Can we engineer conceptual change? While a positive answer to this question would be exciting news for philosophy, there has been a growing number of pessimistic voices in the literature. This paper resists this trend. Its central aim is to argue not only that conceptual engineering is possible but also that it is not even distinctively hard. In order to achieve this, we will develop a novel approach to conceptual engineering that has two key components. First, it proposes a reorientation (...) of the conceptual engineering project away from fixing conceptual defects and towards bringing about conceptual innovation. Second, it offers a new account of when conceptual engineering is successful in terms of etiological functions. We then turn to the reasons that have motivated various forms of pessimism about conceptual engineering and show that, on our novel approach, none of them stands up to scrutiny. (shrink)
Trust is a topic of longstanding philosophical interest. It is indispensable to every kind of coordinated human activity, from sport to scientific research. Even more, trust is necessary for the successful dissemination of knowledge, and by extension, for nearly any form of practical deliberation and planning. Without trust, we could achieve few of our goals and would know very little. Despite trust’s fundamental importance in human life, there is substantial philosophical disagreement about what trust is, and further, how trusting is (...) normatively constrained and best theorized about in relation to other things we value. This entry is divided into three sections, which explore key (and sometimes interconnected) ethical and epistemological themes in the philosophy of trust: (1) The Nature of Trust; (2) The Normativity of Trust, and (3) The Value of Trust. (shrink)
ABSTRACTSeveral philosophers have inquired into the metaphysical limits of conceptual engineering: ‘Can we engineer? And if so, to what extent?’. This paper is not concerned with answering these questions. It does concern itself, however, with the limits of conceptual engineering, albeit in a largely unexplored sense: it cares about the normative, rather than about the metaphysical limits thereof. I first defend an optimistic claim: I argue that the ameliorative project has, so far, been too modest; there is little value theoretic (...) reason to restrict the project to remedying deficient representational devices, rather than go on a more ambitious quest: conceptual improvement. That being said, I also identify a limitation to the optimistic claim: I show that the ‘should’ in ameliorative projects suffers from a ‘wrong-kind-of-reasons’ problem. Last but not least, I sketch a proposal of normative constraining meant to address both the above results. The proposal gives primacy to epistemic constraints: accordingly, a concept should be ameliorated only insofar as this does not translate into epistemic loss. (shrink)
This paper has two aims. The first is critical: I identify a set of normative desiderata for accounts of justified belief and I argue that prominent knowledge first views have difficulties meeting them. Second, I argue that my preferred account, knowledge first functionalism, is preferable to its extant competitors on normative grounds. This account takes epistemically justified belief to be belief generated by properly functioning cognitive processes that have generating knowledge as their epistemic function.
In this paper, we develop a general normative framework for criticisability, blamelessness and blameworthiness in action. We then turn to the debate on norms of assertion. We show that an application of this framework enables champions of the so-called knowledge rule of assertion to offer a theoretically motivated response to a number of putative counterexamples in terms of blamelessness. Finally, we argue that, on closer inspection, the putative counterexamples serve to confirm the knowledge rule and disconfirm rival views.
This work is a manifesto for epistemic independence: the independence of good thinking from practical considerations. It presents a functionalist account of the normativity of assertion in conjunction with an integrated view of the normativity of constative speech acts.
When in the business of offering an account of the epistemic normativity of belief, one is faced with the following dilemma: strongly externalist norms fail to account for the intuition of justification in radical deception scenarios, while milder norms are incapable to explain what is epistemically wrong with false beliefs. This paper has two main aims; we first look at one way out of the dilemma, defended by Timothy Williamson and Clayton Littlejohn, and argue that it fails. Second, we identify (...) what we take to be the problematic assumption that underlies their account and offer an alternative way out. We put forth a knowledge-first friendly normative framework for belief which grants justification to radically deceived subjects while at the same time acknowledging that their false beliefs are not epistemically good beliefs. (shrink)
One popular view in recent years takes the source of testimonial entitlement to reside in the intrinsically social character of testimonial exchanges. This paper looks at two extant incarnations of this view, what we dub ‘weak’ and ‘modest’ social anti-reductionism, and questions the rationales behind their central claims. Furthermore, we put forth an alternative, strong social anti-reductionist account, and show how it does better than the competition on both theoretical and empirical grounds.
