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Ram Neta
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  1. The Basing Relation.Ram Neta - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (2):179-217.
    Sometimes, there are reasons for which we believe, intend, resent, decide, and so on: these reasons are the “bases” of the latter, and the explanatory relation between these bases and the latter is what I will call “the basing relation.” What kind of explanatory relation is this? Dispositionalists claim that the basing relation consists in the agent’s manifesting a disposition to respond to those bases by having the belief, intention, resentment, and so on, in question. Representationalists claim that the basing (...)
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  2. Luminosity and the safety of knowledge.Ram Neta & Guy Rohrbaugh - 2004 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (4):396–406.
    In his recent Knowledge and its Limits, Timothy Williamson argues that no non-trivial mental state is such that being in that state suffices for one to be in a position to know that one is in it. In short, there are no “luminous” mental states. His argument depends on a “safety” requirement on knowledge, that one’s confident belief could not easily have been wrong if it is to count as knowledge. We argue that the safety requirement is ambiguous; on one (...)
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  3. Treating something as a reason for action.Ram Neta - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):684-699.
  4. What is an inference.Ram Neta - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):388-407.
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  5. What evidence do you have?Ram Neta - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (1):89-119.
    Your evidence constrains your rational degrees of confidence both locally and globally. On the one hand, particular bits of evidence can boost or diminish your rational degree of confidence in various hypotheses, relative to your background information. On the other hand, epistemic rationality requires that, for any hypothesis h, your confidence in h is proportional to the support that h receives from your total evidence. Why is it that your evidence has these two epistemic powers? I argue that various proposed (...)
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  6. Safety and epistemic luck.Avram Hiller & Ram Neta - 2007 - Synthese 158 (3):303 - 313.
    There is some consensus that for S to know that p, it cannot be merely a matter of luck that S’s belief that p is true. This consideration has led Duncan Pritchard and others to propose a safety condition on knowledge. In this paper, we argue that the safety condition is not a proper formulation of the intuition that knowledge excludes luck. We suggest an alternative proposal in the same spirit as safety, and find it lacking as well.
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  7. McDowell and the new evil genius.Ram Neta & Duncan Pritchard - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):381–396.
    (NEG) is widely accepted both by internalist and by externalists. In fact, there have been very few opponents of (NEG). Timothy Williamson (e.g., 2000) rejects (NEG), for reasons that have by now received a great deal of scrutiny.2 John McDowell also rejects (NEG), but his reasons have not received the scrutiny they deserve. This is in large part because those reasons have not been well understood. We believe that McDowell’s challenge to (NEG) is important, worthy of fair assessment, and maybe (...)
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  8. S knows that P.Ram Neta - 2002 - Noûs 36 (4):663–681.
    Rieber 1998 proposes an account of "S knows that p" that generates a contextualist solution to Closure. In this paper, I’ll argue that Rieber’s account of "S knows that p" is subject to fatal objections, but we can modify it to achieve an adequate account of "S knows that p" that generates a unified contextualist solution to all four puzzles. This is a feat that should matter to those philosophers who have proposed contextualist solutions to Closure: all of them have (...)
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  9. Rationally determinable conditions.Ram Neta - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):289-299.
  10.  62
    Naturalism in Question.Ram Neta - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (4):657-663.
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  11. Contextualism and the problem of the external world.Ram Neta - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):1–31.
    A skeptic claims that I do not have knowledge of the external world. It has been thought that the skeptic reaches this conclusion because she employs unusually stringent standards for knowledge. But the skeptic does not employ unusually high standards for knowledge. Rather, she employs unusually restrictive standards of evidence. Thus, her claim that we lack knowledge of the external world is supported by considerations that would equally support the claim that we lack evidence for our beliefs about the external (...)
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  12. Evidence, coherence and epistemic akrasia.Ram Neta - 2018 - Episteme 15 (3):313-328.
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  13.  94
    An evidentialist account of hinges.Ram Neta - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 15):3577-3591.
    Wittgenstein’s On Certainty is sometimes read as providing a response to the skeptical puzzle from closure, according to which our commitment to the trustworthiness of our evidence is not itself evidentially grounded. In this paper, I argue both that this standard reading of Wittgenstein is incorrect, and that a more accurate reading of Wittgenstein provides us with a more plausible solution to the Closure Puzzle.
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  14.  52
    Contextualism and the Problem of the External World.Ram Neta - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):1-31.
