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The Normative Role of Knowledge

Noûs 46 (2):265-288 (2012)

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  1. Belief Does Not Entail a Reasoning Disposition.Simon Wimmer - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14975-14991.
    Are there any dispositions one must have if one believes p? A widespread answer emphasizes the role of beliefs in reasoning and holds that if one believes p, one must be disposed to treat p as true in one’s reasoning. I argue that this answer is subject to counterexamples.
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  • Knowledge, justification, and (a sort of) safe belief.Daniel Whiting - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3593-3609.
    An influential proposal is that knowledge involves safe belief. A belief is safe, in the relevant sense, just in case it is true in nearby metaphysically possible worlds. In this paper, I introduce a distinct but complementary notion of safety, understood in terms of epistemically possible worlds. The main aim, in doing so, is to add to the epistemologist’s tool-kit. To demonstrate the usefulness of the tool, I use it to advance and assess substantive proposals concerning knowledge and justification.
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  • A puzzle about enkratic reasoning.Jonathan Way - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3177-3196.
    Enkratic reasoning—reasoning from believing that you ought to do something to an intention to do that thing—seems good. But there is a puzzle about how it could be. Good reasoning preserves correctness, other things equal. But enkratic reasoning does not preserve correctness. This is because what you ought to do depends on your epistemic position, but what it is correct to intend does not. In this paper, I motivate these claims and thus show that there is a puzzle. I then (...)
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  • Vision, Knowledge, and Assertion.John Turri - 2016 - Consciousness and Cognition 41:41-49.
    I report two experiments studying the relationship among explicit judgments about what people see, know, and should assert. When an object of interest was surrounded by visibly similar items, it diminished people’s willingness to judge that an agent sees, knows, and should tell others that it is present. This supports the claim, made by many philosophers, that inhabiting a misleading environment intuitively decreases our willingness to attribute perception and knowledge. However, contrary to stronger claims made by some philosophers, inhabiting a (...)
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  • Knowledge, Certainty, and Assertion.John Turri - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (2):293-299.
    Researchers have debated whether knowledge or certainty is a better candidate for the norm of assertion. Should you make an assertion only if you know it's true? Or should you make an assertion only if you're certain it's true? If either knowledge or certainty is a better candidate, then this will likely have detectable behavioral consequences. I report an experiment that tests for relevant behavioral consequences. The results support the view that assertability is more closely linked to knowledge than to (...)
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  • Knowledge and Assertion in “Gettier” Cases.John Turri - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):759-775.
    Assertion is fundamental to our lives as social and cognitive beings. By asserting we share knowledge, coordinate behavior, and advance collective inquiry. Accordingly, assertion is of considerable interest to cognitive scientists, social scientists, and philosophers. This paper advances our understanding of the norm of assertion. Prior evidence suggests that knowledge is the norm of assertion, a view known as “the knowledge account.” In its strongest form, the knowledge account says that knowledge is both necessary and sufficient for assertability: you should (...)
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  • Evidence of Factive Norms of Belief and Decision.John Turri - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):4009-4030.
    According to factive accounts of the norm of belief and decision-making, you should not believe or base decisions on a falsehood. Even when the evidence misleadingly suggests that a false proposition is true, you should not believe it or base decisions on it. Critics claim that factive accounts are counterintuitive and badly mischaracterize our ordinary practice of evaluating beliefs and decisions. This paper reports four experiments that rigorously test the critic’s accusations and the viability of factive accounts. The results undermine (...)
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  • Belief and Cognitive Limitations.Weng Hong Tang - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (1):249-260.
    A number of philosophers have argued that it is hard for finite agents like us to reason and make decisions relying solely on our credences and preferences. They hold that for us to cope with our cognitive limitations, we need binary beliefs as well. For they think that such beliefs, by disposing us to treat certain propositions as true, help us cut down on the number of possibilities we need to consider when we reason. But using Ross and Schroeder as (...)
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  • The Knowledge Norm of Belief.Zachary Mitchell Swindlehurst - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):43-50.
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • The Knowledge Norm of Belief.Zachary Mitchell Swindlehurst - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):43-50.
