Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...) the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
According to robust virtue epistemology , knowledge is type-identical with a particular species of cognitive achievement. The identification itself is subject to some criticism on the grounds that it fails to account for the anti-luck features of knowledge. Although critics have largely focused on environmental luck, the fundamental philosophical problem facing RVE is that it is not clear why it should be a distinctive feature of cognitive abilities that they ordinarily produce beliefs in a way that is safe. We propose (...) a novel way to resolve this problem. Key to our proposal will be an appreciation of different representational states beholden to truth. We suggest these different representational states are distinguished by how, in the proper governance of these states, the twin goods of attaining truth and avoiding error are weighted. Moreover, we explain how varieties of representational states line up with varieties of cognitive achievement such that knowledge, cum cognitive achievement, must be safe because of the kind of attempt at success that belief is—namely, an attempt that places the premium it does on avoiding error. (shrink)
How is a person's freedom related to his or her preferences? Liberal theorists of negative freedom have generally taken the view that the desire of a person to do or not do something is irrelevant to the question of whether he is free to do it. Supporters of the “pure negative” conception of freedom have advocated this view in its starkest form: they maintain that a person is unfree to Φ if and only if he is prevented from Φ-ing by (...) the conduct or dispositions of some other person. This definition of freedom is value-neutral in the sense that no reference is made to preferences over options or indeed to any other indicators of the values of options, either in the characterization of “Φ-ing” itself or in the characterization of the way in which Φ-ing can be constrained. (shrink)
When extended cognition is extended into mainstream epistemology, an awkward tension arises when considering cases of environmental epistemic luck. Surprisingly, it is not at all clear how the mainstream verdict that agents lack knowledge in cases of environmental luck can be reconciled with principles central to extended cognition.
The philosophical case for extended cognition is often made with reference to ‘extended-memory cases’ ; though, unfortunately, proponents of the hypothesis of extended cognition as well as their adversaries have failed to appreciate the kinds of epistemological problems extended-memory cases pose for mainstream thinking in the epistemology of memory. It is time to give these problems a closer look. Our plan is as follows: in §1, we argue that an epistemological theory remains compatible with HEC only if its epistemic assessments (...) do not violate what we call ‘the epistemic parity principle’. In §2, we show how the constraint of respecting the epistemic parity principle stands in what appears to be a prima facie intractable tension with mainstream thinking about cases of propositional memory. We then outline and evaluate in §3 several lines of response. (shrink)
Internalist approaches to epistemic justification are, though controversial, considered a live option in contemporary epistemology. Accordingly, if ‘active’ externalist approaches in the philosophy of mind—e.g. the extended cognition and extended mind theses—are _in principle_ incompatible with internalist approaches to justification in epistemology, then this will be an epistemological strike against, at least the _prima facie_ appeal of, active externalism. It is shown here however that, contrary to pretheoretical intuitions, neither the extended cognition _nor_ the extended mind theses are in principle (...) incompatible with two prominent versions of epistemic internalism—viz., accessibilism and mentalism. In fact, one possible diagnosis is that pretheoretical intuitions regarding the incompatibility of active externalism with epistemic internalism are symptomatic of a tacit yet incorrect identification of epistemic internalism with epistemic individualism. Thus, active externalism is not in principle incompatible with epistemic internalism per se and does not significantly restrict one’s options in epistemology. (shrink)
Social and moral issues in business have drawn attention to a gap between theory and practice and fueled the search for a reconciling perspective. Finding and establishing an alternative remains a critical initiative, but a daunting one. In what follows, the assumptions of two prominent contenders are considered before introducing a third in the form of Aristotle’s ancient theory of virtue. Comparative case studies are used to briefly illustrate the practical implications of each paradigm. In the quest for a better (...) sense-making and sense-giving lens, this paper refines and encourages the search by highlighting some of the key features required of a worthy paradigmatic challenge. The author proceeds to identify a particular type of institutional community, and a promising champion, for the practical unification of strategic and normative excellence. (shrink)
