Volume V, Issue 3, 2014
ABSTRACT: William Alston’s argument against epistemological deontologism rests upon two key premises: first, that we lack a suitable amount of voluntary control with respect to our beliefs, and, second, the principle that “ought” implies “can.” While several responses to Alston have concerned rejecting either of these two premises, I argue that even on the assumption that both premises are true, there is room to be made for deontologism in epistemology. I begin by offering a criticism of Richard Feldman’s invaluable work on ‘role-oughts,’ whereupon I develop my own positive view in light of Feldman’s shortcomings. The upshot is that while we as epistemic agents are not responsible for the beliefs we form, we are nonetheless responsible for the various bodily or mental activities that typically bear a causal influence on belief formation.
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I propose a new argument against Gettier’s counterexamples to the thesis that knowledge is justified true belief. I claim that if there is no doxastic voluntarism, and if it is admitted that one has formed the belief that p at t1 if, at t0, one would be surprised to learn or discover that not-p, it can be plausibly argued that Gettiered beliefs simply cannot be formed.
ABSTRACT: In this paper I analyze epistemological externalism and its adequacy as a response to skepticism. Externalism is defined by denial of accessibility: a subject can know if a particular condition beyond truth and belief is satisfied, even if the subject has no reflective access to the satisfaction of the condition. It hence has quick responses to skepticism. Three sorts of skepticism are differentiated and discussed: high standards skepticism, Cartesian-style skepticism, and Pyrrhonism. If we decouple high standards and Cartesian-style skepticism, a simple fallibilism is a superior response to the first and externalism is an unsatisfying response to the second. Pyrrhonism reveals what it is missing in externalism. Pyrrhonism targets belief and so redefinitions of knowledge are insufficient as a reply. Externalism assumes we have beliefs and asks what must be added to achieve knowledge, but if we look at the epistemic situation the externalist puts us in, it is not clear we would form or retain beliefs. In similar circumstances the Pyrrhonist suspends judgment. Once we are clear how Pyrrhonism actually challenges externalism it provides a direct and more revealing critique, making clear what is given up and pointing the way for further epistemological inquiry.
ABSTRACT: Due to the failure of the classical principles of bivalence and verifunctionality, the logic of experimental propositions relative to quantum systems cannot be interpreted in Boolean algebras. However, we cannot say neither that this logic is captured by orthomodular lattices, as claimed by many authors along the line of Birkhoff’s and von Neumann’s standard approach. For the alleged violation of distributivity is based on the possibility of combining statements relative to complementary contexts, which does not refer to any experience and, consequently, has no meaning. Indeed, quantum logic should be interpreted in partial, transitive Boolean algebras whose compatibility relation limits the application of the connectives within each of its Boolean sub-algebras, which refer to partial, classical descriptions. Moreover, this approach of quantum logic makes it possible to deal with composite systems, which was not possible to do within the standard approach, and then to deal with the fundamental notion of quantum entanglement. The latter notion can be represented by a series of axioms of the object language that restrict the set of experimental statements bearing on a composite system, while its close link to the notion of complementarity can be expressed in the metalanguage.
ABSTRACT: This piece examines the purported explanatory and normative role of knowledge in Timothy Williamson’s account of intentional action and suggests that it is in tension with his argument against the luminosity of knowledge. Only iterable knowledge can serve as the norm for action capable of explaining both why people with knowledge act differently than those with mere beliefs and why only those who act on the basis of knowledge-desire pairs are responsible actors.
ABSTRACT: Kroedel has proposed a new solution, the permissibility solution, to the lottery paradox. The lottery paradox results from the Lockean thesis according to which one ought to believe a proposition just in case one’s degree of belief in it is sufficiently high. The permissibility solution replaces the Lockean thesis by the permissibility thesis according to which one is permitted to believe a proposition if one’s degree of belief in it is sufficiently high. This note shows that the epistemology of belief that results from the permissibility thesis and the epistemology of degrees of belief is empty in the sense that one need not believe anything, even if one’s degrees of belief are maximally bold. Since this result can also be achieved by simply dropping the Lockean thesis, or by replacing it with principles that are logically stronger than the permissibility thesis, the question arises what the permissibility solution is a solution of.
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I respond to Michael Huemer’s reply to my objection against Phenomenal Conservatism (PC). I have argued that Huemer’s Self-defeat Argument for PC does not favor PC over competing theories of basic propositional justification, since analogous self-defeat arguments can be constructed for competing theories. Huemer responds that such analogous self-defeat arguments are unsound. In this paper, I argue that Huemer’s reply does not save his Self-defeat Argument for PC from my original objection.
ABSTRACT: In On Reflection, Hilary Kornblith criticizes Sosa’s distinction between animal and reflective knowledge. His two chief criticisms are that reflective knowledge is not superior to animal knowledge and that Sosa’s distinction does not identify two kinds of knowledge. I argue that Sosa can successfully avoid both of these charges.