In this concise book, one of the world's leading epistemologists provides a sophisticated, revisionist introduction to the problem of knowledge in Western philosophy. Modern and contemporary accounts of epistemology tend to focus on limited questions of knowledge and skepticism, such as how we can know the external world, other minds, the past through memory, the future through induction, or the world’s depth and structure through inference. This book steps back for a better view of the more general issues posed (...) by the ancient Greek Pyrrhonists. Returning to and illuminating this older, broader epistemological tradition, Ernest Sosa develops an original account of the subject, giving it substance not with Cartesian theology but with science and common sense. -/- Descartes is a part of this ancient tradition, but he goes beyond it by considering not just whether knowledge is possible at all but also how we can properly attain it. In Cartesian epistemology, Sosa finds a virtue-theoretic account, one that he extends beyond the Cartesian context. Once epistemology is viewed in this light, many of its problems can be solved or fall away. -/- The result is an important reevaluation of epistemology that will be essential reading for students and teachers. (shrink)
_Epistemology _is an accessible and indispensable volume for undergraduates studying philosophy. Essential introduction to epistemology, a field of fundamental philosophical importance Offers concise and well-written synopses of different epistemological debates and concerns.
This is a collection of essays by the leaders of what has been called the most important development in the theory of knowledge since the 18th century: namely evolutionary epistemology. The motif for this volume is struck in Bartley's opening chapter: Philosophy of biology versus Philosophy of Physics and is continued in Sir Karl Popper's Darwin lecture, Donald T. Campbell's application of Darwinian theory to creative thought processes, and in the debate over the theories of Campbell and Gunter Wachtershauser (...) on the origins of vision. (shrink)
Virtue epistemology is a diverse and flourishing field, one of the most exciting developments in epistemology to emerge over the last three decades. Virtue epistemology begins with the premise that epistemology is a normative discipline and, accordingly, a central task of epistemology is to explain the sort of normativity that knowledge, justified belief, and the like involve. A second premise is that a focus on the intellectual virtues is essential to carrying out this central task. (...) This collection offers some of the most influential and agenda-setting work at the heart of virtue epistemology's research program. Taken together, they will equip the reader to enter the ongoing discussion and debate in the field. The selections range from seminal contributions by Ernest Sosa, who introduced the notion of intellectual virtue into the contemporary literature, to a study of "epistemic justice" that draws on _To Kill a Mockingbird_ and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The readings include overviews of the field that also serve to advance the discussion; investigations of the nature of knowledge; reflections on the value of knowledge; examinations of credit and luck; and explorations of future directions for research. The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket. (shrink)
Standpoint epistemology is committed to a cluster of views that pays special attention to the role of social identity in knowledge‐acquisition. Of particular interest here is the situated knowledge thesis. This thesis holds that for certain propositions p, whether an epistemic agent is in a position to know that p depends on some nonepistemic facts related to the epistemic agent's social identity. In this article, I examine two possible ways to interpret this thesis. My first goal here is to (...) clarify existing interpretations of this thesis that appear in the literature but that are undeveloped and often mistakenly conflated. In so doing, I aim to make clear the different versions of standpoint epistemology that one might accept and defend.This project is of significance, I argue, because standpoint epistemology provides helpful tools for understanding a phenomenon of recent interest: epistemic oppression. My second goal is to provide an analysis that makes clear how each of the readings I put forth can be used to illuminate forms of epistemic oppression. (shrink)
As current events around the world have illustrated, epistemological issues are at the center of our political lives. It has become increasingly difficult to discern legitimate sources of evidence, misinformation spreads faster than ever, and the role of truth in politics has allegedly decayed in recent years. It is therefore no coincidence that political discourse is currently saturated with epistemic notions like ‘post-truth,’ ‘fake news,’ ‘truth decay,’ ‘echo chambers,’ and ‘alternative facts.’ This book brings together leading philosophers to explore ways (...) in which the analytic and conceptual tools of epistemology bear on political philosophy, and vice versa. It is organized around three broad themes: truth and knowledge in politics; epistemic problems for democracy; and disagreement and polarization. The authors provide new and rich insights on topics such as: propaganda, fake news, weaponized skepticism, belief polarization, political disagreement, the epistemic value of democracy, voter ignorance, irrationality in politics, political bullshit, and identity politics. (shrink)
