Many philosophers claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. In light of recent empirical evidence, however, some skeptics conclude that philosophers should stop assuming the principle unconditionally. Streumer, however, does not simply assume the principle’s truth; he provides arguments for it. In this article, we argue that his arguments fail to support the claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’.
This is a conversation held at the book launch for Christopher Insole’s Kant and the Divine: From Contemplation to the Moral Law, hosted jointly, in November 2020, by the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, and the Australian Catholic University. The conversation covers the claim made by Insole that Kant believes in God, but is not a Christian, the way in which reason itself is divine for Kant, and the suggestion that reading Kant can open up new possibilities for dialogue (...) between Christian thinkers and contemporary forms of secular religiosity. (shrink)
Testimony is an invaluable source of knowledge. We rely on the reports of those around us for everything from the ingredients in our food and medicine to the identity of our family members. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the epistemology of testimony. Despite the multitude of views offered, a single thesis is nearly universally accepted: testimonial knowledge is acquired through the process of transmission from speaker to hearer. In this book, Jennifer Lackey shows that this (...) thesis is false and, hence, that the literature on testimony has been shaped at its core by a view that is fundamentally misguided. She then defends a detailed alternative to this conception of testimony: whereas the views currently dominant focus on the epistemic status of what speakers believe, Lackey advances a theory that instead centers on what speakers say. The upshot is that, strictly speaking, we do not learn from one another's beliefs - we learn from one another's words. Once this shift in focus is in place, Lackey goes on to argue that, though positive reasons are necessary for testimonial knowledge, testimony itself is an irreducible epistemic source. This leads to the development of a theory that gives proper credence to testimony's epistemologically dual nature: both the speaker and the hearer must make a positive epistemic contribution to testimonial knowledge. The resulting view not only reveals that testimony has the capacity to generate knowledge, but it also gives appropriate weight to our nature as both socially indebted and individually rational creatures. The approach found in this book will, then, represent a radical departure from the views currently dominating the epistemology of testimony, and thus is intended to reshape our understanding of the deep and ubiquitous reliance we have on the testimony of those around us. (shrink)
Philosophers of language have long recognized that in opaque contexts, such as those involving propositional attitude reports, substitution of co-referring names may not preserve truth value. For example, the name ‘Clark Kent’ cannot be substituted for ‘Superman’ in a context like:1. Lois believes that Superman can flywithout a change in truth value. In an earlier paper , Jennifer Saul demonstrated that substitution failure could also occur in ‘simple sentences’ where none of the ordinary opacity-producing conditions existed, such as:2. Superman (...) leaps more tall buildings than Clark Kent does.Accounts focusing on opacity were unable to explain our ‘anti-substitution intuitions’ in such cases.In Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Saul extends her earlier work. She provides a comprehensive presentation and criticism of recent accounts of simple sentence substitution failure, and proposes a new approach drawing on psychological evidence about cognitive processing. Saul's purpose is not merely to solve the substitution puzzle cases, but to make …. (shrink)
Testimony is a crucial source of knowledge: we are to a large extent reliant upon what others tell us. It has been the subject of much recent interest in epistemology, and this volume collects twelve original essays on the topic by some of the world's leading philosophers. It will be the starting point for future research in this fertile field. Contributors include Robert Audi, C. A. J. Coady, Elizabeth Fricker, Richard Fumerton, Sanford C. Goldberg, Peter Graham, Jennifer Lackey, Keith (...) Lehrer, Richard Moran, Frederick F. Schmitt, Ernest Sosa, and James Van Cleve. (shrink)
While philosophers generally accept some version of the principle ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, recent work in experimental philosophy and cognitive science provides evidence against a presupposition or a conceptual entailment from ‘ought’ to ‘can’. Here, we review some of this evidence, its effect on particular formulations of the principle, and future directions for cognitive scientists and philosophers.
A view of knowledge—what I call the "Deserving Credit View of Knowledge" —found in much of the recent epistemological literature, particularly among so-called virtue epistemologists, centres around the thesis that knowledge is something for which a subject deserves credit. Indeed, this is said to be the central difference between those true beliefs that qualify as knowledge and those that are true merely by luck—the former, unlike the latter, are achievements of the subject and are thereby creditable to her. Moreover, it (...) is often further noted that deserving credit is what explains the additional value that knowledge has over merely lucky true belief. In this paper, I argue that the general conception of knowledge found in the DCVK is fundamentally incorrect. In particular, I show that deserving credit cannot be what distinguishes knowledge from merely lucky true belief since knowledge is not something for which a subject always deserves credit. (shrink)
Jennifer McKitrick offers an opinionated guide to the philosophy of dispositions. In her view, when an object has a disposition, it is such that, if a certain type of circumstance were to occur, a certain kind of event would occur. Since this is very common for this to be the case, dispositions are an abundant and diverse feature of our world.
