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221. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Notes to Contributors
222. 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.’
223. 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.
224. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 5 > Issue: 4
Notes on the Contributors
225. 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.
226. 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
227. 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.
228. 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.
229. 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.
230. 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.
231. 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.
232. 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.
233. 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.
234. 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.’
235. 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.
236. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Notes on the Contributors
237. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Mihai Hîncu Predicates of Personal Taste and Faultless Disagreement
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In this paper, I focus on the disputes arising in regions of discourse in which bare sentences with predicates of personal taste occur. After I introduce, in thefirst section, the distinction between the disputes arising in regions of discourse concerning objective matters of fact and those arising in regions of discourse about subjective matters of personal taste, I present, in the second section, the solutions which the main semantic theories have offered to the puzzle of faultless disagreement. In the third and the fourth section of the paper, I discuss the proposal advocated by truth perspectivalism, according to which the disputes concerning matters of personal taste constitute faultless disagreements. After I present the solution proposed by Kölbel to an argument whose conclusion establishes that no disagreement can be faultless, I show that this solution presents major disadvantages for truth perspectivalism. These disadvantages highlight the fact that the disputes concerning matters of personal taste, as they are construed in truth perspectivalism, do not constitute authentic examples offaultless disagreements, and that the coherence of the semantic program which truth perspectivalism advocates, with regard to sentences from regions of discourse about matters of personal taste, must be put in doubt.
238. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Horia-Roman Patapievici The ‘Pierre Duhem Thesis.’ A Reappraisal of Duhem’s Discovery of the Physics of the Middle Ages
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Pierre Duhem is the discoverer of the physics of the Middle Ages. The discovery that there existed a physics of the Middle Ages was a surprise primarily forDuhem himself. This discovery completely changed the way he saw the evolution of physics, bringing him to formulate a complex argument for the growth and continuity of scientific knowledge, which I call the ‘Pierre Duhem Thesis’ (not to be confused either with what Roger Ariew called the ‘true Duhem thesis’ as opposed to the Quine-Duhem thesis, which he persuasively argued is not Duhem’s, or with the famous ‘Quine-Duhem Thesis’ itself). The ‘Pierre Duhem Thesis’ consists of five sub-theses (some transcendental in nature, some other causal, factual, or descriptive), which are not independent, as they do not work separately (but only as a system) and do not relate to reality separately (but only simultaneously). The famous and disputed ‘continuity thesis’ is part, as a sub-thesis, from this larger argument. I argue that the ‘Pierre Duhem Thesis’ wraps up all of Duhem’s discoveries in the history of science and as a whole represents his main contribution to the historiography of science. The ‘Pierre Duhem Thesis’ is the central argument of Pierre Duhem's work as historian of science.
239. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Erik Krag Coherentism and Belief Fixation
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Plantinga argues that cases involving ‘fixed’ beliefs refute the coherentist thesis that a belief’s belonging to a coherent set of beliefs suffices for its havingjustification (warrant). According to Plantinga, a belief cannot be justified if there is a ‘lack of fit’ between it and its subject’s experiences. I defend coherentism by showing that if Plantinga means to claim that any ‘lack of fit’ destroys justification, his argument is obviously false. If he means to claim that significant ‘lack of fit’ destroys justification, his argument suffers a critical lack of support. Either way, Plantinga’s argument fails and coherentism emerges unscathed.
240. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Juan Comesaña, Carolina Sartorio Easy Knowledge Makes No Difference: Reply to Wielenberg
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We have recently proposed a diagnosis of what goes wrong in cases of ‘easy-knowledge.’ Erik Wielenberg argues that there are cases of easy knowledge thatour proposal cannot handle. In this note we reply to Wielenberg, arguing that our proposal does indeed handle his cases.