This landmark collection of essays by six renowned philosophers explores the implications of the contentious realism/antirealism debate for epistemology. The essays examine issues such as whether epistemology needs to be realist, the bearing of a realist conception of truth on epistemology, and realism and antirealism in terms of a pragmatist conception of epistemic justification. Richard Rorty's essay provides a critical commentary on the other five.
Beliefs are freely attributed to God nowadays in Anglo–American philosophical theology. This practice undoubtedly reflects the twentieth–century popularity of the view that knowledge consists of true justified belief . The connection is frequently made explicit. If knowledge is true justified belief then whatever God knows He believes. It would seem that much recent talk of divine beliefs stems from Nelson Pike's widely discussed article, ‘Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action’. In this essay Pike develops a version of the classic argument for (...) the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and free will in terms of divine forebelief. He introduces this shift by premising that ‘ A knows X ’ entails ‘A believes X ’. As a result of all this, philosophers have increasingly been using the concept of belief in defining ‘omniscience’. (shrink)
Part I: The Life of Cognitive Science:. William Bechtel, Adele Abrahamsen, and George Graham. Part II: Areas of Study in Cognitive Science:. 1. Analogy: Dedre Gentner. 2. Animal Cognition: Herbert L. Roitblat. 3. Attention: A.H.C. Van Der Heijden. 4. Brain Mapping: Jennifer Mundale. 5. Cognitive Anthropology: Charles W. Nuckolls. 6. Cognitive and Linguistic Development: Adele Abrahamsen. 7. Conceptual Change: Nancy J. Nersessian. 8. Conceptual Organization: Douglas Medin and Sandra R. Waxman. 9. Consciousness: Owen Flanagan. 10. Decision Making: J. Frank (...) Yates and Paul A. Estin. 11. Emotions: Paul E. Griffiths. 12. Imagery and Spatial Representation: Rita E. Anderson. 13. Language Evolution and Neuromechanisms: Terrence W. Deacon. 14. Language Processing: Kathryn Bock and Susan M. Garnsey. 15. Linguistics Theory: D. Terence Langendoen. 16. Machine Learning: Paul Thagard. 17. Memory: Henry L. Roediger III and Lyn M. Goff. 18. Perception: Cees Van Leeuwen. 19. Perception: Color: Austen Clark. 20. Problem Solving: Kevin Dunbar. 21. Reasoning: Lance J. Rips. 22. Social Cognition: Alan J. Lambert and Alison L. Chasteen. 23. Unconscious Intelligence: Rhianon Allen and Arthur S. Reber. 24. Understanding Texts: Art Graesser and Pam Tipping. 25. Word Meaning: Barbara C. Malt. Part III: Methodologies of Cognitive Science:. 26. Artificial Intelligence: Ron Sun. 27. Behavioral Experimentation: Alexander Pollatsek and Keith Rayner. 28. Cognitive Ethology: Marc Bekoff. 29. Deficits and Pathologies: Christopher D. Frith. 30. Ethnomethodology: Barry Saferstein. 31. Functional Analysis: Brian Macwhinney. 32. Neuroimaging: Randy L. Buckner and Steven E. Petersen. 33. Protocal Analysis: K. Anders Ericsson. 34. Single Neuron Electrophysiology: B. E. Stein, M.T. Wallace, and T.R. Stanford. 35. Structural Analysis: Robert Frank. Part IV: Stances in Cognitive Science:. 36. Case-based Reasoning: David B. Leake. 37. Cognitive Linguistics: Michael Tomasello. 38. Connectionism, Artificial Life, and Dynamical Systems: Jeffrey L. Elman. 39. Embodied, Situated, and Distributed Cognition: Andy Clark. 40. Mediated Action: James V. Wertsch. 41. Neurobiological Modeling: P. Read Montague and Peter Dayan. 42. Production Systems: Christian D. Schunn and David Klahr. Part V: Controversies in Cognitive Science:. 43. The Binding Problem: Valerie Gray Hardcastle. 44. Heuristics and Satisficing: Robert C. Richardson. 45. Innate Knowledge: Barbara Landau. 46. Innateness and Emergentism: Elizabeth Bates, Jeffrey L. Elman, Mark H. Johnson, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Domenico Parisi, and Kim Plunkett. 47. Intentionality: Gilbert Harman. 48. Levels of Explanation and Cognition Architectures: Robert N. McCauley. 49. Modularity: Irene Appelbaum. 50. Representation and Computation: Robert S. Stufflebeam. 51. Representations: Dorrit Billman. 52. Rules: Terence Horgan and John Tienson. 53. Stage Theories Refuted: Donald G. Mackay. Part VI: Cognitive Science in the Real World:. 54. Education: John T. Bruer. 55. Ethics: Mark L. Johnson. 56. Everyday Life Environments: Alex Kirlik. 57. Institutions and Economics: Douglass C. North. 58. Legal Reasoning: Edwina L. Rissland. 59. Mental Retardation: Norman W. Bray, Kevin D. Reilly, Lisa F. Huffman, Lisa A. Grupe, Mark F. Villa, Kathryn L. Fletcher, and Vivek Anumolu. 60. Science: William F. Brewer and Punyashloke Mishra. Selective Biographies of Major Contributors to Cognitive Science: William Bechtel and Tadeusz Zawidzki. (shrink)
William P. Alston was the founding editor of the Philosophy Research Archives and a president of the American Philosophical Association. This special volume was prepared in honor and recognition of Alston's many contributions to philosophy as author, editor, teacher, and mentor. Publication of this volume was made possible by his colleagues and the philosophy department at Syracuse University.