Recent literature features an increased interest in the sufficiency claim involved in the knowledge norm of assertion. This paper looks at two prominent objections to KNA-Suff, due to Jessica Brown and Jennifer Lackey, and argues that they miss their target due to value-theoretic inaccuracies. It is argued that the intuitive need for more than knowledge in Brown’s high-stakes contexts does not come from the epistemic norm governing assertion, but from further norms stepping in and raising the bar, and Lackey’s purported (...) quality-driven case against KNA-Suff boils down to a quantitative objection. If that is the case, Lackey’s argument will be vulnerable to the same objections as Brown’s. (shrink)
According to anti-reductionism in the epistemology of testimony, testimonial entitlement is easy to come by: all you need to do is listen to what you are being told. Say you like anti-reductionism; one question that you will need to answer is how come testimonial entitlement comes so cheap; after all, people are free to lie.This paper has two aims: first, it looks at the main anti-reductionist answers to this question and argues that they remain unsatisfactory. Second, it goes on a (...) rescue mission on behalf of anti-reductionism. I put forth a novel, knowledge-first anti-reductionist account, which I dub ‘Testimonial Contractarianism’. According to the view defended here, in virtue of the social contract in play, compliance with the norms governing speech acts is the default position for speakers. Insofar as norm compliance is the default for speakers, I argue, all else equal, entitlement to believe is the default for hearers. (shrink)
According to what Williamson labels ‘the C account of assertion’, there is one and only one rule that is constitutive of assertion. This rule, the so-called ‘C Rule’, states that one must assert p only if p has property C. This paper argues that the C account of assertion is incompatible with any live proposal for C in the literature.
In recent years, much attention has been given to the epistemic credentials of belief based on moral testimony. Some people think pure moral deference is wrong, others disagree. It comes as a surprise, however, that while the epistemic responsibilities of the receiver of moral testimony have been closely scrutinized, little to no discussion has focused on the epistemic duties of the speaker. This paper aims to supply this lack: it defends a function-first account of the normativity of moral assertion. According (...) to this view, in virtue of its function of reliably generating understanding in the audience, a moral assertion that p needs be knowledgeable and accompanied by a contextually appropriate explanation why p. (shrink)
One very popular assumption in the epistemological literature is that belief and assertion are governed by one and the same epistemic norm. This paper challenges this claim. Extant arguments in defence of the view are scrutinized and found to rest on value-theoretic inaccuracies. First, the belief-assertion parallel is shown to lack the needed normative strength. Second, I argue that the claim that assertion inherits the norm of belief in virtue of being an expression thereof rests on a failed instance of (...) deontic transmission. Third, the inheritance argument from the norm for action is proven guilty of deontic equivocation. Last but not least, it is argued that, on a functionalist normative picture, assertion and belief are governed by different epistemic norms, in virtue of serving different epistemic functions. (shrink)
Two important philosophical questions about assertion concern its nature and normativity. This article defends the optimism about the constitutive norm account of assertion and sets out a constitutivity thesis that is much more modest than that proposed by Timothy Williamson. It starts by looking at the extant objections to Williamson’s Knowledge Account of Assertion and argues that they fail to hit their target in virtue of imposing implausible conditions on engaging in norm-constituted activities. Second, it makes a similar proposal and (...) shows how it does better than the competition. It suggests that Knowledge Norm of Assertion is not constitutive of the speech act of assertion in the same way in which rules of games are constitutive, and thus KAA comes out as too strong. The final section embarks on a rescue mission on behalf of KAA; it puts forth a weaker, functionalist constitutivity thesis. On this view, KNA is etiologically constitutively associated with the speech act of assertion, in virtue of its function of generating knowledge in hearers. (shrink)
This paper proposes a methodological turn for the epistemology of disagreement, away from focusing on highly idealized cases of peer disagreement and towards an increased focus on disagreement simpliciter. We propose and develop a normative framework for evaluating all cases of disagreement as to whether something is the case independently of their composition—i.e., independently of whether they are between peers or not. The upshot will be a norm of disagreement on which what one should do when faced with a disagreeing (...) party is to improve the epistemic properties of one’s doxastic attitude or, alternatively, hold steadfast. (shrink)
This paper defends a novel view of hermeneutical epistemic injustice. To this effect, it starts by arguing that Miranda Fricker’s account is too restrictive: hermeneutical epistemic injustice is more ubiquitous than her account allows. That is because, contra Fricker, conceptual ignorance is not necessary for HEI: hermeneutical epistemic injustice essentially involves a failure in concept application rather than in concept possession. Further on, I unpack hermeneutical epistemic injustice as unjustly brought about basing failure. Last, I show that, if this view (...) right, HEI is a form of distributive injustice, and affords the corresponding traditional normative theorising. (shrink)
Recent views in hinge epistemology rely on doxastic normativism to argue that our attitudes towards hinge propositions are not beliefs. This paper has two aims; the first is positive: it discusses the general normative credentials of this move. The second is negative: it delivers two negative results for No-Belief hinge epistemology such construed. The first concerns the motivation for the view: if we’re right, doxastic normativism offers little in the way of theoretical support for the claim that our attitudes towards (...) hinge propositions are anything but garden-variety beliefs. The second concerns theoretical fruitfulness: we show that embracing a No-Belief view will either get us in serious theoretical trouble, or loose all anti-sceptical appeal. (shrink)
Several prominent philosophers assume that the so-called ‘Belief–Assertion Parallel’ warrants epistemic norm correspondence; as such, they argue from the epistemic norm governing one to the epistemic norm governing the other. This paper argues that, in all its readings, the belief–assertion parallel lacks the desired normative import.