    Doxastic normativism is the thesis that norms are constitutive of or essential to belief, such that no mental state not subject to those norms counts as a belief. A common normativist view is that belief is essentially governed by a norm of truth. According to Krister Bykvist and Anandi Hattiangadi, truth norms for belief cannot be formulated without unpalatable consequences: they are either false or they impose unsatisfiable requirements on believers. I propose that we construe the fundamental norm of belief (...)
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  • When Does Evidence Suffice for Conviction?Martin Smith - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1193-1218.
    There is something puzzling about statistical evidence. One place this manifests is in the law, where courts are reluctant to base affirmative verdicts on evidence that is purely statistical, in spite of the fact that it is perfectly capable of meeting the standards of proof enshrined in legal doctrine. After surveying some proposed explanations for this, I shall outline a new approach – one that makes use of a notion of normalcy that is distinct from the idea of statistical frequency. (...)
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  • The Hardest Paradox for Closure.Martin Smith - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):2003-2028.
    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 (...)
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  • Two accounts of assertion.Martin Smith - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-18.
    In this paper I will compare two competing accounts of assertion: the knowledge account and the justified belief account. When it comes to the evidence that is typically used to assess accounts of assertion – including the evidence from lottery propositions, the evidence from Moore’s paradoxical propositions and the evidence from conversational patterns – I will argue that the justified belief account has at least as much explanatory power as its rival. I will argue, finally, that a close look at (...)
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  • Some Thoughts on the JK-Rule1.Martin Smith - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):791-802.
    In ‘The normative role of knowledge’ (2012), Declan Smithies defends a ‘JK-rule’ for belief: One has justification to believe that P iff one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know that P. Similar claims have been defended by others (Huemer, 2007, Reynolds, forthcoming). In this paper, I shall argue that the JK-rule is false. The standard and familiar way of arguing against putative rules for belief or assertion is, of course, to describe putative counterexamples. My (...)
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  • Mentalism and Epistemic Transparency.Declan Smithies - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):723-741.
    Questions about the transparency of evidence are central to debates between factive and non-factive versions of mentalism about evidence. If all evidence is transparent, then factive mentalism is false, since no factive mental states are transparent. However, Timothy Williamson has argued that transparency is a myth and that no conditions are transparent except trivial ones. This paper responds by drawing a distinction between doxastic and epistemic notions of transparency. Williamson's argument may show that no conditions are doxastically transparent, but it (...)
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  • Knowledge, Justification and Normative Coincidence1.Martin Smith - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):273-295.
    Say that two goals are normatively coincident just in case one cannot aim for one goal without automatically aiming for the other. While knowledge and justification are distinct epistemic goals, with distinct achievement conditions, this paper begins from the suggestion that they are nevertheless normatively coincident—aiming for knowledge and aiming for justification are one and the same activity. A number of surprising consequences follow from this—both specific consequences about how we can ascribe knowledge and justification in lottery cases and more (...)
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  • Justification as Ignorance: An Essay in Epistemology, by Sven Rosenkranz. [REVIEW]Martin Smith - forthcoming - Mind.
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  • Defending_ The Epistemic Role of Consciousness _: Replies to Byrne, Gertler and Kornblith.Declan Smithies - 2022 - Analysis 81 (4):803-816.
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  • The epistemic normativity of conjecture.Mona Simion - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3447-3471.
    This paper has two aims: it develops and defends a fully-fledged account of the epistemic normativity of conjecture it goes sharply against orthodoxy, in arguing that conjecture is epistemically more demanding than assertion. According to the view defended here, one’s conjecture that p is permissible only if one knows that one has warrant, but not sufficient warrant to believe that p. I argue for my account on three independent grounds: the Bach and Harnish account of the nature of communicative speech (...)
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  • The Composite Nature of Epistemic Justification.Paul Silva - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).
    According to many, to have epistemic justification to believe P is just for it to be epistemically permissible to believe P. Others think it is for believing P to be epistemically good. Yet others think it has to do with being epistemically blameless in believing P. All such views of justification encounter problems. Here, a new view of justification is proposed according to which justification is a kind of composite normative status. The result is a view of justification that offers (...)