Part I: WHAT IS ETHICS? Plato: Socratic Morality: Crito. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part II: ETHICAL RELATIVISM VERSUS ETHICAL OBJECTIVISM. Herodotus: Custom is King. Thomas Aquinas: Objectivism: Natural Law. Ruth Benedict: A Defense of Ethical Relativism. Louis Pojman: A Critique of Ethical Relativism. Gilbert Harman: Moral Relativism Defended. Alan Gewirth: The Objective Status of Human Rights. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part III: MORALITY, SELF-INTEREST AND FUTURE SELVES. Plato: Why Be Moral? Richard Taylor: On the Socratic Dilemma. David Gauthier: Morality (...) and Advantage. Gregory Kavka: A Reconciliation Project. Derek Parfit: Later Selves and Moral Principles. Bernard Williams: Persons, Character, and Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part IV: VALUE. Jeremy Bentham: Classical Hedonism. Robert Nozick: The Experience Machine. Richard Taylor: Value and the Origin of Right and Wrong. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Transvaluation of Values. Derek Parfit: What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best? Thomas Nagel: Value: The View from Nowhere. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part V: UTILITARIANISM AND CONSEQUENTIALISM. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism. J.J.C. Smart: Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism. Kai Nielsen: Against Moral Conservatism. Bernard Williams: Against Utilitarianism. John Hospers: Rule-Utilitarianism. Robert Nozick: Side Constraints. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence and Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VI: KANTIAN AND DEONTOLOGICAL SYSTEMS. Immanuel Kant: Foundation for the Metaphysic of Morals. W. D. Ross: What Makes Right Acts Right? Onora O’Neill: Kantian Formula of the End in Itself and World Hunger. Thomas Nagel: Moral Luck. Philippa Foot: Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives. Judith Jarvis Thomson: Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VII: CONTRACTARIAN ETHICAL SYSTEMS. Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan. David Gauthier: Why Contractarianism? John Rawls: Contractualism: Justice as Fairness. T.M. Scanlon: Contractualism and Utilitarianism. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VIII: VIRTUE-BASED ETHICAL SYSTEMS. Aristotle: The Ethics of Virtue. Bernard Mayo: Virtue and the Moral Life. William Frankena: A Critique of Virtue-Based Ethics. Walter Schaller: Are Virtues No More than Dispositions to Obey Moral Rules? Alasdair MacIntyre: The Nature of the Virtues. Susan Wolf: Moral Saints. Louis P. Pojman: In Defense of Moral Saints. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part IX: THE FACT/VALUE PROBLEM: METAETHICS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. David Hume: On Reason and the Emotions: The Fact/Value Distinction. G. E. Moore: Non-Naturalism. A. J. Ayer: Emotivism. R. M. Hare: Prescriptivism: The Structure of Ethics and Morals. Geoffrey Warnock: The Object of Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part X: MORAL REALISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF SKEPTICISM. J.L. Mackie: The Subjectivity of Values. Jonathan Harrison: A Critique of Mackie’s Error Theory. Gilbert Harman: Moral Nihilism. Nicholas Sturgeon: Moral Explanations. Bernard Williams: Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Bruce Russell: Two Forms of Ethical Skepticism. Michael Smith: A Defense of Moral Realism. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part XI: RELIGION AND ETHICS. Plato: Morality and Religion. Immanuel Kant: God and Immortality as Necessary Postulates of Morality. George Mavrodes: Religious and the Queerness of Morality. Kai Nielson: Ethics Without God. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part XII: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES TO CLASSICAL ETHICAL THEORY. Part A. Sociobiology and the Question of Moral Responsibility. Charles Darwin: Ethics and the Descent of Man. E.O.Wilson: Sociobiology and Ethics. Michael Ruse: Evolution and Ethics: The Sociobiological Approach. Elliot Sober: Prospects for an Evolutionary Ethics. J.L. Mackie: The Law of the Jungle, Evolution and Morality. Suggestions for Further Readingon Sociobiology. Part B. The Challenge of Determinism to Moral Responsibility and Desert. Galen Strawson: The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility. Louis Pojman: Free Will, Determinism, and Moral Responsibility:A Response to Galen Strawson. Richard Taylor: A Libertarian Defense of Free Will and Responsibility. Suggestions for Further Reading on Moral Responsibility. Glossary of Ethical Terms. (shrink)