This paper offers a novel account of the value of knowledge. The account is novel insofar as it advocates a shift in focus from the value of individual items of knowledge to the value of the commodity of knowledge. It is argued that the commodity of knowledge is valuable in at least two ways: in a wide range of areas, knowledge is our way of being in cognitive contact with the world and for us the good life is a life (...) rich enough in knowledge. (shrink)
This paper puts forth a functionalist difficulty for Sally Haslanger’s proposal for engineering our concept of ‘woman.’ It is argued that the project of bringing about better political function fulfillment cannot get off the ground in virtue of epistemic failure.
DeRose famously argued that, given that assertability varies with practical context, we cannot combine a biconditional knowledge norm of assertion with classical invariantism. The first aim of this paper is to show that De Rose's argument is ultimately unsuccessful. Second, I develop a view, entitled Assertion Functionalism, which combines the knowledge norm with classical invariantism and at the same time offers an appealing account of the intuitive variability of proper assertion.
In recent literature, several authors attempt to naturalize epistemic normativity by employing an etiological account of functions. The thought is that epistemic entitlement consists in the normal functioning of our belief-acquisition systems, where the latter acquire the function to reliably deliver true beliefs through a history of biological benefit.
This paper has two aims. The first is critical: it argues that our mainstream epistemology of disagreement does not have the resources to explain what goes wrong in cases of group-level epistemic injustice. The second is positive: we argue that a functionalist account of group belief and group justification delivers (1) an account of the epistemic peerhood relation between groups that accommodates minority and oppressed groups, and (2), furthermore, diagnoses the epistemic injustice cases correctly as cases of unwarranted belief on (...) the part of the oppressor group. (shrink)
According to anti-reductionism in the epistemology of testimony, testimonial entitlement is easy to come by: all you need to do is listen to what you are being told. Say you like anti-reductionism; one question that you will need to answer is how come testimonial entitlement comes so cheap; after all, people are free to lie. This paper has two aims: first, it looks at the main anti-reductionist answers to this question and argues that they fail. Second, it goes on a (...) rescue mission on behalf of anti-reductionism. I put forth a novel anti-reductionist account, which I dub ‘Testimonial Contractarianism’. According to the view defended here, in virtue of the social contract in play, compliance with the norms governing speech acts is the default position for speakers. Insofar as norm compliance is the default for speakers, I argue, all else equal, entitlement to believe is the default for hearers. (shrink)
This paper has two aims. The first is critical: it argues that our mainstream epistemology of disagreement does not have the resources to explain what goes wrong in cases of group-level epistemic injustice. The second is positive: we argue that a functionalist account of group belief and group justification delivers an account of the epistemic peerhood relation between groups that accommodates minority and oppressed groups, and diagnoses the epistemic injustice cases correctly as cases of unwarranted belief on the part of (...) the oppressor group. (shrink)
Assertion is the central vehicle for the sharing of knowledge. Whether knowledge is shared successfully often depends on the quality of assertions: good assertions lead to successful knowledge sharing, while bad ones don't. In Sharing Knowledge, Christoph Kelp and Mona Simion investigate the relation between knowledge sharing and assertion, and develop an account of what it is to assert well. More specifically, they argue that the function of assertion is to share knowledge with others. It is this function that supports (...) a central norm of assertion according to which a good assertion is one that has the disposition to generate knowledge in others. The book uses this functionalist approach to motivate further norms of assertion on both the speaker and the hearer side and investigates ramifications of this view for other questions about assertion. (shrink)
This volume is about the notion of 'defeat' in philosophy. The idea is that someone who has some knowledge, or a justified belief, can lose this knowledge or justified belief if they acquire a 'defeater' - evidence that undermines it. The contributors examine the role of defeat not just in epistemology but in practical reasoning and ethics.