    A skeptic claims that I do not have knowledge of the external world. It has been thought that the skeptic reaches this conclusion because she employs unusually stringent standards for knowledge. But the skeptic does not employ unusually high standards for knowledge. Rather, she employs unusually restrictive standards of evidence. Thus, her claim that we lack knowledge of the external world is supported by considerations that would equally support the claim that we lack evidence for our beliefs about the external (...)
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  15. Liberalism and Conservatism in the Epistemology of Perceptual Belief.Ram Neta - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):685-705.
    Liberals claim that some perceptual experiences give us immediate justification for certain perceptual beliefs. Conservatives claim that the justification that perceptual experiences give us for those perceptual beliefs is mediated by our background beliefs. In his recent paper ?Basic Justification and the Moorean Response to the Skeptic?, Nico Silins successfully argues for a non-Moorean version of Liberalism. But Silins's defence of non-Moorean Liberalism leaves us with a puzzle: why is it that a necessary condition for our perceptual experiences to justify (...)
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    What Evidence Do You Have?Ram Neta - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (1):89-119.
    Your evidence constrains your rational degrees of confidence both locally and globally. On the one hand, particular bits of evidence can boost or diminish your rational degree of confidence in various hypotheses, relative to your background information. On the other hand, epistemic rationality requires that, for any hypothesis h, your confidence in h is proportional to the support that h receives from your total evidence. Why is it that your evidence has these two epistemic powers? I argue that various proposed (...)
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  17.  31
    Anti‐intellectualism and the Knowledge‐Action Principle.Ram Neta - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):180-187.
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  18. A Refutation of Cartesian Fallibilism.Ram Neta - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):658-695.
    According to a doctrine that I call “Cartesianism”, knowledge – at least the sort of knowledge that inquirers possess – requires having a reason for belief that is reflectively accessible as such. I show that Cartesianism, in conjunction with some plausible and widely accepted principles, entails the negation of a popular version of Fallibilism. I then defend the resulting Cartesian Infallibilist position against popular objections. My conclusion is that if Cartesianism is true, then Descartes was right about this much: for (...)
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  19. In defense of disjunctivism.Ram Neta - 2008 - In Fiona Macpherson & Adrian Haddock (eds.), Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 311--29.
    Right now, I see a computer in front of me. Now, according to current philosophical orthodoxy, I could have the very same perceptual experience that I’m having right now even if I were not seeing a computer in front of me. Indeed, such orthodoxy tells us, I could have the very same experience that I’m having right now even if I were not seeing anything at all in front of me, but simply suffering from a hallucination. More generally, someone can (...)
     
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  20. Two Legacies of Goldman’s Epistemology.Ram Neta - 2017 - Philosophical Topics 45 (1):121-136.
    Goldman’s epistemology has been influential in two ways. First, it has influenced some philosophers to think that, contrary to erstwhile orthodoxy, relations of evidential support, or confirmation, are not discoverable a priori. Second, it has offered some philosophers a powerful argument in favor of methodological reliance on intuitions about thought experiments in doing philosophy. This paper argues that these two legacies of Goldman’s epistemology conflict with each other.
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  21. Fixing the Transmission: The New Mooreans.Ram Neta - 2007 - In Susana Nuccetelli & Gary Seay (eds.), Themes From G. E. Moore: New Essays in Epistemology and Ethics. Oxford University Press.
  22. Contextualism and a puzzle about seeing.Ram Neta - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 134 (1):53-63.
    Contextualist solutions to skeptical puzzles have recently been subjected to various criticisms. In this paper, I will defend contextualism against an objection prominently pressed by Stanley 2000. According to Stanley, contextualism in epistemology advances an empirically implausible hypothesis about the semantics of knowledge ascriptions in natural language. It is empirically implausible because it attributes to knowledge ascriptions a kind of semantic context-sensitivity that is wholly unlike any well- established type of semantic context-sensitivity in natural language.
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  23. In defense of epistemic relativism.Ram Neta - 2007 - Episteme 4 (1):30-48.
    In Fear of Knowledge, Paul Boghossian argues against various forms of epistemic relativism. In this paper, I criticize Boghossian’s arguments against a particular variety of relativism. I then argue in favor of a thesis that is very similar to this variety of relativism.
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  24. Credence and belief.Ram Neta - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 180 (2):429-438.
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  25. Epistemology Factualized: New Contractarian Foundations for Epistemology.Ram Neta - 2006 - Synthese 150 (2):247-280.