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  • Possessing Reasons: Why the Awareness-First Approach is Better Than the Knowledge-First Approach.Paul Silva - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2925-2947.
    In order for a reason to justify an action or attitude it must be one that is possessed by an agent. Knowledge-centric views of possession ground our possession of reasons, at least partially, either in our knowledge of them or in our being in a position to know them. On virtually all accounts, knowing P is some kind of non-accidental true belief that P. This entails that knowing P is a kind of non-accidental true representation that P. I outline a (...)
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  • The Nought Belief Paradox.Nicholas Shackel - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):523-529.
    A paradox is presented that the poses new problems for both the truth norm and the knowledge norm of belief.
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  • Strong Knowledge, Weak Belief?Moritz Schulz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8741-8753.
    According to the knowledge norm of belief, one should believe p only if one knows p. However, it can easily seem that the ordinary notion of belief is much weaker than the knowledge norm would have it. It is possible to rationally believe things one knows to be unknown The aim of belief, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013). One response to this observation is to develop a technical notion of ‘outright’ belief. A challenge for this line of response is to (...)
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  • Practical Reasoning and Degrees of Outright Belief.Moritz Schulz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8069-8090.
    According to a suggestion by Williamson, outright belief comes in degrees: one has a high/low degree of belief iff one is willing to rely on the content of one’s belief in high/low-stakes practical reasoning. This paper develops an epistemic norm for degrees of outright belief so construed. Starting from the assumption that outright belief aims at knowledge, it is argued that degrees of belief aim at various levels of strong knowledge, that is, knowledge which satisfies particularly high epistemic standards. This (...)
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  • Partial Reliance.Moritz Schulz - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (6):436-451.
    According to a prominent thought, in one’s practical reasoning one should rely only on what one knows. Yet for many choices, the relevant information is uncertain. This has led Schiffer to the following objection: oftentimes, we are fully rational in reasoning from uncertain premises which we do not know. For example, we may decide to take an umbrella based on a 0.4 credence that it will rain. There are various ways proponents of a knowledge norm for practical reasoning can respond. (...)
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  • Knowledge and Decision: Introduction to the Synthese Topical Collection.Moritz Schulz, Patricia Rich, Jakob Koscholke & Roman Heil - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-13.
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  • Degrees of Doxastic Justification.Moritz Schulz - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (6):2943-2972.
    This paper studies degrees of doxastic justification. Dependency relations among different beliefs are represented in terms of causal models. Doxastic justification, on this picture, is taken to run causally downstream along appropriate causal chains. A theory is offered which accounts for the strength of a derivative belief in terms of the strength of the beliefs on which it is based, and the epistemic quality of the belief-forming mechanisms involved. It is shown that the structure of degrees of justification converges to (...)
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  • The Structure of Justification.Sven Rosenkranz - 2018 - Mind 127 (506):629-629.
    The paper explores a structural account of propositional justification in terms of the notion of being in a position to know and negation. Combined with a non-normal logic for being in a position to know, the account allows for the derivation of plausible principles of justification. The account is neutral on whether justification is grounded in internally individuated mental states, and likewise on whether it is grounded in facts that are already accessible by introspection or reflection alone. To this extent, (...)
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  • Rehabilitating Statistical Evidence.Lewis Ross - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):3-23.
    Recently, the practice of deciding legal cases on purely statistical evidence has been widely criticised. Many feel uncomfortable with finding someone guilty on the basis of bare probabilities, even though the chance of error might be stupendously small. This is an important issue: with the rise of DNA profiling, courts are increasingly faced with purely statistical evidence. A prominent line of argument—endorsed by Blome-Tillmann 2017; Smith 2018; and Littlejohn 2018—rejects the use of such evidence by appealing to epistemic norms that (...)
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  • The Key to the Knowledge Norm of Action is Ambiguity.Patricia Rich - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9669-9698.
    Knowledge-first epistemology includes a knowledge norm of action: roughly, act only on what you know. This norm has been criticized, especially from the perspective of so-called standard decision theory. Mueller and Ross provide example decision problems which seem to show that acting properly cannot require knowledge. I argue that this conclusion depends on applying a particular decision theory which is ill-motivated in this context. Agents’ knowledge is often most plausibly formalized as an ambiguous epistemic state, and the theory of decision (...)
