The question of whether it is ever permissible to believe on insufficient evidence has once again become a live question. Greater attention is now being paid to practical dimensions of belief, namely issues related to epistemic virtue, doxastic responsibility, and voluntarism. In this book, McCormick argues that the standards used to evaluate beliefs are not isolated from other evaluative domains. The ultimate criteria for assessing beliefs are the same as those for assessing action because beliefs and actions are both products (...) of agency. Two important implications of this thesis, both of which deviate from the dominant view in contemporary philosophy, are 1) it can be permissible to believe for non-evidential reasons, and 2) we have a robust control over many of our beliefs, a control sufficient to ground attributions of responsibility for belief. (shrink)
In this paper, I begin by defending permissivism: the claim that, sometimes, there is more than one way to rationally respond to a given body of evidence. Then I argue that, if we accept permissivism, certain worries that arise as a result of learning that our beliefs were caused by the communities we grew up in, the schools we went to, or other irrelevant influences dissipate. The basic strategy is as follows: First, I try to pinpoint what makes irrelevant influences (...) worrying and I come up with two candidate principles. I then argue that one principle should be rejected because it is inconsistent with permissivism. The principle we should accept implies that it is sometimes rational to maintain our beliefs, even upon learning that they were caused by irrelevant influences. (shrink)
How is medical knowledge made? There have been radical changes in recent decades, through new methods such as consensus conferences, evidence-based medicine, translational medicine, and narrative medicine. Miriam Solomon explores their origins, aims, and epistemic strengths and weaknesses; and she offers a pluralistic approach for the future.
This paper is about the connection between rationality and accuracy. I show that one natural picture about how rationality and accuracy are connected emerges if we assume that rational agents are rationally omniscient. I then develop an alternative picture that allows us to relax this assumption, in order to accommodate certain views about higher order evidence.
In recent years, permissivism—the claim that a body of evidence can rationalize more than one response—has enjoyed somewhat of a revival. But it is once again being threatened, this time by a host of new and interesting arguments that, at their core, are challenging the permissivist to explain why rationality matters. A version of the challenge that I am especially interested in is this: if permissivism is true, why should we expect the rational credences to be more accurate than the (...) irrational ones? My aim is to turn this challenge on its head and argue that, actually, those who deny permissivism will have a harder time responding to such a challenge than those who accept it. (shrink)
Embodied approaches in cognitive science hold that the body is crucial for cognition. What this claim amounts to, however, still remains unclear. This paper contributes to its clarification by confronting three ways of understanding embodiment—the sensorimotor approach, extended cognition and enactivism—with Locked-in syndrome. LIS is a case of severe global paralysis in which patients are unable to move and yet largely remain cognitively intact. We propose that LIS poses a challenge to embodied approaches to cognition requiring them to make explicit (...) the notion of embodiment they defend and its role for cognition. We argue that the sensorimotor and the extended functionalist approaches either fall short of accounting for cognition in LIS from an embodied perspective or do it too broadly by relegating the body only to a historical role. Enactivism conceives of the body as autonomous system and of cognition as sense-making. From this perspective embodiment is not equated with bodily movement but with forms of agency that do not disappear with body paralysis. Enactivism offers a clarifying perspective on embodiment and thus currently appears to be the framework in embodied cognition best suited to address the challenge posed by LIS. (shrink)
Greaves and Wallace argue that conditionalization maximizes expected accuracy. In this paper I show that their result only applies to a restricted range of cases. I then show that the update procedure that maximizes expected accuracy in general is one in which, upon learning P, we conditionalize, not on P, but on the proposition that we learned P. After proving this result, I provide further generalizations and show that much of the accuracy-first epistemology program is committed to KK-like iteration principles (...) and to the existence of a class of propositions that rational agents will be certain of if and only if they are true. (shrink)