This paper develops a novel, functionalist, unified account of the epistemic normativity of reasoning. On this view, epistemic norms drop out of epistemic functions. I argue that practical reasoning serves a prudential function of generating prudentially permissible action, and the epistemic function of generating knowledge of what one ought to do. This picture, if right, goes a long way towards normatively divorcing action and practical reasoning. At the same time, it unifies reasoning epistemically: practical and theoretical reasoning will turn out (...) to be governed by the same epistemic norm—knowledge—in virtue of serving the same epistemic function: generating knowledge of the conclusion. (shrink)
According to Jonathan Kvanvig, the practice of taking back one’s assertion when finding out that one has been mistaken or gettiered fails to speak in favour of a knowledge norm of assertion. To support this claim, he introduces a distinction between taking back the content of the assertion, and taking back the speech act itself. This paper argues that Kvanvig’s distinction does not successfully face close speech-act-theoretic scrutiny. Furthermore, I offer an alternative diagnosis of the target cases sourced in the (...) normativity of action. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis paper discusses the permissibility of exclusively relying on a procedural objectivity model for news reporting, from the perspective of the normativity of informative speech acts. It is argued that, with the exception of urgency situations, the paradigmatic application of procedural objectivity is in breach of the relevant norms.
In recent literature, a very popular position about the normativity of assertion claims that standards for epistemically proper assertion vary with practical context, while standards for knowledge do not. This paper shows this claim is strongly incompatible with the received value-theoretic view regarding the relationship between the axiological and the deontic: one of the two has to go.
This paper has two aims: it develops and defends a fully-fledged account of the epistemic normativity of conjecture it goes sharply against orthodoxy, in arguing that conjecture is epistemically more demanding than assertion. According to the view defended here, one’s conjecture that p is permissible only if one knows that one has warrant, but not sufficient warrant to believe that p. I argue for my account on three independent grounds: the Bach and Harnish account of the nature of communicative speech (...) acts, the plausible normative relation between assertion and other constatives, and the normativity of belief in conjunction with constatives’ epistemic function. (shrink)
While fallibilism has been the dominant view in epistemology in recent times, the field has witnessed the rise of a new form of infallibilism. In a recent book, Jessica Brown has taken on the task of mounting a systematic defence of fallibilism against this new infallibilism. She argues that new infallibilism incurs several problematic commitments that fallibilism can avoid. In addition, the key data points that infallibilists have adduced in support of their view can be accommodated by fallibilism, giving fallibilism (...) the upper hand. This paper develops a rejoinder on behalf of new infallibilism. It explores ways in which new infallibilists can avoid the problematic commitments Brown identifies and provides reason to think that some of the data points supporting new infallibilism cannot be as readily handled by fallibilism as Brown would have us think. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel account of the nature of blame: on this account, blame is a species of performance with a constitutive aim. The argument for the claim that blame is an action is speech-act theoretic: it relies on the nature of performatives and the parallelism between mental and spoken blame. I argue that the view scores well on prior plausibility and theoretical fruitfulness, in that: it rests on claims that are widely accepted across sub-disciplines, it explains the normativity (...) of blaming and it accounts for associated psychological phenomena. (shrink)
The investigation of epistemic virtues, such as curiosity, open-mindedness, intellectual courage and intellectual humility is a growing trend in epistemology. An underexplored question in this context is: what is the relationship between these virtues and other types of virtue, such as moral or prudential virtue? This paper argues that, although there is an intuitive sense in which virtues such as intellectual courage and open-mindedness have something to do with the epistemic domain, on closer inspection it is not clear to what (...) extent they should be understood as genuine epistemic virtues. We draw a distinction between epistemic virtues and virtues with epistemic content and provide reason to believe that the aforementioned virtues are moral virtues with epistemic content rather than bona fide epistemic virtues. The upshot is that there are far fewer epistemic virtues out there than commonly assumed. (shrink)
Tyler Burge notably offers a truth‐first account of perceptual entitlement in terms of a priori necessary representational functions and norms: on his account, epistemic normativity turns on natural norms, which turn on representational functions. This paper has two aims: first, it criticises Tyler Burge's truth‐first a priori derivation on functionalist and value‐theoretic grounds. Second, it develops a novel, knowledge‐first a priori derivation of perceptual entitlement. According to the view developed here, it is a priori that we are entitled to believe (...) the deliverances of our perceptual belief formation system, in virtue of the latter's constitutive function of generating knowledge. (shrink)