I investigate the implication of the truth-relativist’s alleged ‘ faultless disagreements’ for issues in the epistemology of disagreement. A conclusion I draw is that the type of disagreement the truth-relativist claims to preserve fails in principle to be epistemically significant in the way we should expect disagreements to be in social-epistemic practice. In particular, the fact of faultless disagreement fails to ever play the epistemically significant role of making doxastic revision rationally required for either party in a disagreement. That the (...) truth-relativists’ disagreements over centred content fail to play this epistemically significant role that disagreements characteristically play in social epistemology should leave us sceptical that disagreement is what the truth-relativist has actually preserved. (shrink)
A conspicuous oversight in recent debates about the vexed problem of the value of knowledge has been the value of knowledge-how. This would not be surprising if knowledge-how were, as Gilbert Ryle [1945, 1949] famously thought, fundamentally different from knowledge-that. However, reductive intellectualists [e.g. Stanley and Williamson 2001; Brogaard 2008, 2009, 2011; Stanley 2011a, 2011b] maintain that knowledge-how just is a kind of knowledge-that. Accordingly, reductive intellectualists must predict that the value problems facing propositional knowledge will equally apply to knowledge-how. (...) We show, however, that this is not the case. Accordingly, we highlight a value-driven argument for thinking that knowledge-how and knowledge-that come apart. (shrink)
If individual knowledge and justification can be vanquished by epistemic defeaters, then the same should go for group knowledge. Lackey (2014) has recently argued that one especially strong conception of group knowledge defended by Bird (2010) is incapable of preserving how it is that (group) knowledge is ever subject to ordinary mechanisms of epistemic defeat. Lackey takes it that her objections do not also apply to a more moderate articulation of group knowledge--one that is embraced widely in collective epistemology--and which (...) she does not challenge. This paper argues that given certain background premises that are embraced by orthodox thinking in collectivist epistemology, the more moderate account of group knowledge cannot make sense of either psychological or normative epistemic defeaters. I conclude by offering some suggestions for how the more moderate proposal might avoid this result. (shrink)
Epistemology and Relativism Epistemology is, roughly, the philosophical theory of knowledge, its nature and scope. What is the status of epistemological claims? Relativists regard the status of epistemological claims as, in some way, relative— that is to say, that the truths which epistemological claims aspire to are … Continue reading Epistemology and Relativism →.
Relativism has been, in its various guises, both one of the most popular and most reviled philosophical doctrines of our time. Defenders see it as a harbinger of tolerance and the only ethical and epistemic stance worthy of the open-minded and tolerant. Detractors dismiss it for its alleged incoherence and uncritical intellectual permissiveness. Debates about relativism permeate the whole spectrum of philosophical sub-disciplines. From ethics to epistemology, science to religion, political theory to ontology, theories of meaning and even logic, philosophy (...) has felt the need to respond to this heady and seemingly subversive idea. Discussions of relativism often also invoke considerations relevant to the very nature and methodology of philosophy and to the division between the so-called “analytic and continental” camps in philosophy. And yet, despite a long history of debate going back to Plato and an increasingly large body of writing, it is still difficult to come to an agreed definition of what, at its core, relativism is, and what philosophical import it has. This entry attempts to provide a broad account of the many ways in which “relativism” has been defined, explained, defended and criticized. (shrink)
Epitaphium Damonis, Milton's lament for his friend Charles Diodati, is usually described as most strongly indebted to Theocritus? idylls, to Virgil's eclogues, and to Ovid's lament for Tibullus. However, closer examination reveals that Milton was even more closely indebted to Neo-Latin poets such as Sannazaro, Buchanan, Castiglione, Mantuan, and Zanchi. Whereas there are lines in Epitaphium Damonis that resemble those in Virgil and Ovid, there are just as many that resemble those in Neo-Latin poets. Although a pastoral, the tone and (...) atmosphere of the epitaph resemble more its Renaissance contemporaries than its more distant Latin and Greek forebears. This is especially evident in the intimate tone Milton assumes in addressing Damon-Diodati and in the elaborate digression he incorporates into the poem when he confides to his dead friend his plans for a future epic on an Arthurian theme. Milton's attempt to wed a Christian sensibility to a classical form also signals his indebtedness to his Renaissance predecessors, who similarly used classical pastoral to express Christian consolation. (shrink)