For the last forty years, two claims have been at the core of disputes about scientific change: that scientists reason rationally and that science is progressive. For most of this time discussions were polarized between philosophers, who defended traditional Enlightenment ideas about rationality and progress, and sociologists, who espoused relativism and constructivism. Recently, creative new ideas going beyond the polarized positions have come from the history of science, feminist criticism of science, psychology of science, and anthropology of science. Addressing the (...) traditional arguments as well as building on these new ideas, Miriam Solomon constructs a new epistemology of science. After discussions of the nature of empirical success and its relation to truth, Solomon offers a new, social account of scientific rationality. She shows that the pursuit of empirical success and truth can be consistent with both dissent and consensus, and that the distinction between dissent and consensus is of little epistemic significance. In building this social epistemology of science, she shows that scientific communities are not merely the locus of distributed expert knowledge and a resource for criticism but also the site of distributed decision making. Throughout, she illustrates her ideas with case studies from late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century physical and life sciences. Replacing the traditional focus on methods and heuristics to be applied by individual scientists, Solomon emphasizes science funding, administration, and policy. One of her goals is to have a positive influence on scientific decision making through practical social recommendations. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to apply the accuracy based approach to epistemology to the case of higher order evidence: evidence that bears on the rationality of one's beliefs. I proceed in two stages. First, I show that the accuracy based framework that is standardly used to motivate rational requirements supports steadfastness—a position according to which higher order evidence should have no impact on one's doxastic attitudes towards first order propositions. The argument for this will require a generalization of (...) an important result by Greaves and Wallace for the claim that conditionalization maximizes expected accuracy. The generalization I provide will, among other things, allow us to apply the result to cases of self-locating evidence. In the second stage, I develop an alternative framework. Very roughly, what distinguishes the traditional approach from the alternative one is that, on the traditional picture, we're interested in evaluating the expected accuracy of conforming to an update procedure. On the alternative picture that I develop, instead of considering how good an update procedure is as a plan to conform to, we consider how good it is as a plan to make. I show how, given the use of strictly proper scoring rules, the alternative picture vindicates calibrationism: a view according to which higher order evidence should have a significant impact on our beliefs. I conclude with some thoughts about why higher order evidence poses a serious challenge for standard ways of thinking about rationality. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to describe a problem for calibrationism: a view about higher order evidence according to which one's credences should be calibrated to one's expected degree of reliability. Calibrationism is attractive, in part, because it explains our intuitive judgments, and provides a strong motivation for certain theories about higher order evidence and peer disagreement. However, I will argue that calibrationism faces a dilemma: There are two versions of the view one might adopt. The first version, I (...) argue, has the implausible consequence that, in a wide range of cases, calibrationism is the only constraint on rational belief. The second version, in addition to having some puzzling consequences, is unmotivated. At the end of the paper I sketch a possible solution. (shrink)
It has been claimed that, in response to certain kinds of evidence, agents ought to adopt imprecise credences: doxastic states that are represented by sets of credence functions rather than single ones. In this paper I argue that, given some plausible constraints on accuracy measures, accuracy-centered epistemologists must reject the requirement to adopt imprecise credences. I then show that even the claim that imprecise credences are permitted is problematic for accuracy-centered epistemology. It follows that if imprecise credal states are permitted (...) or required in the cases that their defenders appeal to, then the requirements of rationality can outstrip what would be warranted by an interest in accuracy. (shrink)
It has been argued that Extended Cognition (EXT), a recently much discussed framework in the philosophy of cognition, would serve as the theoretical basis to account for the impact of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) on the self and life of patients with Locked-in Syndrome (LIS). In this paper I will argue that this claim is unsubstantiated, EXT is not the appropriate theoretical background for understanding the role of BCI in LIS. I will critically assess what a theory of the extended (...) self would comprise and provide a list of desiderata for a theory of self that EXT fails to accommodate for. There is, however, an alternative framework in Cognitive Science, Enactivism, which entails the basis for an account of self that is able to accommodate for these desiderata. I will outline some first steps towards an Enactive approach to the self, suggesting that the self could be considered as a form of human autonomy. Understanding the self from an enactive point of view will allow to shed new light on the questions of whether and how BCIs affect or change the selves of patients with LIS. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to argue that, if a robust form of moral realism is true, then moral vagueness is ontic vagueness. The argument is by elimination: I show that neither semantic nor epistemic approaches to moral vagueness are satisfactory.
