Mind and body have been reunited by the "affective turn" in philosophy and (neuro-) psychology. Yet, for centuries they have been painstakingly kept apart, for a specific reason. Methodologically, to find out about the world, apply justice or follow news, independent confirmation has always been indispensable. As it turns out, it also plays an important role in our personal everyday lives, to stay away from depersonalization- or derealization disorders and mainly to become and stay happy.
NOTE: This paper is a reworking of some aspects of an earlier paper – ‘What else justification could be’ and also an early draft of chapter 2 of Between Probability and Certainty. I'm leaving it online as it has a couple of citations and there is some material here which didn't make it into the book (and which I may yet try to develop elsewhere). My concern in this paper is with a certain, pervasive picture of epistemic justification. On this (...) picture, acquiring justification for believing something is essentially a matter of minimising one’s risk of error – so one is justified in believing something just in case it is sufficiently likely, given one’s evidence, to be true. This view is motivated by an admittedly natural thought: If we want to be fallibilists about justification then we shouldn’t demand that something be certain – that we completely eliminate error risk – before we can be justified in believing it. But if justification does not require the complete elimination of error risk, then what could it possibly require if not its minimisation? If justification does not require epistemic certainty then what could it possibly require if not epistemic likelihood? When all is said and done, I’m not sure that I can offer satisfactory answers to these questions – but I will attempt to trace out some possible answers here. The alternative picture that I’ll outline makes use of a notion of normalcy that I take to be irreducible to notions of statistical frequency or predominance. (shrink)
One leading account of justification comes from the evidentialist tradition. According to evidentialists, whether a doxastic attitude is justified depends on whether that attitude is supported by the believer’s evidence. This chapter assesses the prospects for evidentialism, focusing on the question of whether evidentialists can provide a satisfactory account of their key notions – evidence possession and evidential support – without helping themselves to the notion of justification.
I respond to Tim Smartt’s (2023) skepticism about epistemic blame. Smartt’s skepticism is based on the claims that i) mere negative epistemic evaluation can better explain everything proponents of epistemic blame say we need epistemic blame to explain; and ii) no existing account of epistemic blame provides a plausible account of the putative force that any response deserving the label “blame” ought to have. He focuses primarily on the prominent “relationship-based” account of epistemic blame to defend these claims, arguing that (...) the account is explanatorily idle, and cannot distinguish between epistemically excused and epistemically blameworthy agents. I argue that Smartt mischaracterizes the account’s role for judgments of epistemic relationship impairment, leading to mistaken claims about the account’s predictions. I also argue that the very feature of the account that Smartt mischaracterizes is key to understanding what epistemic blame does for our epistemic responsibility practices that mere negative epistemic evaluation cannot. (shrink)
There is a felt difference between following an argument to its conclusion and keeping up with an argument in your judgments while failing to see how its conclusion follows from its premises. In the first case there’s what I’m calling an inferential seeming, in the second case there isn’t. Inferential seemings exhibit a cluster of functional and normative characteristics whose integration in one mental state is puzzling. Several recent accounts of inferring suggest inferential seemings play a significant role in the (...) process, but none provides a fully satisfactory understanding of inferential seemings themselves. In this paper I critically examine theoretical options on offer in the existing literature, then develop an alternative view. I discuss implications for recent debates about general principles governing inference, such as Fumerton’s Principle of Inferential Justification and Boghossian’s Taking Condition. (shrink)
Phenomenal conservatives claim that seemings are sui generis mental states and can thus provide foundational non-doxastic justification for beliefs. Many of their critics deny this, claiming, instead, that seemings can be reductively analyzed in terms of other mental states—either beliefs, inclinations to believe, or beliefs about one’s evidence—that cannot provide foundational non-doxastic justification. In this paper, I argue that no tenable semantic reduction of ‘seems’ can be formulated in terms of the three reductive analyses that have been proposed by critics (...) of phenomenal conservatism. This is because Moore-paradoxical statements are generated when each of the reductive analyses is substituted for ‘seems’ in statements like ‘The stick is straight, but it does not seem to me that it’s straight.’ Since the latter statement is not Moore-paradoxical, the three proposed reductive analyses of ‘seems’ are unsuccessful. Absent a successful semantic reduction, however, there is no good reason to think a successful metaphysical reduction of seemings is forthcoming. Thus, there is an additional reason, unnoticed in the existing literature, to think that seemings are sui generis mental states. (shrink)