    Many epistemologists are interested in offering a positive account of how it is that many of our common sense beliefs enjoy one or another positive epistemological status (e.g., how they are warranted, justified, reasonable, or what have you). A number of philosophers, under the influence of Wittgenstein and/or J. L. Austin, have argued that this enterprise is misconceived. The most effective version of this argument is to be found in Mark Kaplan’s paper “Epistemology on Holiday”. After explaining what this criticism (...)
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  26.  44
    From Inputs to Beliefs.Ram Neta - 2022 - Analysis 82 (4):707-716.
    What you believe is typically responsive to what you perceive, what you recall, what inferences you’ve made and various other factors. Let’s use the term ‘input.
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  27. Undermining the case for contrastivism.Ram Neta - 2008 - Social Epistemology 22 (3):289 – 304.
    A number of philosophers have recently defended “contrastivist” theories of knowledge, according to which knowledge is a relation between at least the following three relata: a knower, a proposition, and a contrast set. I examine six arguments that Jonathan Schaffer has given for this thesis, and show that those arguments do not favour contrastivism over a rival view that I call “evidentiary relativism”. I then argue that evidentiary relativism accounts for more data than does contrastivism.
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  28. How to naturalize epistemology.Ram Neta - 2007 - In Vincent Hendricks (ed.), New Waves in Epistemology. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 324--353.
    Since the publication of W.V. Quine’s “Epistemology Naturalized”1, a growing number of self-described “naturalist” epistemologists have come to hold a particular view of what epistemology can and ought to be. In order to articulate this naturalist view, let me begin by describing the epistemological work that the naturalist tends to criticize – a motley that I will refer to collectively as “non-naturalist epistemology”. I will describe this motley in terms that are designed to capture the naturalist’s discontentment with it, as (...)
     
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  29. The nature and reach of privileged access.Ram Neta - 2008 - In Anthony Hatzimoysis (ed.), Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
    Many philosophers accept a “privileged access” thesis concerning our own present mental states and mental events. According to these philosophers, if I am in mental state (or undergoing mental event) M, then – at least in many cases – I have privileged access to the fact that I am in (or undergoing) M. For instance, if I now believe that my cat is sitting on my lap, then (in normal circumstances) I have privileged access to the fact that I now (...)
     
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  30.  70
    Capacitism and the transparency of evidence.Ram Neta - 2022 - Mind and Language 37 (2):219-226.
    Susanna Schellenberg develops a unified account—“capacitism”—of perceptual content, phenomenology, and epistemic force. In this paper, I raise questions about her arguments for a capacitist account of evidential force, and then challenge her claim that such an account, even if correct, demands that our evidence be less than fully transparent to us.
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  31. Access Internalism and the Guidance Deontological Conception of Justification.Ram Neta - 2016 - American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2):155-168.
    Historically, prominent proponents of the guidance deontological conception of epistemic justification have thought that the guidance deontological conception entails access internalism. Alvin Goldman has argued that this is not so, and that there is no good argument from the guidance deontological conception of justification to access internalism. This paper refutes Goldman's argument. If the guidance deontological conception of epistemic justification is correct, then so is access internalism.
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  32.  42
    Coherence and Deontology.Ram Neta - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):284-304.
  33. D efeating the Dogma of Defeasibility.Ram Neta - 2009 - In Patrick Greenough, Duncan Pritchard & Timothy Williamson (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 161--82.
     
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  34. Skepticism, contextualism, and semantic self-knowledge.Ram Neta - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):396–411.
    Stephen Schiffer has argued that contextualist solutions to skepticism rest on an implausible "error theory" concerning our own semantic intentions. Similar arguments have recently been offered also by Thomas Hofweber and Patrick Rysiew. I attempt to show how contextualists can rebut these arguments. The kind of self-knowledge that contextualists are committed to denying us is not a kind of self-knowledge that we need, nor is it a kind of self-knowledge that we can plausibly be thought to possess.
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  35. Perceptual evidence and the new dogmatism.Ram Neta - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 119 (1-2):199-214.
    What is the epistemological value of perceptual experience? In his recently influential paper, “The Skeptic and the Dogmatist”1, James Pryor develops a seemingly plausible answer to this question. Pryor’s answer comprises the following three theses: (F) “Our perceptual justification for beliefs about our surroundings is always defeasible – there are always possible improvements in our epistemic state which would no longer support those beliefs.” (517) (PK) “This justification that you get merely by having an experience as of p can sometimes (...)
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  36. A contextualist solution to the problem of easy knowledge.Ram Neta - 2005 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 69 (1):183-206.