Philosophical tradition sharply distinguishes the conditions under which belief and action are reasonable. This dissertation examines one attempt to sustain this division, namely, the Humean analysis of practical reasons. The Humean analysis divides practical reasons into end and means. The former concerns what one should pursue as goal. The latter, what one should do to realize one's ends. Humeans argue that end reasons are not subject to the conditions of reasonable belief. Since end reasons pick out what has value for (...) an agent, Humeans contend that what makes life meaningful lies largely outside epistemic criteria. I find that Humeans base this claim on two distinct arguments. Each assumes that end reasons are unfit for epistemic appraisal because they lack some feature owned by psychological states suited to epistemic appraisal. A psychological state is fit for epistemic assessment only if its attitude ascribes a truth value to its content and its content owns a truth value. I examine the first conjunct. Regarding , Humeans argue that all genuine end reasons move their agents and, thus, these reasons are wants or take wants as components, since desire is the only source of agent-motivation. But in desiring that p, one does not ascribe a truth-value to p. Thus, end reasons lie outside epistemic criteria, assuming that only those psychological states whose attitude ascribes a truth value to its content are fit for epistemic assessment. Among those who claim that end reasons are a type of conative psychological state in that all genuine end reasons must move their agents are: R. M. Hare, P. H. Nowell-Smith, Gilbert Harman, Donald Davidson, B. A. O. Williams, and Daniel Dennett. I argue that this appeal to motivation fails by examining when an actor is an agent, finding that these conditions do not require that all genuine end reasons motivate. I add that rational failings, such as weakness of will, strongly suggest that not all genuine end reasons motivate. I conclude that end reasons are best conceived as a type of belief and, thus, these reasons do not lie outside epistemic assessment due to their psychological attitude. (shrink)
William P. Alston's book, Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience , challenges the contemporary view that religious experience is purely subjective. He theorizes that a direct experiential awareness of God can produce immediately justified beliefs about God. Accordingly, this dissertation critically assesses the problem of subjectivism thought to taint Alston's epistemology of religious experience. ;Upon disclosing the prevalence of subjectivity, and identifying the potential for objectivity in religious experience, this treatise produces a viable resolve for objectivity in mystical (...) perception. It accomplishes this task through several considerations. ;Through an historical analysis of evidentialism's influence in empiricism and analytic philosophy of religion, we can determine the extent to which Alston's epistemology succumbs to this influence. Although finding evidentialism to be prevalent, Alston's theory of "reliabilism," namely the reliability of sensory perception, attempts to overcome evidentialism's predilection toward subjectivism. Nevertheless, it will be demonstrated that the object of consciousness in the perceptual act is still a mental entity. Thus subjectivism persists. Having identified that Alston's phenomenology of perception in particular, does very little to overturn the verdict of subjectivism, this study proceeds to identify an alternative phenomenology. ;Merleau-Ponty's "primacy of perception" seems a likely candidate for providing a richer phenomenological description of perception than Alston's. Once issues of relevancy have been satisfactorily addressed, it will be proposed that Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology, i.e. "reversibility thesis," accentuates a "genuine" objective moment in perception. One in which we are able to appropriate to Alston's concept of mystical perception. This phenomenological revision to Alston's epistemology of religious experience does much to counter the charge of subjectivism. ;The above proffering is rendered in six chapters. Chapter I provides a close reading of Perceiving God. Chapter II succinctly puts forth what exactly Alston's epistemology responds to in classical British empiricism and analytic philosophy of religion. Chapter III places Alston in the contemporary discussion in analytic epistemology. Chapter IV points to where Alston's epistemology of religious experience is vulnerable to the charge of subjectivism. Chapters V and VI provide an alternative phenomenology based on Merleau-Pontian insights, which are applied to Alston's epistemology of religious experience. (shrink)
William P. Alston. difference in the scope of the rule reflects the fact that I-rules exist for the sake of making communication possible. Whereas their cousins are enacted and enforced for other reasons. We could distinguish I-rules just by this ...