Probabilistic models have much to offer to philosophy. We continually receive information from a variety of sources: from our senses, from witnesses, from scientific instruments. When considering whether we should believe this information, we assess whether the sources are independent, how reliable they are, and how plausible and coherent the information is. Bovens and Hartmann provide a systematic Bayesian account of these features of reasoning. Simple Bayesian Networks allow us to model alternative assumptions about the nature of the information sources. (...) Measurement of the coherence of information is a controversial matter: arguably, the more coherent a set of information is, the more confident we may be that its content is true, other things being equal. The authors offer a new treatment of coherence which respects this claim and shows its relevance to scientific theory choice. Bovens and Hartmann apply this methodology to a wide range of much discussed issues regarding evidence, testimony, scientific theories, and voting. Bayesian Epistemology is an essential tool for anyone working on probabilistic methods in philosophy, and has broad implications for many other disciplines. (shrink)
A Virtue Epistemology presents a new approach to some of the oldest and most gripping problems of philosophy, those of knowledge and scepticism. Ernest Sosa argues for two levels of knowledge, the animal and the reflective, each viewed as a distinctive human accomplishment. By adopting a kind of virtue epistemology in line with the tradition found in Aristotle, Aquinas, Reid, and especially Descartes, he presents an account of knowledge which can be used to shed light on different varieties (...) of scepticism, the nature and status of intuitions, and epistemic normativity. (shrink)
In a series of ten articles from leading American and European scholars, Pragmatist Epistemologies explores the central themes of epistemology in the pragmatist tradition through a synthesis of new and old pragmatist thought, engaging contemporary issues while exploring from a historical perspective. It opens a new avenue of research in contemporary pragmatism continuous with the main figures of pragmatist tradition and incorporating contemporary trends in philosophy. Students and scholars of American philosophy will find this book indispensable.
In this paper, I’ll sketch an approach to epistemology that draws its inspiration from two aspects of Kant’s philosophical project. In particular, I want to explore how we might develop a Kantian conception of rationality that combines a virtue-theoretical perspective on the nature of rationality with a role for transcendental arguments in defining the demands this conception of rationality places upon us as thinkers. In discussing these connections, I’ll proceed as follows. First, I’ll describe the sorts of epistemological questions (...) I’ll be focusing on, and the framework within which I’ll try to address them. Then I’ll say a bit about the connections between this framework on Kant’s own views. Next, I’ll explain in more detail how the two main elements of this framework relate to one another by explaining how a certain sort of “transcendental argument” allows us to derive conclusions about the requirements of rationality from facts about the nature of rational capacities. Then, I’ll briefly illustrate these connections with two examples: the rationality of explanatory inference like inference to the best explanation and the rationality of perceptual belief. Finally, I’ll conclude by saying a bit about the relevance of this ideas for debates about the rationality of basic beliefs or prior probabilities. (shrink)
How do we know what we know? What have wisdom, prudence and studiousness to do with justifying our beliefs? Jay Wood begins this introduction to epistemology by taking an extended look at the idea of knowing within the context of the intellectual virtues. He then surveys current views of foundationalism, epistemic justification and reliabilism. Finally he examines the relationship of epistemology to religious belief, and the role of emotions and virtues in proper cognitive functioning Professors will find this (...) text, with its many examples drawn from everyday student experience, especially useful in introducing students to the formal study of epistemology. (shrink)