Abstract: This paper defends a constraint that any satisfactory decision theory must satisfy. I show how this constraint is violated by all of the decision theories that have been endorsed in the literature that are designed to deal with cases in which opinions or values are represented by a set of functions rather than a single one. Such a decision theory is necessary to account for the existence of what Ruth Chang has called “parity” (as well as for cases in (...) which agents have incomplete preferences or imprecise credences). The problem with the all of the decision theories that have been defended to account for parity is that they are committed to a claim I call unanimity: when all of the functions in the set agree that an agent ought to do A, then an agent ought to do A. A decision theory committed to unanimity violates the constraint I defend in this paper. Thus, if parity exists, a new approach to decision theory is necessary. (shrink)
The paper discusses two recent approaches to schizophrenia, a phenomenological and a neuroscientific approach, illustrating how new directions in philosophy and cognitive science can elaborate accounts of psychopathologies of the self. It is argued that the notion of the minimal and bodily self underlying these approaches is still limited since it downplays the relevance of social interactions and relations for the formation of a coherent sense of self. These approaches also illustrate that we still lack an account of how 1st (...) and 3rd person observations can fruitfully go together in an embodied account of disorders of the self. Two concepts from enactive cognitive science are introduced, the notions of autonomy and sense-making. Based on these, a new proposal for an enactive approach to psychopathologies of the self is outlined that integrates 1st and 3rd person perspectives, while strongly emphasising the role of social interactions in the formation of self. It is shown how the enactive framework might serve as a basis for an alternative understanding of disorders of the self such as schizophrenia, as a particular form of socially constituted self-organisation. (shrink)
It seems like we care about at least two features of our credence function: gradational-accuracy and verisimilitude. Accuracy-first epistemology requires that we care about one feature of our credence function: gradational-accuracy. So if you want to be a verisimilitude-valuing accuracy-firster, you must be able to think of the value of verisimilitude as somehow built into the value of gradational-accuracy. Can this be done? In a recent article, Oddie has argued that it cannot, at least if we want the accuracy measure (...) to be proper. I argue that it can. 1Introduction2Some Nuts and Bolts3First Attempts4Oddie’s Constraint5The Good5.1Proximity over the disagreement metric 5.2Proximity over the magnitude metric 6The Bad and the Ugly 7Some More Good: The Role of Evenness of Distribution 8Some More Bad: Which Propositions to Privilege? 9Concluding Thoughts: Accuracy and Practical Value. (shrink)
My main aim in this paper is to specify conditions that distinguish rational, or justified, hope from irrational, or unjustified hope. I begin by giving a brief characterization of hope and then turn to offering some criteria of rational hope. On my view both theoretical and practical norms are significant when assessing hope’s rationality. While others have recognized that there are theoretical and practical components to the state itself, when it comes to assessing its rationality, depending on the account, only (...) one of these dimensions matters. Either hope’s rationality is taken to be entirely derivative on the rationality of some belief that the hope entails, or the focus is entirely on the practical dimensions. If we take seriously the idea that both kinds of norms are at play, an account which treats these both as salient and as intertwining in important ways is preferable. I argue that as the practical importance of hope increases, the demand for the level of evidential support lessens and as the stakes get lower, the evidence for the likeliness of the hoped-for outcome coming to be must go up for the hope to be rational. This is so because a hope is rational insofar as it contributes to agential flourishing, but the different dimensions of hope each pick out different aspects of agency; to hope well requires agential competence in both the epistemic and practical realms. (shrink)
I investigate what we mean when we hold people responsible for beliefs. I begin by outlining a puzzle concerning our ordinary judgments about beliefs and briefly survey and critique some common responses to the puzzle. I then present my response where I argue a sense needs to be articulated in which we do have a kind of control over our beliefs if our practice of attributing responsibility for beliefs is appropriate. In developing this notion of doxastic control, I draw from (...) John Fischer's discussions of?guidance control?. A central feature of this kind of control is the idea of?ownership?. I argue that we can own our beliefs and that we expect each other to do so. We take responsibility for our beliefs and taking responsibility includes taking control of them. I end by considering objections to my view as well as some implications of it. (shrink)
Internalists face the following challenge: what is it about an agent's internal states that explains why only these states can play whatever role the internalist thinks these states are playing? Internalists have frequently appealed to a special kind of epistemic access that we have to these states. But such claims have been challenged on both empirical and philosophical grounds. I will argue that internalists needn't appeal to any kind of privileged access claims. Rather, internalist conditions are important because of the (...) way in which we expect them to act as causal mediators between states of the world, on the one hand, and our beliefs and actions on the other. (shrink)