Robert Audi’s Seeing, Knowing, & Doing argues that knowledge does not entail justification, given a broadly externalist conception of knowledge and an access internalist conception of justification, where justification requires the ability to cite one’s grounds or reasons. On this view, animals and small children can have knowledge while lacking justification. About cases like these and others, Audi concludes that knowledge does not entail justification. But the access internalist sense of “justification” is but one of at least two ordinary senses (...) of the term. On a broader or looser sense, “justification” means “being in the right” where that involves meeting a standard or norm. I argue that the beliefs of animals and small children can then meet standards or norms associated with truth and knowledge such that their beliefs may count as justified in this broader or looser sense. I then question whether knowledge fails to entail justification on this broader sense. (shrink)
In this paper I use insights from exploratory analyses on large English language corpora to consider the extent to which there is a widely-used ordinary notion of justification that attaches to beliefs. I will show that this has ramifications for one broad approach to theorising about justification – the folk justification approach. I will argue that the corpus-based findings presented pose a challenge to the folk justification approach insofar as they suggest that “justify” is not widely-used talk about the justification (...) of our beliefs. I will conclude by presenting the possible solutions to this challenge, and remarking on their feasibility. (shrink)
Matthew McGrath has recently challenged all theories that allow for immediate perceptual justification. This challenge comes by way of arguing for what he calls the “Looks View” of visual justification, which entails that our visual beliefs that are allegedly immediately justified are in fact mediately justified based on our independent beliefs about the looks of things. This paper shows that McGrath’s arguments are unsound or, at the very least, that they do not cause genuine concern for the species of dogmatism (...) called “Phenomenal Explanationism”, recently introduced and defended by Kevin McCain and Luca Moretti. (shrink)
As a slew of recent work in epistemology has brought out, there is a range of cases where there's a strong temptation to say that prudential and (especially) moral considerations affect what we ought to believe. There are two distinct models of how this can happen. On the first, “reasons pragmatist” model, the relevant prudential and moral considerations constitute distinctively practical reasons for (or against) belief. On the second, “pragmatic encroachment” model, the relevant prudential and moral considerations affect what one (...) is epistemically justified in believing. The pragmatic encroachment model appears to have several advantages over reasons pragmatism, and this has led many recent philosophers to endorse the former. However, in this paper we argue that a version of reasons pragmatism can be (at least largely) saved from these purported disadvantages once paired with an independently plausible permissivism about epistemically justified outright belief. This hybrid view—“permissivist pragmatism”—holds that when there is more than one epistemically permitted doxastic attitude, practical (including moral) considerations can determine which epistemically permitted doxastic attitude one all-things-considered ought to have. This view avoids both the problems faced by simple versions of reasons pragmatism, and those that distinctively attend pragmatic encroachment, while preserving the advantages of each view. (shrink)
This essay aims to motivate an epistemic non-individualistic conception of reflection. The proposal is non-individualistic because (a) it addresses more than individual metacognitive performance and (b) it refers to a situation in which two or more people are in dialogical disagreement about the same subject matter or target proposition; (c) their dispute is based on conversational space and they are entitled to expect one another to be engaged in attempts at truth, avoidance of error, and understanding. I call this proposal (...) a Dialectical account of Reflection (DaR). According to (DaR), reflection is a conscious and intentional intellectual operation through which an individual becomes aware of the contents of disputed beliefs in a dialogical or interpersonal exchange, involving both her own beliefs and the beliefs of her interlocutors. In (DaR), reflection produces the epistemic good of avoiding epistemic vices and promoting epistemic moderation. (shrink)
Self-fulfilling beliefs are, in at least some cases, a kind of belief that is rational to form and hold in the absence of evidence. The rationality of such beliefs have significant implications for a range of debates in epistemology. Most startlingly, it undermines the idea that having sufficient evidence for the truth of p is necessary for it to be rational to believe p. The rationality of self-fulfilling beliefs is here defended against the idea that their rationality is incompatible with (...) a compelling closure principle. (shrink)
