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William P. Alston.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2009 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), The History of Western Philosophy of Religion, Volume 5, Twentieth-Century Philosophers of Religion. New York: Routledge. pp. 221-232.details
This is a 12-page article on the life and work in philosophy of religion by William P. Alston (1921-2009).
This collection of newly commissioned essays, edited by NYU philosophers Paul Boghossian and Christopher Peacocke, resumes the current surge of interest in the proper explication of the notion of a priori. The authors discuss the relations of the a priori to the notions of definition, meaning, justification, and ontology, explore how the concept figured historically in the philosophies of Leibniz, Kant, Frege, and Wittgenstein, and address its role in the contemporary philosophies of logic, mathematics, mind, and science. The editors’ Introduction (...) familiarizes the reader with the issues that are to be explored in detail in later parts of the anthology. (shrink)
The imagination is ubiquitous in our cognitive lives. You might imagine rotating a puzzle piece to determine whether it fits in an open space, or imagine what things are like from another person's perspective to figure out how they are feeling, or imagine a new rug in your living room to determine whether it matches the color of your sofa. These examples are mundane, but they point to a deep philosophical puzzle: how could merely imagining something give you any reason (...) to believe that it is true? After all, you can imagine anything you want to, from the fictional to the fantastical. This has led many philosophers to be deeply skeptical of the epistemic value of the imagination. When imagination is accorded a justificatory role, it is typically limited to beliefs about what is metaphysically possible. More recently, some philosophers have begun to push back against this orthodoxy by arguing that the imagination can justify empirical beliefs about the actual world. But even then, most contemporary discussions focus on whether the imagination can justify empirical belief, rather than on how the imagination justifies empirical belief, thereby leaving many central questions about the epistemology of the imagination unanswered. This dissertation attempts to fill this lacuna by canvassing the theoretical landscape of this exciting new literature and developing an account of the epistemic structure of the imagination. The first chapter sets the stage for the rest of the dissertation by reviewing extant arguments for and against the view that the imagination can justify empirical belief before posing a new argument in its favor. The second chapter argues that imaginative justification is mediate but non-inferential; it depends on one’s prior justification without depending on an inference from one’s prior beliefs. The third chapter argues that the imagination is informative—it can represent new content and generate new justification—in virtue of its analog representational format. The fourth and final chapter argues that some imaginings just are beliefs, and that this grounds their justificatory force. Together, the arguments of this dissertation suggest that the imagination is a distinctive kind of ampliative reasoning, and that it plays this cognitive and epistemic role by combining the analog representational format of imagery with the evidence-sensitive function of belief. (shrink)
This paper defends three theses on the normativity of the suspension of judgment. First, even if beliefs have to fit the truth and disbelief the false, suspension can still have satisfiable fittingness conditions. Second, combining this view with specific theses on the link between fittingness and normative reasons in favour of attitudes commits one to the existence of reasons to suspend judgement, which are neither reasons to believe nor reasons to disbelieve. These independent reasons, in turn, generate a form of (...) epistemic permissivism. Finally, I argue that there are different routes to derive this commitment to independent reasons for suspending judgement. Not only fittingness-centred approaches to epistemic normativity but also many analyses in terms of reasons are committed to this form of epistemic permissivism. (shrink)
In analyzing implicit bias, one key issue is to clarify its metaphysical nature. In this paper, I develop a novel account of implicit bias by highlighting a particular kind of belief-like state that is partly constituted by phenomenal experiences. I call these states ‘qualiefs’ for three reasons: qualiefs draw upon qualitative experiences of what an object seems like to attribute a property to this very object, they share some of the distinctive features of proper beliefs, and they also share some (...) characteristics of what Gendler calls ‘aliefs’. I proceed as follows: First, I develop a general theory of qualiefs. Second, I argue that implicit bias involves generic qualiefs that involve experiences that have been shaped by stereotypes. Elaborating on the particular content of a generic qualief, I explain why we are unaware of the bias even though it involves an experience. Third, I demonstrate that the qualief-model best explains the key features of implicit bias: it accounts for the biases´ implicitness and automaticity. Moreover, it elucidates how implicit bias can be insensitive to logical form and evidence, but at the same time it can serve as propositional input to further mental states. (shrink)