Philosophers have recently highlighted substantial affinities between causation and grounding, which has inclined some to import the conceptual and formal resources of causal interventionism into the metaphysics of grounding. The prospect of grounding interventionism raises two important questions: exactly what are grounding interventions, and why should we think they enable knowledge of grounding? This paper will approach these questions by examining how causal interventionists have addressed (or might address) analogous questions and then comparing the available options for grounding interventionism. I (...) argue that grounding interventions must be understood in worldly terms, as adding something to or deleting something from the roster of entities, or making some fact obtain or fail to obtain. I consider three bases for counterfactual assessment: imagination, structural equation models, and background theory. I conclude that grounding interventionism requires firmer epistemological foundations, without which the interventionist's epistemology of grounding is incomplete and ineffectually rationalist. (shrink)
Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology provides a novel account of the structure of epistemic justification. Its central claim builds upon Wittgenstein's idea in On Certainty that epistemic justifications hinge on some basic assumptions and that epistemic rationality extends to these very hinges. It exploits these ideas to address major problems in epistemology, such as the nature of perceptual justifications, external world skepticism, epistemic relativism, the epistemic status of basic logical laws, of the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature, (...) of our belief in the existence of the past and of other minds, and the nature of testimonial justification. Along the way, further technical issues, such as the scope of the Principle of Closure of epistemic operators under known entailment, the notion of transmission failure, and the existence of entitlements are addressed in new and illuminating ways. (shrink)
Extended Cognition examines the way in which features of a subject's cognitive environment can become constituent parts of the cognitive process itself. This volume explores the epistemological ramifications of this idea, bringing together academics from a variety of different areas, to investigate the very idea of an extended epistemology.
The book develops and synthesises two main ideas: contextualism about knowledge ascriptions and a knowledge-first approach to epistemology. The theme of the book is that these two ideas fit together much better than it's widely thought they do. Not only are they not competitors: they each have something important to offer the other.
A new way to transpose the virtue epistemologist’s ‘knowledge = apt belief’ template to the collective level, as a thesis about group knowledge, is developed. In particular, it is shown how specifically judgmental belief can be realised at the collective level in a way that is structurally analogous, on a telic theory of epistemic normativity (e.g., Sosa 2020), to how it is realised at the individual level—viz., through a (collective) intentional attempt to get it right aptly (whether p) by alethically (...) affirming that p. An advantage of the proposal developed is that it is shown to be compatible with competing views—viz., joint acceptance accounts and social-distributive accounts—of how group members must interact in order to materially realise a group belief. I conclude by showing how the proposed judgment-focused collective (telic) virtue epistemology has important advantages over a rival version of collective virtue epistemology defended in recent work by Jesper Kallestrup (2016). (shrink)
Virtue Epistemology is a new movement receiving the bulk of recent attention from top epistemologists and ethicists; this volume reflects the best work in that vein. Included are unpublished articles by such eminent philosophers as Robert Audi, Simon Blackburn, Alvin Goldman, Christopher Hookway, Keith Lehrer, and Ernest Sosa.
In this paper, I develop a new interpretation of Quine’s epistemology in the hopes of clarifying the relationship between naturalized epistemology and traditional epistemology. Quine’s naturalized epistemology is commonly criticized on the grounds that it amounts to giving up on traditional epistemological projects in favor of projects in natural science. But, I argue, this criticism rests on a mistaken interpretation of Quine’s epistemology. This is because Quine’s naturalized epistemology retains an important meliorative component; part (...) of its aim is to improve our systems of beliefs. Quine’s approach emphasizes improving our beliefs by engaging in conceptual clarification, which is a central part of both traditional and naturalized epistemology, as well as, on Quine’s conception, scientific inquiry. Thus, I argue, a central task of naturalized epistemology is to clarify science from within. Once this is properly understood, it is evident that Quine’s naturalized epistemology constitutes a re-orientation, rather than a wholesale rejection, of the projects of traditional epistemology. (shrink)