In this article, I discuss three distinct but related puzzles involving lotteries: Kyburg’s lottery paradox, the statistical evidence problem, and the Harman-Vogel paradox. Kyburg’s lottery paradox is the following well-known problem: if we identify rational outright belief with a rational credence above a threshold, we seem to be forced to admit either that one can have inconsistent rational beliefs, or that one cannot rationally believe anything one is not certain of. The statistical evidence problem arises from the observation that people (...) seem to resist forming outright beliefs whenever the available evidence for the claim under consideration is purely statistical. We need explanations of whether it is in fact irrational to form such beliefs, and of whether a clear distinction can be drawn between statistical and non-statistical evidence. The Harman-Vogel paradox is usually presented as a paradox about knowledge: we tend to assume that we can know so-called ordinary propositions, such as the claim that I will be in Barcelona next spring. Yet, we hesitate to make knowledge claims regarding so-called lottery propositions, such as the claim that I won’t die in a car crash in the next few months, even if these lottery propositions are obviously entailed by the ordinary propositions we claim to know. Depending on one’s view about the relationship between rational belief and knowledge, the Harman-Vogel paradox has ramifications for a theory of rational outright belief. Formal theories of the relationship between rational credence and rational belief, such as Leitgeb’s stability theory, tend to focus mostly on handling Kyburg’s lottery paradox, but not the other two puzzles I mention. My aim in this article is to draw out relationships and differences between the puzzles, and to examine to what extent existing formal solutions to Kyburg’s lottery paradox help with answering the statistical evidence problem and the Harman-Vogel paradox. (shrink)
Mary Shepherd (1777–1847) was a fierce and brilliant critic of Berkeley and Hume, who moreover offered strikingly original positive views about the nature of reality and our access to it which deserve much more attention (and credit, since she anticipates many prominent views) than they have received thus far. By way of illustration, I focus on Shepherd's 1824 Essay Upon the Relation of Cause and Effect, Controverting the Doctrine of Mr. Hume, Concerning the Nature of that Relation (ERCE). After a (...) brief setup, I canvas certain of her trenchant objections to Hume’s argumentation; I then present the positive core of her response to Hume, which consists in providing novel accounts of how reason alone or reason coupled with experience can justify, first, that every effect must have a cause, and second, that it is necessary that like causes produce like effects. Among other contributions here, Shepherd provides a distinctively metaphysical argument for the claim that nothing can begin to exist 'of itself' (going beyond an appeal to the Principle of Sufficient Reason, in particular), and leverages difference-making considerations to make the case that a single 'experimentum crucis' can justify causal belief (anticipating Mill's 'method of difference'). I close by highlighting salient features of Shepherd's metaphysics of causation, whereby causation is singularist and local (anticipating Ducasse and Anscombe) and involves synchronic interactions (anticipating Mill's and certain contemporary accounts), and according to which objects are essentially characterized by their causes and effects (anticipating contemporary causal or dispositional essentialist positions). (shrink)
Corroborating evidence supports a proposition that is already supported by other initial evidence. It bolsters or confirms the original body of evidence. Corroboration has striking psychological and epistemic force: It potently affects how people do and should assess the target proposition. This essay investigates the distinctive powers of corroborating evidence. Corroboration does not simply increase the quantifiable probability of the adjudicated claim. Drawing on the relevant alternatives framework, I argue that corroboration winnows remaining uneliminated error possibilities. This illuminates the independence, (...) weight, and non-fungibility of corroborating evidence. I compare corroborating evidence to prudential safeguards, like fire doors, that forfend against non-epistemic harms. I thereby sketch a general, non-quantificational model of risk management. Finally, I turn to legal corroboration requirements and the epistemic significance of corroboration for legal proof. (shrink)
This book develops a novel account of the connections between justification, understanding, and knowledge. It lays the foundation for a more systematic and interconnected treatment of these central notions in epistemology. -/- The author’s key move is to show first that a specific conception of doxastic justification constitutes our best point of entry into questions pertaining to a subject’s ability to secure understanding of reality. Second, that the traditional order of analysis when it comes to the connection between understanding and (...) knowledge should be reversed: knowledge itself is best conceived of in terms of a specific type of understanding. (shrink)
