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161. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 7 > Issue: 4
J. Adam Carter, Jesper Kallestrup, Duncan Pritchard Introduction
162. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 7 > Issue: 4
Modesto Gómez-Alonso Cartesian Humility and Pyrrhonian Passivity: The Ethical Significance of Epistemic Agency
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While the Academic sceptics followed the plausible as a criterion of truth and guided their practice by a doxastic norm, so thinking that agential performances are actions for which the agent assumes responsibility, the Pyrrhonists did not accept rational belief-management, dispensing with judgment in empirical matters. In this sense, the Pyrrhonian Sceptic described himself as not acting in any robust sense of the notion, or as ‘acting’ out of subpersonal and social mechanisms. The important point is that the Pyrrhonian advocacy of a minimal conception of ‘belief’ was motivated by ethical concerns: avoiding any sort of commitment, he attempted to preserve his peace of mind. In this article, I argue for a Cartesian model of rational guidance that, in line with some current versions of an agential virtue epistemology, does involve judgment and risk, and thus which is true both to our rational constitution and to our finite and fallible nature. Insofar as epistemic humility is a virtue of rational agents that recognise the limits of their judgments, Pyrrhonian scepticism, and a fortiori any variety of naturalism, is unable to accommodate this virtue. This means that, in contrast to the Cartesian model, the Pyrrhonist does not provide a satisfactory answer to the problem of cognitive disintegration. The Pyrrhonist thus becomes a social rebel, one that violates the norm of serious personal assent that enables the flourishing of a collaborative and social species which depends on agents that, however fallible, are accountable for their actions and judgments.
163. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 7 > Issue: 4
Brian Robinson, Mark Alfano I Know You Are, But What Am I?: Anti-Individualism in the Development of Intellectual Humility and Wu-Wei
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Virtues are acquirable, so if intellectual humility is a virtue, it’s acquirable. But there is something deeply problematic—perhaps even paradoxical—about aiming to be intellectually humble. Drawing on Edward Slingerland’s analysis of the paradoxical virtue of wu-wei in Trying Not To Try (New York: Crown, 2014), we argue for an anti-individualistic conception of the trait, concluding that one’s intellectual humility depends upon the intellectual humility of others. Slingerland defines wu-wei as the “dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective” (Trying Not to Try, 7). Someone who embodies wu-wei inspires implicit trust, so it is beneficial to appear wu-wei . This has led to an arms race between faking wu-wei on the one hand and detecting fakery on the other. Likewise, there are many benefits to being (or seeming to be) intellectually humble. But someone who makes conscious, strategic efforts to appear intellectually humble is ipso facto not intellectually humble. Following Slingerland’s lead, we argue that there are several strategies one might pursue to acquire genuine intellectual humility, and all of these involve commitment to shared social or epistemic values, combined with receptivity to feedback from others, who must in turn have and manifest relevant intellectual virtues. In other words, other people and shared values are partial bearers of a given individual’s intellectual humility. If this is on the right track, then acquiring intellectual humility demands epistemic anti-individualism.
164. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 7 > Issue: 4
Ian M. Church The Doxastic Account of Intellectual Humility
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This paper will be broken down into four sections. In §1, I try to assuage a worry that intellectual humility is not really an intellectual virtue. In §2, we will consider the two dominant accounts of intellectual humility in the philosophical literature—the low concern for status account the limitations-owing account—and I will argue that both accounts face serious worries. Then in §3, I will unpack my own view, the doxastic account of intellectual humility, as a viable alternative and potentially a better starting place for thinking about this virtue. And I’ll conclude in §4 by trying to defend the doxastic account against some possible objections.
165. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 7 > Issue: 4
J. Adam Carter, Emma C. Gordon Knowledge, Assertion and Intellectual Humility
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This paper has two central aims. First, we motivate a puzzle. The puzzle features four independently plausible but jointly inconsistent claims. One of the four claims is the sufficiency leg of the knowledge norm of assertion (KNA-S), according to which one is properly epistemically positioned to assert that p if one knows that p. Second, we propose that rejecting (KNA-S) is the best way out of the puzzle. Our argument to this end appeals to the epistemic value of intellectual humility in social-epistemic practice.
166. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 7 > Issue: 4
Andrea R. English Humility, Listening and ‘Teaching in a Strong Sense'
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My argument in this paper is that humility is implied in the concept of teaching, if teaching is construed in a strong sense. Teaching in a strong sense is a view of teaching as linked to students’ embodied experiences (including cognitive and moral-social dimensions), in particular students’ experiences of limitation, whereas a weak sense of teaching refers to teaching as narrowly focused on student cognitive development. In addition to detailing the relation between humility and strong sense teaching, I will also argue that humility is acquired through the practice of teaching. My discussion connects to the growing interest, especially in virtue epistemology discourse, in the idea that teachers should educate for virtues. Drawing upon John Dewey and contemporary virtue epistemology discourse, I discuss humility, paying particular attention to an overlooked aspect of humility that I refer to as the educative dimension of humility. I then connect this concept of humility to the notion of teaching in a strong sense. In the final section, I discuss how humility in teaching is learned in the practice of teaching by listening to students in particular ways. In addition, I make connections between my concept of teaching and the practice of cultivating students’ virtues. I conclude with a critique of common practices of evaluating good teaching, which I situate within the context of international educational policy on teacher evaluation.
167. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 7 > Issue: 4
Alessandra Tanesini Teaching Virtue: Changing Attitudes
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In this paper I offer an original account of intellectual modesty and some of its surrounding vices: intellectual haughtiness, arrogance, servility and self-abasement. I argue that these vices are attitudes as social psychologists understand the notion. I also draw some of the educational implications of the account. In particular, I urge caution about the efficacy of direct instruction about virtue and of stimulating emulation through exposure to positive exemplars.
168. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Guy Axtell Thinking Twice about Virtue and Vice: Philosophical Situationism and the Vicious Minds Hypothesis
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This paper provides an empirical defense of credit theories of knowing against Mark Alfano’s challenges to them based on his theses of inferential cognitive situationism and of epistemic situationism. In order to support the claim that credit theories can treat many cases of cognitive success through heuristic cognitive strategies as credit-conferring, the paper develops the compatibility between virtue epistemologies qua credit theories, and dual-process theories in cognitive psychology. It also provides a response to Lauren Olin and John Doris’ ‘vicious minds’ thesis, and their ‘tradeoff problem’ for virtue theories. A genuine convergence between virtue epistemology and dual-process theory is called for, while acknowledging that this effort may demand new and more empirically well-informed projects on both sides of the division between Conservative virtue epistemology (including the credit theory of knowing) and Autonomous virtue epistemology (including projects for providing guidance to epistemic agents).
169. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Umut Baysan A New Response to the New Evil Demon Problem
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The New Evil Demon Problem is meant to show that reliabilism about epistemic justification is incompatible with the intuitive idea that the external-world beliefs of a subject who is the victim of a Cartesian demon could be epistemically justified. Here, I present a new argument that such beliefs can be justified on reliabilism. Whereas others have argued for this conclusion by making some alterations in the formulation of reliabilism, I argue that, as far as the said problem is concerned, such alterations are redundant. No reliabilist should fear the demon.
170. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
John Biro Non-Pickwickian Belief and ‘the Gettier Problem’
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That in Gettier's alleged counterexamples to the traditional analysis of knowledge as justified true belief the belief condition is satisfied has rarely been questioned. Yet there is reason to doubt that a rational person would come to believe what Gettier's protagonists are said to believe in the way they are said to have come to believe it. If they would not, the examples are not counter-examples to the traditional analysis. I go on to discuss a number of examples inspired by Gettier's and argue that they, too, fail to be counter-examples either for reasons similar to those I have urged or because it is not clear that their subject does not know.
171. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Murray Clarke, Fred Adams, John A. Barker Methods Matter: Beating the Backward Clock
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In “Beat the (Backward) Clock,” we argued that John Williams and Neil Sinhababu’s Backward Clock Case fails to be a counterexample to Robert Nozick’s or Fred Dretske’s Theories of Knowledge. Williams’ reply to our paper, “There’s Nothing to Beat a Backward Clock: A Rejoinder to Adams, Barker and Clarke,” is a further attempt to defend their counterexample against a range of objections. In this paper, we argue that, despite the number and length of footnotes, Williams is still wrong.
172. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Olga Ramírez Calle Tracing the Territory: A Unitary Foundationalist Account
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The paper offers an integrative interpretation of the different lines of thought Wittgenstein was inspecting in On Certainty and what he might have been looking for through them. It suggests that we may have been focusing our attention too strongly in the wrong place and comes to a new conclusion about where the real import of these reflections lies. This leads to an answer to the initially posed question of foundationalism that revises the way in which there can be said to be a grounding intention in On Certainty.
173. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Kevin McCain Undaunted Explanationism
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Explanationism is a plausible view of epistemic justification according to which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations. Despite its plausibility, explanationism is not without its critics. In a recent issue of this journal T. Ryan Byerly and Kraig Martin have charged that explanationism fails to provide necessary or sufficient conditions for epistemic justification. In this article I examine Byerly and Martin’s arguments and explain where they go wrong.
174. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Jonathan L. Kvanvig Reply to Simion
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Mona Simion questions whether there is a distinction between taking back an assertion and taking back only the content of an assertion, as I have claimed. After arguing against the distinction in question, Simion grants that there is a difference between the cases that I use to illustrate the distinction, and thus turns to the task of explaining the difference in a way that keeps it from undermining the knowledge norm. The explanation she offers is in terms of a distinction between doing something that is wrong and doing something that is blameworthy. I respond here by defending the distinction and questioning the explanation she gives of it.
175. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Ema Sullivan-Bissett, Paul Noordhof Another Defence of Owen’s Exclusivity Objection to Beliefs Having Aims
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David Owens objected to the truth-aim account of belief on the grounds that the putative aim of belief does not meet a necessary condition on aims, namely, that aims can be weighed against other aims. If the putative aim of belief cannot be weighed, then belief does not have an aim after all. Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen responded to this objection by appealing to other deliberative contexts in which the aim could be weighed, and we argued that this response to Owens failed for two reasons. Steglich-Petersen has since responded to our defence of Owens’s objection. Here we reply to Steglich-Petersen and conclude, once again, that Owens’s challenge to the truth-aim approach remains to be answered.
176. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Moti Mizrahi Why Gettier Cases Are Still Misleading: A Reply to Atkins
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In this paper, I respond to Philip Atkins’ reply to my attempt to explain why Gettier cases (and Gettier-style cases) are misleading. I have argued that Gettier cases (and Gettier-style cases) are misdealing because the candidates for knowledge in such cases contain ambiguous designators. Atkins denies that Gettier’s original cases contain ambiguous designators and offers his intuition that the subjects in Gettier’s original cases do not know. I argue that his reply amounts to mere intuition mongering and I explain why Gettier cases, even Atkins’ revised version of Gettier’s Case I, still contain ambiguous designators.
177. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Thomas Wilk Inferences, Experiences, and the Myth of the Given: A Reply to Champagne
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In a recent article in this journal, Marc Champagne leveled an argument against what Wilfrid Sellars dubbed ‘the Myth of the Given.’ Champagne contends that what is given in observation in the form of a sensation must be able to both cause and justify propositionally structured beliefs. He argues for this claim by attempting to show that one cannot decide which of two equally valid chains of inference is sound without appeal to what is given in experience. In this note, I show that while this argument is sound, the conclusion he draws is far too strong. Champagne’s argument shows only that our empirical beliefs are determined through experience. It does not license the stronger claim that, in order for us to have empirical knowledge, bare sensations must be able to justify beliefs.
178. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen Weighing the Aim of Belief Again
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In his influential discussion of the aim of belief, David Owens argues that any talk of such an ‘aim’ is at best metaphorical. In order for the ‘aim’ of belief to be a genuine aim, it must be weighable against other aims in deliberation, but Owens claims that this is impossible. In previous work, I have pointed out that if we look at a broader range of deliberative contexts involving belief, it becomes clear that the putative aim of belief is capable of being weighed against other aims. Recently, however, Ema Sullivan-Bissett and Paul Noordhof have objected to this response on the grounds that it employs an undefended conception of the aim of belief not shared by Owens, and that it equivocates between importantly different contexts of doxastic deliberation. In this note, I argue that both of these objections fail.
179. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Miloud Belkoniene What Are Explanatory Virtues Indicative Of?
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This paper discusses an assumption on which explanationist accounts of the evidential support relation rely with a focus on McCain’s recent account. Explanationist accounts define the relation of evidential support in terms of relations of best explanation that hold between the evidence a subject possesses and the propositions she believes. Such a definition presupposes that the explanatory virtues of what best explains a subject’s body of evidence is indicative of its truth. Yet, recent cases offered in the literature against McCain’s account show that there is no straightforward way of vindicating this assumption.
180. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Fabio Lampert, John Biro What Is Evidence of Evidence Evidence Of?
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Richard Feldman’s well-known principle about disagreement and evidence – usually encapsulated in the slogan, ‘evidence of evidence is evidence,’ (EEE) – invites the question, what should a rational believer do when faced by such evidence, especially when the disagreement is with an epistemic peer? The question has been the subject of much controversy. However, it has been recently suggested both that the principle is subject to counterexamples and that it is trivial. If either is the case, the question of what to do in the face of evidence of evidence becomes less pressing. We contend that even if one or the other of these suggestions is right about (EEE) as a general principle about evidence, they leave it untouched insofar as it plays a role in the debates about the rational way to respond to disagreement and, in particular, to disagreement by an epistemic peer. This is because in such cases the evidence about which one has evidence and which is supposed to provide evidence against one's belief is the mere fact of someone’s disagreeing, rather than something that is related to the content of the proposition about which the parties disagree. We go on to argue that, so understood, the principle is false.