Some of the most problematic human behaviors involve vices of the mind such as arrogance, closed-mindedness, dogmatism, gullibility, and intellectual cowardice, as well as wishful or conspiratorial thinking. What sorts of things are epistemic vices? How do we detect and mitigate them? How and why do these vices prevent us from acquiring knowledge, and what is their role in sustaining patterns of ignorance? What is their relation to implicit or unconscious bias? How do epistemic vices and systems of social oppression (...) relate to one another? Do we unwittingly absorb such traits from the process of socialization and communities around us? Are epistemic vices traits for which we can blamed? Can there be institutional and collective epistemic vices? This book seeks to answer these important questions about the vices of the mind and their roles in our social and epistemic lives, and is the first collection of its kind. Organized into three parts, chapters by outstanding scholars explore the nature of epistemic vices, specific examples of these vices, and case studies in applied vice epistemology, including education and politics. Alongside these foundational questions, the volume offers sophisticated accounts of vices both new and familiar. These include epistemic arrogance and servility, epistemic injustice, epistemic snobbishness, conspiratorial thinking, procrastination, and forms of closed-mindedness. Vice Epistemology is essential reading for students of ethics, epistemology, and virtue theory, and various areas of applied, feminist, and social philosophy. It will also be of interest to practitioners, scholars, and activists in politics, law, and education. (shrink)
Natural kinds is a widely used and pivotal concept in philosophy – the idea being that the classifications and taxonomies employed by science correspond to the real kinds in nature. Natural kinds are often opposed to the idea of kinds in the human and social sciences, which are typically seen as social constructions, characterised by changing norms and resisting scientific reduction. Yet human beings are also a subject of scientific study.Does this mean humans fall into corresponding kinds of their own? (...) In The Epistemology and Morality of Human Kinds Marion Godman defends the idea of human kinds. She first examines the scientific use and nature of human kinds, considering the arguments of key philosophers whose work bears upon human kinds, such as Ian Hacking, John Searle, Richard Boyd and Ruth Millikan. Using the examples of gender, ethnic minorities and Buddhism she then argues that human kinds are a result of ongoing historical reproduction, chiefly due to pre-existing cultural models and social learning. Her novel argument shifts the focus away from the reductionism characteristic of research about human kinds. Instead, she argues that they are “multiply projectable” and deserving of scientific study not in spite of, but because of their role in explaining our identity, injustice and the emergence of group rights. (shrink)
This essay defends a novel form of virtue epistemology: Modal Virtue Epistemology. It borrows from traditional virtue epistemology the idea that knowledge is a type of skillful performance. But it goes on to understand skillfulness in purely modal terms — that is, in terms of success across a range of counterfactual scenarios. We argue that this approach offers a promising way of synthesizing virtue epistemology with a modal account of knowledge, according to which knowledge is safe (...) belief. In particular, we argue that the modal elements of the view offer important advantages over traditional virtue epistemology, which assigns a central explanatory role to aptness. At the same time, the virtue epistemological elements of the theory reveal new avenues for overcoming obstacles to traditional modal accounts of knowledge. Finally, we highlight the advantages of Modal Virtue Epistemology over alternative syntheses, such as Pritchard's (2012) hybrid approach. (shrink)
Knowledge and skill are intimately connected. In this essay, I discuss the question of their relationship and of which (if any) is prior to which in the order of explanation. I review some of the answers that have been given thus far in the literature, with a particular focus on the many foundational issues in epistemology that intersect with the philosophy of skill.
_Epistemology and Inference _ was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Henry Kyburg has developed an original and important perspective on probabilistic and statistical inference. Unlike much contemporary writing by philosophers on these topics, Kyburg's work is informed by issues that have arisen in statistical theory and practice as well as issues familiar to professional philosophers. In two (...) major books and many articles, Kyberg has elaborated his technical proposals and explained their ramifications for epistemology, decision-making, and scientific inquiry. In this collection of published and unpublished essays, Kyburg presents his novel ideas and their applications in a manner that makes them accessible to philosophers and provides specialists in probability and induction with a concise exposition of his system. (shrink)
Jennifer Lackey presents a ground-breaking exploration of the epistemology of groups, and its implications for group agency and responsibility. She argues that group belief and knowledge depend on what individual group members do or are capable of doing, while being subject to group-level normative requirements.