When a belief has been influenced, in part or whole, by factors that, by the believer's own lights, do not bear on the truth of the believed proposition, we can say that the belief has been, in a sense, arbitrarily formed. Can such beliefs ever be rational? It might seem obvious that they can't. After all, belief, supposedly, “aims at the truth.” But many epistemologists have come to think that certain kinds of arbitrary beliefs can, indeed, be rational. In this (...) paper, I want to do two things. First, I want to show that the claim that arbitrary beliefs can be rational is inconsistent with the conjunction of two other attractive claims: one saying that rationality requires a certain kind of epistemic immodesty, and one saying that rationality forbids certain kinds of self-ascriptions of epistemic luck. Second, I want to evaluate different ways one might respond to this inconsistent triad. I won't defend any response in particular, but I'll draw out some notable costs and benefits of each response, which may help shed light on the question of whether arbitrary beliefs can be rational. (shrink)
In this paper I’ll suggest that a certain challenge facing defeatist views about higher-order evidence cannot be met, namely, motivating principles that recommend abandoning belief in cases of higher order defeat, but do not recommend global scepticism. I’ll propose that, ultimately, the question of whether to abandon belief in response to the realization that our belief can’t be recovered from what I’ll call ‘a perspective of doubt’ can’t be answered through rational deliberation aimed at truth or accuracy.
Traditionally epistemologists have taken doxastic states to come in three varieties—belief, disbelief, and suspension. Recently many epistemologists have taken our doxastic condition to be usefully represented by credences—quantified degrees of belief. Moreover, some have thought that this new credal picture is sufficient to account for everything we want to explain with the old traditional picture. Therefore, belief, disbelief, and suspension must map onto the new picture somehow. In this paper I challenge that possibility. Approaching the question from the angle of (...) suspension, I argue that all possible credal accounts face serious challenges. They either (i) falsify central claims that uphold the credal picture itself or (ii) do not permit suspension in cases where it is permissible or (iii) rule out the possibility of plainly possible confidence comparisons. (shrink)
L’epistemologia (detta anche filosofia della conoscenza o gnoseologia) è la disciplina filosofica che studia come gli esseri umani si rapportano da un punto di vista cognitivo alla realtà che li circonda. Le questioni fondamentali che la interessano sono principalmente di natura normativa. Riguardano il modo in cui dovremmo regolare le nostre credenze alla luce dell’informazione in nostro possesso, e la natura della conoscenza umana ed i suoi limiti. Questo capitolo è organizzato in modo corrispondente. La prima sezione tratta della nozione (...) di giustificazione epistemica, la seconda quella di conoscenza, e la terza introduce il problema filosofico dello scetticismo. (shrink)
Expressions of the form 'S is aware of the fact that p' are commonplace. This book provides a systematic exploration of the relation between knowledge and factual awareness, arguing that knowledge is but one species of factual awareness and that we can understand the possession of objective reasons, the normativity of knowledge, and the nature of knowledge in terms of factual awareness. In this way, the state of factual awareness is, structurally and substantively, a more basic type of state than (...) knowledge. If correct, this undermines a number of ways in which knowledge has been regarded as ‘first’ in recent epistemology. (shrink)
Normativity is both one of the most important and ubiquitous of phenomena and, despite its historical centrality to philosophy, one of the least understood. The idea that there might be objective, attitude-independent, truths about what we ought to do (morality), what we ought to believe (rationality) or what we ought to appreciate (aesthetics), has always seemed very puzzling to philosophers, even though ordinary thought seems steeped in such judgments. -/- Up until quite recently, the received view was that there was (...) no good way to make sense of such a realistic, objectivist construal of normativity, that we have to make do with one or another anti-realistic alternative, principally, Expressivism, some forms of Constructivism, or Relativism. However, the well-known difficulties with these anti-realist