Epistemic minimalism affirms that mere true belief is sufficient for propositional knowledge. I construct a taxonomy of some specific forms of minimalism and locate within that taxonomy the distinct positions of various advocates of minimalism, including Alvin Goldman, Jaakko Hintikka, Crispin Sartwell, Wolfgang Lenzen, Franz von Kutschera, and others. I weigh generic minimalism against William Lycan’s objection that minimalism is incompatible with plausible principles about relations between knowledge, belief, and confidence. I argue that Lycan’s objection fails for equivocation but that (...) some specific forms of minimalism are better able than others to articulate that defense. (shrink)
This paper proposes a response to the duplication objection to the descriptive theory of singular mental reference. This objection involves hypothetical cases in each of which there are a pair of qualitatively indistinguishable objects and a thought that apparently refers to only one of the pair, despite the descriptive indistinguishability of the two objects. I identify a concept of reference-likeness or closeness to reference, which is related to the concept of genuine singular reference as the concept of truthlikeness or closeness (...) to truth is related to the concept of truth. My response to the duplication objection is to say that the hypothetical cases it involves establish only that a thought can come close enough to singular reference to a thing despite not genuinely referring to that thing, a consequence that is compatible with the descriptive theory of singular mental reference. (shrink)
Ivan Boh affirms and Robert Pasnau denies that William Heytesbury holds merely true belief to be sufficient for knowledge in the broad sense. I argue that Boh is correct and Pasnau is mistaken, and that there is a long-running orthodox medieval tradition agreeing with Heytesbury about the conditions for knowledge. I offer a hypothesis about the origins, continuance and demise of that medieval tradition, and some remarks about the tradition's significance.
Robert Shope states at the outset of The Nature of Meaningfulness that his goal is "to present a unified view of meaningfulness". As the book unfolds, the unity in his view turns out to be subtle and complex, and to take in many distinct topics. His discussion is dense with arguments and counterexamples, and engages with many other contemporary analytic philosophers' writings on each topic. Readers are justified, I think, in treating the book as a collection of quite independent essays (...) on various metaphysical topics that can profitably be engaged selectively on the basis of a reader's interests and on the reader's methodological terms. (shrink)
In two early papers, Max Cresswell constructed two formal logics of propositional identity, pcr and fcr, which he observed to be respectively deductively equivalent to modal logics s4 and s5. Cresswell argued informally that these equivalences respectively “give . . . evidence” for the correctness of s4 and s5 as logics of broadly logical necessity. In this paper, I describe weaker propositional identity logics than pcr that accommodate core intuitions about identity and I argue that Cresswell’s informal arguments do not (...) firmly and without epistemic circularity justify accepting s4 or s5. I also describe how to formulate standard modal logics (k, s2, and their extensions) with strict equivalence as the only modal primitive. (shrink)
This sophisticated, difficult, and puzzling book consolidates and continues the exploration of our finitude pursued in Adrian Moore’s earlier book The Infinite and in a number of previous and intervening articles by him. One of Moore’s purposes in Points of View is to defend an affirmative answer to the question “Are absolute representations possible?” Moore takes this question to be an expression of an essential connection between current concerns about language and mind, and what he regards as deeper perennial concerns (...) about our finitude. Another of his purposes is to recommend acquisition of a certain taste for nonsense as an apt response to those connected concerns, as “a philosophical tactic of very general utility.”. (shrink)
This is a critical exposition and limited defence of a theory of first- person belief transiently held by Roderick Chisholm after giving up the early haecceity theory of Person and Object and before adopting the late self-attribution theory of The First Person. I reconstruct that 'middle' theory as involving what I call a 'hard-core' approach to de re belief and I rebut objections concerning epistemic supervenience and abnormal consciousness. In my rebuttals, I sketch a variant of the middle theory according (...) to which first- person belief essentially involves the believer's introspective acquaintance with herself. (shrink)
I argue that the sufficiency of true belief for knowledge was accepted by some principal figures in the early history of analytic philosophy, including Russell, Schlick, McTaggart, and Moore, among others.