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  • The Logic of Probabilistic Knowledge.Patricia Rich - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1703-1725.
    Sarah Moss’ thesis that we have probabilistic knowledge is from some perspectives unsurprising and from other perspectives hard to make sense of. The thesis is potentially transformative, but not yet elaborated in sufficient detail for epistemologists. This paper interprets Mossean probabilistic knowledge in a suitably-modified Kripke framework, thus filling in key details. It argues that probabilistic knowledge looks natural and plausible when so interpreted, and shows how the most pressing challenges to the thesis can be overcome. Most importantly, probabilistic knowledge (...)
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  • Justification as the Appearance of Knowledge.Steven L. Reynolds - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):367-383.
    Adequate epistemic justification is best conceived as the appearance, over time, of knowledge to the subject. ‘Appearance’ is intended literally, not as a synonym for belief. It is argued through consideration of examples that this account gets the extension of ‘adequately justified belief’ at least roughly correct. A more theoretical reason is then offered to regard justification as the appearance of knowledge: If we have a knowledge norm for assertion, we do our best to comply with this norm when we (...)
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  • No Reasons to Believe the False.Javier González De Prado Salas - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):703-722.
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  • No Reasons to Believe the False.Javier González Prado - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):703-722.
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  • The Disvalue of Knowledge.David Papineau - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5311-5332.
    I argue that the concept of knowledge is a relic of a bygone age, erroneously supposed to do no harm. I illustrate this claim by showing how a concern with knowledge distorts the use of statistical evidence in criminal courts, and then generalize the point to show that this concern hampers our enterprises across the board and not only in legal contexts.
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  • The Knowledge Norm of Apt Practical Reasoning.Andy Mueller - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):5395-5414.
    I will argue for a novel variant of the knowledge norm for practical reasoning. In Sect. 2, I will look at current variations of a knowledge norm for practical reasoning and I will provide reasons to doubt these proposals. In Sects. 3 and 4, I develop my own proposal according to which knowledge is the norm of apt practical reasoning. Section 5 considers objections. Finally, Sect. 6 concerns the normativity of my proposed knowledge norm and its significance.
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  • Credence: A Belief-First Approach.Andrew Moon & Elizabeth Jackson - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):652–669.
    This paper explains and defends a belief-first view of the relationship between belief and credence. On this view, credences are a species of beliefs, and the degree of credence is determined by the content of what is believed. We begin by developing what we take to be the most plausible belief-first view. Then, we offer several arguments for it. Finally, we show how it can resist objections that have been raised to belief-first views. We conclude that the belief-first view is (...)
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  • Knowledge and Other Norms for Assertion, Action, and Belief: A Teleological Account.Neil Mehta - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):681-705.
    Here I advance a unified account of the structure of the epistemic normativity of assertion, action, and belief. According to my Teleological Account, all of these are epistemically successful just in case they fulfill the primary aim of knowledgeability, an aim which in turn generates a host of secondary epistemic norms. The central features of the Teleological Account are these: it is compact in its reliance on a single central explanatory posit, knowledge-centered in its insistence that knowledge sets the fundamental (...)
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  • What is Good Reasoning?Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:153-174.
    What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning—both theoretical and practical—according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the standards of (...)
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  • Fitting Belief.Conor McHugh - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (2pt2):167-187.
    Beliefs can be correct or incorrect, and this standard of correctness is widely thought to be fundamental to epistemic normativity. But how should this standard be understood, and in what way is it so fundamental? I argue that we should resist understanding correctness for belief as either a prescriptive or an evaluative norm. Rather, we should understand it as an instance of the distinct normative category of fittingness for attitudes. This yields an attractive account of epistemic reasons.
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  • What Do We Aim At When We Believe?Conor Mchugh - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (3):369-392.