In this clear and provocative account of the epistemology of religious experience, William P. Alston argues that the perception of God—his term for direct experiential awareness of God—makes a major contribution to the grounds of religious belief. Surveying the variety of reported direct experiences of God, Alston demonstrates that a person can be justified in holding certain beliefs about God on the basis of mystical experience.
William P. Alston.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2009 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), The History of Western Philosophy of Religion, Volume 5, Twentieth-Century Philosophers of Religion. New York: Routledge. pp. 221-232.details
This is a 12-page article on the life and work in philosophy of religion by William P. Alston (1921-2009).
What is it for a sentence to have a certain meaning? This is the question that the distinguished analytic philosopher William P. Alston addresses in this major contribution to the philosophy of language. His answer focuses on the given sentence's potential to play the role that its speaker had in mind, what he terms the usability of the sentence to perform the illocutionary act intended by its speaker. Alston defines an illocutionary act as an act of saying something with (...) a certain "content." He develops his account of what it is to perform such acts in terms of taking responsibility, in uttering a sentence, for the existence of certain conditions. In requesting someone to open a window, for example, the speaker takes responsibility for its being the case that the window is closed and that the speaker has an interest in its being opened. In Illocutionary Acts and Sentence Meaning, Alston expands upon this concept, creating a framework of five categories of illocutionary act and going on to argue that sentence meaning is fundamentally a matter of illocutionary act potential; that is, for a sentence to have a particular meaning is for it to be usable to perform illocutionary acts of a certain type. In providing detailed and explicit patterns of analysis for the whole range of illocutionary acts, Alston makes a unique contribution to the field of philosophy of language—one that is likely to generate debate for years to come. (shrink)
This book is the culmination of almost forty years of writing and thinking about speech acts and the use theory of meaning. Chapter 1 sets out and defends a version of the Austin-Searle trichotomy of a sentential act, i.e., uttering a sentence or surrogate, an illocutionary act, i.e., uttering a sentence with a certain "content" as reported by indirect speech, and a perlocutionary act, i.e., producing an effect on an audience by an utterance. Chapter 2 poses the question: what condition (...) C will turn an SA into an IA: F? Perhaps adding a perlocutionary intention to the effect that "U asserts that p only if U utters p with the intention of getting H to believe that p" will meet condition C. Alston argues, contra Schiffer, that it will not. Chapter 3 objects to Searle's analysis of sincere and non-defective promising, on the one hand, because there are too many ways a promise can be defective and, on the other hand, because some of Searle's conditions are not necessary for promising simpliciter. Alston proposes. (shrink)
1. The Naturalistic Turn in Philosophy of Science 2. The Framework of Mechanistic Explanation: Parts, Operations, and Organization 3. Representing and Reasoning About Mechanisms 4. Mental Mechanisms: Mechanisms that Process Information 5. Discovering Mental Mechanisms 6 . Summary.
This paper distinguishes and interrelates a number of respects in which persons have been thought to be in a specially favorable epistemic position vis-A-Vis their own mental states. The most important distinction is a six-Fold one between infallibility, Omniscience, Indubitability, Incorrigibility, Truth-Sufficiency, And self-Warrant. Each of these varieties can then be sub-Divided as the kind of modality, If any, Involved. It is also argued that discussions of self-Knowledge have been hampered by a failure to recognize these distinctions.