This paper argues that the proponents of epistemological scientism must take some stand on scientific methodology. The supporters of scientism cannot simply defer to the social organisation of science because the social processes themselves must meet some methodological criteria. Among such criteria is epistemic evaluability, which demands intersubjective access to reasons. We derive twelve theses outlining some implications of epistemic evaluability. Evaluability can support weak and broad variants of epistemological scientism, which state that sciences, broadly construed, are the best sources (...) of knowledge or some other epistemic goods. Since humanities and social sciences produce epistemically evaluable results, narrow types of scientism that take only natural sciences as sources of knowledge require additional argumentation in their support. Strong scientism, which takes sciences as the only source of knowledge, also needs to appeal to some further principles since evaluability is not an all-or-nothing affair. (shrink)
There is a large literature exploring how accuracy constrains rational degrees of belief. This paper turns to the unexplored question of how accuracy constrains knowledge. We begin by introducing a simple hypothesis: increases in the accuracy of an agent’s evidence never lead to decreases in what the agent knows. We explore various precise formulations of this principle, consider arguments in its favour, and explain how it interacts with different conceptions of evidence and accuracy. As we show, the principle has some (...) noteworthy consequences for the wider theory of knowledge. First, it implies that an agent cannot be justified in believing a set of mutually inconsistent claims. Second, it implies the existence of a kind of epistemic blindspot: it is not possible to know that one’s evidence is misleading. (shrink)
Contemporary debate surrounding the nature of scientific progress has focused upon the precise role played by justification, with two realist accounts having dominated proceedings. Recently, however, a third realist account has been put forward, one which offers no role for justification at all. According to Finnur Dellsén’s (Stud Hist Philos Sci Part A 56:72–83, 2016) noetic account, science progresses when understanding increases, that is, when scientists grasp how to correctly explain or predict more aspects of the world that they could (...) before. In this paper, we argue that the noetic account is severely undermotivated. Dellsén provides three examples intended to show that understanding can increase absent the justification required for true belief to constitute knowledge. However, we demonstrate that a lack of clarity in each case allows for two contrasting interpretations, neither of which serves its intended purpose. On the first, the agent involved lacks both knowledge and understanding; and, on the second, the agent involved successfully gains both knowledge and understanding. While neither interpretation supports Dellsén’s claim that understanding can be prised apart from knowledge, we argue that, in general, agents in such cases ought to be attributed neither knowledge nor understanding. Given that the separability of knowledge and understanding is a necessary component of the noetic account, we conclude that there is little support for the idea that science progresses through increasing understanding rather than the accumulation of knowledge. (shrink)
The distinction between propositional and doxastic justification is normally applied to belief. The goal of this paper is to apply the distinction to faith and hope. Before doing so, I discuss the nature of faith and hope, and how they contrast with belief—belief has no essential conative component, whereas faith and hope essentially involve the conative. I discuss implications this has for evaluating faith and hope, and apply this to the propositional/doxastic distinction. There are two key upshots. One, bringing in (...) faith and hope makes salient additional normative categories, including the way the distinction between epistemic and practical justification interacts with the distinction between propositional and doxastic justification. Two, a paradigm example of propositional without doxastic justification is a belief that is evidentially supported but based on wishful thinking. Surprisingly, parallel cases of faith and hope may actually enjoy both propositional and doxastic justification. I conclude by exploring what it might look like for faith and hope to have propositional justification without doxastic justification. (shrink)
In addition to the notion of defeat, do we need to expand the epistemological repertoire used in accounting for the context dependence of justification? It has recently been argued that we ought to admit a hitherto unrecognized fundamental epistemic kind called ‘disqualifiers’. Disqualifiers are taken to be not reducible to any other epistemic notion. Rather, they are meant to be primitive. If this is correct, it is a surprising and novel discovery, and so it is worthy of further epistemological investigation. (...) In this paper I shall first argue that the cases given do not motivate positing the notion of a disqualifier. Conclusions drawn about the existence of disqualifiers do not follow from the considerations advanced. Second, I shall directly argue that an essential core claim of those who would posit disqualifiers, that so-called disqualifiers actually do prevent epistemic bases from conferring justification, is false. In sum, I shall argue that there are no disqualifiers. (shrink)