    It is often said that belief aims at truth. I argue that if belief has an aim then that aim is knowledge rather than merely truth. My main argument appeals to the impossibility of forming a belief on the basis of evidence that only weakly favours a proposition. This phenomenon, I argue, is a problem for the truth-aim hypothesis. By contrast, it can be given a simple and satisfying explanation on the knowledge-aim hypothesis. Furthermore, the knowledge-aim hypothesis suggests a very (...)
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  • The Normativity of Belief.Conor McHugh & Daniel Whiting - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):698-713.
    This is a survey of recent debates concerning the normativity of belief. We explain what the thesis that belief is normative involves, consider arguments for and against that thesis, and explore its bearing on debates in metaethics.
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  • Engel on Doxastic Correctness.Conor McHugh - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5):1451-1462.
    In this paper I discuss Pascal Engel’s recent work on doxastic correctness. I raise worries about two elements of his view—the role played in it by the distinction between i -correctness and e -correctness, and the construal of doxastic correctness as an ideal of reason. I propose an alternative approach.
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  • Justification as 'Would-Be' Knowledge.Aidan McGlynn - 2012 - Episteme 9 (4):361-376.
    In light of the failure of attempts to analyse knowledge as a species of justified belief, a number of epistemologists have suggested that we should instead understand justification in terms of knowledge. This paper focuses on accounts of justification as a kind of ‘would-be’ knowledge. According to such accounts a belief is justified just in case any failure to know is due to uncooperative external circumstances. I argue against two recent accounts of this sort due to Alexander Bird and Martin (...)
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  • The Problem of Massive Deception for Justification Norms of Action.Arturs Logins - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (4):457-468.
    In this paper, I argue against recent versions of justification norms of action and practical deliberation . I demonstrate that these norms yield unacceptable results in deception cases. However, a further modification of justification norms in the light of these results appears to be ad hoc. Hence, I claim, we should reject justification norms of action and practical deliberation.
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  • Practical Certainty.Dustin Locke - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):72-95.
    When we engage in practical deliberation, we sometimes engage in careful probabilistic reasoning. At other times, we simply make flat out assumptions about how the world is or will be. A question thus arises: when, if ever, is it rationally permissible to engage in the latter, less sophisticated kind of practical deliberation? Recently, a number of authors have argued that the answer concerns whether one knows that p. Others have argued that the answer concerns whether one is justified in believing (...)
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  • A Note Concerning Justification and Access.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Episteme 10 (4):369-386.
    Certain combinations of attitudes are manifestly unreasonable. It is unreasonable to believe that dogs bark, for example, if one concedes that one has no justification to believe this. Why are the irrational combinations irrational? One suggestion is that these are attitudes that a subject cannot have justification to have. If this is right, we can test claims about the structure of propositional justification by relying on our observations about which combinations of attitudes constitute Moorean absurd pairs. In a recent defense (...)
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  • Moral Deference, Moral Assertion, and Pragmatics.Max Lewis - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):5-22.
    In this paper, I offer a novel defense of moderate pessimism about moral deference, i.e., the view that we have pro tanto reason to avoid moral deference. I argue that moral deference fails to give us the epistemic credentials to satisfy plausible norms of moral assertion. I then argue that moral assertions made solely on the basis of deferential moral beliefs violate a plausible epistemic and moral norm against withholding information that one knows, has evidence, or ought to believe will (...)
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  • The Norm of Assertion: Empirical Data.Markus Kneer - 2018 - Cognition 177 (C):165-171.
    Assertions are speech acts by means of which we express beliefs. As such they are at the heart of our linguistic and social practices. Recent research has focused extensively on the question whether the speech act of assertion is governed by norms, and if so, under what conditions it is acceptable to make an assertion. Standard theories propose, for instance, that one should only assert that p if one knows that p (the knowledge account), or that one should only assert (...)
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  • Knowledge, Reasoning, and Deliberation.Brian Kim - 2020 - Ratio 33 (1):14-26.
    Epistemologists have become increasingly interested in the practical role of knowledge. One prominent principle, which I call PREMISE, states that if you know that p, then you are justified in using p as a premise in your reasoning. In response, a number of critics have proposed a variety of counter-examples. In order to evaluate these problem cases, we need to consider the broader context in which this principle is situated by specifying in greater detail the types of activity that the (...)
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