    Many philosophers hold some verion of the doctrine of "basic knowledge". According to this doctrine, it's possible for S to know that p, even if S doesn't know the source of her knowledge that p to be reliable or trustworthy. Stewart Cohen has recently argued that this doctrine confronts the problem of easy knowledge. I defend basic knowledge against this criticism, by providing a contextualist solution to the problem of easy knowledge.
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    How Holy is the Disjunctivist Grail?Ram Neta - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Research 41:193-200.
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  38. Propositional justification, evidence, and the cost of error.Ram Neta - 2007 - Philosophical Issues 17 (1):197–216.
    My topic in this paper is a particular species of epistemic justification – a species that, following Roderick Firth, I call “propositional justification.”1 Propositional justification is a relation between a person and a proposition. I will say that for S to bear the propositional justification relation to p is for S to be “justified in believing” that p. What is propositional justification? What is it for S to be justified in believing that p? Here’s my answer.
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    6. Easy Knowledge, Transmission Failure, and Empiricism.Ram Neta - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:166.
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  40. Skepticism, abductivism, and the explanatory gap.Ram Neta - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):296-325.
  41.  27
    Skepticism, Contextualism, and Semantic Self‐Knowledge.Ram Neta - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):396-411.
    Stephen Schiffer has argued that contextualist solutions to skepticism rest on an implausible “error theory” concerning our own semantic intentions. Similar arguments have recently been offered also by Thomas Hofweber and Patrick Rysiew. I attempt to show how contextualists can rebut these arguments. The kind of self‐knowledge that contextualists are committed to denying us is not a kind of self‐knowledge that we need, nor is it a kind of self‐knowledge that we can plausibly be thought to possess.
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    Mature Human Knowledge as a Standing in the Space of Reasons.Ram Neta - 2009 - Philosophical Topics 37 (1):115-132.
    This quoted passage makes a negative claim – a claim about what we are not doing when we characterize an episode or state as that of knowing – and it also makes a positive claim – a claim about what we are doing when we characterize an episode or state as that of knowing. Although McDowell has not endorsed the negative claim, he has repeatedly and explicitly endorsed the positive claim, i.e., that “in characterizing an episode or a state as (...)
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    Perceptual evidence and the capacity view.Ram Neta - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):907-914.
    Susanna Schellenberg defends what she calls a "capacity view" concerning perceptual evidence. In this paper, I raise six challenges to Schellenberg's argument.
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  44. Knowing from the Armchair that Our Intuitions Are Reliable.Ram Neta - 2012 - The Monist 95 (2):329-351.
    In recent years, a growing body of experimental literature has called into question the reliability of our intuitions about hypothetical cases, and thereby called into question the use of intuitions in philosophy. In this paper, I critically assess one prominent example of this challenge, namely, Swain, Alexander, and Weinberg’s recent study of order effects on the Truetemp intuition. I argue that the very data that Swain,Alexander, and Weinberg find do not undermine, but instead support, the reliability of intuition. I also (...)
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  45.  28
    Skepticism, Abductivism, and the Explanatory Gap.Ram Neta - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):296-325.
  46. On the normative significance of brute facts.Ram Neta - 2004 - Legal Theory 10 (3):199-214.
  47. Can a priori entitlement be preserved by testimony.Ram Neta - 2010 - In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press, Usa. pp. 194--215.
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    Current Controversies In Epistemology.Ram Neta (ed.) - 2014 - New York: Routledge.
    Epistemology is one of the oldest, yet still one of the most active, areas of philosophical research today. There currently exists many annotated tomes of primary sources, and a handful of single-authored introductions to the field, but there is no book that captures epistemology’s dynamic growth and lively debates for a student audience. In this volume, eight leading philosophers debate four topics central to recent research in epistemology: The A Priori: C. S. I. Jenkins and Michael Devitt The A Posteriori: (...)
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  49. The Transparency of Inference.Ram Neta - 2019 - In Anders Nes & Timothy Hoo Wai Chan (eds.), Inference and Consciousness. London: Routledge.
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  50.  24
    Arguing About Knowledge.Duncan Pritchard & Ram Neta (eds.) - 2008 - New York: Routledge.
    What is knowledge? What are the sources of knowledge? What is the value of knowledge? What can we know? _Arguing About Knowledge_ offers a fresh and engaging perspective on the theory of knowledge. This comprehensive and imaginative selection of readings examines the subject in an unorthodox and entertaining manner whilst covering the fundamentals of the theory of knowledge. It includes classic and contemporary pieces from the most influential philosophers from Descartes, Russell, Quine and G.E. Moore to Richard Feldman, Edward Craig, (...)
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