options have motivated philosophers, most especially younger ones, to take a fresh look at Realism and to assess and develop it in new ways. Sometimes the result is that Realism is seen to be better protected against classic objections than had been previously realized; at others, the result seems to be that Realism is even harder to defend, and perhaps even harder to understand, than traditional thinking had allowed. The upshot is a vigorous and stimulating debate that is just beginning to take shape and whose outcome is far from resolved. -/- The main impulse behind the present volume was to commission new work on Normative Realism by a mix of senior and junior scholars to give the philosophical community a useful sense of the current state of play on this central topic. ... (shrink)
This is a three-part exchange on the relationship between belief and credence. It begins with an opening essay by Roger Clarke that argues for the claim that the notion of credence generalizes the notion of belief. Julia Staffel argues in her reply that we need to distinguish between mental states and models representing them, and that this helps us explain what it could mean that belief is a special case of credence. Roger Clarke's final essay reflects on the compatibility of (...) the previously discussed views with dualist and monist interpretations of our mental states and our ways of modeling them. (shrink)
Abstract: This is necessarily an evolutionary work in progress. Its purpose and goal is enabling real progress of science, mathematics, society, and civilization. Thus, to accomplish the mission, upgrading the current sociocultural paradigm is essential. That makes holistic ontology and optimal epistemics essential to ongoing work and to further development of new theory and metatheory. Hence, the current listings of key terms, definitions, and explanations presented here provide some core concepts and supporting theorems, metatheorems, equations, and examples. That enables remedial (...) revision of relevant domains of thought and discourse. The project is also intended to inspire collaborative extension and ongoing refinement of the work. The appendices provide additional perspective. ~ A preprint draft, v.2e, for review and comment only. (shrink)
Primera versión al español de la Tesis en opción al grado científico de doctor en ciencias filosóficas El reflejo valorativo de la realidad y su papel en las actividades cognoscitiva y práctica. El objetivo general del trabajo consistió en mostrar la naturaleza del reflejo valorativo de la realidad y su nexo orgánico con las actividades cognoscitiva y práctica. El alcance de este objetivo presupuso solucionar las siguientes tareas: 1.- definir el objeto del reflejo valorativo; 2.- develar la naturaleza de la (...) valoración como fenómeno subjetivo; 3.- describir el mecanismo de interrelación de la valoración con el conocimiento en la estructura de la conciencia humana; 4.- puntualizar el papel de la valoración en el movimiento de la práctica al conocimiento y del conocimiento a la práctica). (shrink)
In this paper I consider the project of offering an evolutionary debunking explanation for transparency in doxastic deliberation. I examine Nicole Dular and Nikki Fortier’s (2021) attempt at such a project. I suggest that their account faces a dilemma. On the one horn, their explanation of transparency involves casting our mechanisms for belief formation as solely concerned with truth. I argue that this is explanatorily inadequate when we take a wider view of our belief formation practices. I show that Dular (...) and Fortier overstate the extent to which adaptive non-evidentially supported beliefs are rare, and the implausibility of disjunctive evolutionary systems. They should allow a role for the non-truth directed behaviour of our mechanisms of belief formation. On the other hand, we might restrict the explanation offered by Dular and Fortier to the deliberative context, that is, we might understand them as allowing for non-evidential belief formation outside of the deliberative context, but as identifying the key to explaining transparency in the truth-directed evolutionary mechanisms as they operate in the deliberative context. However, this would land them on the second horn of the dilemma: we would then have no different an explanation to one I have offered elsewhere (2018), an explanation which Dular and Fortier explicitly put aside as engaged in a project different from their own. I finish by briefly considering some broader implications relating to explaining transparency, the nature of belief, and the prospects for pragmatism. I conclude that Dular and Fortier’s debunking explanation of transparency bestows an implausible role for truth in fixing our beliefs, or, if it doesn’t, then we simply have the restatement of a view explicitly disavowed by the authors. We are left, then, with an explanation we ought not want, or an explanation we already had. (shrink)