Divine Nature and Human Language is a collection of twelve essays in philosophical theology by William P. Alston, one of the leading figures in the current renaissance in the philosophy of religion. Using the equipment of contemporary analytical philosophy, Alston explores, partly refashions, and defends a largely traditional conception of God and His work in the world a conception that finds its origins in medieval philosophical theology. These essays fall into two groups: those concerned with theological language and those (...) that deal with the nature, status, and activity of God. In Part 1, Alston develops a conceptual scheme for discussing the topic of theological language. He also argues that there is a core of literal talk about God and even a core of predicates univocally applicable to God and creatures. Furthermore, he shows that God can be referred to directly as well as descriptively. In Parts II and III, the author sketches out a middle way between a classical conception of God exemplified by Aquinas and the more recent “process” or “panentheist” conception exemplified by Hartshorne. Alston argues that such a God can act so as to have real effects in the world and can enter into genuine dialogue and otherwise interact with human beings. In addition, he defends the idea that God provides a foundation for morality. The first collection of Alston's ground breaking work in the philosophy of religion, Divine Nature and Human Language will be welcomed by scholars and students of the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, theology, and religious studies. (shrink)
Justification, or at least ‘justification’, bulks large in recent epistemology. The view that knowledge consists of true-justified-belief has been prominent in this century, and the justification of belief has attracted considerable attention in its own right. But it is usually not at all clear just what an epistemologist means by ‘justified’, just what concept the term is used to express. An enormous amount of energy has gone into the attempt to specify conditions under which beliefs of one or another sort (...) are justified; but relatively little has been done to explain what it is for a belief to be justified, what that is for which conditions are being sought. The most common procedure has been to proceed on the basis of a number of obvious cases of justified belief, without pausing to determine what property it is of which these cases are instances. Now even if there were some single determinate concept that all these theoriests have implicitly in mind, this procedure would be less than wholly satisfactory. For in the absence of an explicit account of the concept being applied, we lack the most fundamental basis for deciding between supposed intuitions and for evaluating proposed conditions of justification. And in any event, as philosophers we do not seek merely to speak the truth, but also to gain an explicit, reflective understanding of the matters with which we deal. We want to know not only when our beliefs are justified, but also what it is to enjoy that status. True, not every fundamental concept can be explicated, but we shall find that much can be done with this one. (shrink)
What is it about art that can be so captivating? How is it that we find value in the often odd and abstract objects and events we call artworks? William P. Seeley proposes that artworks are attentional engines. They are artifacts that have been intentionally designed to direct attention to critical stylistic features that reveal their point, purpose, or meaning. In developing this view, Seeley argues that there is a lot we can learn about the value of art from (...) interdisciplinary research focused on our perceptual engagement with artworks. Recent breakthroughs in cognitive science and behavioral science can explain how we recognize artworks and how we differentiate them from more quotidian artifacts. Seeley pushes this line of reasoning, showing how cognitive science can help reveal the way artworks function as a unique source of value. Cognitive systems integrate this information into our experience of art, guiding attention and shaping what we perceive. Our understanding and appreciation of artworks is therefore carried in our perceptual experience of them. -/- Attentional Engines explores the pitfalls and potential of this interdisciplinary strategy for understanding art. It articulates a cognitivist theory of art grounded in perceptual psychology and neuroscience and demonstrates its application to a range of puzzles in the philosophy of the arts. This includes questions about the nature of depiction, the role played by metakinesis in dance appreciation, the nature of musical expression, and the power of movies. The provocative interdisciplinary theories Seeley presents will appeal to scholars and students interested in aesthetics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of art, cognitive science, and anyone with a burning curiosity about how artworks work. (shrink)
1. A Historical Look at Unity 2. Field Guide to Modern Concepts of Reduction and Unity 3. Kitcher's Revisionist Account of Unification 4. Critics of Unity 5. Integration Instead of Unity 6. Reduction via Mechanisms 7. Case Studies in Reduction and Unification across the Disciplines.
Functionalists in philosophy of mind traditionally raise two major arguments against the type identity theory: (1) psychological states are _multiply realizable_ so that there are no one-to-one mappings of psychological states onto neural states and (2) the most that evidence could ever establish is the _correlation_ of psychological and neural states, not their identity. We defend a variant on the traditional type identity theory which we call _heuristic identity theory_ (HIT) against both of these objections. Drawing its inspiration from scientific (...) practice, heuristic identity theory construes identity claims as hypotheses that guide subsequent inquiry, not as conclusions of the research. (shrink)