In bringing together a global community of philosophers, Global Epistemologies and Philosophies of Science develops novel perspectives on epistemology and philosophy of science by demonstrating how frameworks from academic philosophy (e.g. standpoint theory, social epistemology, feminist philosophy of science) and related fields (e.g. decolonial studies, transdisciplinarity, global history of science) can contribute to critical engagement with global dimensions of knowledge and science. -/- Global challenges such as climate change, food production, and infectious diseases raise complex questions about scientific (...) knowledge production and its interactions with local knowledge systems and social realities. As academic philosophy provides relatively little reflection on global negotiations of knowledge, many pressing scientific and societal issues remain disconnected from core debates in epistemology and philosophy of science. -/- This book is an invitation to broaden agendas of academic philosophy by presenting epistemology and philosophy of science as globally engaged fields that address heterogeneous forms of knowledge production and their interactions with local livelihoods, practices, and worldviews. This integrative ambition makes the book equally relevant for philosophers and interdisciplinary scholars who are concerned with methodological and political challenges at the intersection of science and society. (shrink)
If epistemology is roughly the study of knowledge, justification, warrant, and rationality, then religious epistemology is the study of how these epistemic concepts relate to religious belief and practice. This Element, while surveying various religious epistemologies, argues specifically for Plantingian religious epistemology. It makes the case for proper functionalism and Plantinga's AC models, while it also responds to debunking arguments informed by cognitive science of religion. It serves as a bridge between religious epistemology and natural theology.
Throughout philosophical history, there has been a recurring argument to the effect that determinism, naturalism, or both are self-referentially incoherent. By accepting determinism or naturalism, one allegedly acquires a reason to reject determinism or naturalism. _The Epistemological Skyhook_ brings together, for the first time, the principal expressions of this argument, focusing primarily on the last 150 years. This book addresses the versions of this argument as presented by Arthur Lovejoy, A.E. Taylor, Kurt Gödel, C.S. Lewis, Norman Malcolm, Karl Popper, J.R. (...) Lucas, William Hasker, Thomas Nagel, Alvin Plantinga, and others, along with the objections presented by their many detractors. It concludes by presenting a new version of the argument that synthesizes the best aspects of the others while also rendering the argument immune to some of the most significant objections made to it. (shrink)
"A welcome and fresh addition to a market that has been dominated by rather traditional texts...instructors will enjoy teaching with it in their classrooms" -- Teaching Philosophy, March 1998. This text offers an exceptionally lucid account of how philosophers in the 20th century have challenged the ideas of "modern" philosophers on fundamental questions in epistemology. Numerous examples are used to help undergraduates grasp the material. Self-study questions and further readings are included. The book sets out the traditional view that (...) knowledge is justified true belief and then presents Gettier's challenge to this theory. Three alternative accounts of knowledge--the "reliable method" account, the "casual" account, and Nozick's "tracking" account--are examined. Fisher and Everitt argue in favor of attending to justified belief rather than knowledge and present a view which tentatively favors a "casual" theory of justified belief. Next the authors assess and reject "foundationalism," a popular position in modern philosophy. Though foundationalism about empirical beliefs is commonly discussed in textbooks, this book is unique in giving foundationalism about a priori beliefs equal and expert consideration. In the second half of the book the authors present alternatives to modern epistemology, including coherentism, Quine's "naturalized epistemology," and Rorty's critique. These discussions are undertaken with a great deal of sensitivity to the needs of the beginning student of epistemology. (shrink)
The paper begins with a clarification of the notions of intuition (and, in particular, modal intuition), modal error, conceivability, metaphysical possibility, and epistemic possibility. It is argued that two-dimensionalism is the wrong framework for modal epistemology and that a certain nonreductionist approach to the theory of concepts and propositions is required instead. Finally, there is an examination of moderate rationalism’s impact on modal arguments in the philosophy of mind -- for example, Yablo’s disembodiment argument and Chalmers’s zombie argument. A (...) less vulnerable style of modal argument is defended, which nevertheless wins the same anti-materialist conclusions sought by these other arguments. (shrink)
An overview of the epistemology of perception, covering the nature of justification, immediate justification, the relationship between the metaphysics of perceptual experience and its rational role, the rational role of attention, and cognitive penetrability. The published version will contain a smaller bibliography, due to space constraints in the volume.