This paper explores Landmann-Kalischer’s analogy between the sensing of secondary qualities and the feeling of values in her work “Philosophie der Werte” (Philosophy of Values) (1910). Attention is paid to the epistemic motivation of the analogy, the distinction between pure feelings and affects, and the relation of pure feelings to value judgments. Her account is contrasted with two other accounts of the Brentanian tradition: Scheler’s approach within early phenomenology and Meinong’s account within the Graz School. I demonstrate that Landmann-Kalischer’s pioneering (...) work helped to forge a new view of affectivity which became dominant among Brentano’s followers. According to this new view, there is a type of affective experience which is both intentional and cognitive. More precisely, she argued that the affective experience in question is a feeling. The paper also argues that her account can enrich today’s meta-ethical research. It is argued that her account of pure feelings provides arguments against the view that makes emotions responsible for the apprehension of value. Furthermore, it is shown that we need an analysis of how objective knowledge of value can be obtained from our affective intuitions. -/- . (shrink)
Intractable disagreements are commonly analyzed in terms of the semantic opposition of (at least) couples of disputed beliefs (purely epistemic view, from here on PEV). While such a view seems to be a very natural starting point, my intuitions are that such an approach is misleadingly unrealistic, and that an empirical modeling towards how individuals hold beliefs in intractable opposition constitutes a strong defeater for PEV. My work addresses disagreements within the religious domain. Accordingly, I will be concerned with developing (...) my empirical understanding of religious beliefs, and will show the consequences of such proposal on how to answer the problem of religious diversity. (shrink)
Sometimes, we face choices between actions most likely to lead to valuable outcomes, and actions which put us in a better position to learn. These choices exemplify what is called the exploration/exploitation trade-off. In computer science and psychology, this trade-off has fruitfully been applied to modulating the way agents or systems make choices over time. This article extends the trade-off to belief. We can be torn between two ways of believing, one of which is expected to be more accurate in (...) light of current evidence, whereas the other is expected to lead to more learning opportunity and accuracy in the long run. Further, it is sometimes rationally permissible to choose the latter. The article breaks down the features of action which give rise to the trade-off, and then argues that each feature applies equally well to belief. This conclusion is an instance of a systematic, foreseeable way in which what is rational to believe now depends on what one expects to be doing in the future. That is, epistemic rationality fundamentally concerns time. (shrink)
Consider a simple form of process reliabilism: S is justified in believing that p if and only if S’s belief that p was formed through a reliable process. Such accounts are thought to face a counter-example in the form of defeaters. It seems possible that a belief might result from a reliable belief forming process and yet be unjustified because one possesses a defeater with respect to that belief. This counter-example is merely apparent. The problem of defeaters is just a (...) special case of the generality problem, i.e., the problem of determining which of the process types instantiated by a process token is relevant to determining that reliability of the process token. Drawing on similarities between cases that involve defeaters and cases that involve adverse local conditions, e.g., a white-out blizzard, I argue that any adequate solution to the generality problem for all cases that don’t involve defeaters will pick out an unreliable process type as relevant in cases that do involve defeaters. Thus, there is no sui generis problem of defeaters for simple process reliablism. (shrink)
While epistemologists routinely employ disbelief talk, it is not clear that they really mean it, given that they often equate disbelieving p with believing ¬p. I argue that this is a mistake—disbelief is a doxastic attitude of rejection and is distinct from belief. I first clarify this claim and its opposition, then show that we must distinguish disbelieving p from believing ¬p in order to account for the fact that we continue to hold doxastic attitudes toward propositions that we reject. (...) After defending this argument against some possible objections, I examine several cases that reveal disbelieving p to be not only non-identical to believing ¬p, but independent of that attitude as well. Finally, I sketch some immediate and potential consequences of recognizing disbelief as a distinct doxastic attitude, particularly for work on epistemic rationality. (shrink)
_Concept Formation_ is the final part of the trilogy _Forms of Representation in the Aristotelian Tradition_. It investigates some of the most perplexing and provocative discussions on conceptual thinking in the Greek, Latin, and Arabic reception of Aristotle’s psychology.
