What is intellectual humility? In this essay, we aim to answer this question by assessing several contemporary accounts of intellectual humility, developing our own account, offering two reasons for our account, and meeting two objections and solving one puzzle.
A fascinating recent turn in epistemology focuses on inquiring attitudes like wondering and being curious. Many have argued that these attitudes are governed by norms similar to those that govern our doxastic attitudes. Yet, to date, this work has only considered norms that might *prohibit* having certain inquiring attitudes (``norms of restriction''), while ignoring those that might *require* having them (``norms of expansion''). We aim to address that omission by offering a framework that generates norms of expansion for inquiring attitudes. (...) The framework draws on inferential erotetic logic, which we explain and augment with some theorems. We explore several of the norms that it yields - some sympathetically, others unsympathetically. (shrink)
This paper extends several themes from recent work on norms of assertion. It does as much by applying those themes to the speech act of asking. In particular, it argues for the view that there is a species of asking which is governed by a certain norm, a norm to the effect that one should ask a question only if one doesn’t know its answer.
This paper explores the nature of curiosity from an epistemological point of view. First it motivates this exploration by explaining why epistemologists do and should care about what curiosity is. Then it surveys the relevant literature and develops a particular approach.
I’m going to argue that omniscience is impossible and therefore that there is no God. The argument turns on the notion of grounding. After illustrating and clarifying that notion, I’ll start the argument in earnest. The first step will be to lay out five claims, one of which is the claim that there is an omniscient being, and the other four of which are claims about grounding. I’ll prove that these five claims are jointly inconsistent. Then I’ll argue for the (...) truth of each of them except the claim that there is an omniscient being. From these arguments it follows that there are no omniscient beings and thus that there is no God. (shrink)
There has been extensive discussion of testimonial epistemic injustice, the phenomenon whereby a speaker’s testimony is rejected due to prejudice regarding who they are. But people also have their testimony rejected or preempted due to prejudice regarding what they communicate. Here, the injustice is content focused. We describe several cases of content focused injustice, and we theoretically interrogate those cases by building up a general framework through which to understand them as a genuine form of epistemic injustice that stands in (...) intertwined relationships to other forms of epistemic injustice. (shrink)
Recent scholarship in intellectual humility (IH) has attempted to provide deeper understanding of the virtue as personality trait and its impact on an individual's thoughts, beliefs, and actions. A limitations-owning perspective of IH focuses on a proper recognition of the impact of intellectual limitations and a motivation to overcome them, placing it as the mean between intellectual arrogance and intellectual servility. We developed the Limitations-Owning Intellectual Humility Scale to assess this conception of IH with related personality constructs. In Studies 1 (...) (n= 386) and 2 (n = 296), principal factor and conﬁrmatory factor analyses revealed a three-factor model – owning one's intellectual limitations, appropriate discomfort with intellectual limitations, and love of learning. Study 3 (n = 322) demonstrated strong test-retest reliability of the measure over 5 months, while Study 4 (n = 612) revealed limitations-owning IH correlated negatively with dogmatism, closed-mindedness, and hubristic pride and positively with openness, assertiveness, authentic pride. It also predicted openness and closed-mindedness over and above education, social desirability, and other measures of IH. The limitations-owning understanding of IH and scale allow for a more nuanced, spectrum interpretation and measurement of the virtue, which directs future study inside and outside of psychology. (shrink)
This paper argues that questions can be bullshit. First it explores some shallowly interrogative ways in which that can happen. Then it shows how questions can also be bullshit in a way that’s more deeply interrogative.
