Scott Sturgeon presents an original account of mental states and their dynamics. He develops a detailed story of coarse- and fine-grained mental states, a novel perspective on how they fit together, an engaging theory of the rational transitions between them, and a fresh view of how formal methods can advance our understanding in this area. In doing so, he addresses a deep four-way divide in literature on epistemic rationality. Formal epistemology is done in specialized languages--often seeming a lot more like (...) mathematics than Plato--and so can alienate philosophers who are drawn to more traditional work on thought experiments in epistemic rationality. Conversely, informal epistemology appears to be a lot more like Plato than mathematics and, as such, it tends to deter philosophers drawn to formal models of the phenomena. Similarly, the epistemology of coarse-grained states boils down everything to a discussion of rational belief--making the area appear a lot more like foundations of knowledge than anything useful for the theory rational decision, such as decision-making under uncertainty. The Rational Mind unifies work in all of these areas for the first time. (shrink)
_Matters of Mind_ examines the mind-body problem. It offers a chapter by chapter analysis of debates surrounding the problem, including visual experience, consciousness and the problem of Zombies and Ghosts. It will prove invaluable for those interested in epistemology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science.
I argue that our knowledge of the world's causal structure does not generate a sound argument for physicalism. This undermines the popular view that physicalism is the only scientifically respectable worldview.
Some philosophers defend the view that epistemic agents believe by lending credence. Others defend the view that such agents lend credence by believing. It can strongly appear that the disagreement between them is notational, that nothing of substance turns on whether we are agents of one sort or the other. But that is demonstrably not so. Only one of these types of epistemic agent, at most, could manifest a human-like configuration of attitudes; and it turns out that not both types (...) of agent are possible. (shrink)
I argue against a Disjunctive approach to visual experience. I then critique three 'common-factor' views: Qualia Theory, Intentionalism and Sense-Date Theory. The latter two are combined to form Intentional Trope Theory; and that view is defended.
[John Hawthorne] We examine some well-known disjunctivist projects in the philosophy of perception, mainly in a critical vein. Our discussion is divided into four parts. Following some introductory remarks, we examine in part two the link between object-dependent contents and disjunctivism. In part three, we explore the disjunctivist's use of discriminability facts as a basis for understanding experience. In part four, we examine an interesting argument for disjunctivism that has been offered by Michael Martin. /// [Scott Sturgeon] The paper aims (...) to do five things: sketch the backbone of disjunctivism about visual experience, explore the view of our title, defend a version of that view from two objections, press two more objections of my own, and sketch a more radical variety of disjunctivism which avoids much of the bother. (shrink)
Scott Sturgeon has claimed to undermine the principal argument for Physicalism, in his words, the view that ’actuality is exhausted by physical reality’. In noting that actuality is exhausted by physical reality, the Physicalist is not claiming that all that there is in actuality are those things identified by physics. Rather the thought is that actuality is made up of all the things identified by physics and anything which is a compound of these things. So there are tables as well (...) as their microphysical constituents. The argument that Sturgeon has in his sights is the Overdetermination Argument. In what follows, I shall argue that Sturgeon’s criticism of the Overdetermination argument fails. I shall also argue that physicalism can accommodate his claim that causal statements concerning the mental and physical respectively may require diverse patterns of counterfactual activity for their truth. (shrink)
This paper does four things. First it lays out an orthodox position on reasons and defeaters. Then it argues that the position just laid out is mistaken about “undercutting” defeaters. Then the paper explains an unpublished thought experiment by Dorothy Edgington. And then it uses that thought experiment to motivate a new approach to undercutting defeaters.
It is argued that higher-order awareness is central to one type of everyday rationality. The author starts by specifying the target notion of rationality, contrasting it with other useful notions in the neighbourhood. It is then shown that the target notion relies on first-person awareness of the unfolding of cognition. This is used to explain the kernel of truth in epistemic conservatism, the structure of defeasibility, and the root motive behind the widely accepted distinction between rational inference and trivial entailment.
The sharpest corner of the cutting edge of recent epistemology is to be found in Richard Pettigrew’s Accuracy and the Laws of Credence. In this fine book Pettigrew argues that a certain kind of accuracy-based value monism entails that rational credence manifests a host of features emphasized by anti-externalists in epistemology. Specifically, he demonstrates how a particular version of accuracy-based value monism—to be discussed at length below—when placed with some not implausible views about how epistemic value and rationality relate to (...) one another, ensures that rational credence manifests many of the structural properties emphasized by those who give evidence pride of place in the theory of rationality. A major goal of Pettigrew’s book, then, is to make clear how accuracy-based value monism fits together with the phenomena used by those who argue against accuracy-based externalism.2 2. (shrink)
Robert Stalnaker has recently argued that a pair of natural thoughts are incompatible. One of them is the view that items of non-indexical factual knowledge rule out possibilities. The other is the view that knowing what sensuous experience is like involves non-indexical knowledge of its phenomenal character. I argue against Stalnaker’s take on things, elucidating along the way how our knowledge of what experience is like fits together with the natural idea that items of non-indexical factual knowledge rule out possibilities.
The project consists of a defense of the reductivist program generally and an application of the program to the theory of epistemic justification. ;Chapter One sets out the problem of reducing justification to other terms and defends the legitimacy of this problem against attacks by Quine in particular and supervenience theorists generally. Chapter Two is an explication and refutation of all possible theories which reduce justification-facts to facts about the reliability of cognitive processes. All such theories founder due to their (...) insensitivity to the perspectival component of thought. Chapter Three argues that this perspectival component is non-truth-theoretic and hence that the connection between justification and truth is much less important than has been generally supposed. Chapter Four lays out the structure of epistemic justification and proposes a reductive thesis entailing this structure. It is argued that essential elements of both coherence theories of justification and foundations theories of justification are present in rational thought and that this is explicable in terms of the teleology of human cognition. Chapter Five explicates and defends the theory constructed in Chapter Four. (shrink)
Consider the frame S believes that—. Fill it with a conditional, say If you eat an Apple, you'll drink a Coke. what makes the result true? More generally, what facts are marked by instances of S believes ? In a sense the answer is obious: beliefs are so marked. Yet that bromide leads directly to competing schools of thought. And the reason is simple. Common-sense thinks of belief two ways. Sometimes it sees it as a three-part affair. When so viewed (...) either you believe, disbelieve, or suspend judgment. This take on belief is coarse-grained . It says belief has three flavours: acceptance, rejection, neither. But it's not the only way common-sense thinks of belief. Sometimes it's more subtle: ‘How strong is your faith?’ can be apposite between believers. That signals an important fact. Ordinary practice also treats belief as a fine-grained affair. It speaks of levels of confidence. It admits degrees of belief . It contains a fine-grained take as well. There are two ways belief is seen in everyday life. One is coarse-grained. The other is fine-grained. (shrink)