"Divided chronologically into four volumes, The Philosophy of Knowledge: A History presents the history of one of Western philosophy's greatest challenges: understanding the nature of knowledge. Each volume follows conceptions of knowledge that have been proposed, defended, replaced, and proposed anew. Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy covers discussions about scientific knowledge, social knowledge, and self-knowledge, along with attempts to understand knowledge naturalistically, contextually, and normatively. How did contemporary epistemology begin? What shape is it now in? What future seems to await it? (...) The past hundred or so years have included excitement, puzzlement, and apparent progress within epistemology. This volume conveys much of that philosophical ferment and energy."--Bloomsbury Publishing. (shrink)
Evidentialists say that a necessary condition of sound epistemic reasoning is that our beliefs reflect only our evidence. This thesis arguably conflicts with standard Bayesianism, due to the importance of prior probabilities in the latter. Some evidentialists have responded by modelling belief-states using imprecise probabilities (Joyce 2005). However, Roger White (2010) and Aron Vallinder (2018) argue that this Imprecise Bayesianism is incompatible with evidentialism due to “inertia”, where Imprecise Bayesian agents become stuck in a state of ambivalence towards hypotheses. Additionally, (...) escapes from inertia apparently only create further conflicts with evidentialism. This dilemma gives a reason for evidentialist imprecise probabilists to look for alternatives without inertia. I shall argue that Henry E. Kyburg’s approach offers an evidentialist-friendly imprecise probability theory without inertia, and that its relevant anti-inertia features are independently justified. I also connect the traditional epistemological debates concerning the “ethics of belief” more systematically with formal epistemology than has been hitherto done. (shrink)
The ideas I suggest and will attempt to explore can be expressed and conceptualized in many ways. -/- Wittgenstein suggested that there are things that cannot be talked about. -/- I suggest that we most likely have ideas, attitudes, words, conceptions, notions, values, standards, opinions, etc when we approach any work of art or perceive anything as art or aesthetic. Just as we have notions, ideas etc concerning spirituality and spiritual phenomena. -/- But during the interaction with those things, when (...) having a direct experience or consciousness, an awareness of them we do not employ words, ideas or concepts. -/- Of course we can and most likely will reflect on those experiences and the things we have or had experiences of. At that stage we will use concepts in those contexts we will use notions and verbalize things - after the experiences, after the event. We will also, most likely, reflect on those phenomena and experiences. -/- I then continue to place this state or stage of pre- or non- or not yet conceptual/ity in the larger contexts of consciousness, anthropocentered socio-cultural practices and the universe or multiverse. (shrink)
Defendendo a união entre a razão e a experiência como a possibilidade de instauração do desenvolvimento científico, Bacon se contrapõe à indução aristotélica enquanto procedimento que implica a enumeração de casos particulares tendo em vista o objetivo de encontrar o geral existente em todos e em cada um deles em um processo que se detém na soma de fatos, limitando-se à comunicação, na medida em que não tem capacidade de empreender a descoberta do conhecimento. Dessa forma, sobrepondo-se ao acúmulo de (...) fatos sem método, Bacon institui a indução por subtração enquanto processo baseado na eliminação sistemática de experiências inconclusivas, que converge para atribuir valor às experiências negativas e impede as generalizações prematuras, instaurando o experimento enquanto experiência guiada e disciplinada pelo intelecto na fundação do empirismo moderno. (shrink)
George Bealer provides an account of intuitions as “intellectual seemings.” My purpose in this paper is to criticize the phenomenological considerations that Bealer offers in favor of his account. In the first part I review Bealer’s attempt to distinguish intuitions from beliefs, judgments, guesses, and hunches. I examine each of the three phenomenological differences – incorrigibility, implasticity, and scope – that Bealer adduces between intuitions and these other types of mental contents. I argue that any difference between intuitions and these (...) other types of mental contents with regards to their incorrigibility, implasticity, and scope is unproven and likely to remain unproven. In the second part I criticize Bealer’s analogy between intuitions and sensory seemings by suggesting that intuitions do not display the theoretical virtues—consistency, corroboration, and confirmation—that Bealer claims for them. Moreover, I suggest that intuitions do not display the theoretical virtue that would indicate a similarity to sensory seemings, consilience. (shrink)