Suppose that you are engaging with someone who is your oppressor, or someone who espouses a heinous view like Nazism or a ridiculous view like flat-earthism. In contexts like these, there is a disparity between you and your interlocutor, a dramatic normative difference across which you are in the right and they are in the wrong. As theorists of humility, we find these contexts puzzling. Humility seems like the *last* thing oppressed people need and the *last* thing we need in (...) dealing with those whose views are heinous or ridiculous. Responding to such people via humility seems uncalled for, even inappropriate. But how could this be, given that humility is a *virtue*? The purpose of the paper is to explore this puzzle. We explain what the puzzle is and then attempt to draw some lessons from it: first, the lesson that the importance of humility is limited in several ways, and second, the lesson that humility nonetheless has several important roles to play, even for people who are in the right in contexts of disparity. (shrink)
Epistemology is normative. This normativity has been widely recognized for a long time, but it has recently come into direct focus as a central topic of discussion. The result is a recent and large turn towards focusing on epistemic value. I’ll start by describing some of the history and motivations of this recent value turn. Then I’ll categorize the work within the value turn into three strands, and I’ll discuss the main writings in those strands. Finally, I’ll explore some themes (...) that are ripe for further development. (shrink)
Suppose for reductio that I know a proposition of the form <p and I don’t know p>. Then by the factivity of knowledge and the distribution of knowledge over conjunction, I both know and do not know p ; which is impossible. Propositions of the form <p and I don’t know p> are therefore unknowable. Their particular kind of unknowability has been widely discussed and applied to such issues as the realism debate. It hasn’t been much applied to theories of (...) the nature of knowledge. That is what I’m going to do here. (shrink)
I start with a critical discussion of some attempts to ground epistemic normativity in curiosity. Then I develop three positive proposals. The first of these proposals is more or less purely philosophical; the second two reside at the interdisciplinary borderline between philosophy and psychology. The proposals are independent and rooted in different literatures. Readers uninterested in the first proposal (and the critical discussion preceding it) may nonetheless be interested in the second two proposals, and vice versa. -/- The proposals are (...) as follows. First I argue that, among several ways in which the notion of curiosity might be used to delineate significant truths from trivial ones, a particular way is the most promising. Second, I argue that curiosity has some underappreciated epistemic roles involving memory. Third, I argue that curiosity has some underappreciated epistemic roles involving coherence. (shrink)
This paper explains some of the reasoning behind “Can a Good Philosophical Contribution Be Made Just by Asking a Question?,” a paper which consists solely in its title and which is published in the same issue of the journal as the present paper. The method for explaining that reasoning consists in making available a lightly edited version of a letter the authors sent to the editors when submitting the title-only paper. The editors permitted publication of that paper on the condition (...) that the authors also separately publish a version of that letter; the present paper aims to fulfil that condition. (shrink)
Recent philosophy features remarkably little work on the nature of wisdom. The following is a bibliography of that work, or at least the important-seeming parts of it that I’ve managed to uncover. I’ve also included some work from the history of philosophy, and from a few neighboring fields. Suggested additions would be very appreciated.
Timothy Williamson has a marvelously precise account of epistemic justification in terms of knowledge and probability. I argue that the account runs aground on certain cases involving the probability values 0 and 1.
For any normative domain, we can theorize about what is good in that domain. Such theories include utilitarianism, a view about what is good morally. But there are many domains other than the moral; these include the prudential, the aesthetic, and the intellectual or epistemic. In this last domain, it is good to be knowledgeable and bad to ignore evidence, quite apart from the morality, prudence, and aesthetics of these things. This dissertation builds a theory that stands to the epistemic (...) domain as utilitarianism stands to the moral domain. It builds an epistemic value theory. (shrink)
I summarize Timothy Williamson's theory of knowledge, construct some counterexamples to it, and try to diagnose the problem in virtue of which those counterexamples arise. Then I consider possible responses. It turns out that only one of those responses is tenable, and that that response renders Williamson's theory a continuous piece of, rather than a radical paradigmatic break from, recent mainstream work in the theory of knowledge.
What is the best question to ask an omniscient being? The question is intriguing; is it also paradoxical? We discuss several versions of what Ned Markosian calls the paradox of the question and suggest solutions to each of those puzzles. We then offer some practical advice about what do if you ever have the opportunity to query an omniscient being.
States that are about things are intentional, that is, they have content. The precise nature of intentional states is a matter of dispute.What makes some states, but not others, intentional? Of those states that are intentional, what makes them about what they are about as opposed to something else, i.e. what gives them their specific content?