Duncan Pritchard recently proposed a Wittgensteinian solution to closure-based skepticism. According to Wittgenstein, all epistemic systems assume certain truths. The notions that we are not disembodied brains, that the Earth has existed for a long time and that one’s name is such-and-such all function as “hinge commitments.” Pritchard views a hinge commitment as a positive propositional attitude that is not a belief. Because closure principles concern only knowledge-apt beliefs, they do not apply to hinge commitments. Thus, from the fact that (...) a subject knows that he is sitting in a room, and the fact that the subject’s sitting in a room entails his bodily existence, it does not follow that the subject also knows that he is not an envatted brain. This paper rejects Pritchard’s non-belief reading of hinge commitments. I start by showing that the non-belief reading fails to solve the skeptical paradox because the reasons that Pritchard uses to support the non-belief reading do not exempt hinge propositions from closure principles. I then proceed to argue that the non-belief reading is false as it claims that hinge commitments, unlike ordinary beliefs, are rationally unresponsive—with the help of a scenario in which a subject’s experience is internally chaotic, we can safely conclude that the hinge commitment that one is not systematically mistaken about the world is equally responsive to one’s evidential situations. (shrink)
Practical knowledge is discussed in close relation to practical expertise. For both anti-intellectualists and intellectualists, the knowledge of how to φ is widely assumed to entail the practical expertise in φ-ing. This paper refutes this assumption. I argue that non-experts can know how to φ via other experts’ knowledge of φ-ing. Know-how can be ‘outsourced’. I defend the outsourceability of know-how, and I refute the objections that reduce outsourced know-how to the knowledge of how to ask for help, of how (...) to get things done, or of external contents. Interestingly, outsourcing differs from social cooperation, collective agency, testimonial transmission, and many other notions in social-epistemological debates. Thus, outsourcing provides not only a hitherto unconsidered form of know-how but also a novel way for knowledge to be social. Furthermore, outsourcing plausibly involves a ‘social’ cognitive extension that does not rest on EMT or HEC. Given the outsourceability of know-how, we must reconsider the nature of know-how and expertise, as well as the relation between non-experts and experts. (shrink)
The gradation of know-how is a prominent challenge to intellectualism. Know-how is prima facie gradable, whereas know-that is not, so the former is unlikely to be a species of the latter. Recently, Pavese refuted this challenge by explaining the gradation of know-how as concerning either the quantity or the quality of practical answers one knows to a question. Know-how per se remains absolute. This paper argues, however, that in addition to the quantity and quality of practical answers, know-how also differs (...) in how reliably the agent is supposed to fulfil the task given her default constitution. Intellectualism is still troubled by the gradability challenge. (shrink)
Feldman proposed a solution to the speckled hen problem via ‘phenomenal concepts’, a solution which Fumerton accepted with reservation. Notwithstanding the existing criticisms of Feldman as being over-intellectualist, I argue that his approach fails for other reasons.
The Cartesian thesis that some justifications are infallible faces a gradation puzzle. On the one hand, infallible justification tolerates absolutely no possibility for error. On the other hand, infallible justifications can vary in evidential force: e.g. two persons can both be infallible regarding their pains while the one with stronger pain is nevertheless more justified. However, if a type of justification is gradable in strength, why can it always be absolute? This paper explores the potential of this gradation challenge by (...) rejecting Fumerton's recent ‘semantic decision' solution. On Fumerton's suggestion, the putative gradation of infallible justifications is essentially semantic. It concerns only how we use the relevant term but not how well we perceive the truth. Regardless of its intuitive appeal, Fumerton's solution does not cover all the related situations. There is an irreducibly epistemic sense in which infallible justifications vary in degrees. (shrink)
Although the topic of basic act is controversial, theorists of agency normally agree that complex performances are based on comparatively simple ones. To the extent that we can attribute powers to agents over various tasks, it is also plausible to suppose that our powers over complex tasks are based on powers over the simple. Chisholm once formulated this idea in terms of the principle of the diffusiveness of power. In the present paper, however, we shall argue that the principle which (...) articulates this intuitive idea is incompatible with the assumption that we can sometimes do otherwise. (shrink)