МЕТОДОЛОГИЯ ОРГАНИЗАЦИИ ГЛОБАЛЬНОГО БИЗНЕСА Разработана методология организации глобального бизнеса, позволяющая проектировать, создавать, администрировать, трансформировать и продавать легальный бизнес, а также предусматривает возможность развития компании от стартапа до глобальной корпорации в странах с рыночной и трансформационной экономикой. -/- МЕТОДОЛОГІЯ ОРГАНИЗАЦІЇ ГЛОБАЛЬНОГО БІЗНЕСУ Розроблено методологію організації глобального бізнесу, що дозволяє проектувати, створювати, адмініструвати, трансформувати та продавати легальний бізнес й передбачає можливість розвитку компанії від стартапу до глобальної корпорації у країнах з ринковою та трансформаційною економікою. -/- GLOBAL BUSINESS ORGANIZATION METHODOLOGY A methodology for (...) organizing a global business has been developed that allows you to design, create, administer, transform and sell a legitimate business, and also provides for the possibility of developing a company from a startup to a global corporation in countries with market and transformational economies. (shrink)
Emotions might contribute to our being rational cognitive agents. Anxiety – and more specifically epistemic anxiety – provides an especially interesting case study into the role of emotion for adaptive cognition. In this paper, I aim at clarifying the epistemic contribution of anxiety, and the role that ill-calibrated anxiety might play in maladaptive epistemic activities which can be observed in psychopathology. In particular, I argue that this emotion contributes to our ability to adapt our cognitive efforts to how we represent (...) the practical factors relevant to the task at hand, by sig- naling the need for increased cognitive processing and evidence gathering in high- stakes situations. I hypothesize that dysfunctional or ill-calibrated epistemic anxiety might play an important role in the motivation driving persons with obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) to invest high amounts of cognitive resources into the resolution of apparently simple and innocuous questions. As I argue, OCD might be conceived as a case in which epistemic anxiety is inappropriately elicited, represent- ing these as high-stakes questions, and inadequately signaling a need for cognition. In this paper, I thus make use of the concept of (epistemic) anxiety as developed in the philosophy of emotion and in epistemology, to propose an account of the role of anxiety in the pathological doubt that is central to obsessive-compulsive disorder. (shrink)
According to the usual way of understanding how true knowledge attribution works, it is not right to attribute knowledge of p to S unless p is true and S is justified in believing p. This assumption seems to hold even if we shun away from the idea that we can give an analysis of knowledge in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. I want to raise some suspicions on the correctness of this traditional picture. I suggest that justification is not (...) always perceived as a necessary condition for true knowledge attribution, according to our pre-theoretical usage of standard epistemic terms. This is not to say that justification is never seen as an important requirement; sometimes it certainly is. Still, the full-fledged, traditional position on epistemic justification needs to be seriously qualified. Ultimately, I will contend that this result lends support to a rival epistemological standpoint — what we might dub a Moderate Peircean stance on epistemic matters. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 19 Epistemic akrasia refers to the possibility of forming an attitude that fails to conform to one’s best judgment. In this paper, I will be concerned with the question whether epistemic akrasia is rational and I will argue that it is not. Addressing this question, in turn, raises the question of the epistemic significance of higher-order evidence. After examining some of the views on this subject, I will present an argument to show why higher-order evidence is (...) relevant to the epistemic status of the pertinent first-order beliefs. This helps to show why a standard argument for the rationality of epistemic akrasia does not work. Finally, I shall try to show how considerations involving Davidson’s theory of radical interpretation bear on the question of the rationality of epistemic akrasia. (shrink)
In this paper I scrutinize the “rational beliefs” in the concept of rationalizability in strategic games [Bernheim, Pearce ]. I illustrate through an example that a rationalizable strategy may not be supported by a “rational belief”, at least under one plausible interpretation of “rational belief”. I offer an alternative formulation of “rational belief” in the concept of rationalizability, which yields a novel epistemic interpretation of the notion of point-rationalizability.
