must be false. Pelling’s arguments assume that an isolated utterance of the sentence “This assertion is improper” counts as making an assertion. I argue that this assumption is questionable.
104. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
Christopher Bobier The Conciliatory View and the Charge of Wholesale Skepticism
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If I reasonably think that you and I enjoy the same evidence as well as virtues and vices, then we are epistemic peers. What does rationality require of usshould we disagree? According to the conciliatory view, I should become less confident in my belief upon finding out that you, whom I take to be my peer, disagree with me. Question: Does the conciliatory view lead to wholesale skepticism regarding areas of life where disagreement is rampant? After all, people focusing on the same arguments and possessing the same virtues commonly disagree over religion, politics, ethics, philosophy and other areas. David Christensen and Adam Elga have responded that conciliationism does not lead to wholesale skepticism. I argue that Christensen and Elga cannot avoid the charge of wholesale skepticism. But I also argue that if they could avoid skepticism, then the conciliatory view would become irrelevant since it would not inform us as to what rationality requires of us in every-day disagreement. Thus either way the conciliatory view is saddled with unintuitive consequences.
105. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 3 > Issue: 4
Mark McBride Saving Sosa’s Safety
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My purpose in this paper is to (begin to) defend safety as a necessary condition on knowledge. First, I introduce Ernest Sosa’s (1999) safety condition. Second,I set up and grapple with Juan Comesaña’s recent putative counterexample to safety as a necessary condition on knowledge; Comesaña’s case forces us to consider Sosa’s updated (2002) safety condition. From such grappling a principled modification to Sosa’s (2002) safety condition emerges. Safety is safe from this, and like, attacks.
106. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 5 > Issue: 4
Tjerk Gauderis On Theoretical and Practical Doxastic Attitudes
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In the literature on doxastic attitudes, the notion ‘belief’ is used in both a coarse-grained and a fine-grained manner. While the coarse-grained notion of ‘belief,’ as the doxastic attitude that expresses any form of assent to its content, is a useful technical concept, the fine-grained notion, which tries to capture the folk notion of ‘belief’ in contrast with other doxastic concepts such as ‘acceptance’ or ‘degrees of confidence,’ is utterly ambiguous. In order to dispel this ambiguity, I introduce first a new framework for describing doxastic attitudes that does not rely on a specific fine-grained primitive notion of ‘belief.’ This framework distinguishes two different doxastic attitudes, i.e. the theoretical and the practical, and explains how various doxastic concepts such as ‘accepting,’ ‘having a degree of confidence’ and the folk notion of ‘belief’ all describe a particular interpretation of one or both of the distinguished doxastic attitudes. Next, by focusing on ongoing debates over the difference between ‘acceptance’ and ‘belief’ on the one hand and between ‘degrees of confidence’ and ‘(plain) belief’ on the other, I argue that much precision can be gained in philosophical analysis by taking a reductionist stance concerning any specific fine-grained and primitive notion of ‘belief.’
107. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 5 > Issue: 4
Giovanni Mion Grueing Gettier
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The paper aims to stress the structural similarities between Nelson Goodman’s ‘new riddle of induction’ and Edmund Gettier’s counterexamples to thestandard analysis of knowledge.
108. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 5 > Issue: 4
T. Ryan Byerly A Dispositional Internalist Evidentialist Virtue Epistemology
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This paper articulates and defends a novel version of internalist evidentialism which employs dispositions to account for the relation of evidentialsupport. In section one, I explain internalist evidentialist views generally, highlighting the way in which the relation of evidential support stands at the heart of these views. I then discuss two leading ways in which evidential support has been understood by evidentialists, and argue that an account of support which employs what I call epistemic dispositions remedies difficulties arguably faced by these two leading accounts. In sections two and three, I turn to advantages that my dispositionalist account of evidential support offers evidentialists beyond its remedying apparent difficulties with rival accounts of support. In section two, I show that the account is well-suited to help the evidentialist respond to the problem of forgotten evidence. And, in section three, I show that adopting my dispositional account makes possible an attractive and natural synthesis of evidentialism and virtue epistemology which is superior to the leading contemporary synthesis of these views.
109. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 5 > Issue: 4
Patrizio Lo Presti Moore’s Paradox and Epistemic Norms
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Why does it strike us as absurd to believe that it is raining and that one doesn’t believe that it is raining? Some argue that it strikes us as absurd because belief isnormative. The beliefs that it is raining and that one doesn’t believe that it is are, it is suggested, self-falsifying. But, so it is argued, it is essential to belief that beliefs ought not, among other things, be self-falsifying. That is why the beliefs strike us as absurd. I argue that while the absurdity may consist in and be explained by self-falsification, we have no reasons to
110. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 5 > Issue: 4
Mark J. Boone Inferential, Coherential, and Foundational Warrant: an Eclectic Account of the Sources of Warrant
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A warranted belief may derive inferential warrant from warranted beliefs which support it. It may possess what I call coherential warrant in virtue of beingconsistent with, or lacking improbability relative to, a large system of warranted beliefs. Finally, it may have foundational warrant , which does not derive from other beliefs at all. I define and distinguish these sources of warrant and explain why all three must be included in the true and complete account of the structure of knowledge, and why the first two sources are significant at all levels of knowledge. Only foundherentism and a weak version of foundationalism can satisfy this criterion. My analysis has significant, and happy, consequences for the epistemological tradition. The project of describing the structure of knowledge is nearly complete. Those who have pronounced the death of epistemology are partially correct, not because epistemology has failed, but because it has been so successful.
111. 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.
112. 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.
113. 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.
114. 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.
115. 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.
116. 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.
117. 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.’
118. 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.
119. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 3
Martin Grajner Epistemic Responsibilism and Moorean Dogmatism
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In this paper, I defend Moorean Dogmatism against a novel objection raised by Adam Leite. Leite locates the defectiveness of the Moorean reasoning explicitly not in the failure of the Moorean argument to transmit warrant from its premises to its conclusion but rather in the failure of an epistemic agent to satisfy certain epistemic responsibilities that arise in the course of conscious and deliberate reasoning. I will first show that there exist cases of Moorean reasoning that are not put into jeopardy by the considerations that Leite presents. Second, I will argue that certain commitments of Leite’s concerning the notion of warrant are in tension with his verdict that the Moorean reasoning is defective.
120. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 3
Davide Fassio Knowledge and the Importance of Being Right
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Some philosophers have recently argued that whether a true belief amounts to knowledge in a specific circumstance depends on features of the subject’spractical situation that are unrelated to the truth of the subject’s belief, such as the costs for the subject of being wrong about whether the believed proposition is true. One of the best-known arguments used to support this view is that it best explains a number of paradigmatic cases, such as the well-known Bank Case, in which a difference in knowledge occurs in subjects differing exclusively with respect to their practical situation. I suggest an alternative explanation of such cases. My explanation has a disjunctive character: on the one hand, it accounts for cases in which the subject is aware of the costs of being wrong in a given situation in terms of the influence of psychological factors on her mechanisms of belief-formation and revision. On the other hand, it accounts for cases in which the subject is ignorant of the costs of being wrong in her situation by imposing a new condition on knowledge. This condition is that one knows that p only if one does not underestimate the importance of being right about whether p. I argue that my explanation has a number of advantages over other invariantist explanations: it accounts for all the relevant cases preserving the semantic significance of our ordinary intuitions, it is compatible with an intellectualist account of knowledge and it escapes several problems affecting competing views.