Contemporary virtue epistemology (hereafter ‘VE’) is a diverse collection of approaches to epistemology. At least two central tendencies are discernible among the approaches. First, they view epistemology as a normative discipline. Second, they view intellectual agents and communities as the primary focus of epistemic evaluation, with a focus on the intellectual virtues and vices embodied in and expressed by these agents and communities. -/- This entry introduces many of the most important results of the contemporary VE research (...) program. These include novel attempts to resolve longstanding disputes, solve perennial problems, grapple with novel challenges, and expand epistemology’s horizons. In the process, it reveals the diversity within VE. Beyond sharing the two unifying commitments mentioned above, its practitioners diverge over the nature of intellectual virtues, which questions to ask, and which methods to use. -/- It will be helpful to note some terminology before proceeding. First, we use ‘cognitive’, ‘epistemic’ and ‘intellectual’ synonymously. Second, we often use ‘normative’ broadly to include not only norms and rules, but also duties and values. Finally, ‘practitioners’ names contemporary virtue epistemologists. (shrink)
Bishop and Trout here present a unique and provocative new approach to epistemology. Their approach aims to liberate epistemology from the scholastic debates of standard analytic epistemology, and treat it as a branch of the philosophy of science. The approach is novel in its use of cost-benefit analysis to guide people facing real reasoning problems and in its framework for resolving normative disputes in psychology. Based on empirical data, Bishop and Trout show how people can improve their (...) reasoning by relying on Statistical Prediction Rules. They then develop and articulate the positive core of the book. Their view, Strategic Reliabilism, claims that epistemic excellence consists in the efficient allocation of cognitive resources to reliable reasoning strategies, applied to significant problems. The last third of the book develops the implications of this view for standard analytic epistemology; for resolving normative disputes in psychology; and for offering practical, concrete advice on how this theory can improve real people's reasoning. This is a truly distinctive and controversial work that spans many disciplines and will speak to an unusually diverse group, including people in epistemology, philosophy of science, decision theory, cognitive and clinical psychology, and ethics and public policy. (shrink)
In this clear and provocative account of the epistemology of religious experience, William P. Alston argues that the perception of God—his term for direct experiential awareness of God—makes a major contribution to the grounds of religious belief. Surveying the variety of reported direct experiences of God, Alston demonstrates that a person can be justified in holding certain beliefs about God on the basis of mystical experience.
In Epistemology, Laurence Bonjour introduces the serious philosophy student to the history and concepts of epistemology, while simultaneously challenging them to take an active part in its ongoing debates. The text reflects BonJour's conviction that the place to start any discussion of the theories of knowledge is with the classical problems, beginning with and centered around Descartes.