My starting point is what I call the Normative Authority Conception of justification, where S is justified in their belief that p at t (to some degree n) if and only if their believing that p at t is not ruled out by epistemic norms that have normative authority over S at t. With this in mind, this paper develops an account of doxastic justification by first developing an account of the normative authority of epistemic norms. Drawing from work in (...) political philosophy, I argue that (a) the cognitive and evaluative commitments and concerns behind our actual practices of holding each other and ourselves accountable for our beliefs reveal which epistemic norms we have consented to be under, and that (b) it is because we have consented to be under the authority of these norms – by actually holding ourselves and others accountable to them – that they in turn have normative authority over us. By connecting the authority of epistemic norms to the authority we have over ourselves in this way, the resulting account of doxastic justification (i) explains why it can be appropriate to criticize, resent, or sanction someone for having unjustified beliefs, (ii) avoids the phenomena of normative alienation and normative parochialism, and (iii) respects the social and collective nature of epistemic justification. (shrink)
Edmund Gettier (1963) argued that there can be justified true belief (JTB) that is not knowledge. I question the correctness of his argument by showing that Smith of Gettier’s famous examples does not earn justification for his incidentally true beliefs, while a doxastically more conscientious person S would come to hold justified but false beliefs. So, Gettier’s (and analogous) cases do not result in justified _and_ true belief. This is due to a tension between deductive closure of justification and evidential (...) support. For being justified, any believing, disbelieving, or withholding of deductively inferred propositions must be distributed proportionally to given evidential support. This proportionality principle has primacy over deductive closure in case of conflict. My argument does not save the JTB-account. But, instead of merely referring to an intuition, it explains why subjects in Gettier situations do not earn knowledge. (shrink)
ABSTRACT It is plausible to think that we're rationally required to follow our total evidence. It is also plausible to think that there are coherence requirements on rationality. It is also plausible to think that higher order evidence can be misleading. Several epistemologists have recognized the puzzle these claims generate, and the puzzle seems to have only startling and unattractive solutions that involve the rejection of intuitive principles. Yet Alex Worsnip has recently argued that this puzzle has a tidy, attractive (...) and independently motivated solution that involves rejecting the claim that we're rationally required to follow our total evidence. In what follows I argue that this solution fails to solve the fundamental problem for rationality. (shrink)
According to the principle of Conjunction Closure, if one has justification for believing each of a set of propositions, one has justification for believing their conjunction. The lottery and preface paradoxes can both be seen as posing challenges for Closure, but leave open familiar strategies for preserving the principle. While this is all relatively well-trodden ground, a new Closure-challenging paradox has recently emerged, in two somewhat different forms, due to Backes :3773–3787, 2019a) and Praolini :715–726, 2019). This paradox synthesises elements (...) of the lottery and the preface and is designed to close off the familiar Closure-preserving strategies. By appealing to a normic theory of justification, I will defend Closure in the face of this new paradox. Along the way I will draw more general conclusions about justification, normalcy and defeat, which bear upon what Backes :2877–2895, 2019b) has dubbed the ‘easy defeat’ problem for the normic theory. (shrink)
Past entities, events, and circumstances are neither observable nor manipulatable. Several philosophers argued that this inaccessibility precludes a realistic conception of the past. I survey versions of antirealism and agnosticism about the past formulated by Michael Dummett, Leon Goldstein, and Derek Turner. These accounts differ in their motivations and reasoning, but they share the opinion that the reality of at least large swathes of the past is unknowable. Consequently, they consider statements about them as referring, at most, to present constructs. (...) These antirealists about the past are not, however, antirealists or skeptics about time or chronology. They accept, among other things, that present traces can be dated and statements about their temporal provenances are referring and truth-apt.I posit that an antirealist who accepts that at least some of the present traces can be truth-aptly dated while holding that these traces do not support knowledge about past events and circumstances commits herself to a radically skeptic stance. Otherwise, she would be diluting her position so that it will be hardly distinguishable from realism. This problem could be avoided if antirealists about the past would extend their antirealism to estimates of the age of present traces. Such a position, however, would imply a very drastic form of scientific antirealism. I conclude that the past’s inaccessibility is insufficient to support antirealism about the past, either as a part of moderate scientific antirealism or as a stand-alone position. (shrink)