Bioethics has begun to see the revaluation of affects in medical practice, but not all of them, and not necessarily in the sense of affects as we know them. Empathy has been accepted as important for good medical practice, but only in a way that strips it of its affectivity and thus prevents other affects, like sympathy, from being accepted. As part of a larger project that aims at revaluing the importance of affectivity in medical practice, the purpose of this (...) paper is to develop a clinical sympathy that can serve as a trainable skill for medical professionals. While everyday sympathy may be problematic as a professional skill for physicians, this does not imply that sympathy should be entirely rejected. As a natural part of our moral psychology, sympathy is an intersubjective affect that aids in our interactions with others and our decision-making abilities. I present here a theory of clinical sympathy as an affective response to patients, in which physicians are both attuned to their affective response and understand how their affects are influencing their beliefs and judgments. In this way, clinical sympathy serves as a trainable skill that can aid physicians in their interactions with their patients. (shrink)
It is a natural assumption in mainstream epistemological theory that ascriptions of knowledge of a proposition p track strength of epistemic position vis-à-vis p. It is equally natural to assume that the strength of one’s epistemic position is maximally high in cases where p concerns a simple analytic truth. For instance, it seems reasonable to suppose that one’s epistemic position vis-à-vis “a cat is a cat” is harder to improve than one’s position vis-à-vis “a cat is on the mat”, and (...) consequently, that the former is at least as unambiguous a case of knowledge as the latter. The current paper, however, presents empirical evidence which challenges this intuitive line of reasoning. Our study on the epistemic intuitions of hundreds of academic philosophers supports the idea that simple and uncontroversial analytic propositions are less likely to qualify as knowledge than empirical ones. We show that our results, though at odds with orthodox theories of knowledge in mainstream epistemology, can be explained in a way consistent with Wittgenstein’s remarks on ‘hinge propositions’ or with Stalnaker’s pragmatics of assertion. We then present and evaluate a number of lines of response mainstream theories of knowledge could appeal to in accommodating our results. Finally, we show how each line of response runs into some prima facie difficulties. Thus, our observed asymmetry between knowing “a cat is a cat” and knowing “a cat is on the mat” presents a puzzle which mainstream epistemology needs to resolve. (shrink)
Which intermediate propositional logics can prove their own completeness? I call a logic reflexive if a second-order metatheory of arithmetic created from the logic is sufficient to prove the completeness of the original logic. Given the collection of intermediate propositional logics, I prove that the reflexive logics are exactly those that are at least as strong as testability logic, that is, intuitionistic logic plus the scheme $\neg φ ∨ \neg\neg φ. I show that this result holds regardless of whether Tarskian (...) or Kripke semantics is used in the definition of completeness. I also show that the operation of creating a second-order metatheory is injective, thereby insuring that I am actually considering each logic independently. (shrink)
Many scholars agree that the Internet plays a pivotal role in self-radicalization, which can lead to behaviours ranging from lone-wolf terrorism to participation in white nationalist rallies to mundane bigotry and voting for extremist candidates. However, the mechanisms by which the Internet facilitates self-radicalization are disputed; some fault the individuals who end up self-radicalized, while others lay the blame on the technology itself. In this paper, we explore the role played by technological design decisions in online self-radicalization in its myriad (...) guises, encompassing extreme as well as more mundane forms. We begin by characterizing the phenomenon of technological seduction. Next, we distinguish between top-down seduction and bottom-up seduction. We then situate both forms of technological seduction within the theoretical model of dynamical systems theory. We conclude by articulating strategies for combatting online self-radicalization. (shrink)
Despite the profound potential of MacIntyre’s revolutionary virtue paradigm, management scholars have struggled to make sense of one of the most contentious and insightful philosophers of our time. This conceptual paper attempts to move past the transliteration of MacIntyre in favour of a translation of his contribution in a manner than retains something closer to its full meaning, while helpfully guiding empirical efforts to apply this emerging paradigm to modern organisations. This translation entails a dismissal of MacIntyre’s hypercritical bias in (...) order to accommodate an expansion of his ideas into the language and logic of management theory and practice. Schein’s methodological roadmap for deciphering culture is offered, as is theory-building using comparative case research, as offering two particularly promising directions for future empirical studies that seek to use the theory of virtue in order to reconceptualise and study the modern organisation. (shrink)
Recent work in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2010a; Clark 2010b; Palermos 2014) can help to explain why certain kinds of assertions—made on the basis of information stored in our gadgets rather than in biological memory—are properly criticisable in light of misleading implicatures, while others are not.
