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181. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Michael J. Shaffer A Thoroughly Modern Wager
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Pascal’s wager is a familiar heuristic designed to show that believing that God exists is of greater practical value than believing that God does not exist given the outcomes associated with those beliefs as understood in Christian theology. In this way Pascal argues that we that we ought to believe that God exists, independent of epistemic grounds. But, things are not easy, because he understands that belief is not subject to direct voluntary control. So, for purely practical reasons, he advises us to put ourselves in situations that will maximize our chances of acquiring the belief that God exists. In effect, he advises us to attempt to acquire that belief by indirect control. But, then the wager is not a proper decision problem since it does not involve a real choice. Additionally, there are at least two other problems that afflict the traditional wager: one involving the value of eternal damnation and one concerning the coherence of infinite utilities. In this paper the wager will be explored and a corrected version will be presented that yields a rather surprising, but theoretically correct, conclusion.
182. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
John N. Williams Still Stuck on the Backward Clock: A Rejoinder to Adams, Barker and Clarke
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Neil Sinhababu and I presented Backward Clock, an original counterexample to Robert Nozick’s truth-tracking analysis of propositional knowledge. In their latest defence of the truth-tracking theories, “Methods Matter: Beating the Backward Clock,” Fred Adams, John A. Barker and Murray Clarke try again to defend Nozick’s and Fred Dretske’s early analysis of propositional knowledge against Backward Clock. They allege failure of truth-adherence, mistakes on my part about methods, and appeal to charity, ‘equivocation,’ reliable methods and unfair internalism. I argue that these objections all fail. They are still stuck with the fact that the tracking theories fall to Backward Clock, an even more useful test case for other analyses of knowledge than might have first appeared.
183. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Andy Mueller Pragmatic or Pascalian Encroachment?: A Problem for Schroeder's Explanation of Pragmatic Encroachment
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I argue against Schroeder's explanation of pragmatic encroachment on knowledge. In section 1, I introduce pragmatic encroachment and point out that an explanation of it should avoid Pascalian considerations. In section 2, summarize the key aspects of Schroeder's explanation of pragmatic encroachment. In section 3, I argue that Schroeder's explanation faces a dilemma: it either allows for an objectionable form of Pascalian encroachment or it fails to be a fully general explanation of pragmatic encroachment.
184. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Maura Priest Why Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology has No Luck with Closure
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In Part I, this paper argues that Duncan Pritchard’s version of safety is incompatible with closure. In Part II I argue for an alternative theory that fares much better. Part I begins by reviewing past arguments concerning safety’s problems with closure. After discussing both their inadequacies and Pritchard’s response to them, I offer a modified criticism immune to previous shortcomings. I conclude Part I by explaining how Pritchard’s own arguments make my critique possible. Part II argues that most modal theories of knowledge will run into problems similar to those found in Pritchard’s Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology. I hence offer my own theory grounded in risk assessment and explain why and how it does much better.
185. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Michael J. Shaffer An Argument for the Safety Condition on Knowledge
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This paper introduces a new argument for the safety condition on knowledge. It is based on the contention that the rejection of safety entails the rejection of the factivity condition on knowledge. But, since we should maintain factivity, we should endorse safery.
186. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Peter Baumann If You Believe, You Believe: A Constitutive Account of Knowledge of One’s Own Beliefs
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Can I be wrong about my own beliefs? More precisely: Can I falsely believe that I believe that p? I argue that the answer is negative. This runs against what many philosophers and psychologists have traditionally thought and still think. I use a rather new kind of argument, – one that is based on considerations about Moore's paradox. It shows that if one believes that one believes that p then one believes that p – even though one can believe that p without believing that one believes that p.
187. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Richard Pettigrew Epistemic Utility and the Normativity of Logic
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How does logic relate to rational belief? Is logic normative for belief, as some say? What, if anything, do facts about logical consequence tell us about norms of doxastic rationality? In this paper, we consider a range of putative logic-rationality bridge principles . These purport to relate facts about logical consequence to norms that govern the rationality of our beliefs and credences. To investigate these principles, we deploy a novel approach, namely, epistemic utility theory. That is, we assume that doxastic attitudes have different epistemic value depending on how accurately they represent the world. We then use the principles of decision theory to determine which of the putative logic-rationality bridge principles we can derive from considerations of epistemic utility.
188. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
David Coss Contextualism and Context Internalism
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Contextualism is the view that the word ‘knows’ is context sensitive and shifts according to the relevant standards in play. I argue that Contextualism is best paired with internalism about contexts. That is to say, an attributor’s context is completely determined by mental facts. Consequently, in the absence of awareness, external facts do not lead to contextual shifts. I support this view by appealing to the typical cases contextualists employ, such as DeRose’s Bank Cases and Cohen’s Airport Case. I conclude by reflecting on the nature of attributor’s themselves, and suggest this also supports the view that Contextualism is internalistic about contextual shifts.
189. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 8 > Issue: 4
Patrick Grim, Nicholas Rescher Limitations and the World Beyond
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This paper surveys our inescapable limits as cognitive agents with regard to a full world of fact: the well-known metamathematical limits of axiomatic systems, limitations of explanation that doom a principle of sufficient reason, limitations of expression across all possible languages, and a simple but powerful argument regarding the limits of conceivability. In ways demonstrable even from within our limits, the full world of fact is inescapably beyond us. Here we propose that there must nonetheless be a totality of fact, and that despite our limits we can know something of its general character. The world as the totality of fact must form a plenum, with a radically unfamiliar formal structure that contains distinct elements corresponding to each element of its own power set.
190. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Eros M. de Carvalho Overcoming Intellectualism about Understanding and Knowledge: A Unified Approach
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In this paper I defend a unified approach to knowledge and understanding. Both are achievements due to cognitive abilities or skills. The difference between them is a difference of aspects. Knowledge emphasizes the successful aspect of an achievement and the exclusion of epistemic luck, whereas understanding emphasizes the agent's contribution in bringing about an achievement through the exercise of one's cognitive skills. Knowledge and understanding cannot be separated. I argue against the claim that understanding is distinct from knowledge because the former is compatible with environmental luck. Achievements rule out environmental luck because abilities can be exercised only in their proper environment. I also reject the intellectualist claim that understanding requires the ability to explain what one intends to understand. The understanding of an item is reflected in our ability to solve cognitive tasks using that item. The more tasks one can deal with by using an item, the deeper is one’s understanding of that item. Being able to explain why a claim holds is not necessary for possessing understanding, even though it may be necessary for accomplishing some very specific tasks. Neither understanding nor knowledge require any kind of second-order cognition by default.
191. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Finlay Malcolm Testimonial Insult: A Moral Reason for Belief?
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When you don’t believe a speaker’s testimony for reasons that call into question the speaker’s credibility, it seems that this is an insult against the speaker. There also appears to be moral reasons that count in favour of refraining from insulting someone. When taken together, these two plausible claims entail that we have a moral reason to refrain from insulting speakers with our lack of belief, and hence, sometimes, a moral reason to believe the testimony of speakers. Reasons for belief arising from nonepistemic sources are controversial, and it’s often argued that it’s impossible to base a belief on non-epistemic reasons. However, I will show that even if it is possible to base a belief on non-epistemic reasons, in the case of testimonial insult, for many or most cases, the moral reasons for belief don’t need to be the basis of our doxastic response. This is because there are, in many or most cases, either sufficient epistemic reasons for belief, or sufficient moral reasons for action that guide our response to testimony. Reasons from testimonial insult, in many cases, simply lead to overdetermination. Even if there are such moral reasons for belief, they are therefore practically unnecessary in many cases. There are, though, some cases in which they play an important role in guiding belief. This perhaps surprising conclusion is one unexplored way to defend epistemic over pragmatic reasons for belief.
192. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Howard Sankey Lakatosian Particularism
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This paper explores a particularist element in the theory of method of Imre Lakatos, who appealed to the value-judgements of élite scientists in the appraisal of competing theories of method. The role played by such value-judgements is strongly reminiscent of the epistemological particularism of Roderick Chisholm. Despite the existence of a clear parallel between the particularist approaches of both authors, it is argued that Lakatos’s approach is subject to a weakness that does not affect the approach of Chisholm.
193. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Kevin McCain Explanatory Virtues are Indicative of Truth
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In a recent issue of this journal, Miloud Belkoniene challenges explanationist accounts of evidential support in two ways. First, he alleges that there are cases that show explanatory virtues are not linked to the truth of hypotheses. Second, he maintains that attempts to show that explanatoriness is relevant to evidential support because it adds to the resiliency (stability) of probability functions fail. I contest both of Belkoniene’s claims.
194. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Mona Simion Epistemic Trouble for Engineering ‘Woman'
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This paper puts forth a functionalist difficulty for Sally Haslanger’s proposal for engineering our concept of ‘woman.’ It is argued that the project of bringing about better political function fulfillment cannot get off the ground in virtue of epistemic failure.
195. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Moti Mizrahi Gettier Cases, Mental States, and Best Explanations: Another Reply to Atkins
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I have argued that Gettier cases are misleading because, even though they appear to be cases of knowledge failure, they are in fact cases of semantic failure. Atkins has responded to my original paper and I have replied to his response. He has then responded again to insist that he has the so-called “Gettier intuition.” But he now admits that intuitions are only defeasible, not conclusive, evidence for and/or against philosophical theories. I address the implications of Atkins’ admission in this paper and I again show that his attempts to revise Gettier’s original cases such that they do not involve semantic failures are unsuccessful.
196. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
David Coss Contextualism and Context Voluntarism
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Contextualism is the view that the word ‘knows’ is context sensitive. While contextualism developed as a response to skepticism, there’s concern that it’s too easy for skeptics to undermine ordinary knowledge attributions. Once skeptical hypotheses are made salient, the skeptic seems to win. I first outline contextualism and its response to skepticism. I then explicate the resources contextualists have for protecting ordinary knowledge claims from skeptical worries. I argue that the dominate strains of contexualism naturally lend themselves to a restricted form of context voluntarism, according to which attributors (or subjects) can exercise a degree of voluntary control over the epistemically significant aspects of a conversational context, and consequently, ordinary knowledge attributions are true in a wide range of cases where skeptical hypotheses are entertained.
197. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Micah Dugas Relativism, Faultlessness, and the Epistemology of Disagreement
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Recent years have witnessed a revival of interest in relativism. Proponents have defended various accounts that seek to model the truth-conditions of certain propositions along the lines of standard possible world semantics. The central challenge for such views has been to explain what advantage they have over contextualist theories with regard to the possibility of disagreement. I will press this worry against Max Kölbel’s account of faultless disagreement. My case will proceed along two distinct but connected lines. First, I will argue that the sense of faultlessness made possible by his relativism conflicts with our intuitive understanding of disagreement. And second, that his meta-epistemological commitments are at odds with the socio-epistemic function of disagreement. This latter problem for relativistic accounts of truth has thus far been largely ignored in the literature.
198. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Kirk Lougheed Is Religious Experience a Solution to the Problem of Religious Disagreement?
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Many religious believers do not appear to take the existence of epistemic peer disagreement as a serious challenge to the rationality of their religious beliefs. They seem to think they have different evidence for their religious beliefs and hence aren’t really epistemic peers with their opponents. One underexplored potential evidential asymmetry in religious disagreements is based on investigations of religious experience attempting to offer relevant evidence for religious claims in objective and public terms. I conclude that private religious experience can provide a relevant evidential asymmetry between opponents in cases of religious disagreement. I further conclude that if a religious believer reports a private experience to a religious sceptic, the latter is pressured to conciliate in the direction of the believer, at least if they were epistemic peers prior to the experience.
199. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Tammo Lossau The Basis-Access Dilemma for Epistemological Disjunctivism
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Epistemological disjunctivists such as Duncan Pritchard claim that in paradigmatic cases of knowledge the rational support for the known propositions is both factive and reflectively accessible. This position faces some problems, including the basis problem – how can our knowledge be based on such strong reasons that seem to leave no room for non-knowledge and therefore presuppose knowledge? – and the access problem – can disjunctivists avoid the implausible claim that we can achieve knowledge through inference from our introspective awareness of those reasons? I argue that disjunctivists cannot solve both of these problems at the same time by posing the dilemma question whether we can have factive and reflectively accessible reasons without knowledge. While I focus on Pritchard throughout most of the paper, I argue in the last section that other anti-skeptical versions of disjunctivism face the same dilemma.
200. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Michael J. Shaffer Safety and the Preface Paradox
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In the preface paradox the posited author is supposed to know both that every sentence in a book is true and that not every sentence in that book is true. But, this result is paradoxically contradictory. The paradoxicality exhibited in such cases arises chiefly out of the recognition that large-scale and difficult tasks like verifying the truth of large sets of sentences typically involve errors even given our best efforts to be epistemically diligent. This paper introduces an argument designed to resolve the preface paradox so understood by appeal to the safety condition on knowledge