A dramatic shift in British and French ideas about empire unfolded in the sixty years straddling the turn of the nineteenth century. As Jennifer Pitts shows in A Turn to Empire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham were among many at the start of this period to criticize European empires as unjust as well as politically and economically disastrous for the conquering nations. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the most prominent British and French liberal thinkers, including John Stuart (...) Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, vigorously supported the conquest of non-European peoples. Pitts explains that this reflected a rise in civilizational self-confidence, as theories of human progress became more triumphalist, less nuanced, and less tolerant of cultural difference. At the same time, imperial expansion abroad came to be seen as a political project that might assist the emergence of stable liberal democracies within Europe. Pitts shows that liberal thinkers usually celebrated for respecting not only human equality and liberty but also pluralism supported an inegalitarian and decidedly nonhumanitarian international politics. Yet such moments represent not a necessary feature of liberal thought but a striking departure from views shared by precisely those late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville saw as their forebears. Fluently written, A Turn to Empire offers a novel assessment of modern political thought and international justice, and an illuminating perspective on continuing debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments. (shrink)
Delusions play a fundamental role in the history of psychology, philosophy and culture, dividing not only the mad from the sane but reason from unreason. Yet the very nature and extent of delusions are poorly understood. What are delusions? How do they differ from everyday errors or mistaken beliefs? Are they scientific categories? In this superb, panoramic investigation of delusion Jennifer Radden explores these questions and more, unravelling a fascinating story that ranges from Descartes’s demon to famous first-hand accounts (...) of delusion, such as Daniel Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Radden places delusion in both a clinical and cultural context and explores a fascinating range of themes: delusions as both individually and collectively held, including the phenomenon of folies á deux ; spiritual and religious delusions, in particular what distinguishes normal religious belief from delusions with religious themes; how we assess those suffering from delusion from a moral standpoint; and how we are to interpret violent actions when they are the result of delusional thinking. As well as more common delusions, such as those of grandeur, she also discusses some of the most interesting and perplexing forms of clinical delusion, such as Cotard and Capgras. (shrink)
Jennifer Church presents a new account of perception, which shows how imagining alternative perspectives and possibilities plays a key role in creating and validating experiences of self-evident objectivity. She explores the nature of moral perception and aesthetic perception, and argues that perception can be both literal and substantive.
How should rational believers pursue the aim of truth? Epistemic utility theorists have argued that by combining the tools of decision theory with an epistemic form of value—gradational accuracy, proximity to the truth—we can justify various epistemological norms. I argue that deriving these results requires using decision rules that are different in important respects from those used in standard (practical) decision theory. If we use the more familiar decision rules, we can’t justify the epistemic coherence norms that epistemic utility theory (...) had hoped to justify. In short, those of us who are attracted to the project of epistemic utility theory face a dilemma. If we choose “consequentialist” rules, then we can vindicate the idea that rational belief has the aim of accuracy—but at the cost of giving up attractive epistemic norms. (shrink)
In Kant’s Organicism, Jennifer Mensch draws a crucial link between these spheres by showing how the concept of epigenesis—a radical theory of biological formation—lies at the heart of Kant’s conception of reason.