One leading approach to justification comes from the reliabilist tradition, which maintains that a belief is justified provided that it is reliably formed. Another comes from the ‘Reasons First’ tradition, which claims that a belief is justified provided that it is based on reasons that support it. These two approaches are typically developed in isolation from each other; this essay motivates and defends a synthesis. On the view proposed here, justification is understood in terms of an agent’s reasons for belief, (...) which are in turn analyzed along reliabilist lines: an agent's reasons for belief are the states that serve as inputs to their reliable processes. I show that this synthesis allows each tradition to profit from the other's explanatory resources. In particular, it enables reliabilists to explain epistemic defeat without abandoning their naturalistic ambitions. I go on to compare my proposed synthesis with other hybrid versions of reliabilism that have been proposed in the literature. (shrink)
For Kant, knowledge involves certainty. If “certainty” requires that the grounds for a given propositional attitude guarantee its truth, then this is an infallibilist view of epistemic justification. Such a view says you can’t have epistemic justification for an attitude unless the attitude is also true. Here I want to defend an alternative fallibilist interpretation. Even if a subject has grounds that would be sufficient for knowledge if the proposition were true, the proposition might not be true. And so there (...) is sometimes still rational room for doubt. The goal of this paper is to present four different models of what “certainty” amounts to, for Kant, each of which is compatible with fallibilism. (shrink)
According to evidentialism, a subject is justified in believing a proposition at a time, just in case their evidence on balance supports that proposition at that time. Evidentialist justification is thus a property of fit – fitting the subject’s evidence. However, evidentialism does not evaluate the subject’s evidence beyond this relation of fit. For instance, evidentialism ignores whether the subject was responsible or negligent in their inquiry. A number of objections have been raised to evidentialism involving cases of irresponsible inquiry (...) and the relevance of unpossessed evidence. In this paper, I argue that while these objections miss their mark, they do help motivate a distinct, and richer, concept of epistemic justification. This different concept of justification, what I call ‘robust justification’, supplements the evidentialist account of epistemic justification with an assessment of the subject’s evidence with respect to their inquiry. According to this proposal, to be robustly justified in believing a proposition at a time, the subject’s evidence must support that proposition at that time and that evidence must be the result of the subject’s responsible inquiry. While robust justification is not necessary for knowledge, I argue that it is an independently valuable epistemic state. (shrink)
When is a belief justified? There are three families of arguments we typically use to support different accounts of justification: arguments from our intuitive responses to vignettes that involve the concept; arguments from the theoretical role we would like the concept to play in epistemology; and arguments from the practical, moral, and political uses to which we wish to put the concept. I focus particularly on the third sort, and specifically on arguments of this sort offered by Clayton Littlejohn in (...) Justification and the Truth-Connection and Amia Srinivasan in ‘Radical Externalism’ : 395–431, 2018) in favour of externalism. I counter Srinivasan’s argument in two ways: first, I show that the internalist’s concept of justification might figure just as easily in the sorts of structural explanation Srinivasan thinks our political goals require us to give; and I argue that the internalist’s concept is needed for a particular political task, namely, to help us build more effective defences against what I call epistemic weapons. I conclude that we should adopt an Alstonian pluralism about the concept of justification. (shrink)
This paper argues there are crucial points in Nietzsche’s texts where he offers a priori epistemic justification for views he believes are correct. My reading contrasts with the dominant view that Nietzsche’s philosophical naturalism is incompatible with a priori justification. My aim is to develop Nietzsche’s brand of a priori justification, show that he employs this account of justification in the texts, and suggest how it might be compatible with naturalism.