In the rapidly evolving healthcare environment, perhaps no role is in greater flux and redefinition than that of the clinical bioethicist. The discussion of ethics consultation in the bioethics literature has moved from an ambiguous concern regarding its proper place in the clinical milieu to the more provocative question of which methods and theories should best characterize the intellectual and practical work it claims to do. The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities addressed these concerns in its 1998 report, CoreCompetenciesforHealthCareEthicsConsultation. (...) The report tries to answer the question as to what disciplinary training, background experience, and levels of knowledge in ethics the clinical ethics consultant should have, and what specific skills and character traits the clinical ethics consultant should cultivate. In addition to acquiring knowledge of common bioethical issues, theoretical concepts in ethical theory and moral reasoning, and health-related law and policy, the report also recommends that ethics consultants demonstrate knowledge of the health beliefs and perspectives of patients and healthcare providers. In our opinion, this recommendation underscores a crucial aspect of the practice of ethics consultation in the increasingly multicultural settings of healthcare institutions. Clearly, the dynamic of American life and culture is permeated with diversity and variety as new groups suffuse their own beliefs and faith perspectives into the health sector. New immigrant groups force society to question traditional healthcare practices and to accommodate changing medical needs. (shrink)
Recent studies have revealed a drop in the ability of physicians to empathize with their patients. It is argued that empathy training needs to be provided to both medical students and physicians in order to improve patient care. While it may be true that empathy would lead to better patient care, it is important that the right theory of empathy is being encouraged. This paper examines and critiques the prominent explanation of empathy being used in medicine. Focusing on the component (...) of empathy that allows us to understand others, it is argued that this understanding is accomplished through a simulation. However, simulation theory is not the best explanation of empathy for medicine, since it involves a limited perspective in which to understand the patient. In response to the limitations and objections to simulation theory, interaction theory is presented as a promising alternative. This theory explains the physicians understanding of patients from diverse backgrounds as an ability to learn and apply narratives. By explaining how we understand others, without limiting our ability to understand various others, interaction theory is more likely than simulation theory to provide better patient care, and therefore is a better theory of empathy for the medical field. (shrink)
We have written an introduction to epistemology that is accessible, engaging, and up to date. (We hope.) -/- Introduction Chapter 1: The Regress Problem Chapter 2: Perception Chapter 3: The Apriori Chapter 4: Inference Chapter 5: On Knowing the Truth Chapter 6: Memory Chapter 7: Testimony Chapter 8: Kinds of Knowledge Chapter 9: Internalism vs. Externalism Chapter 10: The Ethics of Belief Chapter 11: Skepticism .