This essay raises new objections to the two dominant approaches to understanding the justification of group beliefs—_inflationary_ views, where groups are treated as entities that can float freely from the epistemic status of their members’ beliefs, and _deflationary_ views, where justified group belief is understood as nothing more than the aggregation of the justified beliefs of the group's members. If this essay is right, we need to look in an altogether different place for an adequate account of justified group belief. (...) From these objections emerges the skeleton of the positive view that this essay goes on to develop and defend, called the _group epistemic agent account_: groups are epistemic agents in their own right, with justified beliefs that respond to both evidence and normative requirements that arise only at the group level but that are nonetheless importantly constrained by the epistemic status of the beliefs of their individual members. (shrink)
During this period, when disciples were growing in number, a grievance arose on the part of those who spoke Greek, against those who spoke the language of the Jews; they complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. When Americans think of ethnic conflict, conflict between blacks and whites comes to mind most immediately. Yet ethnic conflict is pervasive around the world. Azerbijanis and Turks in the Soviet Union; Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland; Arabs and Jews (...) in the Middle East; Maoris and English settlers in New Zealand; Muslims and Hindus in India and Pakistan; French and English speakers in Quebec; Africans, Afrikaaners, and mixed-race people in South Africa, in addition to the tribal warfare among the Africans themselves: these are just a few of the more obvious conflicts currently in the news. We observe an even more dizzying array of ethnic conflicts if we look back just a few years. Japanese and Koreans; Mongols and Chinese; Serbs and Croats; Christians and Buddhists in Viet Nam: these ancient antagonisms are not immediately in the news, but they could erupt at any time. And the history of the early Christian Church recounted in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that suspicion among ethnic groups is not a modern phenomenon; rather, it is ancient. The present paper seeks to address the problem of ethnic conflict in modern western democracies. How can our tools and traditions of participatory governments, relatively free markets, and the common law contribute to some resolution of the ancient problems that we find within our midst? In particular, I want to focus here on the question of ethnic integration. (shrink)
Who are the best subjects for judgment tasks intended to test grammatical hypotheses? Michael Devitt ( [2006a] , [2006b] ) argues, on the basis of a hypothesis concerning the psychology of such judgments, that linguists themselves are. We present empirical evidence suggesting that the relevant divide is not between linguists and non-linguists, but between subjects with and without minimally sufficient task-specific knowledge. In particular, we show that subjects with at least some minimal exposure to or knowledge of such tasks tend (...) to perform consistently with one another—greater knowledge of linguistics makes no further difference—while at the same time exhibiting markedly greater in-group consistency than those who have no previous exposure to or knowledge of such tasks and their goals. (shrink)
We often talk about knowledge being transmitted via testimony. This suggests a picture of testimony with striking similarities to memory. For instance, it is often assumed that neither is a generative source of knowledge: while the former transmits knowledge from one speaker to another, the latter preserves beliefs from one time to another. These considerations give rise to a stronger and a weaker thesis regarding the transmission of testimonial knowledge. The stronger thesis is that each speaker in a chain of (...) testimonial transmission must know that p in order to pass this knowledge to a hearer. The weaker thesis is that at least the first speaker must know that p in order for any hearer in the chain to come to know that p via testimony. I argue that both theses are false, and hence testimony, unlike memory, can be a generative source of knowledge. (shrink)
A widely accepted view in recent work in epistemology is that knowledge is a cognitive achievement that is properly creditable to those subjects who possess it. More precisely, according to the Credit View of Knowledge, if S knows that p, then S deserves credit for truly believing that p. In spite of its intuitive appeal and explanatory power, I have elsewhere argued that the Credit View is false. Various responses have been offered to my argument and I here consider each (...) of these objections in turn. I show that none succeeds in undermining my argument and, thus, my original conclusion stands—the Credit View of Knowledge is false. (shrink)
While much of our knowledge relies on testimony or the words of others, until recently few philosophers had much to say about the nature of testimony or how we learn from another's words, but testimony has now become a popular topic. Jennifer Lackey's Learning from Words: Testimony as a Source of Knowledge is a useful and intelligent guide, a well informed and appreciative but critical and provocative commentary on a large and growing body of literature.According to Lackey, most of (...) the literature assumes that testimony can spread but not create knowledge, much as memory can be a reminder of old but not a source of new truth. Lackey maintains that the assumption is mistaken and offers an account of testimony, according to which, testimony can give rise to new knowledge as well as transmit old truths from one person to another.In her introduction, Lackey characterizes what she calls the belief view of testimony and suggests that this view dominates today's literature. On the belief view, testimony is a vehicle for expressing belief, and when I tell you that p, I express my belief that p with the intention …. (shrink)
The traditional view of lying holds that this phenomenon involves two central components: stating what one does not believe oneself and doing so with the intention to deceive. This view remained the generally accepted view of the nature of lying until very recently, with the intention-to-deceive requirement now coming under repeated attack. In this article, I argue that the tides have turned too quickly in the literature on lying. For while it is indeed true that there can be lies where (...) there is no intention on the part of the speaker to deceive the hearer, this does not warrant severing the connection between lying and deception altogether. Thus, I defend the following account of lying: A lies to B if and only if (1) A states that p to B, (2) A believes that p is false, and (3) A intends to be deceptive to B in stating that p. (shrink)