Externalists about epistemic justification have long emphasized the connection between truth and justification, with this coupling finding explicit expression in process reliabilism. Process reliabilism, however, faces a number of severe difficulties, leading disenchanted process reliabilists to find a new theoretical home. The conceptual flag under which such epistemologists have preferred to gather is that of dispositions. Just as reliabilism is determined by the frequency of a particular outcome, making it possible to characterize justification in terms of a particular relationship to (...) truth, dispositions are accompanied by concrete, worldly manifestations. By taking true beliefs as the result, not of certain processes but of particular dispositions, these epistemologists have attempted to respond to the numerous obstacles to reliabilism. Yet all this work has proceeded without regard to the wealth of contemporary work on the metaphysics of dispositions, making the new hope premature at best, ill-founded at worst. Combining contemporary dispositional accounts of justification with extant analyses of dispositions reveals that the latter is the case. The structural differences between epistemic justification and dispositions make it clear that not only should process reliabilism be abandoned, but the subsequent appeal to dispositions along with it. (shrink)
It is clear that beliefs can be assessed both as to their justiﬁcation and their rationality. What is not as clear, however, is how the rationality and justiﬁcation of belief relate to one another. Stewart Cohen has stumped for the popular proposal that rationality and justiﬁcation come to the same thing, that rational beliefs just are justiﬁed beliefs, supporting his view by arguing that ‘justiﬁed belief’ and ‘rational belief’ are synonymous. In this paper, I will give reason to think that (...) Cohen’s argument is spurious. I will show that ‘rational’ and ‘justiﬁed’ occupy two distinct semantic categories – ‘rational’ is an absolute gradable adjective and ‘justiﬁed’ is a relative gradable adjective – telling against the thought that ‘rational belief’ and ‘justiﬁed belief’ are synonymous. I will then argue that the burden of proof is on those who would equate rationality and justiﬁcation, making the case that those who hold this prominent position face the diﬃculty of explaining how rationality and justiﬁcation come to the same thing even though ‘rational’ and ‘justiﬁed’ are not synonymous. (shrink)
In this paper I respond to Marcello Di Bello’s criticisms of the ‘normic account’ of the criminal standard of proof. In so doing, I further elaborate on what the normic account predicts about certain significant legal categories of evidence, including DNA and fingerprint evidence and eyewitness identifications.
A ‘lottery belief’ is a belief that a particular ticket has lost a large, fair lottery, based on nothing more than the odds against it winning. The lottery paradox brings out a tension between the idea that lottery beliefs are justified and the idea that that one can always justifiably believe the deductive consequences of things that one justifiably believes – what is sometimes called the principle of closure. Many philosophers have treated the lottery paradox as an argument against the (...) second idea – but I make a case here that it is the first idea that should be given up. As I shall show, there are a number of independent arguments for denying that lottery beliefs are justified. (shrink)
A critical survey of recent work in epistemology on higher-order evidence. It discusses the nature of higher-order evidence, some puzzles it raises, responses to those puzzles, and problems facing them. It concludes by indicating connections between debates concerning higher-order evidence in epistemology and parallel debates in ethics and aesthetics.
This book contributes to two debates and it does so by bringing them together. The first is a debate in metaethics concerning normative reasons, the considerations that serve to justify a person’s actions and attitudes. The second is a debate in epistemology concerning the norms for belief, the standards that govern a person’s beliefs and by reference to which they are assessed. The book starts by developing and defending a new theory of reasons for action, that is, of practical reasons. (...) The theory belongs to a family that analyses reasons by appeal to the normative notion of rightness (fittingness, correctness); it is distinctive in making central appeal to modal notions, specifically, that of a nearby possible world. The result is a comprehensive framework that captures what is common to and distinctive of reasons of various kinds: justifying and demanding; for and against, possessed and unpossessed; objective and subjective. The framework is then generalized to reasons for belief, that is, to epistemic reasons, and combined with a substantive, first-order commitment, namely, that truth is the sole right-maker for belief. The upshot is an account of the various norms governing belief, including knowledge and rationality, and the relations among them. According to it, the standards to which belief is subject are various, but they are unified by an underlying principle. (shrink)
This paper examines two objections to the infinitist theory of epistemic justification, namely “the finite mind objection” and “the distinction objection.” It criticizes Peter Klein’s response to the distinction objection and offers a more plausible response. It is then argued that this response is incompatible with Klein’s response to the finite mind objection. Infinitists, it would seem, cannot handle both objections when taken together.