Introduction -- Part I: The classical problems of epistemology -- Descartes's epistemology -- The concept of knowledge -- The problem of induction -- A priori justification and knowledge -- Immediate experience -- Knowledge of the external world -- Some further epistemological issues : other minds, testimony, and memory -- Part II: Contemporary responses to the cartesian epistemological program -- Introduction to part II -- Foundationalism and coherentism -- Internalism and externalism -- Quine and naturalized epistemology -- Knowledge (...) and skepticism. (shrink)
Vice epistemology is the philosophical study of the nature, identity, and epistemological significance of intellectual vices. Such vices include gullibility, dogmatism, prejudice, closed-mindedness, and negligence. These are intellectual character vices, that is, intellectual vices that are also character traits. I ask how the notion of an intellectual character vice should be understood, whether such vices exist, and how they might be epistemologically significant. The proposal is that intellectual character vices are intellectual character traits that impede effective and responsible inquiry. (...) I argue that situationist critiques of virtue epistemology pose no significant threat to this proposal. Studies by social psychologists of belief in conspiracy theories suggest that it is sometimes appropriate to explain questionable beliefs by reference to intellectual character vices. Neither ‘regulative’ nor ‘analytic’ epistemology has any good reason to question the epistemological significance of such vices. (shrink)
Conditionals are sentences of the form 'If A, then B', and they play a central role in scientific, logical, and everyday reasoning. They have been in the philosophical limelight for centuries, and more recently, they have been receiving attention from psychologists, linguists, and computer scientists. In spite of this, many key questions concerning conditionals remain unanswered. While most of the work on conditionals has addressed semantical questions - questions about the truth conditions of conditionals - this book focuses on the (...) main epistemological questions that conditionals give rise to, such as: what are the probabilities of conditionals? When is a conditional acceptable or assertable? What do we learn when we receive new conditional information? In answering these questions, this book combines the formal tools of logic and probability theory with the experimental approach of cognitive psychology. It will be of interest to students and researchers in logic, epistemology, and psychology of reasoning. (shrink)
In what respects is episodic recollection active, and subject to the will, like perceptual imagination, and in what respects is it passive, like perception, and how do these matters relate to its epistemological role? I present an account of the ontology of episodic recollection that provides answers to these questions. According the account I recommend, an act of episodic recollection is not subject to epistemic evaluation—it is neither justified nor unjustified—but it can provide one with a distinctive source of warrant (...) for judgements about the past when it is accompanied by knowledge that one is recollecting, as well as knowledge of what one is recollecting. While the account concedes that when one recollects one's attitude to what is recollected cannot be one of observation, it nevertheless accommodates the notion that episodic recollection involves a form of mental time-travel—a case of re-visiting, or re-acquaintance with, some past episode. (shrink)
There is a long tradition comparing moral knowledge to mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between knowledge in the two areas, realistically conceived. I argue that many of these are only apparent, while others are less philosophically significant than might be thought. The picture that emerges is surprising. There are definitely differences between epistemological arguments in the two areas. However, these differences, if anything, increase the plausibility of moral realism as compared to mathematical realism. It (...) is hard to see how one might argue, on epistemological grounds, for moral antirealism while maintaining commitment to mathematical realism. But it may be possible to do the opposite. (shrink)
On Folk Epistemology explores how we ascribe knowledge to ourselves and others. Empirical evidence suggests that we do so early and often in thought as well as in talk. Since knowledge ascriptions are central to how we navigate social life, it is important to understand our basis for making them. -/- A central claim of the book is that factors that have nothing to do with knowledge may lead to systematic mistakes in everyday ascriptions of knowledge. These mistakes are (...) explained by an empirically informed account of how ordinary knowledge ascriptions are the product of cognitive heuristics that are associated with biases. In developing this account, Mikkel Gerken presents work in cognitive psychology and pragmatics, while also contributing to epistemology. For example, Gerken develops positive epistemic norms of action and assertion and moreover, critically assesses contextualism, knowledge-first methodology, pragmatic encroachment theories and more. Many of these approaches are argued to overestimate the epistemological significance of folk epistemology. In contrast, this volume develops an equilibristic methodology according to which intuitive judgments about knowledge cannot straightforwardly play a role as data for epistemological theorizing. Rather, critical epistemological theorizing is required to interpret empirical findings. Consequently, On Folk Epistemology helps to lay the foundation for an emerging sub-field that intersects philosophy and the cognitive sciences: The empirical study of folk epistemology. (shrink)
Metaethical—or, more generally, metanormative— realism faces a serious epistemological challenge. Realists owe us—very roughly speaking—an account of how it is that we can have epistemic access to the normative truths about which they are realists. This much is, it seems, uncontroversial among metaethicists, myself included. But this is as far as the agreement goes, for it is not clear—nor uncontroversial—how best to understand the challenge, what the best realist way of coping with it is, and how successful this attempt is. (...) In this paper I try, first, to present the challenge in its strongest version, and second, to show how realists—indeed, robust realists—can cope with it. The strongest version of the challenge is, I argue, that of explaining the correlation between our normative beliefs and the independent normative truths. And I suggest an evolutionary explanation as a way of solving it. (shrink)