Upward mobility through the path of higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While we know this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, very little attention has been paid to the deep personal compromises such students have to make as they enter worlds vastly different from their own. Measuring the true cost of higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Moving Up without Losing Your Way looks at the (...) ethical dilemmas of upward mobility—the broken ties with family and friends, the severed connections with former communities, and the loss of identity—faced by students as they strive to earn a successful place in society. -/- Drawing upon philosophy, social science, personal stories, and interviews, Jennifer Morton reframes the college experience, factoring in not just educational and career opportunities but also essential relationships with family, friends, and community. Finding that student strivers tend to give up the latter for the former, negating their sense of self, Morton seeks to reverse this course. She urges educators to empower students with a new narrative of upward mobility—one that honestly situates ethical costs in historical, social, and economic contexts and that allows students to make informed decisions for themselves. -/- A powerful work with practical implications, Moving Up without Losing Your Way paves a hopeful road so that students might achieve social mobility while retaining their best selves. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically examine the two dominant views of the concept of luck in the current literature: lack of control accounts and modal accounts. In particular, I argue that the conditions proposed by such views—that is, a lack of control and the absence of counterfactual robustness—are neither necessary nor sufficient for an event's being lucky. Hence, I conclude that the two main accounts in the current literature both fail to capture what is distinctive of, and central to, the (...) concept of luck. (shrink)
The question that will be the focus of this paper is this: what is the significance of disagreement between those who are epistemic peers? There are two answers to this question found in the recent literature. On the one hand, there are those who hold that one can continue to rationally believe that p despite the fact that one’s epistemic peer explicitly believes that not-p. I shall call those who hold this view nonconformists. In contrast, there are those who hold (...) that one cannot continue to rationally believe that p when one is faced with an epistemic peer who explicitly believes that not-p. I shall call those who hold this view conformists. Inthis paper, I shall argue that neither nonconformism nor conformism provides a plausible account of the epistemic significance of peer disagreement. I shall then develop my justificationist account of peer disagreement’s epistemic significance. Whereas current views maintain that disagreement, by itself, either simply does or does not possess epistemic power, my account holds that its epistemic power, or lack thereof, is explainable in terms of its interaction with other features,particularly the degree of justified confidence with which the belief in question is held and the presence of information that one possesses about one’s own epistemic situation. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide the framework for an account of group assertion. On my view, there are two kinds of group assertion, coordinated and authority-based, with authority-based group assertion being the core notion. I argue against a deflationary view, according to which a group’s asserting is understood in terms of individual assertions, by showing that a group can assert a proposition even when no individual does. Instead, I argue on behalf of an inflationary view, according to which it is (...) the group itself that asserts, a conclusion supported by the fact that paradigmatic features of assertion apply only at the level of the group. A central virtue of my account is that it appreciates the important relationship that exists between most groups and their spokespersons, as well as the consequences that follow from this relationship. My view, thus, provides the framework for distinguishing when responsibility for an assertion lies at the collective level, and when it should be shouldered by an individual simply speaking for herself. (shrink)
Recent, well-publicized scandals, involving unethical conduct have rekindled interest in academic misconduct. Prior studies of academic misconduct have focussed exclusively on situational factors (e.g., integrity culture, honor codes), demographic variables or personality constructs. We contend that it is important to also examine how␣these classes of variables interact to influence perceptions of and intentions relating to academic misconduct. In a sample of 217 business students, we examined how integrity culture interacts with Prudence and Adjustment to explain variance in estimated frequency of (...) cheating, suspicions of cheating, considering cheating and reporting cheating. Age, integrity culture, and personality variables were significantly related to different criteria. Overall, personality variables explained the most unique variance in academic misconduct, and Adjustment interacted with integrity culture, such that integrity culture had more influence on intentions to cheat for less well-adjusted individuals. Implications for practice are discussed and future research directions are offered. (shrink)
Book synopsis: How is our conception of what there is affected by our counting ourselves as inhabitants of the natural world? How do our actions fit into a world that is altered through our agency? And how do we accommodate our understanding of one another as fellow subjects of experience—as beings with thoughts and wants and hopes and fears? These questions provide the impetus for the detailed discussions of ontology, human agency, and everyday psychological explanation presented in this book. The (...) answers offer a distinctive view of questions about “the mind’s place in nature,” and they argue for a particular position in philosophy of mind: naive naturalism. This position opposes the whole drift of the last thirty or forty years’ philosophy of mind in the English-speaking world. Jennifer Hornsby sets naive naturalism against dualism, but without advancing the claims of “materialism,” “physicalism,” or “naturalism” as these have come to be known. She shows how we can, and why we should, abandon the view that thoughts and actions, to be seen as real, must be subject to scientific explanation. (shrink)