My main aim is to argue that most conceptions of doxastic agency do not respond to the skeptic’s challenge. I begin by considering some reasons for thinking that we are not doxastic agents. I then turn to a discussion of those who try to make sense of doxastic agency by appeal to belief’s reasons-responsive nature. What they end up calling agency is not robust enough to satisfy the challenge posed by the skeptics. To satisfy the skeptic, one needs to make (...) sense of the possibility of believing for nonevidential reasons. While this has been seen as an untenable view for both skeptics and anti-skeptics, I conclude by suggesting it is a position that has been too hastily dismissed. (shrink)
This paper looks to phenomenology and enactive cognition in order to shed light on the self and sense of self of patients with locked-in syndrome. It critically discusses the concept of the minimal self, both in its phenomenological and ontological dimension. Ontologically speaking, the self is considered to be equal to a person’s sensorimotor embodiment. This bodily self also grounds the minimal sense of self as being a distinct experiential subject. The view from the minimal bodily self presupposes that sociality (...) comes after the self, or that in other words, the essence of self remains independent of our social interactions and relations. In this paper, I rely on the idea of enactive autonomy and Heidegger’s and Merleau-Ponty’s views of human existence as primordially social, to argue for the contrary. The self is fundamentally relational and this is also reflected at the level of the subjective experience of being a self. I indicate how a strong relational view of selfhood can serve as a preliminary heuristic to make sense of the situation of the patient with LIS and conclude with some practical implications concerning patient autonomy, our ethical responsibility toward the patient, and the possibilities for improving the life of patients with LIS. (shrink)
_The_ _Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine _is a comprehensive guide to topics in the fields of epistemology and metaphysics of medicine. It examines traditional topics such as the concept of disease, causality in medicine, the epistemology of the randomized controlled trial, the biopsychosocial model, explanation, clinical judgment and phenomenology of medicine and emerging topics, such as philosophy of epidemiology, measuring harms, the concept of disability, nursing perspectives, race and gender, the metaphysics of Chinese medicine, and narrative medicine. Each of (...) the 48 chapters is written especially for this volume and with a student audience in mind. For pedagogy and clarity, each chapter contains an extended example illustrating the ideas discussed. This text is intended for use as a reference for students in courses in philosophy of medicine and philosophy of science, and pairs well with _The_ _Routledge Companion to Bioethics_ for use in medical humanities and social science courses. (shrink)
This paper takes a new look at an old question: what is the human self? It offers a proposal for theorizing the self from an enactive perspective as an autonomous system that is constituted through interpersonal relations. It addresses a prevalent issue in the philosophy of cognitive science: the body-social problem. Embodied and social approaches to cognitive identity are in mutual tension. On the one hand, embodied cognitive science risks a new form of methodological individualism, implying a dichotomy not between (...) the outside world of objects and the brain-bound individual but rather between body-bound individuals and the outside social world. On the other hand, approaches that emphasize the constitutive relevance of social interaction processes for cognitive identity run the risk of losing the individual in the interaction dynamics and of downplaying the role of embodiment. This paper adopts a middle way and outlines an enactive approach to individuation that is neither individualistic nor disembodied but integrates both approaches. Elaborating on Jonas’ notion of needful freedom it outlines an enactive proposal to understanding the self as co-generated in interactions and relations with others. I argue that the human self is a social existence that is organized in terms of a back and forth between social distinction and participation processes. On this view, the body, rather than being identical with the social self, becomes its mediator. (shrink)
Insofern entwickelt die Begriffslogik eine Epistemologie freien Denkens. Damit entscheidet sich Hegel in den nachkantischen Debatten für Kant und gegen den von Schelling in die Diskussion zurückgebrachten Spinozismus.
Non-financial interests, and the conflicts of interest that may result from them, are frequently overlooked in biomedicine. This is partly due to the complex and varied nature of these interests, and the limited evidence available regarding their prevalence and impact on biomedical research and clinical practice. We suggest that there are no meaningful conceptual distinctions, and few practical differences, between financial and non-financial conflicts of interest, and accordingly, that both require careful consideration. Further, a better understanding of the complexities of (...) non-financial conflicts of interest, and their entanglement with financial conflicts of interest, may assist in the development of a more sophisticated approach to all forms of conflicts of interest. (shrink)
A volume which explores in detail Seneca's De Beneficiis. Divided into three sections, it looks at the historical and philosophical context of the work, its relation to Seneca's other texts, and concludes with a detailed synopsis of each book, accompanied by notes in commentary form.