For millennia, knowledge has eluded a precise definition. The industrialization of knowledge (IoK) and the associated proliferation of the so-called knowledge communities in the last few decades caused this state of affairs to deteriorate, namely by creating a trio composed of data, knowledge, and information (DIK) that is not unlike the aporia of the trinity in philosophy. This calls for a general theory of knowledge (ToK) that can work as a foundation for a science of knowledge (SoK) and additionally distinguishes (...) knowledge from both data and information. In this paper, I attempt to sketch this generality via the establishing of both knowledge structures and knowledge systems that can then be adopted/adapted by the diverse communities for the respective knowledge technologies and practices. This is achieved by means of a formal–indeed, mathematical–approach to epistemological matters a.k.a. formal epistemology. The corresponding application focus is on knowledge systems implementable as computer programs. (shrink)
This paper discusses the ability of explanationist theories of epistemic justification to account for the justification we have for holding beliefs about the future. McCain’s explanationist account of the relation of evidential support is supposedly in a better position than other theories of this type to correctly handle cases involving beliefs about the future. However, the results delivered by this account have been questioned by Byerly and Martin. This paper argues that McCain’s account is, in fact, able to deliver plausible (...) results in cases involving such beliefs and that explanationism, if properly articulated, is illuminating with respect to the justification we have for holding such beliefs, as it manages to correctly distinguish evidence that only supports believing probabilistic claims about the future from evidence that is sufficient to believe that a particular event will happen. (shrink)
Las afirmaciones verdaderas reciben su justificación de creencias que tienen al conocimiento como base, por lo que para su formulación y comprensión se necesita asumir una posición fundacionalista. En este artículo se propone un fundacionalismo confiabilista, inspirado en Goldman, aunque con cambios importantes respecto a su teoría. A diferencia de Goldman, considero que no todas las creencias tienen que ser verdaderas, ni toda justificación de las creencias requiere de la verdad. Adicionalmente, las creencias verdaderas, expresadas mediante oraciones asertóricas, estarían fundadas (...) en creencias aún más básicas, cuya justificación proviene del uso del lenguaje. (shrink)
Among psychiatric conditions, delusions have received significant attention in the philosophical literature. This is partly due to the fact that many delusions are bizarre, and their contents interesting in and of themselves. But the disproportionate attention is also due to the notion that by studying what happens when perception, cognition, and belief go wrong, we can better understand what happens when these go right. In this paper, I attend to delusions for the second reason—by evaluating the epistemology of delusions, we (...) can better understand the epistemology of ordinary belief. More specifically, given recent advancements in our understanding of how delusions are formed, the epistemology of delusions motivates a proper functionalist account of the justification of belief. Proper functionalist accounts of the justification of belief hold that whether a belief is justified is partly determined by whether the system that produces the belief is functioning properly. Whatever pathology is responsible for delusion formation, restoring it to its proper function resolves the epistemic condition, an effect which motivates proper functionalism. (shrink)
We review the "Entitlement" projects of Tyler Burge and Crispin Wright in light of recent work from and surrounding both philosophers. Our review dispels three misunderstandings. First, Burge and Wright are not involved in a common “entitlement” project. Second, though for both Wright and Burge entitlement is the new notion, “entitlement” is not some altogether third topic not clearly connected to the nature of knowledge or the encounter with skepticism. Third, entitlement vs. justification does not align with the externalism vs. (...) internalism distinction. (shrink)
L’objectivité permettrait d’assurer la supériorité de la science par rapport à d’autres modes de connaissance. Elle doit donc être défendue, surtout en cette « ère de post-vérité » où les « faits alternatifs » remplacent les faits avérés, en politique comme ailleurs. Or les attaques proviennent autant de l’extérieur que de l’intérieur de la sphère philosophique. Il convient donc de tenter d’opérer la réconciliation la plus large possible avec deux représentants de clans (très) opposés, Mario Bunge et Bruno Latour. Réinvestissant (...) les grandes conceptions de la notion d’objectivité, je propose ici trois chantiers pour cette réconciliation : la mise au rancart des conceptions naïves et parfois insincères de la science, la réévaluation des contextes de découverte et de justification, et celle de la distinction faits-valeurs. (shrink)
This paper elaborates a new solution to the lottery paradox, according to which the paradox arises only when we lump together two distinct states of being confident that p under one general label of ‘belief that p’. The two-state conjecture is defended on the basis of some recent work on gradable adjectives. The conjecture is supported by independent considerations from the impossibility of constructing the lottery paradox both for risk-tolerating states such as being afraid, hoping or hypothesizing, and for risk-averse, (...) certainty-like states. The new proposal is compared to views within the increasingly popular debate opposing dualists to reductionists with respect to the relation between belief and degrees of belief. (shrink)