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized euthanasia. Soon after, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario enacted the Professional Obligations and Human Rights policy and the Medical Assistance in Dying policy. Neither these policies nor the Medical Assistance in Dying Act, the Ontario law permitting euthanasia, contains a conscientious objection clause. Instead, the policies require objecting doctors to provide an effective referral to a doctor who will euthanize the patient. Objecting physicians brought suit against the college. In (...) a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held against the plaintiffs, finding the infringement of the effective referral policy on physicians’ rights to conscience and religious freedom to be appropriate when balanced against a patient’s right to equitable access to health care. Therefore, Catholic physicians in Ontario now must choose to violate either their religious beliefs or their professional obligations. It is imperative that these policies be struck down on appeal, superseded by an amendment, or revised by the college through the addition of a conscience clause. (shrink)
Power and organizational hierarchies are ubiquitous to social institutions that form the foundation of modern society. Power differentials may act to constrain or enhance people’s ability to make good ethical decisions. However, little scholarly work has examined perceptions of this important topic. The present effort seeks to address this issue by interviewing academics about hypothetical ethical problems that involve power differences among those involved. Academics discussed what they would do in these scenarios, often drawing on their own experiences. Using a (...) think-aloud protocol, participants were prompted to discuss their reasoning and thinking behind their ethical decisions. These interview data were content analyzed using a semantic analysis program that identified a number of distinct ways that academics think about power differences and abuses in ethical situations. Implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Memory technologies are cultural artifacts that scaffold, transform, and are interwoven with human biological memory systems. The goal of this article is to provide a systematic and integrative survey of their philosophical dimensions, including their metaphysical, epistemological and ethical dimensions, drawing together debates across the humanities, cognitive sciences, and social sciences. Metaphysical dimensions of memory technologies include their function, the nature of their informational properties, ways of classifying them, and their ontological status. Epistemological dimensions include the truth-conduciveness of external memory, (...) the conditions under which external memory counts as knowledge, and the metacognitive monitoring of external memory processes. And lastly, ethical and normative dimensions include the desirability of the effects memory technologies have on biological memory, their effects on self and culture, and their moral status. Whilst the focus in the article is largely philosophical and conceptual, empirical issues such as the way we interact with memory technologies in various contexts are also discussed. We thus take a naturalistic approach in which philosophical and empirical concepts and approaches are seen as continuous. (shrink)
A significant criticism of the anthropic principle as a scientific claim is that testable predictions cannot be derived from it. Brandon Carter has argued, however, that the principle can be used to predict on the one hand that the period of time biological evolution is intrinsically likely to require is very large, and on the other that the number of ‘critical steps’ that have occurred in the evolution of life on earth is related to the length of time life (...) can continue to evolve. I attempt to show that neither of Carter's arguments provides a convincing defence of the testability of the anthropic principle. (shrink)
Is consciousness merely an illusion, a by-product of our brain's workings, or is it, as the latest physics may suggest, the basis for all reality? Your perception of the world around you, your consciousness, should be the one thing you could talk about with absolute confidence. But nothing about consciousness is clear-cut and understanding it is perhaps the hardest problem facing modern science. But some extraordinary insights gathered by the latest research suggest that the answers are within our grasp. Building (...) on the success of her bestselling book MAPPING THE MIND, Rita Carter gathers these insights together to throw new light on consciousness, its nature, its origins and its purpose. (shrink)
We argue that any strong version of a knowledge condition on intentional action, the practical knowledge principle, on which knowledge of what I am doing (under some description: call it A-ing) is necessary for that A-ing to qualify as an intentional action, is false. Our argument involves a new kind of case, one that centers the agent’s control appropriately and thus improves upon Davidson’s well-known carbon copier case. After discussing this case, offering an initial argument against the knowledge condition, and (...) discussing recent treatments that cover nearby ground, we consider several objections. One we consider at some length maintains that although contemplative knowledge may be disconnected from intentional action, specifically practical knowledge of the sort Anscombe elucidated escapes our argument. We demonstrate that this is not so. Our argument illuminates an important truth, often overlooked in discussions of the knowledge-intentional action relationship: intentional action and knowledge have different levels of permissiveness regarding failure in similar circumstances. (shrink)
Descartes’ demon is a deceiver: the demon makes things appear to you other than as they really are. However, as Descartes famously pointed out in the Second Meditation, not all knowledge is imperilled by this kind of deception. You still know you are a thinking thing. Perhaps, though, there is a more virulent demon in epistemic hell, one from which none of our knowledge is safe. Jonathan Schaffer thinks so. The “Debasing Demon” he imagines threatens knowledge not via the truth (...) condition on knowledge, but via the basing condition. This demon can cause any belief to seem like it’s held on a good basis, when it’s really held on a bad basis. Several recent critics, Conee, Ballantyne & Evans ) grant Schaffer the possibility of such a debasing demon, and argue that the skeptical conclusion doesn’t follow. By contrast, we argue that on any plausible account of the epistemic basing relation, the “debasing demon” is impossible. Our argument for why this is so gestures, more generally, to the importance of avoiding common traps by embracing mistaken assumptions about what it takes for a belief to be based on a reason. (shrink)