Augustine famously claimed that the virtues of pagan Rome were nothing more than splendid vices. This critique reinvented itself as a suspicion of acquired virtue as such, and true Christian virtue has, ever since, been set against a false, hypocritical virtue alleged merely to conceal pride. _Putting On Virtue_ reveals how a distrust of learned and habituated virtue shaped both early modern Christian moral reflection and secular forms of ethical thought. Jennifer Herdt develops her claims through an argument of (...) broad historical sweep, which brings together the Aristotelian tradition as taken up by Thomas Aquinas with the early modern thinkers who shaped modern liberalism. In chapters on Luther, Bunyan, the Jansenists, Mandeville, Hume, Rousseau, and Kant, she argues that efforts to make a radical distinction between true Christian virtue and its tainted imitations actually created an autonomous natural ethics separate from Christianity. This secular value system valorized pride and authenticity, while rendering graced human agency less meaningful. Ultimately, _Putting On Virtue_ traces a path from suspicion of virtue to its secular inversion, from confession of dependence to assertion of independence. (shrink)
Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. (Culbertson and Gross ) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt () replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists' claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that Devitt's focus (...) on grammaticality intuitions, rather than acceptability intuitions, distances his discussion from actual linguistic practice. We close by questioning a demand that drives his discussion—viz., that, for linguistic intuitions to supply evidence for linguistic theorizing, a better account of why they are evidence is required. (shrink)
Does rationality require imprecise credences? Many hold that it does: imprecise evidence requires correspondingly imprecise credences. I argue that this is false. The imprecise view faces the same arbitrariness worries that were meant to motivate it in the first place. It faces these worries because it incorporates a certain idealization. But doing away with this idealization effectively collapses the imprecise view into a particular kind of precise view. On this alternative, our attitudes should reflect a kind of normative uncertainty: uncertainty (...) about what to believe. This view refutes the claim that precise credences are inappropriately informative or committal. Some argue that indeterminate evidential support requires imprecise credences; but I argue that indeterminate evidential support instead places indeterminate requirements on credences, and is compatible with the claim that rational credences may always be precise. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that memory has only the capacity to preserve epistemic features that have been generated by other sources. Specifically, if S knows (justifiedly believes/rationally believes) that p via memory at T2, then it is argued that (i) S must have known (justifiedly believed/rationally believed) that p when it was originally acquired at Tl, and (ii) S must have acquired knowledge that p (justification with respect to p/rationality with respect to p) at Tl via a non-memorial source. Thus, (...) according to this view, memory cannot make an unknown proposition known, an unjustified belief justified, or an irrational belief rational--it can only preserve what is already known, justified, or rational. In this paper, I argue that condition (i) is false and, a fortiori, that condition (ii) is false. Hence, I show that, contrary to received wisdom in contemporary epistemology, memory can function as a generative epistemic source. (shrink)
There is a widely accepted family of views in the epistemology of testimony centering around the claim that belief is the central item involved in a testimonial exchange. For instance, in describing the process of learning via testimony, Elizabeth Fricker provides the following: “one language-user has a belief, which gives rise to an utterance by him; as a result of observing this utterance another user of the same language, his audience, comes to share that belief.” In a similar spirit, Alvin (...) Plantinga says that “…a belief on the part of the testifiee has warrant only if that belief has warrant for the testifier.” In both of these passages, we find strands of what I shall call the Belief View of Testimony. (shrink)
Human beings naturally desire knowledge. But what is knowledge? Is it the same as having an opinion? Highlighting the major developments in the theory of knowledge from Ancient Greece to the present day, Jennifer Nagel uses a number of simple everyday examples to explore the key themes and current debates of epistemology.
This essay will focus on the moral issues relating to surrogacy in the global context, and will critique the liberal arguments that have been offered in support of it. Liberal arguments hold sway concerning reproductive arrangements made between commissioning couples from wealthy nations and the surrogates from socioeconomically weak backgrounds that they hire to do their reproductive labor. My argument in this paper is motivated by a concern for controlling harms by putting the practice of globalized commercial surrogacy into the (...) context of care ethics. As I will argue, the unstable situations into which children of global surrogacy arrangements are born is symbolic of the crisis of care that the practice raises. Using the Baby Manji case as my touch point, I will suggest that liberalism cannot address the harms experienced by Manji and children like her who are created through the global practice of assisted reproductive technology. I will argue that, if commissioning couples consider their proposed surrogacy contracts from a care ethics point of view, they will begin to think relationally about their actions, considering the practice from an ethical lens, not just an economic or contractual one. (shrink)