There are two prominent viewpoints regarding the nature of rationality and how it should be evaluated in situations of interest: the traditional axiomatic approach and the newer ecological rationality. An obstacle to comparing and evaluating these seemingly opposite approaches is that they employ different language and formalisms, ask different questions, and are at different stages of development. I adapt a formal framework known as SCOP to address this problem by providing a comprehensive common framework in which both approaches may be (...) defined and compared. The main result is that the axiomatic and ecological approaches are in far greater agreement on fundamental issues than has been appreciated; this is supported by a pair of theorems to the effect that they will make accordant rationality judgements when forced to evaluate the same situation. I conclude that ecological rationality has some subtle advantages, but that we should move past the issues currently dominating the discussion of rationality. (shrink)
Discussions of the role of intuition in philosophical methodology typically proceed within the knowledge-centred framework of mainstream analytic epistemology. Either implicitly or explicitly, the primary questions in metaphilosophy frequently seem to revolve around whether or not intuition is a source of justification, evidence, or knowledge. I argue that this Standard Framework is inappropriate for methodological purposes: the epistemic standards that govern inquiry in philosophy are more stringent than the standards that govern everyday cognition. The experimentalist should instead view her criticisms (...) as analogous to calls for the use of double-blinding in science. (shrink)
Self-consciously attempting to shape one's beliefs through deliberation and reasoning requires that one stand in a relation to those beliefs that might be signaled by saying that one must inhabit one's beliefs as one's own view. What does this amount to? A broad swath of philosophical thinking about self-knowledge, norms of belief, self-consciousness, and related areas assumes that this relation requires one to endorse, or be rationally committed to endorsing, one's beliefs. In fact, however, fully self-conscious adherence to epistemic norms (...) requires the ability to self-consciously hold a belief without endorsing that belief as true, as well-supported by the evidence, or as meeting some other epistemic standard, and there are cases in which no such commitment is rationally required. This ability is necessary if there is to be any such thing as a fully self-conscious process of changing one's mind. (shrink)
In a recent essay Duncan Pritchard argues that there is no fundamental epistemological distinction between religious belief and ordinary or non-religious belief. Both of them – so he maintains in the footsteps of Wittgenstein's On certainty – are ultimately grounded on a-rational commitments, namely, commitments unresponsive to rational criteria. I argue that, while this view can be justified theologically, it cannot be advanced philosophically as Pritchard assumes.I offer an account of Aquinas's reflection on faith and reason to show that the (...) theologian – not the philosopher – is entitled to deal with a-rational commitments, because the truths of faith can be seen as simply intellectual – like the rational statements considered by the philosopher – but also as decisions made by way of divine grace. I also suggest that Pritchard's thesis may be re-proposed on a new basis, if Aquinas's theological stance were reinterpreted so as to point out unexpected connections between theology and philosophy. (shrink)
There is widespread disagreement about whether epistemic akrasia is possible. This paper argues that the possibility of epistemic akrasia follows from a traditional rationalist conception of epistemic critical reasoning, together with considerations about the fallibility of our capacities for reasoning. In addition to defending the view that epistemic akrasia is possible, we aim to shed light on why it is possible. By focusing on critical epistemic reasoning, we show how traditional rationalist assumptions about our core cognitive capacities help to explain (...) the possibility of epistemic akrasia. (shrink)
When you believe something for a good reason, your belief is in a position to be justified, rational, responsible, or to count as knowledge. But what is the nature of this thing that can make such a difference? Traditionally, epistemologists thought of epistemic normative notions, such as reasons, in terms of the believer's psychological perspective. Recently, however, many have started thinking of them as factive: good reasons for belief are either facts, veridical experiences, or known propositions. This ground breaking volume (...) reflects major recent developments in thinking about this 'Factive Turn', and advances the lively debate around it in relation to core epistemological themes including perception, evidence, justification, knowledge, scepticism, rationality, and action. With clear and comprehensive chapters written by leading figures in the field, this book will be essential for students and scholars looking to engage with the state of the art in epistemology. (shrink)