Trust in the practice of rational deliberation is widespread and largely unquestioned. This paper uses recent work from business contexts to challenge the view that rational deliberation in a group improves decisions. Pressure to reach consensus can, in fact, lead to phenomena such as groupthink and to suppression of relevant data. Aggregation of individual decisions, rather than deliberation to a consensus, surprisingly, can produce better decisions than those of either group deliberation or individual expert judgment. I argue that dissent is (...) epistemically valuable, not because of the discussion it can provoke (Mill’s and Longino’s view about the benefit of dissent), but because dissenting positions often are associated with particular data or insights that would be lost in consensus formation. Social epistemologists can usefully pay attention to various methods of aggregation of individual opinion for their effectiveness at realizing epistemic goals. (shrink)
From the Ancient Greeks, through medieval Christian doctrine, and into the modern age, philosophers have long held envy to be irrational, a position that increasingly accompanies the political view that envy is not a justification for redistributing material goods. After defining the features of envy, and considering two arguments in favour of its irrationality, this article opposes the dominant philosophical and political consensus. It does so by deploying Rawls's much-ignored concept of ‘excusable envy’ to identify a form of envy that (...) is not imprudent and does not mis-describe. With this work completed, the article then argues – no doubt controversially – that excusable envy constitutes good grounds for redistribution or inequality-mitigation. In so doing, the article throws light on the moral significance of certain forms of uncivil disobedience, and also offers a new vocabulary for popular ‘politics of envy’ debates, which are yet to acknowledge the role of social institutions in reproducing envy-excusing economic inequalities. (shrink)
Recent field studies have broadened our view on cultural performances in animals. This has consequences for the concept of cumulative culture. Here, we deconstruct the common individualist and differential approaches to culture. Individualistic approaches to the study of cultural evolution are shown to be problematic, because culture cannot be reduced to factors on the micro level of individual behavior but possesses a dynamic that only occurs on the group level and profoundly affects the individuals. Naive individuals, as a prerequisite of (...) an atomistic perspective, do not exist. We address the construction of a social approach to culture by introducing an inevitable social embedding of the individual development of social beings. The sociological notion of “habitus” as embodied cultural capital permits us to understand social transmission of behavioral components on a very basic level, resulting in a cumulative effect. Bits of information, movement, handling of material, attitudes, and preferences below distinct functional units are acquired through transfer mechanisms simpler than emulation and imitation such as peering, participation, co-performance, or engagement with a material environment altered by group members. The search for a zero point of cumulative culture becomes as useless as the search for a zero point of culture. Culture is cumulative. (shrink)
For this Clarendon Paperback, Dr Griffin has written a new Postscript to bring the original book fully up to date. She discusses further important and controversial questions of fact or interpretation in the light of the scholarship of the intervening years and provides additional argument where necessary. The connection between Seneca's prose works and his career as a first-century Roman statesman is problematic. Although he writes in the first person, he tells us little of his external life or of the (...) people and events that formed its setting. Miriam Griffin addresses the problem by first reconstructing Seneca's career using only outside sources and his de Clementia and Apocolocyntosis, whose political purposes are undisputed. In the second part of the book she studies Seneca's treatment of subjects of political significance, including his views on slavery, provincial policy, wealth, and suicide. On the whole, the word of the philosopher is found to illuminate the work of the statesman, but notable exceptions emerge, and the links that are revealed vary from theme to theme and rarely accord with traditional autobiographical interpretations of Seneca's works. (shrink)
The work of Tversky, Kahneman and others suggests that people often make use of cognitive heuristics such as availability, salience and representativeness in their reasoning and decision making. Through use of a historical example--the recent plate tectonics revolution in geology--I argue that such heuristics play a crucial role in scientific decision making also. I suggest how these heuristics are to be considered, along with noncognitive factors (such as motivation and social structures) when drawing historical and epistemological conclusions. The normative perspective (...) is community-wide, contextual, and instrumental. (shrink)
Conflicts of interest in health and medicine have been the source of considerable public and professional debate. Much of this debate has focused on financial, rather than non-financial COI, which is a significant lacuna because non-financial COI can be just as influential as financial COI. In an effort to explore the nature and effects of non-financial, as well as financial COI, we conducted semi-structured interviews with eleven Australian medical professionals regarding their experiences of, and attitudes towards, COI. We found that (...) this group of medical professionals saw non-financial interests—most notably the pursuit of status and respect and the avoidance of stigma—as potentially conflicting with other important interests. (shrink)